KabirCares.org

Car Free Day – September 22, 2012

Car Free Day, September 2012

Carpool to the game. Ride Metro to a museum. Bike or walk to the grocery store. Combine errands. These are just a few of the ways that organizers of the Washington area’s 2012 Car Free Day — scheduled for Saturday, September 22 — say people can reduce or eliminate their use of private automobiles in celebration of the diversity of transportation modes available in the region.

It’s the first time since Car Free Day started being observed throughout metropolitan Washington in 2008 that the event falls on a Saturday. Ordinarily, when Car Free Day falls on a weekday, most of those who pledge to go car-free or “car-lite” are faced with finding alternative ways to get to and from work.

This year, however, many Car Free Day participants will be focusing on finding alternatives like transit, bicycling, walking, and carpooling to get to and from all the places other than work that people travel.

Please read more about this year’s Car Free Day at the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board’s (NCTPB) website here.

Formula 2040

Formula 2040—Functional Master Plan for Parks, Recreation and Open Space is the M-NCPPC Department of Parks and Recreation initiative to incorporate community input and data gathered through the 2010 & Beyond needs assessment into recommendations to guide the future of parks, recreation and open space in Prince George’s County for the next 30 years.

Please join at an open house for an interesting presentation about draft plan recommendations. Learn about community members’ visions for parks and recreation in Prince George’s County’s future!
All open houses will be held from 5:30-8

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The Show Place Arena
14900 Pennsylvania Avenue, Upper Marlboro 20772

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Deerfield Run Community Center
13000 Laurel-Bowie Road, Laurel 20708

Council Asks Changes to Revised Book Exchange Plan

Proposed Book Exchange Plan - Route 1 side

In last Tuesday’s Council meeting, the Council voted against the latest revised Book Exchange Plan. It also asked for the following conditions that would enable the City Council to support the revised Detailed Site Plan:

  1. Revise the architecture to provide a stepback transition that begins approximately 150 feet west of the Yale Avenue right-of-way (the R-18 zoning line). This shall be accomplished by separating the structure into two buildings divided by a 30-foot alley for access and loading. The building west of the alley would be 6 stories in height and the building east of the alley would be 3 stories in height with the third floor constructed as a 1-story gable roof with habitable dormers. Alternatively, the stepback transition could be accomplished by eliminating the following floors from the structure: The 6th floor facing west on the center courtyard, facing east and south on the east courtyard and the 2 units on the 6th floor facing the University of Maryland on the eastern end of the north elevation; the 4th and 5th floors facing north, south and west on the east courtyard and 1 unit on the 4th and 5th floors facing the University of Maryland on the eastern end of the north elevation. In this alternative, all roofs shall be flat.
  2. Revise the building at the corner of Route 1 and College Avenue to meet the street in a more traditional way, to remove the sidewalk encroachment by the column and stairs, and provide more sidewalk width. Route 1 storefront access should be at grade facing Route 1.
  3. Reduce the use of Hardipanel for cornice treatments and bay projections and improve the vertical articulation of all facades by providing local symmetry.
  4. Revise the composition of the front façade to minimize the impact of the metal towers and be more harmonious with surrounding buildings.
  5. Revise floor plans, where necessary, to eliminate deficiencies such as entrance doors opening to bedrooms (efficiency units), windows facing walls (corner units) and to improve access to bathrooms from bedrooms (4 bedroom, 4 bath units).
  6. Resolve the storm drain issue with the University of Maryland prior to building permit.

Tomorrow’s NCPCA Meeting: Greenbelt Sector Plan, NCP Farmer’s Market..

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

Tomorrow is the second Thursday of the  week and hence the day of North College Park Civic Association’s monthly meeting. This will be the first meeting after the long summer break.

