SRA Board Meeting Minutes

SRA Meeting Minutes

January 18, 2011

 

Meeting called to order at 7:09 p.m. by Bob Whitcomb.

 

Anne Arundel Recreation and Parks: Mark Garrity, Parks Administrator; and Colleen, his co-worker: First speaker of the night. Explained how the department is made up of both Recreation functions (youth sports, facilities, golf courses, etc.) and Parks with regional and community parks, agricultural land preservation, resource conservation (over 4,000 acres), cultural resources, county trails, etc.

 

Dept of Natural Resources of has some money for a septic system at Jonas Green Park. Grey water could be used for the irrigation system.

 

Long-term goals for Rec and Parks Dept: Land preservation, greenways, regional parks, community parks, trails, waterway access, west county needs, community’s use of public facilities, capital projects and resource management.  For example the Kinder Farm visitor center.  These are some of the priorities; and they are making it a priority to try to finish projects that were started.

 

Active recreation is planned conceptually on the old Schillinger Farm site near I-97 and WB Rt-32.  Passive recreation is being planned in the South River Greenway area.

 

Criteria/Priorities for Land Acquisitions: Ecological sensitivity, Passive or Active Recreational benefit, Connectivity to county-owned land, compliance with Land Preservation Plan and/or Greenways master plan, size of the property, community interest, and purchase price.

 

Land Acquisition Methods: Conveyance, fee simple acquisition, license agreement, long-term lease agreement, memorandum of agreement, property dedications (deed), property exchange, surplus property, eminent domain.

 

South River Greenway Land Preservation Initiative: discussion of lands purchased along there, some part of the Crownsville Hospital property, but it is forested. Jake Jacobs spoke to the concern about Camp Woodlands in the South River watershed being sold to a developer – the same way Camp Linstead was sold, which was formerly a Boy Scout camp and was sold and developed into homes.

 

Land Use Controls available tools: conservation and trail easements; right of ways, sub-division review process (Open Space Designation), zoning restrictions, purchase of development rights, preservation programs. Question from the audience about power of Rec and Parks Dept to review changes to Open Space zoning. Mr. Garrity explained that they can review and comment on proposed developments and during sub-division review.

 

Agricultural Land Preservation programs: Certain amount of funding: 1980 to present, 11,400 acres preserved. Primarily it benefits south county  where there’s so much farm land.

Plastic Turf Fields: football fields at schools etc.  The synthetic fields allowed extensive use of the fields, with lots of infrastructure already in place.  This freed up money that could be used for acquisition (see below).

 

Program Open Space (POS): funded through the DNR ½ of 1% goes to POS: half of that goes to DNR and half to the counties; half of that goes to acquisition and half to development (which can also be used for acquisition).

 

Kurt Riegel asked how do projects get to be priority projects for use of Open Space funds?  Mr. Garrity said talking to them (Rec and Parks Dept.), finding funding, the right timing – depending when funding is available.

 

Greenways Master Plan: adopted in October 2002; incorporates recommendations of various planning documents. Anne Arundel County has 266,078 (acres?) included in the network, in various stages of protection.

 

Dianne Evans, Board Member of Friends of Anne Arundel Trails, with primary responsibility for support of Jonas-Green Park.  Former member of the County Council.  Has been working on the park for about 15 years.  Recent improvements include: AA County visitor center built, but not open yet.  Rangers come there periodically and answer questions and keep order, prevent swimming.  Public restrooms, bike rack, bulletin board, trees trimmed. Grasses looking spiffier (thanks to the County).  Installed 4 gardens; she keeps them weeded and looking good.  Added signage.  Container for equipment; fencing around the gardens; moved boulders. Raised money for a bench/fence in memory of a friend.

 

She has in mind: recruiting volunteers to maintain the gardens and park – students, scouts, others.  Three rain gardens were installed to infiltrate the runoff, with grant money from Friends of Anne Arundel Trails and a grant from Constellation Energy (she thinks).  Still areas of the park need attention.  Planted some crepe myrtles and other plants too.  Runoff from the highway, beach and entrance need attention. Plans from DNR will be discussed with County Rec and Parks tomorrow. May install a “sacred area” with native plants that can withstand harsh conditions. Working on memorial bricks. Stormwater management techniques need to be kept in mind. Wants to maintain informal feel of the park, and improve the tidal area to improve the appearance of the shoreline.  Need more picnic tables, in case you want to purchase one as a memorial. Would like to have some arts events there: music, painting exhibits, other. Another idea is to build a deck on the back of the visitor center. She sees it as “That little piece of heaven on the Severn.” The fishermen need some amenities: it gets dirty; they need places to clean fish, some lights, etc.

