Safety Tips in Holiday Season

Prince George's Police

With the holiday season in full swing, the Prince George’s County Police Department is offering some general crime prevention tips to help remind residents of things they can do to reduce their chance of being a crime victim during this time of the year and to help citizens remain safe during the holiday shopping season.

When Shopping:

  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk in well-lit areas; populated areas; avoid cut-through paths.
  • Try to park in busy, well-lit areas and avoid parking beside large vehicles.
  • Lock your car doors, and place all valuables in the trunk or under the seats.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash, pay with a check or credit cards.
  • Keep your purse closed and close to your body and/or carry your wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket
  • If you do return to your vehicle to unload purchases, place them in the trunk.

At Home:

  • Don’t display presents under the tree where they can be seen from a window.
  • Keep all windows and doors locked when you are away from home.
  • If out of town, stop mail and newspaper deliveries and place a light on a timer, this will give the appearance of someone being home.
  • Have a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your residence.
  • After the holidays, don’t advertise gifts received by the boxes left for the garbage collection. Destroy boxes and place in a sealed, non-clear garbage bag

One Hundred Years Ago: The Great Fire in College Park

UMd Fire in 1912, November 29

One hundred years ago today, the Maryland Agricultural College suffered a devastating blow when the Barracks and Administration Building burned down in what is now Morrill Quad.

As you may have read in Terp magazine or seen on TerpVIsion, the Great Fire of 1912 brought this institution to a crossroads. Its records were lost. Its cadets were homeless. Its very identity was literally in ruins. But these students and the faculty and alumni saw opportunity.

From that singular event on November 29, 1912, grew the University of Maryland as we know it today: a Top 20 public research, land-grant institution where innovation and entrepreneurship and excellence in higher education are fearlessly pursued.

Thanks to University Archivist Anne Turkos, the story of this seminal event in our history has been well documented in print and broadcast. With her help, UMd’s Facilities Management has chalked the outlines of the Barracks and Administration Building where they once stood on Morrill Quad. A photo exhibit on the quad this week documents the fire and its aftermath.

“The Blaze that Built Maryland” is a testament to the resilience of our former Terps — “Old Liners,” back then — and their determination to build the modern institution we are all so proud of today. Their legacy is our bright future.

[Source: Office of President Loh, University of Maryland]

Planning Board Comments on Greenbelt Sector Plan Released

The Park and Planning board released comments and analysis of their staff on the testimonies that residents and City officials made in the last Greenbelt Sector Plan public hearing. Please find that here.

Some of the issues that should interest us can be found here. I plan to make another post on these findings later.

Page 17: North College Park Online Petition
Page 35: North College Park General Comments
Page 38: Impact on north College Park
Page 50: North College Park Pedestrian Overpass
Page 126: Shuttle Bus Service between north and South core
Page 128: North Core Beltway Interchange
Page 130: Alignment of Greenbelt Station Parkway
Page 155: North College Park Stormwater Runoff, Groundwater Impacts, and Potential Flooding
Page 156: Adverse Impacts of New Development on North College Park
Page 160: North College Park Health and Wellness
Page 162: Proposed North College Park PreK-8 Urban Model School
Page 193: Building Form – North Core (20 stories, shadows etc.)
Page 197: North Core Height Transition Zone
Page 198: Building Form – Step-back Transitions
Page 199: Building Form – Parking
Page 201: Architecture and security requirements of a major GSA tenant in north Core
Page 201: Architectural Elements – Materials (light and noise reflection from building)

Council to Vote on Revitalization Tax Credit Program

Tax credit will help revitalization of City's business and attract new developments

In tonight’s meeting, the Council will hold a public hearing at 7:15 pm and then vote on a proposed ordinance to establish a revitalization tax credit. If this passes, it would allow a development wishing to come to the City that does not yet filed have an approved detailed site plan to receive a tax credit if the development meets certain criteria.

Currently, only the County offers tax credits to new developments, and only if the development is located in a low-income area – as a result, new developments in much of North College Park are not eligible. The draft Ordinance establishes two revitalization tax credit districts – one of which includes most of the Route 1 corridor and the areas around the College Park Metro, and the second which includes the less developed commercial areas in the City (the Hollywood Commercial District, the Branchville Industrial District and the Berwyn Commercial and Industrial and Greenbelt Road commercial areas).

To be eligible, a developer must be in good standing with the City and be proposing to redevelop an existing commercial or industrial area. Proposed developments in the first District must meet at least 4 of the following criteria, and proposed developments in the second District must meet at least 2 of the following:

1. Be located within 1/2-mile of an existing or under construction Metro or transit station;
2. involve the assemblage of lots or parcels owned by different parties;
3. involve the buyout of leases to facilitate redevelopment;
4. complete, or commit funds for, substantial infrastructure improvements;
5. meet at least the green building guidelines required for LEED silver certification;
6. be located in a walkable development node as designated in the US 1 Corridor Sector Plan;
7. involve the demolition of an existing non-historic structure that has been vacant for at least one year
8. be a brownfield site and require environmental cleanup prior to development;
9. secure at least one non-franchise, locally-owned business as evidenced by an executed lease; or
10. provide space for a business incubator, community center, art gallery, or similar public-use space.

