Delegate Frush Announces Retirement

After serving 24 years at the Maryland State’s 21st Delegation, Delegate Frush has announced that she will not seek re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates when her term expires at the end of 2018.

In a an email, she wrote last week “Over the past 24 years, I have given my heart and soul to the citizens of the State of Maryland, working tirelessly to pass Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air Act, legislation that has protected the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s non-tidal wetlands, Maryland wildlife, and supported the health and welfare of my constituents.”

Del. Frush grew up in the area and said she plans to stay active in this community. Her current focus is to serve the rest of my term, work hard, and remain close to my family, she said. She plans to remain politically active, helping her close friend Rushern Baker as co-chair of his campaign for Governor, and supporting my colleagues in the 21st District, she wrote in the announcement.


North College Park Crime Map: Nov 26-Dec 8, 2017

Address Type
4900 Blk FOX St Theft
5000 Blk Paducah RD Stolen Veh
9200 Blk 48TH Ave Theft from auto
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft
9300 51ST Ave Theft
9915 Rhode Island Ave Theft
Iroquois ST / 51ST Ave Citizen Armed Robbery
9600 Blk Milestone Way Stolen Veh
9600 Blk Milestone Way Stolen Veh
9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD Theft from auto

The New Council to Swear-In Next Tuesday

The new City Council is scheduled to swear-in at the next Tuesday’s regular meeting. This si an open meeting and everyone is invited to the meeting. Here is the full agenda.

Mayor Wojahn:
Councilmember Christine Nagle
Councilmember Mary Cook
Councilmember Stephanie Stullich

Councilmember Christine Nagle
Councilmember Mary Cook
Councilmember Stephanie Stullich


SWEARING-IN OF MAYOR PATRICK L. WOJAHN: Representative of the Prince George’s County Clerk of the Circuit Court

SWEARING-IN OF THE 2017 – 2019 CITY COUNCIL: Mayor Patrick L. Wojahn



City Announces FY2018 Community Services Grant

This week, the City has announced the Community Services grant for the fiscal year 2018.

The purpose of City’s Community Services Grant is to provide opportunities for community-based programs and projects within the City of College Park. The City believes that supporting community activities enhances the community as a whole. The City will provide grants to fund programs and activities that promote enhanced community opportunities for its residents. Community services grants are only awarded to organizations, not to individuals.

Review and award of grants will be based on the program’s measurable impact on the City of College Park and its residents. Collaboration with other organizations and availability of outside funding (from sources other than the City grant) is encouraged. During the grant review process, points will be awarded for various criteria (as identified on the application form). Upon final decision on the grant application by the City Council, you will be notified of the result.
A Mayor & Council-appointed subcommittee will review the grant applications and make a grant award recommendation to the full Council. Worksession review of community services grant applications by Mayor & Council will be scheduled following subcommittee review.

All grant applications must be received no later than Friday, December 29, 2017 at 5:00 pm, addressed as follows:
Director of Finance
City of College Park
4500 Knox Road, College Park, Maryland 20740-3390

Applications may be mailed or hand-delivered to the above address, e-mailed to gfields@collegeparkmd.gov or FAXed to 301-864-8941. To expedite processing, a signed hold harmless agreement should be submitted along with your application.

For more information, please check this page on City’s website. Questions on application submittal should be directed to Gary Fields, Director of Finance, at 240-487-3510, FAX 301-864-8941, E-mail: gfields@collegeparkmd.gov.


New Playground in Davis Field Park

Good news! The City has recently installed a brand new playground at Davis Field, located at the end of Kennesaw Street. The old play structure for 5-12-year-old children and its surrounding area was removed and replaced, Also, two new benches were installed at the end of Kennesaw Street! Renovations were completed last week. Please check the new playground out and spread the word! Thank you!


North College Park Crime Map: November 26 – December 3, 2017

Address Type
9300 Blk 51ST AVE THEFT

Council to Ask Some Changes in New County Zoning Regulations

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider approving a letter to the M-NCPPC with the City’s comments on the Comprehensive Draft Review (CRD) of the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, and Landscape Manual. A zoning map amendment (zoning map) to implement the new ordinance will follow after the new zoning regulations a have been passed.

