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Month: November 2011 Page 1 of 3

NCP’s 7/11 Hit by Another Robbery – 5th in Recent Months

7/11 reward poster November 29

On this Monday, at approximately 3:30 am, suspects committed a robbery at the 7-Eleven located at 4921 Edgewood Road College Park MD.

This is 5th time the north College Park store was hit by robbery in recent months. The fourth arnmed robbery occured in last September

The Prince George’s County Police Department is working to identify the suspects shown in the surveillance photographs.

Anyone with information that may assist in this investigation is asked to call CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or CID-Robbery Unit at 301-772-4905 as soon as possible. Please refer to case number 11-332-0263. Whenever information is given to the Prince George’s County Crime Solvers Line, you do not have to leave your name.

A REWARD of up to $1000.00 is being offered for the tip that leads to the arrest and indictment of the suspects responsible for this robbery.

Four Corner Property Owner Questions Zoning Changes

Dry Cleaner at the Four Corner - the property has been down zoned as Open Space

The owner of a property at the four corner area (Rhode Island Ave, / Edgewood Road) is asking some questions about its recent zoning changes.

The parcel includes a dry cleaner and a grassy area behind it.

The property is owned by Randy Sahaban, who currently lives overseas. Randy’s son-in-law Sid Saab came to NCPCA’s November meeting and spoke about the zoning changes in the property.

Sid said on June 18, 2010, the M-NCPPC sent a letter to them informing that their property was zoned as Open Space.

The property had been zoned as commercial (C-S-C) before. He expressed surprise on singling out their property as a target for down zoning, whereas every other property around the four corner area remains as fully commercial zoned (C-S-C).

“It’s unconstitutional, the county cannot do this to us” – said Mr. Saab with frustration.

One NCPCA member asked if the zoning changes happened during the Route 1 sector plan revision process two years ago, when Tom Dernoga served as county council member.

“The more innocent explanation of (this changes) is that the County may have included the building property along with the grassy land and they marked the entire property as Open Space.” – said NCPCA president and former council member Mark Shroder.

Mr. Shroder however said “the less innocent explanation is probably turning the property into a Open Space and make this into a park eventually”.

Sid said under the new Open Space zoning, the options to use the property is limited; it can only be used as a barn, a contractor lot or the space must be left open. The property can only have the use it had before it was down zoned (a dry cleaner) for only six months.

NCPCA members supported a motion to up zone the property back to C-S-C, should the issue come before City council again.

Stop Signs Come to Rhode Island Ave. / Niagara Rd., But Are We Safer?

New stop signs at Rhode Island and Niagara Road

Since we first reported the safety situation at the new Rhode Island / Niagara intersection, our City and County officials have been working hard to address that. We would like to thank them for their excellent coordinated work, as they actually brought two stop signs at the intersection sooner than we expected (they said the sign would be installed by next Wednesday). A job well done!

One of the two signs is located at the service road ending at the Niagara Road and the other one is installed at the east end of Niagara Road ending at Rhode Island Avenue. These two signs will definitely improve traffic safety situation, but we still have concerns about vehicles going into Niagara Road from Rhode Island Avenue. These vehicles often come to the intersection too fast, so much so that other vehicles on the service road and Niagara Road may face the danger of accidents.

We hope to discuss the safety situation in a meeting with the City engineer and the officials from County’s Public Works sometime next week. Hopefully we can find a solution to this remaining safety problem in that meeting. If you have any other concern or idea about the safety at that intersection, please let me know.

Upcoming Events, Missing Cat, Found Dog

Community Library Donation Day
The College Park Community Library will be holding a book drive (aka: “Donation Day) Saturday, December 3 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. So, if you have books you’d like to donate to the effort (no book will be turned away!) this would be a great time. For more information, see library’s web site here. And if you’re on Facebook, please consider “liking” them.

The National Museum of Language Invites you to THE ANNUAL RECEPTION Sunday, December 4th, 2011, 2:00 – 5:00 P.M. Executive Office Building, 7100 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 202. Light refreshments will be served. Come join us in an afternoon of fellowship. Please feel free to bring a guest(s). Perhaps you’ll be the lucky winner of the door prize!

If you plan to attend: Please provide the NML with name(s) of attendees, # of attendees, phone #(s) or contact information. You can either phone us at (301) 864-7071 (leave voice mail message) or email us at

Missing Cat:
Here is a notice on missing cat; See if you can please help find him.
Our cat, Harvey, “escaped” on Thanksgiving morning. He’s been mostly an indoor  cat trying to escape since we got him a few years ago. So, now he’s on an adventure but we wish we could find him and bring him home. If anyone sees him, please call 301-474-5358 or 240-888-6972 and let us know where exactly you saw him and when. Thanks, Janis (Oppelt)

Found Dog:
Yellow lab found wandering the neighborhood (Niagara Rd, west of RI ave). Has red collar, no tag. Thin, but otherwise seems well cared for. Please call Bonnie for more information: 202.746.8313

City to Name College Park Woods Park After Mayor Owens

College Park Woods Community Park

In last week’s Council meeting, the City Council voted to formally request that the ball field at the College Park Woods Community Park be named “Owens Field” in recognition of the years of public service that Mayor Anna Owens provided to her home community of College Park Woods and to the entire City of College Park.

