New Changes Coming to November 2019 Election

This year, a couple of changes have been made in order to make the elections more accessible to all College Park voters.

Forst, two new polling locations have been added in addition to the Davis Hall, 9217 51st Avenue location. The new locations are
1. Ritchie Coliseum, 7675 Baltimore Avenue – Parking enforcement will be relaxed on Election Day in the area immediately surrounding Ritchie.
2. Stamp Student Union, 3972 Campus Drive – Follow the parking attendant’s directions to park for free in the Stamp Union Garage while voting. Free parking is limited and will be monitored

Please note that 4500 Knox Road site will be unavailable due to the impending City HAll development.

Also, if you are not able to make it to the Polls on Election Day, you now have the option of Early Voting (in person, one day): This is in-person voting available on Sunday, October 27 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the College Park Community Center, 5051 Pierce Avenue.

As usual, you can also vote by the following two options in certain circumstances:
• Absentee Vote (by mail, in advance): This is a vote-by-mail option available from early October through Election Day.
• Emergency Absentee Vote (in person, the week before Election Day): This option requires in-person application.

Check your calendar and make the voting plan that works best for you. The City Clerk’s office can provide more information about these voting options. The office can be reached at 240-487-3501

Council to Discuss SMART – to Reduce Trash and Encourage Recycling

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will discuss the SMART program (sometimes called Pay as You Throw [PAYT]), a program that City’s Committee of Better Environment (CBE recommended in order to reduce trash and increase recycling. CBE’s recommendation is available here on City’s website. The report describes a usage-based, revenue-neutral trash fee similar to metering for electricity, gas and water usage, for instance.  The proposed SMART program is similar to the one already in place in 10,000 communities across the nation and worldwide.

Typically, SMART communities produce 30 percent less trash than those like College Park, where trash costs are hidden in the property tax bill. CBE recommends residents use bags of different capacity based on the use of trash residents generate at their homes.

According to the recommendation, the City would require residents to buy specific brightly colored bags that carry its logo. The fee for the bag would include some of the cost of waste collection and disposal. A jurisdiction typically makes bags available in a variety of sizes from small 8-gallon kitchen bags to large 30-gallon bags, for example. Well-designed programs distribute bags through a variety of outlets where residents typically shop, which makes them easily accessible. The trash collector has to simply make sure that all bags are jurisdiction-specific bags and not pick up any that are not.

CBE recommends dropping the property tax by 2.5c per $100 of property value and reducing the annual landlord trash fee by $80. The drop in the City’s revenue of $325,000 would be compensated by a collection of bag fees and the decrease in the trash tipping fee due to the decrease in trash tonnage.

The workgroup also recommended a fee structure for all bulk-waste pickup at $10 per bulk pickup to would discourage abuse and decreasing the tax rate an additional $0.5 cents per $100 of assessed value to compensate for that additional charge. The workgroup also recommended that the city provide education to help people understand the benefits of the program and ways to reduce trash.

County to Study a Recreational Facility in North College Park

Recently we learned that the M-NCPPC has added a CIP budget item of $250,000 in its current budget (FY20) to do a feasibility study for the “North College Park Area Indoor Rec Facility” . Please see the screenshot of the budget item below.

Thanks to the advocacy of many north College Park residents, and in particular Councilman Tom Dernoga for making the request in this year’s budget. Interestingly, we were all told a few weeks before the budget was adopted that NCP community center item will not be adopted. We also didn’t find it in the draft budget.

City staff is going to talk to M-NCPPC staff in a few days to explore more about the study. We’re already several months into the FY budget cycle, so let’s hope that the money is carried over in the next year’s (FY21) budget. Please note that the M-NCPPC allocated $50,000 back in FY2013 to do a feasibility study but they didn’t do any study at that time.

College Park City Council has been asking the M-NCPPC to build a community center in north College Park for a couple of years now, but they have been pretty much ignoring them. M-NCPPC did add the feasibility study to build a community center in north College Park back in 2013 , but they did not do a study. Eventually, this item disappeared in the subsequent budgets. Prior to that, back in 2011, the M-NCPPC added a budget item to “design and construct” a community center in North College Park, unfortunately, it wasn’t funded and the item was taken out as well in the subsequent M-NCPPC budgets. As part of the Formula 2040 plan, M-NCPPC is planning to build big regional centers. They are proposing to build two big community centers in our area – Prince George’s Plaza Community Center and Fairland Sports and Aquatic Center This means smaller local community centers like the one they proposed in north College Park earlier may not happen in future.