The tax credits will be for five years, with a credit of 75% of the property tax on the increased assessment of the property in the first year, 60% in the second, 45% in the third, 30% in the fourth, and 15% in the fifth.

In order to obtain a tax credit, the developer must file an application with the City indicating which of the above criteria it meets, and the Council must approve the tax credit. Council may waive the requirement that the application for the tax credit be filed prior to approval of the detailed site plan if the DSP approval happened after January 1, 2009, or if the DSP was approved earlier and the tax credit is considered necessary to encourage the project to go to construction.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about this proposed tax credit program.

Council to Discuss Security Cameras at Edgewood and Rhode Island Intersection

License plate reader

In tomorrow’s Council meeting, the Mayor and Council will discuss a proposal from security company Avrio to install closed circuit cameras at the intersection of Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue and also at the intersection of St. Andrews Pl. and Metzerott Road.

Past discussion of installing City funded security cameras at these locations included expanding the CCTV/LPR MESH system the City had installed in Old Town, which is monitored by UM DOPS/UMPD. At this time, such expansion is not technically feasible at a reasonable cost. The distance and intervening physical signal barriers will not allow reception of data signals at the UM operations center.

A source of funds is not available at this time to expand that system to install a signal receivers network between the existing MESH system and these locations. A source of funds sufficient to support live monitoring of these locations is also not available.

Also discussed was the use of “portable” security cameras. The two sites were surveyed by our MESH system vendor, Avrio, and City staff. Truly portable equipment, similar to our speed camera units, would be subject to vandalism and constant maintenance. Equipment would, for practicality, need to be installed on existing utility poles, making it essentially permanent.

A third option has been identified by the vendor which installed the MESH system. With the completion of the signalized intersection at Rhode Island and Edgewood, there are now signal poles and arms which could be used to mount camera and signal equipment. In addition, there is a growing, state managed, license plate reader (LPR) data base system. With proximity to the Maryland State police barracks antenna, it is possible to feed data into the state system. This system can provide data to all police agencies, including Prince George’s County Police, and University of Maryland Police.

Our vendor is continuing to determine possible connectivity to this system for this location. The St. Andrews / Metzerott location, however, remains out of range for this system too. This third option would be to install permanent equipment. This equipment would allow download of data on site to an authorized police laptop computer at each location. The LPR “cameras” would provide a record of license plate data and a still photo image of the vehicle. Connectivity to the state system, if approved, would provide real time data to police from that location.

In October 2011, Mayor and City Council designated $350,000 of FY2011 revenue from speed enforcement camera for additional public safety expenditures. These included the purchase of cameras/license plate readers, capital equipment grants awarded to the three fire companies providing first response to portions of the City, replacement wood guardrail on Narragansett Parkway, four new streetlight installations and a crosswalk with flashing lights near Duvall Field. Of this total, $103,000 was earmarked for three CCTV/LPR (record on site) cameras/license plate readers, one at St. Andrews Place and Metzerott Road and two at Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue.

Staff is recommending Installation of a more permanent system at these locations would allow data download by police at each location, and connectivity to the state LPR data system,

NCP Crime Stats November 17-24, 2012

Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
11/18/2012 1136 THEFT FROM AUTO 4700 Blk BLACKFOOT RD
11/20/2012 653 THEFT FROM AUTO 4900 Blk MUSKOGEE ST
11/20/2012 712 THEFT FROM AUTO 9700 Blk 49TH PL
11/20/2012 724 THEFT FROM AUTO 4700 Blk MANGUM RD
11/20/2012 836 THEFT FROM AUTO 9800 Blk 47TH PL
11/21/2012 2345 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
11/22/2012 1227 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
11/22/2012 1421 THEFT FROM AUTO 4700 Blk CHEROKEE ST

Yard Sale – Check Before You Start One!

Yard sale - Check before you start one

Recently, a few residents reported to me about a yard sale on an area near Duval field by Rhode Island Avenue. I was told that they have been there for at least the past 6 Saturdays and a few times on Sunday.

I took the matter to our City staff, who alerted code enforcement and asked them to investigate and enforce regulations. Accordingly, they went to the area last Saturday and stopped the sale.

This law only applies to property that is on City’s or County’s right of way. You do not need a permit from the City to start a yard sale on your private property or sell your items to a thrift store. People do this all the time! It’s a tradition.

Per state law, without a trader’s license, residents may have no more than 1 yard sale per year, lasting no more than 14 consecutive days, to sell their personal items on their private property.

