In College Park, Beltway Expansion Can Cause Loss of Properties & Green Space, Kill a Playground, and Increase Noise & Traffic

The MDOT has recently published a map  showing the areas in College Park  neighborhoods that will most likely be impacted by their proposed I-495 / I-270 expansion plan. In all of the alternatives, I found the following issues should concern us all.

  • Loss of residential properties / property value: 18 homes on Niagara Rd and Odessa Road will lose part of their backyards. For neighbors on Ontario Road, the beltway will come right next to the street, potentially causing a significant loss of property values.
  • The completely wooded Polish Club property on Edgewood Road has been designated within the “Limit of Disturbances”

    Loss of trees and green space: The green boundary in the map shows the “Limit of Disturbances”, indicating the areas which will most likely be used as a staging area during construction. The areas include (a) the SHA owned wooded area, and (b) more importantly, a very large parcel north of Edgewood Road (called Polish Club) property and (c) also a large City – Owned parcel at the end of Odessa Road in Sunnyside. It’s unclear whether the MDOT will acquire the Polish Club or Odessa Rd properties using eminent domain or lease them from the property owners. Regardless of the way the arrangement,  the use of these properties for construction purposes mean loss of many trees in these parcels.

  • The dotted red line showing 66dB noise contour line

    Increased Noise and Pollution: The beltway noise and pollution impact boundary line will go deeper into the neighborhood. The red dotted line shows the 66 decibel noise line. The neighbors living closer to the beltway will be experiencing noise with a higher decibel level.

  • Construction delay or even loss of the proposed Sunnyside playground: The City has worked with the residents of the Sunnyside neighborhood (north of Beltway) over the past two years to build a playground on the City-owned property, at the end of Odessa Road. The City Council has allocated funds in the FY20 budget to build the park and we’ were expecting to start construction in a few months A large section of the playground has been proposed to be under the “Limit of Disturbance” area, meaning either delay or total loss of the project, depending on whether the area is leased or acquired through the eminent domain.
  • Increased traffic on Route 1: With 4 lanes added to the beltway, we can expect more volume of traffic over the time, at all beltway exit roads , such as Connecticut Ave, Georgia Ave, New Hampshire ave, including Route 1 in College Park.Unfortunately , the Route 1 at the beltway intersection is already dysfunctional as motorists need to wait several traffic cycles at exit 25 on the ramp. Things can only get worse with increased volume on an expanded beltway.An increased traffic on Route 1 will also go against City’s long standing efforts to reduce traffic on Route 1 by exploring alternative modes of transportation, such as through the complete street project, and building more student housing close to the campus.

The College Park City Council discussed some of the impacts at this past Tuesday’s meeting. We plan to approve a letter to the Board of Public Works (BPW) at next Tuesday’s meeting. The BPW is set to meet and vote next month, most likely on June 5.

Please send your comments / concerns here. Also, please consider joining the resident advocacy group Cabe495 here. There’s also a petition going to the 3 members of the State Board of Public Works, which is scheduled to vote on Beltway expansion soon.


Today: Community Conversation with Tom Dernoga


Night Out in College Park – This Friday

FRIDAY, MAY 10, 6:00 TO 9:00 P.M.
Spend the Evening at a Local Restaurant
Bring this flyer into the College Park Grill (8321 Baltimore Ave) during the event time frame to get happy hour pricing on select dishes.

Xtreme Teens Drop-In
Bring your preteen(s) and teen(s) to the College Park Community Center to have fun while you’re out!
Youth aged 10 to 18 are encouraged to attend Xtreme Teens on this and every Friday from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. with preteens (10 – 12 y.o.) welcome for the first hour only.

Questions: Call 301.441.2647
Sponsored by the City Recreation Board
[City of College Park]


College Park PGPD Crime Map: April 2019

The College Park April 2019 PGPD crime map was generated from the PGPD crime data for the period of April 1 – May 4, 2019 (Beat 7) and April  2 – April 29, 2019 (Beat 6). The interactive map can be seen here. Here is the summary of crime incidents by major neighborhoods. The numbers in parentheses represent the number of crime incidents per 1000 housing units in the corresponding neighborhoods.

