City Offers Help in Faster Fingerprinting of Suspects

LiveScan Fingerprinting

Changes to state law effective January 1, 2013 allow police officers to issue citations in lieu of arrest for certain offenses that previously required full arrest and processing at the station. However officers are still required to take offenders to District 1 or Upper Marlboro for fingerprinting and pictures.

In meetings with both UMD Police and PGPD, the idea of being able to do this in or near College Park was brought up as an excellent way to eliminate lost patrol time for officers.

Special equipment is available to expedite fingerprint processing. A digital fingerprint processing system, called LiveScan is recommended by Police. The LiveScan system will enable police to process arrestees in a more efficient manner. It will enable officers to return to patrol activities much faster.

The LiveScan system will cost about $25,000. city intends to use the unspent funds in last season’s snow and ice control budget. The funds will be used to reimburse the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety for the purchase of this equipment, which will be hosted at their police station. The equipment will be available for use by our City Contact Police and other police agencies.

2013 Spring Cleanup – April Saturdays at Davis Hall

Davis Hall

The City of College Park Public Works Department (9217 51st Avenue) will be open Saturdays in April from 7:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m, for City residents to drop off bulky trash, electronics for recycling, and yard waste.

This year, Public Works will be accepting #6 expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam for recycling!! Number 6 expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam®, cannot be contaminated with tape, stickers, food, or other impurities. Additionally, they can only accept molded foam such as blocks used in packaging – no food or beverage containers or packing peanuts. EPS foam will only be accepted during our Saturday cleanup days in April.

Electronic appliances that may be recycled include, but are not limited to: TVs, computers, monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, VCRs, CD, DVD & MP3 players, cell phones & PDAs, printers, scanners, fax machines, telephones, radios, stereos, electric tools, game systems, and handheld games. City of College Park residents may also call or email Public Works to schedule a special electronics recycling pickup appointment (240-487-3590; publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov).

Hazardous materials will not be accepted (shingles, propane tanks, paint, etc.). Air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers may incur a disposal fee; tires will incur a disposal fee of $4.00 each. The clean up days on April 6, 13, 20, and 27 are available for City of College Park residents only; you must show proof of residency in the City of College Park to participate.

SMARTLEAF® compost and wood mulch will also be available for sale – residency is NOT required.

Public Works will also be working with Community Forklift and American Rescue Workers again this year to divert items from the landfill that are still in good condition. All donations are tax deductable. Clean out your homes, garages, and sheds, and bring the items you no longer use or need and donate them for reuse. The following types of items will be collected separately so they may be reused:

Building, remodeling, and gardening materials – any surplus or salvaged (in GOOD condition) items from your latest home or garden improvement job, including but not limited to: bricks and pavers, plumbing and light fixtures, tiles and flooring material, cabinets, doors, gardening supplies, and tools.

These items will be donated to Community Forklift.
Clothing and household items – cookware, dishes, books, linens, games, toys, clothes, shoes, and
intact furniture items (NO upholstered furniture or mattresses).

Budget Town Hall Meeting, April 29, 2013

Budget Town Hall meeting, April 29, 2013

We are gearing up to discuss and approve next year’s budget. I just received the draft FY2014 budget last night. I will write a number of posts about the new budget in the next few weeks.

A number of my colleagues on the Council and I will be hosting  a budget town Hall next month on April 29, Monday at 7pm at Davis Hall.

Come and hear an overview of the proposed FY 2014 budget, discuss proposed changes, ask questions and offer feedback!

Please mark your calendar.

Spring Reading Time at College Park Community Library

Story time at College Park Community Library

The College Park Community Library has several activities planned to celebrate Spring Break:

April 3 – Morning story time will feature another “Read for Health” book & activity

Featured book: I Will Not Ever Eat a Tomato 10:30 to 11:30

A food tasting will be included, so please let them know (email: colparklib@gmail.com) if your are coming & if your child as any food allergies, so that they can make sure they have the most appropriate snacks for the group.

College Park Community Library is located at the Church of the Nazarene, 9704 Rhode Island Avenue, College Park, MD 20740

Council Opposes Speed Camera Bill

A speed camera near Duval Field

In last night’s Council meeting, the City Council  approved a motion opposing State Bill that seeks changes how a municipality would operated speed cameras in its jurisdiction areas.

This bill (HB 929 – MOTOR VEHICLES – SPEED MONITORING SYSTEMS – LOCAL JURISDICTIONS) , currently under consideration by the Maryland House of Delegates, originally provided only that a “duly authorized officer” can monitor citations issued by speed cameras, but some amendments have been proposed to prohibit local jurisdictions from using speed camera vendors who receive payment based on the number of citations issued, and to require that the picture taken of the vehicle demonstrate the speed at which the vehicle is moving.