The letter prepared by staff expresses general support for the changes proposed in the zoning rewrite and lists the following comments, concerns, and requests:

  1. Rezoning the Route 1 Corridor as a Regional Transportation Oriented zone without any overlay zones would remove height limitations and parking requirements restrictions and promote development inconsistent with the Route 1 sector plan and community expectations. The City suggests reworking standards in the base zones in order to meet community expectations and a more realistic reflection of market standards.
  2. The Hollywood Commercial District (HCD) is proposed to be rezoned Commercial and General Office which allows 48 dwelling units per acre and heights between 86 and 110 feet. More appropriate for the HCD is the Commercial Neighborhood zone provides for medium density residential and lower density commercial to primarily serve the community.
  3. The new minimum requirement of 18 % commercial in in new mixed -use developments will not guarantee successful mixed-use developments. The City supports requiring ground floor retail in designated main street shopping areas.
  4. Off- street parking is not required in Regional Transportation Oriented zones. College Park does not have the heavy transit or light rail and a managed parking district that are needed to eliminate off-street parking. The City does not support exempting development from providing off-street parking along Route 1.
  5. College Park is part of the 8% of the County that will require a menu of alternative rezoning options as part of a “decision tree.” Since this is a discretionary process, the City requests that it be included in the exercise used to locate proposed new zones within City limits.
  6. The City supports the new neighborhood applicability standards that are intended to provide a transition and ensure compatibility between single-family zones and more intense forms of development. The neighborhood compatibility standards should not be eliminated or relaxed along the Route 1 corridor outside of the Walkable Node University areas.
  7. The current threshold for project approval without weigh in by the City or the community is too high. The City requests that any development over 100,000 sq ft be subject to major site plan review (detailed site plan, pre-application conference, public hearing) and that municipal staff be afforded the opportunity to weigh in on minor site plans.
  8. The City supports the new requirement for a pre-application neighborhood meeting when zoning map amendments, special exemptions and major detailed site plans are requested. The City requests that this requirement also be applicable to minor site plans and that the Planning Director have access to community views prior to deciding a case.
  9. The City has concerns about the definitions of Boarding or Rooming House and Fast Food Restaurant. The City requests that the definition of Board/Rooming House be revised to more clearly define both occupants and guests, whether or not meals are required to be provided, and the maximum and minimum occupancy requirements. The current definition of fast food restaurant would include fast-casual establishments like Panera Bread, Noodle and Starbucks. The definition seems overly restrictive and the City requests the definition be modified.
  10. The proposed requirements exempt Local and Regional Transit Oriented Zones from meeting the Transportation Adequacy Requirements at the time of subdivision unless there is either a transportation demand management program or a trip reduction program managed by the applicant. The City cannot support this provision until more study and analysis is done and until there is more institutional capacity to review, monitor, assess and manage transportation impacts on the county level.

Council Set to Approve Mixed Use Development at the Old the Quality Inn/Plato’s Diner Site

At this week’s meeting, the City Council will consider approving the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision and Detailed Site Plan to redevelop the Quality Inn/Plato’s Diner Site located at 7200 Baltimore Avenue.

At the last Council meeting, City Council discussed the proposed project, which is a mixed-use development of 393 multifamily dwelling units and 72,971 square feet of retail. The subject property consists of approximately 5.73 acres located on the west side of Baltimore Avenue (US-1), bounded on the north by Hartwick Road and on the south by Guilford Road. The property is zoned MUI, DDOZ in the Walkable Node Character Area. The M-NCPPC Technical Staff Report is not yet available. The Planning Board is scheduled to hear these applications on Thursday, December 14th, 2017.

Staff recommends approving the preliminary plan with a few conditions, which includes access to the site, landscaping improvements, public art feature and streetscape improvements.

If approved, the site will generate approximately $370,000 in real property taxes for the City in the first year, however, the Applicant is seeking tax relief from the City over a 15-year period. Tax relief has also been requested from Prince George’s County and both requests are currently under review. The Council will discuss the tax relief proposal at a future meeting.