Here is a rundown of what will happen in tomorrow’s meting:

Greenbelt Metro Sector Plan:

Members will discusses proposed changes to existing plans, and significant new development impacts to our community. These include:

1. Status of the Sector Plan: Public hearing on October 2.

2. Relationship of Jack Johnson conspiracy to previous zoning approvals.

3. Level of design detail in the New Sector Plan.

4. Change of Beltway ramp designs.

5. Relocation of North-South Connector Road.

6. Changes to Narragansett Run, vernal pool area, stormwater flow.

7. Design of Metro parking garages and impacts on nearby residents.

8. Building height and setback distance from Metro station.

A Farmer’s Market in North College Park?

Kimberly Schuman (who lives in Hollywood!) will discuss concepts for a farmers market in the parking lot of Mom’s & REI

A New Car Wash in Branchville?

Jay Drury, potential developer of property in the 9500 block of Branchville Road will discuss the idea, and guage interest of North College Park residents.

In other businesses, there will be  nominations & selection of new directors and treasurer to fill vacancy. Members will also discuss new businesses, like Pepco, Mosquitoes, Sector Plan.

As always, meeting will start at 7:30pm at Davis Hall. See you all tomorrow.

Tonight’s Council Meeting: Book Exchange, Election Law, Farmer’s Market and More..

College Park City Hall

Here is a rundown of what the Council will be discussing / voting on at tonight’s Council meeting:

Maryland Book Exchange: The developer and the architect of Maryland Book exchange came to last week’s Council worksession to talk about their revised plan. Though the developer has made some minor changes to comply with the step down requirement of Route 1 sector plan, but the three-story section facing the residential neighborhood is only 25 feet deep and includes a steep roof, as opposed to 50 feet suggested by the District Council. There have also been a few other concerns, notably related to pedestrian safety, courtyard, massing and storm drain plans. The Council will be considering a position continuing its opposition to the project.

The Council will be considering a number of amendments to the City Code regarding election procedures. The most significant is to extend the voting hours from open up at 7 am and close at 8 pm. There will be two two public hearings about amendments, starting at 7:10pm.

The Council will be considering renewal of the employment agreement with Joe Nagro, our City Manager, give him a 2.0% pay increase and a onetime bonus $2,500.00 for the next year.

The Council will consider approving the new fee waiver policy for the Fall Field Use Application by the Maryland Stingers.

In last week’s work session, we proposed adding an additional seat to the Committee so that Kimberly Schumann, who lives in North College Park and runs the Markethawker blog (www.markethawker.com) can participate. Because City’s Farmer’s Market Committee currently consists of only 7 members, the Council will consider adopting a resolution to increase the membership of the committee to 8 members.

Since City’s Animal Control Board (ACB) was initially was established, however, a couple of things have happened that largely made the ACB redundant The Council will consider supporting an introduction to eliminate the board.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

North College Park Crime Stats: Sept 1-7, 2012

In the past week, we did not have any incident in District 1. We only had three thefts on Cherry Hill Road

[mappress mapid=”81″]
Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
09/05/20121356THEFT FROM AUTO9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
09/03/20122127THEFT4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
09/04/20121655THEFT9300  Blk CHERRY HILL RD

Hollywood Cleanup 2012 – In Pictures

I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who showed up at yesterday’s Hollywood cleanup event. More than 50 volunteers took part in the event and helped clean a fairly large part of Hollywood neighborhood. Your time and effort will certainly be appreciated by our neighbors. Our special thanks go to County Council woman Mary Lehman, University of Maryland SGA / CVICUS, Police Community Liaison officers Ofc. Lobin and Ofc. Black and Pizza Roma. Thank you all!

Top 5 Reasons to Join This Morning’s Cleanup Event

Councilman Afzali and Alex pose next to collected trash (2010 cleanup event)

I posted these reasons a few years back in the morning of another community cleanup event and I thought it’s worth repeating these reasons for this morning’s event.

