PHCA Annual Meeting; Elections; Neighborhood Watch

With former President Gwynn Roberson, Secretary Debbie Kutzleb, and Board Member Troy Lee not running for re-election, the Piscataway Hills Citizens Association will have significant leadership changes following the annual membership meeting on September 24.

Candidates for the vacant officer positions could not be found, so under the bylaws, Vice President Dave Lishin will serve as Acting President. The position of Secretary remains vacant, but Joni Jones volunteered to be on the board and was elected unanimously. Members also approved a motion thanking Gwynn Roberson for her service as President; she will remain on the board as Immediate Past President.

Other issues discussed at the annual meeting included the neighborhood watch program, the PHCA budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and excessively noisy parties.

Board Members George Satterthwaite and Joni Jones provided a status report on PHCA’s efforts to establish an officially recognized neighborhood watch program. The program is designed to enhance the reporting of suspicious activities in the neighborhood to the police. Piscataway Hills is to be divided into 10 zones, each with a block captain. Volunteers and other members of the community are to report suspicious activities to the block captains, who will then contact the appropriate offices within the Prince George’s County Police Department. The program will probably not include scheduled citizen patrols, George said.

The first step in establishing a neighborhood watch is to obtain signed petitions from at least 75% of the households in the community. Piscataway Hills has 172 homes, with 15 of them vacant, meaning that 117 signatures are needed. George reported that he and the other organizers, after canvassing the community and approaching residents at Oktoberfest on October 5, had collected 109 signatures and need only eight more to submit the neighborhood watch application. More block captains are also still needed, he said. Once the signatures are gathered and the block captains are trained, then PHCA would receive two free “neighborhood watch” signs and could buy additional signs. It was proposed at the meeting that PHCA purchase enough signs so that each of the 10 zones could have one.

Treasurer Don Benedict reported that PHCA ran a surplus of about $600 during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, ending with a balance of $4,368 and 60 dues-paying members. The surplus was achieved despite the one-time expenditure of $1,079 for the new playground at Lot 39 Waterfront Park. Members at the annual meeting ap- proved the proposed budget for 2013-2014, which for the first time includes a $750 premium for liability insurance, a subject that had been debated extensively at earlier quarterly meetings.

The annual meeting concluded with a discussion of excessively noisy parties in Piscataway Hills. It was pointed out that Prince George’s County prohibits noise that is audible more than 50 feet from its source from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., with fines of up to $250 for the first offense and $500 for the second offense and up to 30 days in jail.

The noise ordinance can be found at:
http://www.berwynheightspd.com/select%20county%20ordinances.htm.