For five years, this College Park library has built education programs for residents

The following is a reprint from the Diamondback newspaper about the College Park Community library located in north College Park. My deepest appreciation for the volunteers who have been selflessly supporting our community at the library!

Story time at College Park Community Library

When city resident Jackie Kelly opened the College Park Community Library in 2012, it had 800 books. Now, it has over 9,000, all of which have been donated, said Sarah Caudill, a volunteer at the library.

Staffed entirely by volunteers, the public library — located in the lower level of the Church of the Nazarene on Rhode Island Avenue — is the city’s first since 1986. While Hyattsville, Greenbelt and other nearby towns have public libraries, there was no place in College Park for residents to check out books for free. The University of Maryland’s libraries, for example, require individuals not affiliated with the university to request a community borrowers card and pay $50 or more each year.

On Thursday afternoons, the library hosts young elementary school students, who practice their reading skills with a library staff member. Co-director of the library Elaine Stillwell said this program, which started in fall 2012, is very helpful for parents, particularly if English is their second language, because they might not know if their kids are pronouncing words correctly.

[Read more: New library storage facility in the Severn Building will house up to 1.25 million books]

“Some of the older children now are helping younger children to read too,” Stillwell said. “It kind of is a chance for them to take [their reading skills] to another level. … [It’s] a safe place for kids to come.”

About a year after it opened, the library began offering free English classes for non-native speakers. The classes — which focus on conversation and language development — were offered on Wednesday mornings last spring and are set to pick back up in February, said Stillwell, who teaches the course and has a master’s degree in adult and continuing education and teaching.

“This is a good place for them to explore that without having to really be in the supermarket or conduct business,” said Stillwell.

[Read more: UMD Spanish students will be teaching English to local parents]

Kelly opened up the library with Joe Smith, who no longer resides in College Park or is involved with the library, because she was frustrated that residents of the city were not allowed to check out books from this university’s libraries.

“I just feel that that’s something our city needed and that we didn’t have, and now we have a library,” Kelly said.

Stillwell said she wants the library to be a “center for the community.” The library provides important services for College Park residents without computers or printers, she said. It also offers space for various groups — such as a photography club, a book group and an arts-and-crafts group — to come together and meet.

One of the main programs offered at the library is story time for children on Wednesday mornings.

Caudill, an alumna of this university who began volunteering at the library in fall 2015, said that she will read to any children that come into the library, regardless of whether it’s during story time.

The story time is a good opportunity for parents and children to meet up and socialize, Stillwell said.

Daria Giraldo, a parent who attends story time with her 2-year-old, said the storyteller at the community library stood out to her. Micki Freeny, the Wednesday morning storyteller at the library and former director for the Prince George’s County library system, is “so full of energy, humor and [is] very knowledgeable about kids songs and poems,” Giraldo said. “She’s just unbelievable.”

“I have checked other public libraries, their story times, and this was the best one I found, so we stuck with this one,” she said. “Nothing but compliments about them.”


College Park Academy to Hold Open House on December 7

When: Thursday, December 7, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Where: 5751 Rivertech Court, Riverdale Park, MD

College Park Academy is a top-performing public charter middle and high school, founded by UMD and the City of College Park. It provides personalized learning and a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum, including UMD courses in high school.

Applications for the 2018-2019 school year are available until January 26, 2018. And, starting with incoming 6th graders in Fall of 2018, students living in the boundaries of these six area elementary schools will comprise at least 35 percent of the students admitted: Berwyn Heights, Cherokee Lane, Hollywood, Paint Branch, Riverdale, University Park.

Please join CPA for an open house to learn more about the school!


New Beige Yard Waste Carts Go for Sale

City Resident Bill Taylor takes his new Yard Waste Cart home

City now has beige 65-gallon yard waste carts available for residents to purchase for $25. These carts are selling quickly, so get yours soon!

The new beige yard waste cart can be used for either “soft yard waste” or “woody yard waste.” Soft and Woody yard wastes are collected on separate days and processed into two different products.

This sturdy cart has wheels and a lift-bar for easy collection. Using the new yard waste cart can save time and money – single use paper lawn bags become expensive over time and can tear or fall apart when wet.

