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Book Exchange Development Inches Forward for City Approval

Book Exchange - Old and revised plans

In last Tuesday’s worksesssion, the Council discussed the latest revised plan of the Book Exchange Development plan. The latest plan addressed some of the concerns the Council expressed in its earlier meeting. They include some changes in the north side of the building adjacent to Route 1 and the some detailing on the 6th floor wall in the middle of the building.

Earlier, the developer presented a plan where it took out the hip roof at the back of the building to make the step down complaint with Route 1 sector plan.

In last week’s meeting, Council member Stephanie Stullich (Dist 3) decided to take the motion approving the plan. The development is located in Ms. Stullich’s district. The Old town Civic Association, however, passed a motion on last Monday disapproving the plan.

The Council will vote on the motion in next Tuesday’s Council meeting.

City to Offer Tax Credit to Attract Quality Development

For the past few years, the City has been working on establishing a Revitalization Tax Credit program that will provide an incentive for developers to bring quality redevelopment to the City. This tax credit would complement the County’s Revitalization Tax Credit program, which provides a County property tax credit to developments which come into certain blighted areas. Currently, the downtown area and

Route 1 corridor are eligible for a County tax credit, but the Hollywood Commercial District is not, so the City’s tax credit program could help revitalize the Hollywood area. When the Council first attempted to create this Tax Credit, we found that State law did not allow the City to establish a revitalization tax credit, so we successfully lobbied the Maryland General Assembly to pass a law allowing College Park to create this tax credit. Over the past year, the Council has been working with legal counsel to develop an Ordinance allowing this tax credit.

Generally, the tax credit will be available to new developments within certain revitalization districts – “District 1” is the area encompassed by the Route 1 Development District Overlay Zone (most of the Route 1 corridor) and the College Park-Riverdale Transit District Overlay Zone (including M Square and the commercial areas near the College Park Metro station), while “District 2” includes the Hollywood Commercial District, Berwyn Commercial District, and the Branchville and Berwyn Industrial areas and Greenbelt/University Commercial Corridor. In order to be eligible, the developments must meet a certain number of criteria – the proposal must be a new development and may not have a previously approved Detailed Site Plan, and the applicant must be in good standing with the City.

The proposal must meet four of the following criteria if it is located in Revitalization District 1 and two of the following criteria if it is located in Revitalization District 2:

1) be located within 1/2-mile of an existing or under construction rail transit station

2) involve the assemblage of lots or parcels owned by different parties

3) involve the buyout of leases to facilitate redevelopment

4) will complete, or commit funds for, substantial infrastructure improvements

5) meet the minimum guidelines for a LEED Silver certification

6) be located within one of the walkable development nodes designated in the Approved US 1 Corridor Sector Plan

7) involve the destruction of at least 1 non-historic structure that has been vacant for at least 1 year

8)be a Brownfield development that requires substantial environmental cleanup prior to development

9) have secured at least one locally-owned, non-franchise business as a tenant; and

10) provide space for a business incubator, community center, art gallery, or similar public-benefit use.

The tax credit will be a five-year credit, in the amount of 75% of the City property tax increment attributable to taxable improvements by the Developer on the property in the first year, diminishing by 15% in each of the four subsequent years. In order to receive the Credit, the developer must submit an application to the City that must be approved by a majority of Council and must indicate how it will meet the requirements listed above.

Council may also waive the requirement that the developer not have an approved Detailed Site Plan in place for projects that have submitted site plans since January 1, 2009, when the Council first began to consider the tax credit.

City Plans to Purchase Additional Salt Spreader and Snow Plow Truck

Snow plowing

In tomorrow’s work session, the Council will discuss purchase of a Freight-liner salt spreader and snow plow truck in the amount of $148,482.

The City’s Department of Public Works currently has six medium duty size dump trucks that have V-Box spreaders and 10′ wide snow plows for winter use. Four of the six trucks have liquid de-icing tanks that allow Public Works to mix liquid with the salt for easier and faster snow removal from the streets.

Public Works needs another medium size snow plow truck to add to its fleet to better help them during snow events. Staff has researched bids by other local government entities to find the most competitive provider for the appropriate piece of equipment. Unfortunately, the Maryland State Highway Administration and the local counties do not use V-Box equipment because the roadways that they are plowing do not have low hanging utility wires (Comcast, Verizon & Pepco), like the City does.