The Duval Field Yard sale raised another question. Does it need a complaint from resident to stop this kind of yard sale? The short answer is no. It does not take a complaint for them to take enforcement action,but it does help to have any potential violation locations reported directly to code enforcement by residents either by phone call to 240.487.3570, or email, or by visiting the new “College Park Central” on our web site.

“Purple Ribbon” – A Symbol of Support for Victims of Domestic Violence

Symbol of Support for Victims of Domestic Violence

The Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office launched its “Purple Ribbon” initiative last week as a way of continuing to drive awareness around the crime of domestic violence and to remind victims that there is support and help available. The purple ribbon is a universal identifier of the fight against domestic violence, and has been adopted internationally as a symbol to raise domestic violence awareness.

The focus of the initiative is a purple ribbon that will be displayed on Sheriff’s marked emergency vehicles with the caption “End Domestic Violence” and the email address to the Office of the Sheriff’s blog page. The easily accessible blog page www.pgsheriff.blogspot.com includes phone numbers for the Domestic Violence Intervention Division (DVID) Special Victim Assistants (SVA) who are available to provide information and resources to victims of domestic violence.

The Sheriff’s Office DVID provides a comprehensive response to domestic violence; pre-intervention with the service of protective orders, on-site intervention by responding to 9-1-1 calls for service in Police District III and aftercare or post intervention response by the Special Victim Assistants who help victims countywide navigate the court process and/or direct them to the services and resources they need.

“The battle against this crime is a very important one and there is a great deal of cooperation among law enforcement, the courts and professionals in domestic violence to raise awareness around domestic violence crime and to help victims become survivors,” said Sheriff Melvin C. High. “The model of response we’ve developed over the years in domestic violence response has been recognized by industry professionals and the assessment of an independent expert; we will continue to share that model with community, families and partners whenever we can. “

For more information contact the Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff’s Communications and Public Affairs Division at 301-780-8637. [Source: http://www.pgsheriff.blogspot.com/]

Community Library Extends its Hours

College Park Community Library

The College Park Community library at the Church of Nazarene has extended its hours!!

As you can see from the schedule they are open 5 days a week with both afternoon and evening hours.

Library Hours:
Mon. 7-9 John
Tues. 1-4 Jackie and 7-9 Joe
Wed. 10-1 Elaine and 7-9 Joe
Story time shared with Jackie 10:30
Thurs. 1-4 Jackie and 7-9 Michael
Friday closed
Saturday’s:
1st and 4th Michael 12-3
2nd Chris 12-3
3rd Charity and Breana 10-12

County Passes Bill to Raise Recycling Goal

Waste management - A College Park recycling truck

The Prince George’s County Council unanimously passed CB-87 yesterday.

Among other things, CB-87 increases the County’s recycling goals, revives and expands the membership of Solid Waste Commission and tasks it with recycling and resource management, tightens requirements and enforcement in business and multi-family sectors, removes plastic bags from yard waste and requires annual recycling reports from DER. The bill had the support of DER.

The bill aims to raise County’s recycling goal to 45% by 2015, 55% by 2018 and 60% by 2020.

College Park residents Suchitra Balachandran & Greg Smith (of Community Research group) have been active in lobbying County Council members to pass the bill. Congratulations to both for this achievement.

Although the City of College Park is self sufficient in trash and recycling pickup and yard waste composting, we are a small entity and having the County expand its goals will allow us to piggy back on their mandates and opportunities. For example, the county-wide mandate on business recycling imposed by this bill should cause College Park’s businesses to be more receptive to outreach from the City’s business recycling task force.” – Ms. Balachandran writes.

Also thanks are due to Council Members Eric Olson and Mary Lehman who championed this bill and to their staff Dannielle Glaros and Matt Dernoga who crafted the language and shepherded the process. Thanks too to all groups who signed on to the testimony.

Pepco Plans to Replace Trees By Next Month

This tree in north College Park was removed by Pepco's post-storm tree pruning work

Recently PEPCO contractors performed utility line clearance tree pruning and/or tree removal in our neighborhood. A tree near our home, in the public right-of-way was removed during the course of the electric line clearance work. The State of Maryland has a Road side tree law that requires trees to be replaced when they are removed near a road.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources permits road side tree removals and issued PEPCO a permit to perform the tree removal, and required replacement trees are provided in conjunction with this line clearance work.

The replacement tree, approved by PEPCO, will be a suitable variety to be planted under or near the overhead electric lines. The new tree will mature to a smaller height than the previous tree that was removed, and should not interfere with the power lines in the future.

This tree replacement program is termed the right-tree in the right-place and is endorsed by the National Arbor Day Foundation. As part of PEPCO’s certification as a Tree Line USA utility company they are required to provide educational information to the public related to proper tree selection and planting locations for trees growing near overhead power lines.