Please call the Department of Public Works at 240-4873590 to arrange payment and to coordinate pick-up or delivery.


Split Council Decides to Use Eminent Domain and Acquire Route 1 Properties

At last night’s City Council meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of properties located at 7409 and 7411 Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) using eminent domain. Five businesses at these locations will be affected by the acquisition and further development, including Smoothie King, Subway, Hair Cuttery, Shanghai Cafe, and a cell phone repair shop. It’s unknown when the leases of these businesses will expire.

The vote was a tie. Brennan, Day, Dennis and Stullich supported the measure. Cook, Kujawa, Kabir, and Nagle opposed it. Mayor Wojahn broke the tie in favor.

Before the vote, a motion to table the vote was defeated (tied at 4-4, with Mayor breaking the tie).

I personally felt that the Council should have selected a concept design and the associated budget before deciding to acquire the Route 1 properties. Over the past 5 years, the City Council discussed a few options to build a City Hall at the current location. The cost figures of these options ranged from 4 million to 12.5 million. It’s true that the City Council decided to select the Knox Road site for the future of City Hall, however, it never voted on how the new City Hall would look like.

Back in 2012, the City Council engaged a consultant to design a concept plan to build an extension to the existing City Hall. This design would have cost the City Hall between $4 to $5 million.

In 2014, when the Council decided to select the Knox Road site as the future of City Hall, it talked about two options – whether to build the City Hall alone ($8 million) or build jointly with the University. The joined project was later estimated at 12.5 million and would require the acquisition of the Route 1 properties.

Several residents spoke at the meeting. Many residents also sent their comments via emails. Almost all of the District 1, 2 and 4 residents opposed the proposal. They were concerned about high cost of the project, the loss of property tax revenues from the affected businesses. The majority of the District 3 residents supported the proposal.


City Announces Holiday Decorating Contest ‘Deck the City’

City announced yesterday the Holiday Decorating Contest or “Deck the City”.

Residents may nominate themselves or their neighbors. The form would request information like street address and homeowner contact information so that we can easily locate the nominees’ homes, and contact the winners.

Staff propose that residents nominate homes from November 28 at 12pm (noon) through December 14 at 6pm.

Contest is open to residential addresses within the City of College Park only.

Entries must be received by 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

Completed entries will be accepted via email, mail or by telephone. A completed form may also be dropped off at City Hall only for submission. Incomplete entries may not be accepted.

Judging will be held from Friday, December 15 through Sunday, December 17, 2017 between 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Holiday lights and decorations must be turned on prior to the start of judging.

Prizes will be awarded for the three winners in each of the City’s four districts (twelve winners total).
Winning homes will be notified on Monday, December 18, 2017. Winners must have their lights and decorations on Tuesday, December 19 between 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for photos.

Photos of winning homes will be posted on the City’s website, social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), Municipal Scene and possibly other City channels.

For information, please visit City’s website here.


City to Oppose Hike in Water Bill for Small Households

At the November 14, 2017, meeting of the Mayor and Council, Joseph Beach, the Chief Financial Officer for the Washington Sanitary Commission (WSSC) presented the rate structure alternatives that had have been evaluated by WSSC.

The WSSC submitted the General Manager’s Recommendations to the County Council for review on November 15, 2017.

While the City Council appreciate that the new rate structure will reduce the average water bills for higher volume users and thus will satisfy the recommendations set by the Public Service Commissions, the Council also found that each of the three recommended proposals would result in higher water bills for smaller households with the lowest water use. These families typically try to keep their water bills to a low level by preserving more water and thus they feel that they will be in a disadvantageous position under the new proposed rate structure.

It is the opinion of the College Park Mayor and Council that the inclining 3-Tier Option B alternative presents the most affordable option for families while still providing an incentive to conserve water use.

College Park has a long-standing policy on sustainability, which includes water preservation. The City also annually participates in the National Mayor’s challenge for water preservation.

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider approving a letter to the Prince George’s County Council asking them to consider adopting the WSSC rate that will do the most to reduce the burden of increased water rates on smaller households.


North College Park Crime Map: November 19 – 25, 2017

Please see below last week’s crime map and let me know if you ahve any questions. Thank you!

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