  1. Help keep a healthy environment: Trashes are health hazards; they often help breed and spread diseases.  Let’s get rid of them.
  2. Promote a community spirit: Events such as community cleanups are great venues to meet and interact with your fellow residents and neighbors.
  3. Check out with your elected officials: You’ll get to see and talk to your elected officials from the City and the County in these events. Get to know them more and find out what they can do for your neighborhood.
  4. Beautify your neighborhood: No one wants to come and visit to a neighborhood full of trashes. Help clean the streets and make them attractive to others.
  5. If we don’t do, then who will? Frankly, our City and the County don’t have the necessary resources to clean our neighborhood on a regular basis. True they come once every week to collect trashes that we gather inside our houses, but what about those trashes that pile up on our streets? You and and I are the ones who will have to do this job. We don’t have any other choices.

Hollywood Cleanup – It’s Tomorrow 9am-12pm

If you care about your neighborhood, here is your chance to make it clean, beautiful and inviting to others.

You must have seen this. Over the months, our streets get dirty, and events like this can only take care of that.

The actual cleanup will start after 9am, but please be there early to have a good breakfast. County Council woman Mary Lehman’s office will provide breakfast (bagel, juice, coffee etc.)

MD Senator Jim Rosapepe, and a number of College Park Council persons will be there too. Police Community officer Erol Lobin will be there to encourage his department’s support for our community. We will also be joined by at least a dozen University of Maryland students.

Supplies, such as gloves and trash bags (clear and black) will be provided. All we need is your presence.

The volunteers will be divided into groups. Each group will be provided a sectional map of the close by neighborhood. Thus the more volunteers we have, the larger parts of our neighborhood we will be able to cover.

The event will end with (free) pizza lunch. See you all there.

College Park Day Poster Contest – The Unique Diversity of Our Community

College Park Day Poster Contest, 2012

The College Park Day organizing Committee is announcing this year’s College Park Day Poster Contest, titled: “The Unique Diversity of Our Community”.

Prizes will be awarded in two classifications Grades 1 – 3 and Grades 4 – 6. Winning student artists will be selected by officials from their school where their entries are submitted. Students going to school outside of the City of College Park or home school students will be selected by a special panel of officials.

Each school / City group will have 2 winning student artists that will receive prizes plus inclusion into the Grand Prize Finalist completion. Two Grand Prize winners will be selected from the field of entrants (one from Grades 1 – 3 and one from Grades 4 – 6) and will receive $125 towards a college scholarship.

The deadline for submission/entry into the College Park Day Poster Contest is Friday, October 5, 2012.

For more information, prizes, and rules please see the flyer (please click on the image).

Group Plans To Improve City’s Quality of Life

college park sign

In last night’s worksession, The City Council discussed forming a working group to improve the quality of life.

Mayor Fellows suggested to name the group “Neighborhood Stabilization Group”, noting its main purpose is to have a stable owner occupied houses and reduced rental houses. The workgroup desires to limit conversions of owner-occupied properties to rental properties. The idea of the group was formed after the Council voted recently to postpone the enforcement of rent stabilization law for one year to see various stakeholders in the city can improve the quality of life in residential neighborhood, a main cornerstone of the law.

In last night’s meeting, the Council discussed the make-up, process and metrics to be used by the group.

The proposed workgroup would include several members of key stakeholders in the city. They include Mayor Fellows; council members from each District (including at least one representative of the Council International Town-Gown Association workgroup); representatives of the Prince George’s Property Owners Association and landlords, selected by Council; residents / civic association representative; representatives of the University of Maryland (1 from Office of Administrative Affairs, one from Office of Academic Affairs), selected by U-MD; representative of University of Maryland Police Department; the U-MD SGA student liaison; representative of SGA; representative of the Inter-fraternity Council or Pan-Hellenic Association; representative of Public Services staff; and one representative of PGCPD or City contract police.

The workgroup could break into task forces, including task forces on overcrowding, noise, code enforcement, landlord enforcement (dealing with absentee landlords, medallion program), neighbor relations, and student enforcement. The group would consider a number of metrics, including the number of reported noise complaints, city survey satisfaction rates, the establishment of a landlord medallion program, the number of registered rentals, and code enforcement violations reported.

The Council will finalize the makeup of the group in the next worksession before it will have a meeting. A second meeting, possibly in late September will discuss a public forum and finalize metrics, a public forum in mid-October, task force meetings in October and November, and in early December, a workgroup meeting to report back results of task force meetings.