Speaking of the FY21 budget, the M-NCPPC is going to hold a public forum next week at its Kenilworth Ave office to gather the public’s ideas/requests about the fiscal year 2021 budget. Here is the flyer where you can find more about the public forum here: http://www.kabircares.org/m-ncppc-budget-forum/. Please join the forum and speak in support of the north College Park Community Center there. We should be thanking the M-NCPPC for putting this in the current FY20 budget and ask them to continue funding it as it’s anticipated the study will not be completed in this fiscal year. The City Council will also discuss its own wish list and send a formal letter at the Oct 3rd worksession.

College Park Day 2019

Join your friends, neighbors and the entire The City of College Park, MD community at the 10th Annual College Park Day Festival on Saturday, October 5 at the College Park Aviation Museum and the Field of Firsts Foundation

This FREE event is fun for the whole family with live music, awesome kids zones, delicious food and drink, live performances, exhibitors and so much more! Plus free museum entry during the event!

1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr.
College Park, MD 20740

Free Parking will be available near the festival site!

Public Transportation:
Metro Green Line to the College Park-U of MD stop. Event is 3 blocks away.
Shuttle-UM (for UMD affiliates) #104 UMD shuttle from Stamp Student Union/lot HH to the College Park-U of MD metro stop.


More at http://CollegeParkDay.org

Tonight at NCPCA – North College Park Developments, Candidate Forum, Quality of Life and More

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Tonday is the second Thursday of the month and thus the day when the NCPCA will be having their monthly September meeting. Here are a few items they’ll discuss.

1. Update on North College Park developments – Terry Schum, Planning Director, will provide a short update on such projects as: the Gateway Park, Hollywood Streetscape including the walking trail, the dog park and Duvall Field.

2. Candidate Forum – in preparation for the November elections, a committee needs to be formed of 3 members whose will determine the forum’s format.

3. Quality of Life – An opportunity to bring up any issues of concern affecting your quality or to improve your quality of life.

4. City bond bill – Update from District 1 councilmembers. Mary Cook represented NCPCA at the Public Hearing reading the association’s letter into the record.

As usual, the meeting will take place at Davis HAll, at 7:30pm.

City to Celebrate College Park Poet Whittemore Today

Today, the City will be unveiling a commemorative marker honoring former U.S. Poet Laureate Reed Whittemore, who was a longtime Calvert Hills resident and professor. Whittemore served as the US Poet Laureate twice over, and accomplished many other literary benchmarks, such as serving as the literary editor at the New Republic magazine and founding the respected Yale literary quarterly Furioso. Whittemore was also a professor of English at the University of Maryland.

The marker will be unveiled on what would have been Whittemore’s 100th birthday. Please see the invite below.

M-NCPPC Budget Forum

The Prince George’s County Planning Board of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has scheduled two public forums this fall to solicit comments on the Commission’s budget for planning, parks, and recreation in Prince George’s County for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2020.

The public forums will be held from 7-9 p.m. on:

Monday, September 16, 2019
Department of Parks and Recreation Administration Building, Auditorium
6600 Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale, Maryland

Monday, October 7, 2019
Harmony Hall Regional Center, John Addison Concert Hall
10701 Livingston Road, Fort Washington, Maryland

Individuals and representatives of community organizations who wish to speak at the public forums may register in advance online at www.pgplanningboard.org, click “Testify at a Hearing” or by calling 301-780-2898. Please see the attached flyer for additional details.

Final Vote on $19 million Borrowing for City Hall and Duvall Field Redevelopment Projects

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will consider a resolution authorizing and empowering the City to issue and sell a series of its general obligation bonds in the original aggregate principal amount not to exceed $19 million. The proceeds of the sale of bonds will be used for the public purpose of financing the new City Hall and Duvall Field renovations.

The bonds are expected to be sold through the solicitation of competitive bids at a public sale, currently scheduled for October 3, 2019.

Council already adopted an ordinance (Ordinance 19-O-11,) on August 13, 2019, authorizing to borrow up to $19 million through bond sale. Tomorrow’s resolution provides further detail of the bond issuance.

If the maximum $19 million of bonds were issued the City will be paying an interest of $1 million annually.

Martin Valencia: 1961 – 2019

Martin Valencia of Valencia’s Produce at the Hollywood Farmers Market passed away last Friday. Since Valencia became ill this produce vendor stopped coming to the market. It was a great loss for the market.

According to his obituary, Martin Valencia passed away on Friday, August 30, 2019 after a fierce battle with cancer. He will always be remembered for his love of and devotion to his family. He will also be remembered as having a wonderful work ethic. Martin was born in Santa Cruz, Mexico but for the past thirty years has made Montross, Virginia his home and raised his beloved family here.

