Dear Neighbors: Please accept the minutes of the OTRA Meeting on 9/22/05  Wolfgang J. Mergner




Ken Firestone, Dick O’Conner, Peter Feiden, Laura DiCurcio, Steve Shapiro Dean Hoge, David Pittman, Seth Grimes, Wolfgang J. Mergner


Report: Vermin Survey – Status  - Wolfgang Mergner reported on the status of the survey. 70 reports were received.  The mapping of sightings showed a concentration in certain regions of the neighborhood.  Action.  The survey data will be reviewed with the City of Takoma Park to think of causes for concentration of sightings and to develop a strategy of vermin control with Montgomery County. A report will be presented to the neighborhood.


A Letter was presented and approved as follow-up to the decision of the August 25, 2005 OLD TOWN RESIDENTS ASSOCITION meeting.


The letter: To Whom It May Concern The Old Town Residents Association reviewed the Development Plans and Site Map Location of Takoma Square 3357 at the association’s meeting on August 25, 2005.  The association is seriously concerned about the size of this new development. We view the negative impact as being made worse by the number of similar housing developments in the area. We share concerns about the impact of this development on traffic in an already overloaded local street system.  The Old Town Residents Association would like to see an essential down sizing of this project.  The Old Town Residents Association therefore supports the position taken by Historic Takoma.”


Discussion: Do people in OTRA support to form a committee to preserve METRO green space and are they willing to push for a citywide referendum in November? - Steve Shapiro facilitated the discussion. It was recognized that the opinion of the neighborhood is divided between those who want the current status preserved and those who want the primary function of this space preserved. Some see some benefit such as development may reduce crime. The participants felt that the green space should be primarily used and developed for transit usability. Some favor a scaled down version of the development. A referendum has been presented to the Takoma Park City Council and it could be added to the ballot, though the text needs to be refined and a referendum needs broad public understanding of the issues. A possible text proposed is: “Do you agree that the development of the site should comply with the current Takoma Central District Plan?”


Issues: Richard O’Connor discussed the lack of parking enforcement on Maple Avenue. Decision: Contact the Police Department and stress the importance of parking enforcement and police visibility.


Presentation & Discussion:

Emergency Preparedness – Us  - Wolfgang Mergner. The City of Takoma Park has an Emergency Preparedness Plan that is organized mainly to link up to the resources of Montgomery County.  To be realistic, there is a 72-hour window where residents are on their own in a true emergency.  Emergency preparedness has to focus on those first 72 hours.  What is important?


Communication: Families have to develop a plan of communication among the family members. Parents have to know the School’s emergency plan, communication between work and home etc.  Communication is also important between the government and the neighborhoods.  Currently communication depends largely on telephones and the news media, What if these sources are not available?  Neighbor to neighbor communication can be essential in an emergency.


Supplies & Basics. All households have to have a stock of basic supplies of food and water so they can be on their own without power for at least 3 days (better a week) 3 gallons of drinking water per person per day. Shelter:  Where is the emergency shelter for residents?


Our neighborhood: In case of staying in the area:  How many households are supplied by Meals-on-wheels?  How many generators do we have and where are they? Do we have sources of water independent of the public water supply and where are they?  Do we have water-purifying systems? Do we have supplies of essential medicines and what resources for medical care do we have?


In case of evacuation: Where are the escape routes? Where does a family go?  How do family members communicate?  What modes of transportation are available? Neighbor to neighbor – on whom can we rely?  What is to be in an emergency ready-to-take package?


Future Meetings: October 20: Candidate Forum, November 17: Welcoming new residents; election of officers for OTRA. December: No meeting.