This would require College Park to significantly alter the equipment used in its speed camera program, which currently only uses the pictures to demonstrate which vehicle is traveling past the cameras when the speed measurement is taken, and uses a laser detection system to detect the speed.

It would also provide a potential windfall to the speed camera operators, because it would require the City to pay a set, level fee for use of the speed cameras, even as the number of speed camera citations has decreased heavily. Because the speed camera operators put in a certain amount of work for each citation issued, this would require the City to pay the operator a set amount even when the number of citations – and the work burden from the contractor – is less.

If these amendments are going forward, the Council will consider a position in opposition to the Bill. The Maryland Municipal League and Maryland Association of Counties have proposed some amendments that might take the place of these to require additional oversight over the program and ensure that calibration of the systems is done by an independent third party (which it currently is in College Park – the speed cameras are calibrated by the police).

Another amendment provides that, if a vendor oversees the speed camera program (as opposed to the local government) the vendor may not charge a per-citation fee. Other proposed amendments would require that the City issue warnings only for 15 days when posting a speed camera in an area not previously advertised and require that a speed camera technician (not just speed camera operator, which is currently required) by made available for a hearing when a person challenges the citation issued. MML and MACO find that these amendments are acceptable alternatives to those that were proposed.

Development Update: Best Western, Domain and Koons Ford

Best Western College Park

The latest developments in College Park include the pending completion of the 50-room Best Western and the mixed-use Domain at College Park, as well several other new projects in the planning phase.

Best Western Plus
8419 Baltimore Avenue
Status: Opening April 2013
The Best Western Plus, a 50-room hotel, is a project by Vasu, LLC on the former site of the College Park Motel. The Detailed Site Plan for this development was approved on July 9, 2007, but the motel structures were not demolished until October 2011. Construction is nearing completion and the hotel is now accepting reservations for nights beginning in mid-April. Initial rates range from $136 to $160 per night.

Koon’s Ford Redevelopment
8315 Baltimore Avenue
Status: Review of Detailed Site Plan

A Detailed Site Plan submittal was accepted by Park and Planning on January 9, 2013. The submittal shows plans for a 156-room Courtyard Marriott hotel, 24,530 square feet of ground floor retail, and a 293-space parking garage.

The DSP will be reviewed by the City’s Mayor and Council at the April 2nd worksession. Keane Enterprises is the developer for the former automotive dealer’s property.

Maryland Book Exchange (DSP-10028)
7501 Baltimore Avenue
Status: Approved Detailed Site Plan

After more than a year of working through the entitlement process, the redevelopment of the Maryland Book Exchange received final approval from the Prince George’s County District Council on November 13, 2012. The approval is a result of compromises with the City of College Park to reduce the height along Yale Avenue, among other items. This portion of the project, which faces lower density uses, will be three stories with a flat roof as opposed to the originally planned five stories. The project now consists of a six-story building on Route 1 that steps down along College Avenue.

In order to obtain a building permit, the applicant’s next major step is the submittal of construction drawings. Construction could begin as soon as mid-2013.

Purchased in November 2010, the property is 2.71 acres and is currently home to the Maryland Book Exchange. The new student housing development will add 287 units, with a maximum of 855 beds (originally proposed as 341 units and 1,010 beds). The ground floor will have 13,844 square feet of retail, including the relocated Maryland Book Exchange as the anchor.

This development will join The Enclave, Mazza Grandmarc, and The Varsity as the fourth privately built student housing project to open since 2010. Along with the University View I and II buildings, those three projects have brought 3,458 beds to the Route 1 Corridor since 2005. As of September 2012, the occupancy rate for these units was reported at 94% by the management teams.

Gymnasium Proposed at Hollywood Elementary School

Formula 2040

A new, 12,000-square foot gymnasium at Hollywood Elementary School has been proposed by Maryland Park’s and Planning Formula 2040 proposal. The purpose of this would be to open the gym up to community activities in the evenings and on weekends, with programmed activities by Park and Planning.

This proposal to construct the gym seems to be Park and Planning’s proposal for establishing a community center in North College Park, and although it may not be as good as a full community center, could really increase the availability of recreational activities in our neighborhood.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has drafted Formula 2040, which sets forward a plan for recreational facilities in the County over the next 27 years. This plan is the project of a number of public meetings and planning sessions over the past three years, which included an assessment of the County’s recreational needs.

The College Park City Council will hear a presentation on Formula 2040 at tomorrow’s Council meeting.

You can download the plan yourself here.

