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Greenbelt Shadow Study – Impact on North College Park

Following the presentation by Chad Williams of M-NCPPC at our last work session, I asked him to provide us detailed shadow study images of our north College Park neighborhood, once the proposed 20 story development takes place in GreenBelt area.

Please see three aerial images. They are the shadows in the morning of December 21, which is when the sun is lowest and the shadows are longest. They are at 8:00am, 8:50am and 9:00am.

It appears that a large portion of our neighborhood will be under shadow around 8:00am, however because of late sunrise in winter, other areas will also be in dark, not just in the shaded area.. By 8:50 a.m., only two-three yards in North College Park would be impacted, and by 9:00 a.m. none of the homes would be impacted.

Please note that they maximized building form at 8 stories within the height transition zone and 20 outside the zone without trying to break the forms into more appealing architectural style.

College Park Votes Not to Appeal Cafritz Plan

In a dramatic vote, College Park City Council decided not to appeal Cafritz development plan.

The Council vote was 4-4, with Mayor Fellows voting against it. Council members Stullich, Day, Wojahn and Dennis voted to support the appeal motion, whereas Council members Afzali, Kabir, Catlin and Mitchell voted against the motion.

The deadline to appeal the case is Friday. Even the City has decided not to proceed with the appeal case, a group of residents can still appeal against the Cafritz plan.

City to Advocate 10 Year Solid Waste Management Plan

Waste management - A College Park recycling truck

At tonight’s regular meeting, the City Council will approve a letter to the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources in regards to a draft 10 year solid waste management plan.

The plan will be reviewed and voted on by the Prince George’s County Council early in September.

This draft Plan does a couple of things, and most notably requires the construction of a waste transfer station, which would allow the County to ship solid waste around the State, and which is necessary because the Brown Station landfill in current use is close to capacity.

The Plan also includes steps toward a possible food waste composting station near the existing yard waste composting facility. There is little, however, that would actually reduce the production of other solid waste in the County.

Due to the current unsustainable level of waste production in our society, many local governments around the country are moving toward an eventual goal of zero solid-waste production, and taking aggressive steps toward this.

The City will be considering a letter asking the County to take a more aggressive approach toward reduction of solid waste, by doing things such as increasing recycling and other steps indicated in a report that the University of Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center put out and which was commissioned by the County.

The letter also asks that the County collaborate with the City to assist the City with its efforts to reduce production of solid waste and increase recycling and composting.

Should We Appeal Cafritz Decision?

Cafritz development at Riverdale Park

In tomorrow’s regular meeting, the Council will vote on whether to appeal to the Prince George’s County Circuit Court of the final decision of the District Council to approve Zoning Map Amendment A-1 0018 for the Cafritz property development.

On July 12, 2012, the District Council took final action on this case and on July 18, 2012 mailed the written order of the Council to all persons of record. The deadline for appealing the decision is August 17, 2012.

The approved project includes the rezoning of 35.71 acres of property in the Town of Riverdale Park from R-55 (single-family residential) to M-U-T-C (MixedUse-Town Center) and amends the 2004 Approved Town of Riverdale Park Mixed-Use Town Center Zone Development Plan. The project, as approved, includes up to 1,915,320 million square feet of mixed-use development including retail, office, residential and hotel.

While good arguments could be made in regards to a few legal and technical issues in this case, the ultimate outcome may include a remand back to the District Council and then to the Planning Board at which time they would correct all of the defects. Based on the original 7-2 votes, it is likely that the project would again be approved. Also, the delay may cause the loss of the Whole Foods, something many residents may not prefer.

That said, please let me know how we should vote.

NCP Crime Stats – August 4 – 8, 2012

Here is the past week’s crime stats. There are only 3 incidents with one arrest and 2 thefts – the best I have seen so far in recent months.

[mappress mapid=”79″]
Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
08/04/20121340ROBBERY, Arrest9300 Bk CHERRY HILL RD
08/06/20121407THEFT FROM AUTO9100 Blk 51ST AVE
08/09/20121224THEFT9300 Blk BALTIMORE AVE

Parking Changes Come to Berwyn Rd Near Route 1

Parking Changes on Berwyn Road Near Route 1

At the Council meeting on July 10, 2012, Council passed a motion enhancing retail parking for the area on Berwyn House Rd near Route 1.

In response to a request from Council, staff conducted a feasibility study earlier to assess the potential for establishing either metered parking, residential pennit parking, or monthly permit parking on Berwyn House Road, from the intersection with Baltimore Avenue (U.S. Route 1 ), east to Rhode Island Avenue. Based upon observations and survey results, staff recommended that limited time parking be established, to accommodate customers at nearby businesses.