Martin is survived by his parents, Juan and Carmela Valencia; his wife, Maria DeJesus Valencia; his sons: Jose A. Valencia (Luz), Juan F. Valencia (Faviola), Luis M. Valencia (Christina), and Johan A. Valencia; and his daughter Guadalupe Valencia (Devin) and five cherished grandchildren. He is also survived by his bothers: Ricardo Valencia (Guadalupe), Ignacio Valencia (Alicia), and Jose Valencia (Xiomara); and his sisters: Lucinda Valencia (Jesus) and Alicia Valencia (Ramiro).

Martin was a member of Saint Paul’s Catholic Church in Hague, Virginia. He was a farmer and the love he felt for his profession was evident in the abundance of fruits and vegetables he coaxed from the Earth. His dedication to his family was evident in all that he did. He will be profoundly missed.

In Pictures – Senior Garden Beautification

Thanks a lot to all volunteers who came yesterday for our Senior Garden beautification event at the Attick Towers. We had about 45 volunteers who spent about 3 hours to take out a ton of trash and beautify the garden. Special thanks to Arelis Perez for her hard work in coordinating the event with the Attick Towers residents and the management. The garden certainly now looks more beautiful and cleaner.

7 Businesses Nominated for 2019 the Best Business of the Year Award

On May 1st, the newly established College Park Business of the Year program began accepting nominations. Applications were accepted through August 31st, 2019 and the City received fourteen nominations for seven different businesses.

Staff has vetted all applications for eligibility and completeness according to the program guidelines, and a subcommittee of four City Councilmembers will be established to review the eligible nominations and recommend a winner to be voted on by the full City Council.

The schedule for this process is as follows:

  • In September, the subcommittee will meet to evaluate the nominations.
  • On October 1st, the subcommittee will present their recommendation to the Mayor and City Council.
  • On October 8th, the City Council will vote to approve the Business of the Year.
  • On October 22nd, Mayor and City Council will issue a Business of the Year proclamation and present the winning Business with their award.

At this wee’s meeting, the Council established a subcommittee with 4 Council members to review nominations and recommend a winner.

College Park Crime Map – August 2019

The College Park August 2019 crime map was generated from the PGPD crime data for the period of July 27 – August 30, 2019 (Beat 7), July 30 – September 2, 2019 (Beat 6) and August 1 – 23, 2019 (University of Maryland). Please note, the map now includes crime incidents reported by the University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD)

North College Park
July 27 thru August 3, 2019
9000 Blk Baltimore Ave        Theft from auto
4700 Blk Edgewood RD         Vandalism
9100 Blk Baltimore Ave        Theft from auto
5000 Blk Niagara RD              Stolen veh
10100 Blk 52ND Ave              Stolen Veh
5200 Blk Iroquois ST              Vandalism
9400 Blk Baltimore Ave        Theft from auto

August 13 thru August 16, 2019.
9500 Blk 48th Ave Theft
5000 Blk Paducah RD Theft from auto
9300 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft from auto
9100 Blk 51st PL Theft from auto
9500 Blk 50th PL Theft from auto
9500 Blk 50th PL Theft from auto

August 17 thru August 26, 2019.
5000 Blk Paducah RD Theft from auto
9300 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft
9100 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft
9500 Blk 49TH PL Theft from auto

August 26 thru August 30, 2019.
9300 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft,

Mid Town (Lakeland / Oldtown)
July 27 thru August 3, 2019
8200 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft

August 17 thru August 26, 2019.
8700 Blk Baltimore Ave  Theft from auto
8200  Blk Baltimore Ave

Bank Robbery at the 6300 blk of Greenbelt Rd

Theft from Auto at the 8400 blk of 48th Ave
Stolen Auto at the 5100 blk of College Ave

Theft from Auto at the 5000 blk of Quebec St
Stolen Scooter 2x at the 4300 blk of Hartwick Rd
Theft from Auto at the 4300 blk of Guilford Dr
Assault at the 6000 blk of Greenbelt Rd

Oldtown + Calvert Hill
Assault at the 4400 blk of Guilford Drive
Stolen/Recovered Scooter at the 4300 blk of Hartwick Rd
Stolen Scooter at the 4300 blk of Hartwick Rd

Stolen Scooter at the 4300 blk of Hartwick Rd
Stolen Scooter at the 4300 blk of Hartwick Rd
Stolen Auto at the 4400 blk of Hartwick Rd
Stolen Scooter at the 7300 blk of Baltimore Ave

Stolen Auto at the 5100 blk of College Ave (RPM Towing)

Vandalism to Auto at College Ave & Dickinson Ave
Theft from Auto at Dickinson Ave & Norwich Rd