Once it is adopted, Formula 2040 will become part of the County’s General Plan, which is the plan for development in the County and is considered when any new development for the County is proposed. The main goals of Formula 2040 are:

  • Connectivity, or ensuring that all Prince George’s County residents are have access to quality parks, trails, recreational facilities, and programs
  • Health and Wellness, ensuring that all facilities and programs have wellness components that contribute to the physical and mental health of residents and the environmental health of the community, and
  • Economic Development, to ensure that investment in parkland and facilities is used to stimulate private sector investment.

To accomplish these goals, Formula 2040 proposes a significant expansion in recreational facilities and also proposes reinvesting and re-purposing existing facilities based on the community’s needs. These will be paid for by cost recovery, including charging residents for services when appropriate and exploring other avenues for revenue generation, such as increased use of concessions, land leases, advertising, sponsorship and grants, with a goal of recovering 35% of parks and recreation system operating costs from revenues generated by 2022.

Formula 2040 sets ambitious goals of 35 acres of parkland in the County for every 1,000 persons (requiring an additional 292 acres per year over 30 years), 1.5 sq. ft. of indoor recreation center and .5 sq. ft. of outdoor aquatic space for each person, requiring an additional 500,000 square feet of regional, multi-generational indoor space, and an increase of park trail from approximately 134 to 400 miles of hard and soft surface trails to meet the standard of .4 miles per 1,000 residents.

The plan aims to reduce the percentage of the adult population that is obese by 10% over the next 10 years. Many existing facilities will be re-purposed to meet the needs and demand, and the traditional focus on niche community centers will be changed to focus on larger, multi-generational facilities where entire families can go and each member of the family can participate in recreational activities tailored to their needs.

Formula 2040 also proposes developing 1 or 2 signature recreational facilities for the County, where people from around the County will travel to visit. Capital improvements will be based on a cost-benefit analysis, and all projects proposed for the County’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will be based on a feasibility study examining costs and benefits, and all projects in the CIP will be reviewed annually to determine priorities for investment.

Formula 2040 also proposes developing an Adequate Public Facilities test for all developments that includes recreational facilities, to ensure that every new development in the County comes with sufficient recreational facilities to address the needs of the population added by the development.

Formula 2040 also proposes significant expansions to two community centers in our area – Prince George’s Plaza Community Center and Fairland Sports and Aquatic Center.

Representatives from M-NCPPC will be at the next NCPCA meeting on April 11 at 7:30 at Davis Hall. There will be a public hearing on Formula 2040 on Tuesday, April 9 at 7 pm at the Council Hearing Room at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro, and the County Clerk is taking written comments until April 24 via mail at the County Administration Building (the address is at the above website).

NCP Crime Stats: March 17-23, 2013

Please see below last week’s crime report and let me know if you have any questions.

Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
03/17/2013 619 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
03/17/2013 1700 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
03/17/2013 2159 THEFT FROM AUTO 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
03/21/2013 245 THEFT FROM AUTO 4800 Blk BLACKFOOT RD
03/21/2013 1109 AUTO, STOLEN 9500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE

Police Finds High Number of Improperly Installed Child Car Seats

Car seat check

The Prince George’s County Police Department conducted a car seat check in Mount Rainier hosted by the Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Parents and guardians were invited to get their children’s car seats or boosters inspected for proper usage. Of those inspected, technicians discovered that 90 percent were incorrectly installed or had been recalled by the manufacturers.

Ensuring that children travel safely is a priority for the PGPD. Three more car seat checks are already scheduled. Several more will be added to this list. Please mark your calendars.

When: May 8, 2013
Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Where: Ourisman Chrysler Jeep Ram Dealership
2404 Crain Highway
Bowie, MD

When: May 11, 2013
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union
15201 Hall Road
Bowie, MD

When: June 1, 2013
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union
6985 Muirkirk Meadows Road
Beltsville, MD

All of the events are free and open to the public. All car seats must be installed upon arrival. Appointments are not necessary. Each car seat check takes about 30 minutes. If possible, please bring the manufacturer’s manuals for the vehicle and car seat.

College Park’s FY2014 Action Plan

Please See below the latest version of the City’s Action Plan for FY 2014. This includes the priority actions set by the Council for the next fiscal year.

There will be a public forum on April 9th at 7 pm at City Hall to get feedback on the actions proposed by the Council and any other City initiatives that residents would like to see. If you have ideas, you can testify on the 9th or submit them to the City Clerk, Janeen Miller, by e-mail at jsmiller@collegeparkmd.gov.