This area currently has a number of handicapped parking spots, which according to a survey by City staff, are mostly used by elderly residents of Spellman House. A friendly reminder, you need to ensure that exercise for wheelchair bound seniors are being done to ensure optimal muscular function despite being in a wheelchair.

The Council notion called for establishing parking limits along the North side of Berwyn House Road from an area directly across from Spellman House to Baltimore Avenue.

It will allow a two (2) hour time limit be established for as many spaces as possible in this area, while maintaining the current number of spaces reserved for vehicles with handicapped parking permits. This will allow for some of the spaces here to be used as parking for the retail across Route 1.

Based upon a survey by the City Engineer, an area of “no parking allowed” will be established closest to Baltimore Avenue, sufficient to allow proper egress of vehicles from Berwyn House Road onto Baltimore Avenue.

The motion passed in July 10 meeting did not address the days and hours of enforcement, and was not clear on the location of the no parking area. This motion and the diagram clarifies Council’s intention and provides sufficient direction to staff to address this issue before students return.

In last Wednesday’s special session, the Council approved these changes.

City to PG Parks: No Annexation, No Park Maintenance

Sunnyside Skate Park

The City of College Park will send a letter to the Maryland National Park (M-NCPPC) stating that it intends to take care of some maintenance work the newly constructed Skate Park, provided it allows the City to annex it.

Last month, Ronnie Gathers, Director of the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, sent a letter to the City indicating that he expected that the City would undertake some of the maintenance of the Skate Park, and said that the decision to include a bowl was based on the understanding that the City would do this.

In March, 2011, M-NCPPC requested that the City amend the 2009 Agreement to include a requirement that the City undertake certain maintenance obligations (inspecting and removing leaves, vegetative matter, and other debris from the skate park to allow for uninterrupted drainage of stormwater through the drain inlets). M-NCPPC would retain primary maintenance responsibilities.

The request was formally addressed by Council at a
public meeting, and it was decided that the additional maintenance obligation would be
acceptable ifM-NCPPC agreed to annex the park into City limits. It is the City’s longstanding
policy to provide services only within City limits.

In last Tuesday’s worksession. the Council considered a letter in response to Mr. Gathers stating that we will help maintain the park only if M-NCPPC allows its annexation into the City. The

City Seeks New Funds to Help Small Businesses

7/11 Store on Edgewood Road

In last night’s worksession, the Council discussed the application of a $180,000 funds to help improve small businesses in the City.

For fiscal year 2012, the city submitted an application for $140,000 in Community Legacy grant funds for the demolition of several vacant buildings on Route 1 and was awarded a $75,000 grant.

On June 29, 2012, the DHCD announced that fiscal year 2013 funding would be $6,000,000, an increase from $4,250,000 in fiscal year 2012. Staff applied for grant funds for the formation of a Commercial Tenant Improvement Program, which will provide new small businesses with a matching grant for the costs associated with leasehold improvements (HVAC, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, windows, flooring, etc.).

The application is seeking $180,000 in funding to assist approximately 6-10 businesses. The grant would provide up to 70% of the total cost of improvements with a maximum of $30,000 per grant or $20 per square foot of leasable space, whichever is less.

Businesses opening in any part of College Park would be eligible for the grant. The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC), located in College Park, has agreed to assist City staff with the program by reviewing applications that would include such things as a detailed business plan, financial documentation, and lease terms.

Grants will be targeted to locally-owned and independent businesses, specifically businesses that fill a void in the City’s retail scene such as a coffee shop, clothing store, sit-down restaurant, or bakery.

The Commercial Tenant Improvement Program was proposed after speaking with business owners, retail brokers, the SBDC, and cities across the country that implemented similar programs.

All of these parties indicated that leasehold improvements are one of the largest expenditures when opening a retail business and assistance with this issue would serve as a significant incentive. Additionally, a rough outline of the program was first presented to the Mayor and City Council during the annual Economic Development Report in May 2012, where City Council encouraged staff to pursue funding for the program.

The Council will vote next Tuesday’s Council meeting authorizing the City Manager to file a fiscal year 2013 Community Legacy application requesting $180,000 for the formation of a Commercial Tenant Improvement Program.

National Night Out 2012 – In Pictures

Should UM-Shuttle Contract Be Renewed?

Shuttle - UM

At tomorrow night’s worksession, the Council will discuss the Shuttle-UM program, its proposed cost, and next steps.