North College Park 16 (4.3)
Mid Town (Berwyn / Lakeland) 3 (1.3)
Old town/Calvert Hills 13 (6.1)
Yarrow and Estate 0 (0)
West College Park 1 (1.5)

Additional crime incidents inside the UMD campus and the surrounding areas can be found here on the UMPD website: http://bit.ly/2OKqgNQ

North College Park (16)

April 7 thru April 13, 2019.
4700 Blk Caddo ST Theft from auto
9800 Blk Rhode Island Ave Theft
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft
4700 Blk Cherry Hill Rd Theft from auto
10100 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft from auto
April 14 thru April 20, 2019.
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft
4700 Blk Blackfoot RD Theft from auto
10000 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft
9100 Blk Baltimore Ave Vandalism
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RD Vandalism
April 21 thru April 27, 2019.
4800 Blk Erie ST Vandalism
April 28 thru May 4, 2019.
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RD Vandalism
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft
9700 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft
9900 Blk Rhode Island Ave Commercial Armed Robbery.

Mid Town ( Berwyn and Lakeland) (3)

April 21 thru April 27, 2019
8300 Blk Baltimore Ave Citizen Robbery
8200 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft
April 28 thru May 4, 2019.
8100 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft

Old Town / Calvert Hill (13)

4500 blk of Knox Rd Vandalism to Auto
Hartwick Rd & Princeton Ave Citizen Robbery
4800 blk of Harvard Rd Stolen Auto
6800 blk of Baltimore Ave Stolen Scooter
4600 blk of Harvard Rd Recovered Stolen Scooter
Knox Rd & Baltimore Ave Vandalism to Auto
4300 blk of Hartwick Rd Stolen Scooter
4300 blk of Hartwick Rd Stolen Scooter
4800 blk of College Ave Stolen Auto
7400 blk of Columbia Ave Vandalism to Auto
7500 blk of Rhode Island Ave Stolen Scooter
4700 blk of Harvard Rd Stolen Scooter
5100 blk of College Ave Stolen Auto

West College Park (1)

April 1 thru April 6, 2019.
9100 Blk Saint Andrews PL Theft

Proposed Branchville Storage Facility Asks for a Taller Building

At this week’s meeting, the City Council will discuss the Detailed Site Plan (DSP) of the proposed self-storage facility (EZ Storage) at 5151 Branchville Road.

Back in November, 2016, County’s Planning Board approved the DSP with conditions to allow the razing of three existing buildings and associated parking for the purpose of redeveloping the site with a 3-story building and parking. The City Council also supported the DSP.

The Applicant has since needed to revise the plan due to floodplain impacts.

Plan changes include:
(a) reducing the building footprint from 38,790 square feet to 24,438 square feet,
(b) increasing the height from 3-stories to 5-stories, increasing the number of storage units from 850 to 950 units, (c) eliminating a resident manager facility and reducing the office space by 200 square feet.
(d) a departure to reduce the number of parking spaces from the required 23 spaces to 12 spaces and
(e) a departure to reduce the size of the required 5 loading spaces from 12-foot wide by 45-feet long to 10-foot wide by 20-foot long. Staff recommends approval of the proposed changes due to the need to accommodate flood plain regulations and the anticipated minimal impact of the changes to the community.

The Planning Board hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, 2019


In Pictures – Hollywood Farmers Market 2019 Grand Opening


Jack Perry Award Nominations are Now Open

John “Jack” Perry

In February 2013, the College Park City Council established an award in recognition of Councilman John Edward “Jack” Perry. Councilman Perry served on the College Park City Council from 1979 to 1983 and from 1989 to 2011, for a total of 26 years.

From the time he moved to College Park’s Berwyn neighborhood in 1969, until his death in 2012, Jack was deeply committed to serving his community, which he demonstrated by spending many hours working to improve the quality of life for all who lived and worked in College Park. Through the years, he volunteered on numerous associations, boards, coalitions, task forces and committees at the neighborhood, city, county and state levels. This Award will recognize a member of the community who emulates Councilman Jack Perry’s legacy of public service.