West College Park

UMD Campus
08/01/19               4000 block of Union Dr             Theft
08/01/19               8127 Regents Dr  Theft
08/01/19               7500 block of Calvert Service Ln       Theft
08/08/19               4642 Norwich Rd Theft from Auto
08/11/19               7600 block of Library Ln     Vandalism
08/12/19               Lot 1b     Theft from Auto
08/12/19               Lot N4    Theft
08/08/19               7400 block of Preinkert Dr Burglary
08/14/19               8115 Baltimore Ave            Vandalism
08/14/19               3942 Campus Dr  Theft
08/16/19               3800 Golf Course Rd           Vandalism
08/18/19               7743 Baltimore Ave            Damage to Property
08/21/19               7751 Alumni Dr    Property Damage/Loss
08/21/19               7527 Calvert Service Ln      Theft
08/22/19               4000 Stadium Dr  Theft
08/24/19               4052 Stadium Dr  Vandalism
08/25/19               4065 Campus Dr  Vandalism
08/25/19               3900 block of Denton Service Ln      Rape
08/25/19               7567 Preinkert Dr Theft
08/26/19               4128 Valley Dr      Theft
08/27/19               4200 block of Stadium Dr  Theft
08/22/19               4402 Lehigh Rd    Theft
08/28/19               7901 Regents Dr  Theft
08/21/19               Lot U1    Theft

Council Mulls Curbing Unruly Social Gatherings in the City

Prince George’s Police Department

At last night’s meeting, the Council reviewed an ordinance amending Chapter 141, Nuisances, that prohibits unruly social gatherings as a nuisance.

According to the proposed ordinance, an unruly social gathering will constitute a party, event, or assemblage of four or more persons at a residence or other private property where:
A. Alcoholic beverages are being furnished to, consumed by, Or in possession of any underage person in violation of state law; or
B. Behavior or conduct is occurring that results in a substantial disturbance of the peace and quiet enjoyment of private or public property, which may include the following:
(1) Excessive noise is prohibited in chapter 138 of the code;
(2) Excessive traffic that is significantly above and beyond the normal amount of Pedestrian or vehicle traffic for the day, date, and time Of day for the neighborhood;
(3) Use of a controlled substance by any person at the Gathering;
(4) Obstruction of public streets or the presence of unruly Crowds that have spilled onto public streets;
(5) Public drunkenness or unlawful consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages;
(6) Assaults, batteries, fights, or other disturbances of the peace;
(7) Vandalism of public or private property;
(8) Public urination or defecation;
(9) Littering; or
(10) Other conduct which constitutes a threat to the public Safety, quiet enjoyment of residential or other private property, or the general welfare.

The proposed changes to Chapter 141 are similar to ordinances adopted by Baltimore County, MD and the City of Kent, Ohio, which were previously reviewed and discussed by Mayor, Council and staff. According to news articles, the Baltimore County ordinance has significantly reduced the number of unruly gatherings since it was first established a few years ago.

The unruly social gathering is prohibited as a nuisance. A violation is subject to a municipal infraction and fine, with a warning given on first offense to property owners. In addition, if there are three such violations in a 24-month period, the Public Services Director may schedule a hearing before the City’s Advisory Planning Commission for suspension or revocation of the City occupancy permit issued to a property. This is similar to the authority granted to the Director for Noise Code violations.

The ordinance is scheduled t be introduced next week.

Starting Today, City Council Meetings to be Held at Davis Hall

Davis Hall

Ending the summer schedule, the City Council will now start meeting on its regular schedule.

Starting today, we’ll start meeting at Davis Hall, due to the proposed development at the current City Hall location.

The Davis Hall’s main meeting room has been upgraded with audio-visual equipment. This will enable the City to live broadcast and tape the Council meetings.

We expect to have the meetings for about two years until the construction of the new City Hall is completed.

I hope to see many of you attending this and future Council meetings.

Fatal Accident on Route 1 near Fox Street

Unfortunately, a fatal accident occurred on Rt. 1 and Fox last evening around 7:45 pm. A motorcycle heading northbound at a high rate of speed ran the light at Fox and T-boned a vehicle exiting the neighborhood onto Rt. 1. The motorcyclist suffered fatal injuries (someone reported that the motorcyclist did not survive in the end).

The accident was very active and traffic on Rt. 1 is backed up for about 2 hours. Many cars could be seen going through neighborhood streets to avoid clogged Route 1.

There are quite a few single-family homes near Route 1 in North College Park, that experience this very loud noise by the high speeding motorcycles on Route 1. Residents raised concerns to in the past about the loud noise, disturbing the peace in the neighborhood. I’ve asked police to enforce speeding and loud noise.

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