The annual MOU between the City of College Park and the University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) expires on September 1, 2012. DOTS recommends a fee of $6,000 for the Shuttle-UM for FY 2013, the same rate which was paid in FY 2012, for any set number of passes to enable pass-holders to ride all Shuttle-UM buses at any time.

The program began in September 2008 with an MOU between the University of Maryland and the City. The MOU allows residents who display a City-issued pass to ride the Shuttle-UM at no charge. Residents who display proof of residency at City Hall or Davis Hall receive a complimentary pass to ride the Shuttle-UM and the passes do not expire.

Staff sent a survey to pass-holders requesting information about their shuttle usage, which shows DOTS ridership statistics for each year of the program. The numbers show a very notable increase in ridership of about 123 percent from 2010/11 to 2011/12.

Let me know if the Council should renew the UM-Shuttle contract again for the FY 2013 period.

Council to Discuss Route 1 Marketing Study

Vacant building across Route 1 in north College Park

The City Council will be back to its sessions again this week after a brief summer recess in the past few weeks. However instead of usual Tuesday’s meeting, the Council worksession will be held on Wednesday, as the City will be observing the National Night Out (NNO) on that night.

One of the items on the Council worksession will be Route 1 marketing study. Back in late last year, the City of College Park and three other neighboring cities, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park and University Park, the University of Maryland and the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County contracted with Bolan Smart Associates (BSA), Inc. to examine the existing and potential future development along Route One corridor from Hyattsville to Beltsville.

BSA released its study report in April 2012, evaluating future development proposals and future planning efforts along the Route One corridor. The study looks at the corridor as a whole, as well as four smaller geographic areas including the City of College Park.

The study found, among other things, that “the College Park submarket area ranks at the top of the consolidated Route One corridor for retail potential.”

The report also found that College Park needs to focus retail demand in downtown and south of MD-193. It also found that there is a deficit of grocery/convenience space on the order of 100,000 square feet, restaurant space on the order of 30,000 to 40,000 square feet. On the other hand it found there is a surplus of general retail space on the order of 262,000 to 346,000 square feet. They found City’s trade area vacancy rate is 8.99%.

The BSA will attend Wednesday night’s worksession, where Council will discuss the report’s findings further.

NCP Crime Stats: July 28 – August 3, 2012

Please see below north College Park crime stats for the past week. We’re trying to find more information on the assault incident on Edgewood road. Also, please do not forget to attend August 7’th National Night Out (NNO) at the College Park Aviation Museum (from 7-9 pm). Please see more here.

[mappress mapid=”78″]
Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
07/28/20122314B & E, RESIDENTIAL9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
07/30/20121814THEFT10000 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
07/31/20121128THEFT4800 Blk ERIE ST
08/01/20121932THEFT5000 Blk LACKAWANNA ST
08/03/2012823ASSAULT4900 Blk EDGEWOOD RD
08/03/20121007THEFT4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

Buy Local – Hot Deals in College Park

Buy Local

The Mayor and City Council proclaimed August 12-18 as “Buy Local and Independent” week.

Our economic development team has been working with local businesses to put together a certificate for various deals. They were able to get 18 businesses to participate.

Please click on the image on to see the attached certificate that can be printed or presented by smartphone.

The certificates have been posted it on Facebook and Shop College Park so far and will be posted on the City’s homepage.

Please pass it along to anyone you think might be interested.

Arrests Made In College Park Hotels Prostitution Sting

Arrests in College Park prostitution ring

More than 30 people have been arrested as the result of a prostitution sting in city hotels that began yesterday and continued into yesterday evening. Great job Prince George’s Police!

It starts with an online ad titled “lunch special.” A supposed 18-year-old female is seeking company, but, in code, she’s listing prices for sex: $80 for 60 minutes. $120 for 90 minutes.

She isn’t 18, but she is a young Prince George’s County Police officer posing as a prostitute. The rented hotel room in College Park includes condoms and breath fresheners on the night stand, supposedly ready for use.

More here on CBS and Fox news

College Park Crime Down by 12%

Fight Crime

The overall crime in College Park has gone down by 12% in the past six months. The total number of crime incidents in the January to July, 2012 time frame is 483. The figure was 543 in the last year over the same time period.

Both violent and property crime figures are down – 3% and 13% respectively.

Among property crime, the breaking and entering type crime is reduced by 53%, where as the vehicle related theft has gone up by 13%.

Among violent crimes, robberies have gone down by 29%, where as assault has gone up by 8%.

Please see the overall statistics here.