Mayor Owens lived in College Park Woods for 48 years and served as a City Councilmember from 1981 1987, and as the first and only female Mayor of the City from 1987 – 1993. Before, during and after her years as an elected official, Mayor Owens provided exceptional leadership in the community.

In a letter to the Park and Planning, that owns the park, Mayor Fellows wrote “She is highly regarded and respected as a dedicated public servant. Naming this particular ball field in her honor would be especially significant”.
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Route 1 Developement Opportunities

In case you missed last Saturday’s Route 1 visioning session, here are a few resources you may want to check:

Presentation Slides



The survey will be open until November 28. So please take a moment to complete this in the next few days.

Stop Signs to Address Safety Issue at Niagara / Rhode Island Intersection

Design showing stop signs at Niagara Road

A number of residents in the area have expressed concerns about safety at the new entrance on the Niagara Rd (West), as part of the Rhode Island / Edgewood intersection improvement project.

As one resident emailed me: “There are now four exits and entrances for automobiles at Niagara. In other words you have to look out for cars in four different directions, whereas before you just looked left and right. the other day I tried to cross Rhode Island as usual, and was startled by a car exiting from the opposite side of Rhode Island and trying to enter on my side. The driver managed to stop, even though he threw his hands up in the air like he was startled by me being on the way over in front of him. I quickly retreated.”

The County and the City have been contacted on this and thankfully the County’s contractors have agreed to install two stop signs there to address the issue. They said that two stop signs will be installed by this coming Wednesday if not sooner.

Please see the attached map for more details on the proposed stop signs. Here is a Google map, in case you want to know the location of the intersection.

Support City’s Local Businesses, This Season

Shopping Guide, 2011

On Saturday, November 26th, the 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday takes place to support local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday is a national movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. on the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States last year.  Over the past two decades, they created 65 percent of net new jobs.  Their importance to local communities extends even further.  For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

In order to promote our own small businesses, the City of College Park created a 2011 Holiday Shopping Guide that provides a list of several independent businesses offering great gifts. As the holiday season approaches please consider these local businesses, along with the other unique retailers in College Park, as part of your shopping plans.

The City has an excellent website called , that lists alll businesses operating within the city. Let’s all browse the website, and make an habit to shop busnesses within the city.

Also, City’s economic development team has published a shopping guide for this holiday season. You can grab that guide here.

Important Holiday Safety Tips

Neighborhood Watch

With the holiday season in full swing, City’s public safety department has issued some general crime prevention tips to help remind of things we can do to reduce our chance of being a crime victim during this time of the year and to help us 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.
  • 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.
  • Beyond Visions: Challenges and Opportunities in Route 1 Development

    Vacant building across Route 1 in north College Park (courtesy: Laura Evans)

    This past Saturday, I attended the “Route 1 Site Specific Visioning Session” at the City Council Chamber. My sincere thanks go to our City officials, Terry Schum, Chris Nagle and Michael Stiefvater in particular, for organizing this great event. During the 3 hour+ event , residents had a chance to take a look at the properties across Route 1 that are potential targets for redevelopment and reuse. Residents also had a chance to share their ideas on a list of potential businesses that can go in those sites.

    Route 1 is City’s main street and thus visioning about this important gateway isn’t quite new. The City planner, Terry Schum talked about how the Park and Planning started the first Route 1 sector plan back in 2002, when it changed Route 1 corridor’s zoning category from C-S-C (Commercial Shopping Center) to M-U-I (Mixed Unit Infill). This gave a rise of hope in the development of wide range of properties, from traditional businesses to residential units.

    In 2009, the Park and Planning went further with Route 1 visioning strategy by drawing boundaries of areas across Route 1 and taking residents’ feedback on what can be done in those properties. The 2009 sector plan went through another major revision  with a set of amendments not so long after the first draft version was approved by the county council.

    Since then, Route 1 hasn’t seen huge development, especially in the northern part of the city. True, it saw some some activities in the south with a few high rise student housing developments. Also, thanks to some 8.5 million dollar funding from the States, it will go through a phase of design and planning of street development, all in the south of Greenbelt Road.

    Any such development in the northern side is not going to happen soon. As far as redevelopment of Route 1 properties are concerned, a weakened economy has contributed to a even weaker interest from the developer community to improve these properties. For example, one developer (JPI) who went through months of painful planning stage to develop a few properties in north College Park went bankrupt, and thus scrapping their plans to develop those properties.

    There are however opportunities that we ought to pursue in these challenging times. While we should persistently work with the State and County officials to find more opportunities in developments, we also need to aggressively pursue the business and developer communities to market these opportunities. City’s economic development team needs to be strengthened further with the necessary tools they need in that pursuit.

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