Eligibility: To be eligible for the award, a person must be at least 18 years of age and a registered voter or legal resident of College Park. Criteria: The Jack Perry award will recognize a College Park resident who has participated to an extraordinary degree in neighborhood, civic, or municipal affairs within the City in a manner that improves public spaces, fosters community cohesion, eradicates blight, informs discussion of public issues, provides leadership, and/or furthers the best interests of the City as a whole.

Nominations: From May 15 to July 15 each year, any resident, neighborhood association or organization in the City may submit a nomination for the Jack Perry Award. Nominations may be submitted in writing to: City of College Park, City Clerk, 4500 Knox Road, College Park, MD, 20740, or by e-mail to jsmiller@collegeparkmd.gov.

All nominations will be reviewed by a Committee that includes a member of the Perry family. This non-monetary award will be presented by the City Council in the Fall.

[City of College Park]


Hollywood Farmers Market Starts this Saturday

This Saturday is the first day for the Hollywood Farmers Market in College Park ! The market has a few new vendors lined up and most of the vendors from the past few years will return as well.  Additionally, there’s a new food vendor starting and also the University of Maryland will be selling ice cream. We hope to see many of you at the market this Saturday (9 am – 1 pm), at the MoM’s Shopping plaza.


Public Meetings: Duvall Field Vision & Planning Project

Monday, May 13, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Davis Hall Tuesday,

May 14, 7:30 p.m.
City Council Regular Meeting at City Hall

The community input received as a result of outreach efforts last winter has been translated by the City’s consultant, Greenplay, LLC, into a conceptual plan with new facilities and amenities.

You are invited to attend a presentation of the proposed plan at one of the meetings listed above. Your feedback is encouraged and will help the City Council to determine which improvements to move forward with.

Please check the project page on the City’s website for updates at www.collegeparkmd.gov/duvallfieldproject.


Police Community Meeting – This Thursday, May 2 @ 7 pm, @ MoM’s


Despite Reduced College Park’s Tax Rate, Your Tax Bill May Still Go Up. Homestead Tax Credit Will Help

In case you haven’t applied for the Homestead tax credit application, please do so before the May 1st deadline. This is required if you want to start getting the credit beginning the 2019-2020 tax year. You’ll only need to apply once.

The Homestead Tax Credit law limits the amount of assessment increase on which eligible resident homeowners actually pay county, municipal, and State property taxes each year. This credit can significantly lower your real estate taxes regardless of your property’s value or your income level. If the property is used as your principal residence, you are strongly encouraged
to complete this application.

Residents can only apply for their one principal residence. The application needs to be made only once. The Homestead Tax Credit Eligibility Application is needed to ensure that homeowners receive the Homestead credit only on their principal residence. You can find more about the Tax credit program here.

In order to submit a Homestead Tax Credit Eligibility Application through the SDAT site, you must have been issued from this Department an application containing your Real Property Account Number and an Access Number. You will be required to enter the account and access numbers as part of the submission process.

You can find out if you have already filed an application by looking up your property in the SDAT Real Property database

Based on the tax rates we have for different jurisdictions, I’ve tried to calculate how your tax bill (on your $300,000 home) may look like in the next 2019/2020 tax year, with and without homestead tax credit. Please see the explanation on changes in the right column called “note”. I’ve used this worksheet  for the calculation.

2018/2019 Tax Bill (No Homestead Tax Credit)
Jurisdiction Tax Rate Amounts
P.G. County 0.925 $2775.00
City of College Park 0.335 $1005.00
Park and Planning 0.294 $882.00
State of Maryland 0.112 $336.00
Stormwater/Flood Control 0.054 $162.00
P.G.- Supplemental Education 0.040 $120.00
Transit Commission 0.026 $78.00
Solid Waste Service Charge $34.42
Clean Water Act Fee $41.48
Total      $5392.42