Council to Discuss Book Exchange Plan Revision

Maryland Book Exchange

In tonight’s work session, the Council discuss the latest revisions of Book Exchange development plan. The Planning Board will be holding a hearing on September 13, so this is the Council’s opportunity to comment on these revisions.

The Council first considered this detailed site plan back in Fall 2011, when it recommended disapproval of the proposed plan. This is a plan for a student housing development at for the current Maryland Book Exchange site, with 313 student housing units (about 1,000 beds) and over 14,000 feet of retail on the first floor. The Council’s concerns about the initial plan involved the massing and architecture of the development, a six-story building that covered almost the entire lot, leaving very little open space in a residential area surrounded by lower-density commercial development and residential buildings. The Council decided that the proposed development does not comply with the requirements of the Route One Sector Plan, which state that developments in this area that back into residential areas must have a step-down in height as the development approaches the residential area, and must also have an interesting and heterogenous architecture that is in proportion with the surrounding properties, which this development does not.

After the Planning Board recommended disapproval of the project, the developer came back in January of this year with slight revisions to the plan, replacing the top two floors toward the back of the development with a steep roof that was just as tall. The City again voted to recommend disapproval of the project, and although the Planning Board recommended approval of the project in February, the City appealed this decision to the District Council. Members of the Council expressed concern about the possibility of setting a precedent that the standards set forth in the Route One sector plan, which were developed over many meetings and discussions with City residents, wouldn’t be taken seriously.

On July 24, 2012, the District Council remanded the Detailed Site Plan to the Planning Commission and ordered the developer to address the “lack of appropriate consideration of a number of aspects of the 2010 Approved Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment, and required the developer to ensure an adequate transition by stepping down to three stories for a minimum depth of 50 feet approaching Yale Ave. The District Council also ordered that the developer make some changes regarding the architecture and massing of the project, including courtyards that allow light infiltration to all units.

The developer responded by making some changes to the building and submitting revised plans, perspective drawings, elevations, and sections. The revised plans do indicate a stepdown to three stories in the back, but there is a separate building behind the Yale Ave. elevation that does not carry the step-down to the 50 feet required by the District Council, and the three stories have a 58-foot tall sloping roof on top that continues to make the building greatly out of proportion with the surrounding neighborhood. The Old Town Historic Planning Commission still voted unanimously to recommend disapproval of the project based on continued concerns about the architecture of the building and compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood.

The Planning Commission staff now still recommends approval of the project, conditional on a more gradual stepdown on the North side of the project, incorporation of more traditional architectural elements, and clarification of some issues regarding plantings and lighting. City staff has provided comments that the developer has not adequately addressed the concerns of the District Council, in that the building continues to be one large, “architecturally incoherent,” mass that fills the entire site, the stepdown is not consistent, the layout of the interior units is “awkward,” and there is no true transition in density or intensity toward the residential neighborhood.

Staff also found that there are still a number of modern architectural elements – including large metal towers on the corners of the building – that are out of character with the neighborhood. Staff does not believe that the conditions suggested by the Planning Commission staff would address the fundamental problems with the development, and instead recommends dividing the development into two buildings, one which would face Route 1 and be six stories, and one which would be more oriented to Yale Ave. and be three and a half stories tall, with a 30-foot alleyway between the buildings.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this development or staff’s recommendation.

2012 Residents Survey: What Questions Do You Want to See?

Residents survey

In tomorrow’s worksession, the Council will review a draft 2012 residents survey and add or remove questions as necessary.

The Council will consider a few new items for this year’s survey that were mentioned since the last survey.

They include review the public safety and code enforcement questions, add a question to the survey about the types of recreation events people are interested in doing (similar to the Seniors Survey question) and consider the suggestions which include resident, Councilmember, and staff suggestions for survey improvement based on the last survey.

Some survey questions link to performance measures/targets in the City budget. Since these questions link to measures that guide target performance in the budget, staff recommends that these questions remain in the survey each year.