 

Q&A: Who was Jonas Green? He was a printer; his wife took over his publishing business. She was the first female publisher in the country, and that paper ultimately became The Capital, the current Annapolis newspaper. Question: Who do we contact about work being done on the B & A Trail. Answer: Contact Rick Holt, superintendent of the Trails.

 

Question from Howard Ernst: What are the options for educational exhibits on the Severn and water issues and other events, like yoga or other events.  A: The park is open dawn to dusk; the bridge is open 24/7. Answer: Check with Rick Holt about competing events; right now the visitor’s center not yet open. Mark says: staffing will be a challenge for a while. They would be interested in a display; items about the Bay. Could rotate exhibits.  Bob Whitcomb talked about how the Eagle Scout project was an exterior bulletin board; maybe SRA could do a similar exhibit to highlight the River. County needs to approve any ideas, and Dianne is willing to help with that process.

 

BG&E: doing a 2-year project replacing the gas lines along the B&A Trail (in answer to a question).

 

New Business: Budget discussion with Bob vom Saal, Treasurer. Bob described the budget, a few questions were asked. A motion was made and seconded to approve the budget.  Kurt asked about what options are for fundraising were available at the Annual Meeting.  Somebody asked where our bank account was, and Bob replied that it was at Bank of Annapolis (who incidentally supported Project Clean Stream)  The motion was voted on and passed unanimously.

 

Annual Meeting Plans: Betsy Love said there will be a keepsake given away. Discovery Annapolis Tours has offered to provide a free shuttle trolley from the State Garage, which is free after 6 p.m.  It’s between St. John’s College and Rowe Blvd. Betsy and Bob Whitcomb brought up that the committee would like to have authority to spend up to $3,000 (the carry over monies from last fiscal year) to use towards the Annual Meeting if needed. Howard Ernst described that copies of the film will be sold to recoup costs of production, and proceeds beyond that would go to SRA.  The film itself shouldn’t end up costing SRA anything, even though we allocated $1,000 towards its production last year. Betsy noted that we want to promote the film, expand the mailing list, and the invitation may cost a bit more than usual, since it will be extra special for this hallmark event. Also, community tables ($400 per table of 8) and even corporate sponsor tables will be available at the event, another way to make a bit of money towards the costs of the event ($600 per table of 8).  Sponsors will be thanked publicly for their support.

Tom Guay asked Howard Ernst what the title of the film is, to help with publicity.  Howard said “Moving Water: The 100-Year Fight for the Severn River.”  A motion was made and seconded and the vote was unanimous to authorize  additional spending of up to $3,000 of the carry-over funds, towards the Annual Meeting.

 

Zoning Applications: Don Morris-Jones, Pat Lynch, Dinny White, Richard Falk and Bob Whitcomb have been working on this committee. Earl Bradley was hired to go through the list and figure out which applications were in the Severn watershed and which might need our attention. Dinny White is working on a list of these by County Council district. This project will require a lot of effort, and others are invited to help.

 

Project Clean Stream will be held this year on April 2 on Clements Creek and Luce Creek. It will involve volunteers, County resources, and Bob Whitcomb is working on the logistics and organization for this.

 

Oysters: on June 4 we will be putting the oysters raised along the Severn onto the artificial reef – just like we did last year.

 

Next meeting will be February 15, and John Flood will be speaking about living shorelines, hopefully along with somebody from DNR.

 

Olde Severna Park thanked us for our Stormwater Action Fund support and let us know that they are now working on a Master Plan for their community.

 

Sally Hornor asked who was interested in visiting the Millersville Facility where the County has been building a step pool conveyance system near Veteran’s Highway and East-West Highway. She will try to organize a site visit.

 

Sally also discussed the finding of hydrocarbons in wells near the Severn Run. She and/or the person who is observing an oily sheen after rainfalls plans to contact MDE and discuss this concern.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:12 p.m.

 

 

(Revised June 2011)