2019/2020 Tax Bill (Without Homestead Tax Credit)
(property value = $360,000, due to increased assessment)
Jurisdiction Tax Rate Amounts Note
P.G. County 0.925 $3330.00 County is proposing not to change its tax rate next year
City of College Park 0.325 $1170.00 College Park’s tax rate will go down by 1 cent next year
Park and Planning 0.294 $1058.40
State of Maryland 0.112 $403.20
Stormwater/Flood Control 0.054 $194.40
P.G.- Supplemental Education 0.040 $144.00
Transit Commission 0.026 $93.60
Solid Waste Service Charge $34.42
Clean Water Act Fee $41.48
Total    $6,469.50


2019/2020 Tax Bill (With Homestead Tax Credit)
(property value = $360,000, due to increased assessment)
Jurisdiction Tax Rate Amounts Note
P.G. County 0.925 $2830.50 County’s cap on property assessment is 2%. This means, with the homestead tax credit,
you’ll be paying tax on only 2% of the increased assessment, not on 20% increased value
($360,000 over $300,000)
City of College Park 0.325 $975.00 College Park’s cap on property assessment is 0%. This means, with the homestead tax credit,
you’ll still be paying tax on last year’s assessed property value ($300,000),
plus at the reduced tax rate.  Your College Park portion of your tax bill go down from $1005 to $975
Park and Planning 0.294 $1058.40
State of Maryland 0.112 $403.20
Stormwater/Flood Control 0.054 $194.40
P.G.- Supplemental Education 0.040 $144.00
Transit Commission 0.026 $93.60
Solid Waste Service Charge $34.42
Clean Water Act Fee $41.48
Total    $5,775.50

[Photo credit: Depositphotos]


Remembering Jim Kowmas

Jim Kowmas, dedicated City of College Park Youth, Family and Senior Services and the Lakeland STARs bus driver, passed away in his sleep early morning Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Jim was 70 years old.

During his five-year tenure with the City, Jim was always dependable and dedicated to doing everything he could for our City seniors.

Jim leaves behind 5 daughters and 13 grandchildren. The family is grateful that they had all gathered the day before Jim’s passing to celebrate their long-awaited family reunion, where they all had a wonderful time.

His family is hoping to have an event celebrating Jim’s life this summer; the date is yet to be decided.

The City sends our deepest condolences to his family. Jim will be greatly missed.
[City of College Park]


City Celebrates Arbor Day 2019

The City of College Park celebrated Arbor Day last week at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Old Town. With the help of residents and the College Park Nursery School, the City planted an American Linden tree and performed poems and a song to celebrate the occasion. The City also received its 2018 Tree City USA Award for the 30th consecutive year.
Thank you to all who attended and celebrated all things trees with us! Check out the video we made of the event, by clicking here.
[Source: City of College Park]

Discounted Compost and Mulch Madness!

Discounted Compost in College Park
Between now and the end of April, College Park residents can pick up compost at Davis Hall from Monday through Friday between 7:30 and 11:45 am or between 1 and 3 pm at a 25% discount rate of $21 per cubic yard!

Mulch Madness!
Saturday, April 27, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility, 6550 SE Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro
The highly anticipated Mulch Madness event is back and celebrating twenty years on April 27th! Mulch Madness is a FREE event open to County residents only. Learn to reduce water usage, prevent soil erosion, and reduce the use of herbicides.


This Saturday: Maryland Day, Yard Sale, and School BBQ

This Saturday, celebrate Maryland Day, a day of learning, fun and discovery. You’re invited to bring the whole family and enjoy hundreds of fun-filled activities, demonstrations, exhibits, performances and other events demonstrating the impact and value of our world-class university.

Maryland Day 2019, Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free admission and parking. https://marylandday.umd.edu/

Al-Huda School Community BBQ
Also, this Saturday, from 2pm – 4pm join the Al-Huda school community at their school. The school community will be excited to have you come chat and chill and have some good tasty Burgers, BBQ Chicken, Hotdogs, and some good snacks! meet and greet others!

When: 2 pm – 4 pm

Where: Al Huda School, 5301 Edgewood RD


College Park United Methodist Yard Sale: 
Before you head over to Maryland Day or when you’ve gotten tuckered out from yard work, swing by College Park United Methodist to get some good finds. This will be a sale like no other! Don’t miss clothes, furniture, crafting items, books, and more!

When: 9 am – 1 pm

Where: College Park United Methodist Church




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