This action plan aligns with the Strategic Plan adopted by City Council August 10, 2010. As an annual road map for strategic plan implementation, this action plan intentionally focuses on a relatively manageable and strategic set of actions for approximately one fiscal year. Most of the steps included in this plan are assumed to have a finite scope (ideally within 1 year) and are strategically oriented towards change and improvement in College Park. Before the end of FY 2014, City Council and City Staff will develop an action plan for FY 2014.

It is understood that some activities in the FY 2014 action plan will be repeated in the plan for FY 2014 and beyond because they span multiple years and are considered ongoing. The steps in this action plan are in addition to ongoing daily operations and recurring annual activities in the City.

City Council and City Staff will annually review and update the action plan in conjunction with the annual budget development process. Action steps that may not be completed in one year will be reconsidered and, where decided, carried forward into to the next year.

Goal I: Consistent high quality and cost-effective public services that contribute to a safe and welcoming City for all.

1) Objective 1: Improve public safety and reduce crime by utilizing contract police officers, collaborating with other police agencies, and encouraging community participation.
a. Work with UMD to explore expansion of the concurrent jurisdiction area to additional areas in the City. b. NEW ITEM: consider expanding security cameras to additional streets. c. NEW ITEM: review and implement where applicable, recommendations and considerations related to public safety from the Neighborhood Stabilization and Quality of Life Workgroup (NSQLWG) and from the CPCUP Public Safety Workgroup.

2) Objective 2: Improve local schools that serve City of College Park residents through collaboration with strategic partners including the Prince George’s County Public Schools and the University of Maryland. a. NEW ITEM: Continue to work to find a permanent home for the College Park Academy and assess performance progress after one year of operation. b. NEW ITEM: Measure success through outcomes achieved as a result of school grants.

3) Objective 3: Expand recreational, social and cultural activities for city residents. a. NEW ITEM: explore options for funding the creation of a micro-grant program which would incentivize and support neighborhoods in organizing block parties.

4) Objective 4: Strengthen well-being of residents that seek assistance through youth, family and seniors program.
a. Expand public information about available senior programs and recreation activities to seniors in homes throughout the city.
FY 2014 Action Plan (Short Version) – MARCH 6, 2013 DRAFT
b. NEW ITEM: consider inviting outside resources to share information and resources with seniors in homes for women and men who need regular checking in (separate from Youth, Family, & Services). c. NEW ITEM: create a seniors “aging in place” ad hoc committee of the Council to explore options for the creation of an “aging in place” program in College Park to help seniors to remain in their homes.

5) Objective 5: Improve customer / constituent service to better serve College Park residents.
a. Provide ongoing staff training in resident relations / constituent services and customer service, including timely responses to phone calls. b. NEW ITEM: coordinate with the County Department of Planning, Inspections, and Enforcement to streamline the county and city permitting processes. c. NEW ITEM: analyze options for initiating online permitting services.

Read more »

Summer Event Interest Survey

Summer events

With summer just around the corner, many of our residents are making plans and looking for fun ways to spend their time outside work.

The City of College Park is considering establishing a series of summer events to enliven Downtown and is looking for community input.

Here are a few questions you might be interested in:

  • What kind of summer event would you be interested in attending?
  • Would you rather have one large event or several smaller events spread throughout the summer?
  • What month(s) would you most like to see events held?
  • How likely are you to come to an event held in downtown College Park?

Please take the survey below to help the City gauge interest in various summer events.

Here is the link to take the survey.

Water Restriction Continues..

It’s been over 24 hours now since a large water main, that runs under Chevy Chase Lake Drive, buckled, leaving thousands with limited clean water. The damage was so extensive, it even knocked out power and gas lines for dozens of apartments and homes.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) General Manager Jerry Johnson Tuesday called for the mandatory water restrictions, which could last up to a week.

Other utilities were also affected by the water main break. Natural gas and electric lines run alongside the water main. Employees from Washington Gas and PEPCO are at the site securing those lines so work on the water main can begin.

The mandatory water restrictions are necessary to allow the system to replenish while the pipe is repaired. Repairs could take days to complete, and northbound traffic on Connecticut Avenue will be affected for the duration.

Until repairs are complete, WSSC advises customers to:
• Use water only as necessary – i.e., shorter showers and turn off faucets after washing hands and while brushing teeth
• Limit flushing toilets (do not flush after every use)
• Put off washing clothes if possible
• Limit the use of dishwashers and wash only full loads

Please read more about teh water restriction  at WSSC’s website

Council to Discuss RRFBs to Improve Pedestrian Safety on Rhode Island Avenue

At tonight’s Council worksession, the City Council to Discuss Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) to improve pedestrian safety on Rhode Island Avenue in north College Park.