The online survey will be available at the following link: www.collegeparkmd.gov/survey. The survey is expected to be open to residents late September or early October.

If you have ideas of adding more questions to the survey, please let me know.

Opportunity to Learn How Police Works

Citizen Acdemy

Prince George’s Police is inviting applications for their Citizens’ Police Academy Session #31, which will be held on October 1 – December 18, 2012 at 6:00 – 9:00 PM (Monday Nights), at the Training & Education Division 4380 Forbes Blvd., Lanham, MD 20706, [(301) 794-1000]

This training opportunity allows community members to become familiar with the Prince George’s County Police Department and provides exposure to officer related training such as investigations procedures, conflict management, crime scene investigations, less lethal weapons, judgment enhancement training, and much more.

In order to participate in the training program, participants must be nominated by a law enforcement officer and approved by the district/division commander or civilian manager. Nomination forms and instructions may be obtained at any of the six district stations.

This course requires the full 12 week commitment for successful completion. For more information, contact your local district station or Sgt. Nancy Jackson at 301-794-1106 or via e-mail: NQJackson@co.pg.md.us

Mosquitoes in Our Community – Things We Can Do

Mosquito

According to MD Department of Environmental Protection, the mosquito season typically peaks up in late August and early September. Though the City has been working with the State on a mosquito spraying program (see more at the end of this email), we can do much to prevent spread of mosquitoes and hence the diseases they carry. Please note the State confirmed the first death from West Nile virusthis week.
Get rid of standing water. At least once a week, take a few minutes to tour your property and ensure that there is no standing water that will allow mosquitoes to develop. Dump the water and any larvae before mosquitoes can emerge and fly.
Check screens and screen doors to make sure they fit snugly. Repair openings larger than a dime, and ensure that
window screens are closed whenever the windows are open.
Brush mosquitoes off before entering your home or automobile. Some species, such as the Asian tiger mosquito,
will follow you indoors and into your vehicle.
Don’t let them bite! Wear light-colored clothing, cover as much skin as possible, and use a proven insect repellent.
Note: The CDC reports that “Ultrasonic” devices and Vitamin B are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites.
Clean rain gutters at least twice a year
Check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see- under bushes, parked vehicles or trailers, and
under your home or deck.
Involve your kids by making a game of finding and emptying things that hold water. Offer to help if neighbors are unable to perform weekly inspections when they are vacationing, ill, or disabled.
Here is what has been done so far this season in the city in terms of larviciding, spraying and trapping:
Larviciding:
The whole town was done between 3/22 and 4/27
Again the week ending 6/19
Again the week ending 7/27
The typical native mosquito breeding sites have been treated throughout the city – ditches, puddles, ponds, swampy areas, ruts, etc.  We DO NOT treat containers in residents’ yards, which is the major breeding site of the Asian tiger mosquito (ATM), College Park’s main problem species.
Spraying:
Section 6 (Yarrow) was sprayed on 7/25
Sections 1 & 5 (Hollywood and CP Woods) were sprayed on 8/1
Trapping:
The following are the  trap results thus far:
7/26   9704 47th Place (BG trap, specifically for attracting ATMs)  25 female mosquitoes
8/7    4820 Delaware St (BG)   88 females
5/31 (60 females), 6/26 (8),  8/7 (10)  end of De Pauw (CP Woods)
6/5 (6),  6/26 (4),  8/7 (8)   end of Huron St (Hollywood)
6/26 (4), 7/31 (24)   Kiernan at Park St
6/5 (5), 7/23 (14)   Lackawanna at 53rd (Hollywood)
6/20 (31) our Mosquito Control HQ building
8/7 (15)  4900 block of Muskogee (BG) (Hollywood)
7/26 (9)  end of Odessa Rd (BG)
6/5 (3),  7/31 (14)   Old Calvert Road behind Yarrow
5/31 (69),  6/26 (16),  7/23 (15), 7/31 (3)  end of Patricia Court