PEPCO has contracted with Ashton Environmental to furnish and install replacement trees in College Park. The new tree should be planted before the end of 2012. Residents may notice a marking along the road frontage, prior to the tree planting, to indicate where the new tree will be planted.

Installation should occur before the end of 2012. A letter will be sent to the locations where the trees are scheduled to be planted to let the resident know a replacement tree will be planted this year. Here you can find the locations where the trees will be planted.

NCP Crime Stats, November 11-18, 2012

Please see below last week’s crime stats. The 11/11 assault incident on Route 1 involved a drunken person pushing another. An arrest was made. Police said they will provide more information later.

Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
11/11/2012 1323 ASSAULT (Arrest) 10200 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
11/12/2012 903 THEFT FROM AUTO 4700 Blk BLACKFOOT RD
11/13/2012 1159 THEFT 9100 Blk 51ST PL
11/14/2012 1057 THEFT FROM AUTO 9000 Blk 49TH AVE
11/17/2012 1017 THEFT FROM AUTO 9700 Blk 51ST AVE
11/17/2012 2131 THEFT FROM AUTO 9500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE

Pepco Launches New Streetlight Reporting System

Pepco Street Outage Reporting

Pepco has launched a new upgraded streetlight reporting system for its customers. The new streamlined reporting system improves the ability of customers to use pole numbers and addresses to submit streetlight outages via the Internet. With the click of a mouse, customers can access maps depicting streetlight locations using the “Bing” mapping engine that is easy to read and use.

Here is the link to report a street light outage.

Once a streetlight problem is reported, the new reporting system sends the customer an email with a tracking number, location and pole number. When a streetlight is submitted for repair, the respective icon on the map will appear red; once the light has been repaired, its respective icon will turn green. In most cases the streetlight will be repaired within 15 days. An email confirmation will be sent to the customer when the service request has been completed.

“This new streetlight reporting system provides customers with consistent feedback when an outage is reported and when it is restored,” said Thomas H. Graham, president, Pepco Region. “This system allows Pepco to record comprehensive outage data for streetlights and outage reports and should eliminate the data problems that result in extended streetlight outages.”

Access to the new reporting system is displayed on the home page of pepco.com under Alerts and Outage Information.
For more information and updates, visit www.pepco.com, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect and download our mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.

Today: Community Health Fair, Family Resource Day

Family resource day

You may be interested in two important events happening today.

First, the Community Health Fair will take place from 10am – 2pm at the Beltsville Community Center, at 3900 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705. You are invited to bring the entire family to this Renew, Revive, and Restore Fair. There will be health care providers performing medical screenings free of charge. Flu shots will be given for $20 or for free with a Medicare card. University of Maryland Public Health students will share information on a wide variety of health problems. Door prizes will be drawn hourly and fun activities are planned for the kids. For more information call or email: 301-937-6613.

Later in the afternoon, the Embry Center for Family Life is hosting a Family Resource Day from 2pm to 6pm at the College Park Community Center, located at 5051 Pierce Avenue, College Park, MD 20740. Agency representatives will advise people who need help in these tough times. Learn about eligibility requirements for:

Temporary Cash Assistance,
Food Supplement Program,
Medical Assistance,
Emergency Assistance,
Child Care Subsidy,
Assistance for Addictions,
Youth Programs and
Job Assistance for Ex Offenders.

All are welcome to participate in these free events.

Former JPI Property on Route 1 Finally Sold

Former JPI Development on Route 1

The former JPI Property on Route 1 (located at 9091 Baltimore Avenue) is finally Sold. The property has been left vacant for some time.

On August 31, 2012, Metropolitan Development Group at College Park LLC, an entity of Vienna-based Metropolitan Development Group, purchased the 4.22-acre property at 9091 Baltimore Avenue for $2,075,000, or $11.29 per square foot. The seller in the transaction was Beverly Katz. The entire property is zoned as Mixed-Use-Infill and includes a 3,360 SF vacant building.

The property retains an existing Detailed Site Plan that was approved in May 2007 for 160 units and 41,000 SF of retail. However, the developer is not expected to construct the approved plan and is considering options including townhouses and multifamily apartments with a reduced retail program.

The new owner is working with the City to demolish the vacant building through the Community Legacy grant the City received in early 2012 for strategic demolition along Route 1.

More information on Metropolitan Development Group can be found on their website.

Across the street from 9091 Baltimore Avenue, these properties are currently under contract with Washington, D.C.-based Monument Realty. Combined the properties are 3.78-acres and zoned as Mixed-Use-Infill. The properties also retain an existing Detailed Site Plan that was approved in February 2008 for 200 units and 25,000 SF of retail. While the developer is expected to utilize the approved DSP, it is likely they will request a reduction in the amount of retail space.

More information on Monument Realty can be found on their website.

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