North College Park residents have long stated their desire to improve pedestrian safety and walkability along Rhode Island Ave., especially in areas near Duvall Field and Hollywood Elementary School, where neighborhood kids often have to cross this busy street.

Although cars are legally required to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks up and down Rhode Island Ave., they rarely do, and we’ve often heard of cars that even pull into the opposing traffic lane or into the bike lanes to go around other cars that are waiting for pedestrians or cyclists to cross.

We have long been seeking possible solutions to this issue, and after bringing the issue up to the County (since Rhode Island Ave. is a County road) and the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation refusing to make any improvements, we asked the County if the City could make improvements on its own. The County agreed to this as long as the City agree to take over any liability related to the projects.

Specifically, we worked with City Engineer Steve Halpern to investigate different options for pedestrian safety, and the one that appears to work best for mid-block crossings and crossing at uncontrolled intersections involves something called Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB’s). When a pedestrian wishes to cross the street, the pedestrian pushes a button, which triggers a rectangular, rapidly flashing light. This light is meant to grab the attention of drivers and draw attention to the fact that there is a pedestrian wishing to cross. A demonstration of this technology is available here www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBltx0Argag.

Studies have shown that these devices have an effectiveness rate of at least 80% – meaning that at least 80% of drivers stop when they see them. Currently, an RRFB is in use at Crescent Road in Greenbelt, and staff has also investigated RRFB’s in use in Gaithersburg and Rockville, and found that their vendor – Spot Devices, which produced the video above – seems more effective, and that Rockville and Gaithersburg have been consistently satisfied with their results.

A representative from Spot Devices presented the RRFB’s to the NCPCA at the January 2013 meeting, and the NCPCA unanimously endorsed using Spot’s RRFB’s on Rhode Island Ave. Council will consider granting a contract to Spot Devices to purchase and install RRFB’s at the crosswalks by Cherokee Street and Muskogee Street, for a total cost of $33,460.

These intersections were considered priorities due to the nearby locations of Duvall Field and Hollywood Elementary School. The purchase will be made with funds received through the City speed camera program. If the devices work successfully, the City can later consider installing them at other intersections as well.

Council to Discuss City’s Green Team Action Plan

Maryland sustainable certified

On March 13th, 2012 City Council passed a resolution to establish a “Green Team” with the charge ofleading the City in organizing and completing actions toward certification under the State of Maryland’s Sustainable Maryland Certified (SMC) Program.

Since August of2012 the Team has met once per month to discuss and complete the necessary requirements toward certification. The mandatory actions toward certification are the establishment of the Green Team and the creation of a 3 Year Action Plan. The Plan describes specific environmentally sustainable measures and effectively outlines a strategy towards completing actions that will allow the City to achieve certification within the SMC program. Two out of 6 priority actions are also required.

Action items within the Plan are assigned point values and are categorized among the following 8 sustainability issues: Community Action, Community Based Food Systems, Energy, Greenhouse Gas, Health and Wellness, Local Economy and Natural Resources.

New activities to be accomplished in future years including the following: building a Sustainable Maryland Resource Library within the planning office; implementing a community garden program; implementing a City/University Bikeshare program; creating a business recycling program; adopting a Maryland Smart Energy Community Policy; writing a Green Streets Grant; and implementing a Maryland Smart Energy Community Policy.

In tomorrow’s worksession, the Council will discuss the Green team’s action plan.

NCP Crime Stats: March 10-16, 2013

Please see below last week’s crime report.

The 9700 Blk 51st Pl. incident involved an armed robbery. Two unknown masked armed suspects forced entry through the rear basement door and demanded money before ordering the victim to face down on the ground. One suspect fired a round into a stereo system. The suspects then fled out the same entry route and no one was injured. It is unknown at this time if any items were taken. K9 Unit responded to conduct a track with negative results. During the track, an officer was injured with a possible broken wrist. CID and evidence responded and are investigating.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
03/10/2013 1917 THEFT 9600 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
03/11/2013 830 THEFT FROM AUTO BLACKFOOT RD/CADDO ST
03/11/2013 1855 THEFT FROM AUTO 4700 Blk CADDO ST
03/12/2013 2250 B & E, RESIDENTIAL 10100 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
03/13/2013 1327 THEFT 5000 Blk EDGEWOOD RD
03/13/2013 1357 THEFT 4900 Blk MUSKOGEE ST
03/13/2013 1745 THEFT FROM AUTO METZEROTT RD AT SB BALTIMORE AVE
03/15/2013 2307 ROBBERY, RESIDENTIAL 9700 Blk 51ST PL
03/16/2013 848 THEFT FROM AUTO 9800 Blk 47TH PL
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