Staff has learned that the District of Columbia issued a contract to Johnson Truck Center, LLC, Landover, Maryland for a Freightliner M2 106 Chassis with a Henderson heavy duty stainless steel dump body, a Henderson 1 0′ reversible hydraulic snow plow, and a Henderson stainless steel V –Box Spreader. Henderson Truck Equipment is based in Manchester, Iowa. In addition to the District of Columbia ordering 45 of those snow plow trucks, the Maryland State Highway Administration ordered 100 larger model Freightliners Trucks with Henderson equipment.

Therefore, Henderson has selected Intercon Truck Equipment, Joppa, Maryland as their local dealer. Intercon will stock parts for the Henderson equipment and can perform maintenance. Staff is recommending that the City of College Park purchase from Johnson Truck Center, one (1) 2013 Freightliner M2 1 06 chassis with a Henderson dump body, a Henderson V-Box Spreader with a pre-wet system and a Henderson 10′ snow plow in the amount of $148,482.00.

This expense would be charged to the current CIP account 925061- Vehicle Replacement Program–which currently has funding in the amount of $284,466.00. A second expenditure of approximately $28,000.00 will be forthcoming for College Park’s share of the new Four Cities Street Sweeper.

If the order is placed now, Public Works should be able to have both the truck and equipment built and delivered to them by mid-January 2013. If the order is placed in November, the City will have to wait until mid-March 2013 for delivery, after the snow season usually ends.

College Park Academy to Open its Doors Next Year

Old Friends School - site for College Park Academy

In tomorrow’s work session, the Council will discuss a few items in preparation to start its operation in 2013-2014 school year.

The City Council has, over the past year, been working with the University of Maryland and the College Park City-University Partnership to establish a charter school in College Park.

This school will be open to anyone in Prince George’s County but will be located in College Park. A Committee, which includes the Mayor and Councilmember Catlin and Mitchell, and representatives from University and the Partnership, submitted an application to the Prince George’s County Board of Education for approval of the Charter School, which was granted.

The next step was to find a location, and the Partnership has long been considering using the old Friends School on Calvert Road, which is owned by the City and currently used as offices for the City’s Public Services Department. The school needs significant renovation and a new HVAC system to be usable as a school, but the Partnership has been working with architects to come up with some ideas.

The Council will be discussing the architect’s proposals for renovating the school and how we can work together with the University to finance the renovations. The goal is to open the school for the 2013-14 school year, so the Committee hopes to move forward with the proposal quickly.

Revised Design Plans of Book Exchange Development

Architects from the Book Exchange development came to our last Tuesday’s Council meeting and presented the revised designs and presented the revised designs, please see them below. Figure 1 and 3 show both old and new designs, with the old one at the top left corner and the new one at bottom right.

The developer is offering to reduce the height to 3 stories on the Yale Avenue side and across from the sorority building, for the full 50 foot depth that the City had argued was minimally acceptable. This plan also includes a flat roof and eliminates the 2-story hip roof. Council asked for the revised floor plans at the meeting, The developer has also agreed to add more brick layers, especially at the lower part of the building to make it more compatible with the surrounding residential neighborhood.

During the meeting, I asked for the revised floor plans at the meeting, unfortunately, the City has been informed that the plans are not available contrary to what the architect said in the meeting. The Council will discuss the design further and decide its position about this plan.

NCP Crime Stats: Sept 30 – Oct 12, 2012

Please see below the crime stats in our area for the past two weeks. A vast majority of these incidents are vehicle related thefts. I am trying to coordinate with the police to educate residents about auto-thefts.

The 10/4 assault incident on Edgewood Rd. was an isolated one involving a roommate dispute. Allegedly a gun was pointed, but no one was injured. The gun was recovered by officers on the scene and an arrest was made.

[mappress mapid=”84″]
Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
10/01/20121018THEFT FROM AUTO9600 Blk 49TH AVE
10/01/20121301THEFT4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
10/01/20122342ASSAULTRHODE ISLAND AVE/EDGEWOOD RD
10/02/2012700THEFT FROM AUTO9500 Blk 51ST AVE
10/02/20121616THEFT FROM AUTO4900 Blk LACKAWANNA ST
10/03/20121418AUTO, STOLEN9300 BlkCHERRY HILL RD
10/03/20121642ASSAULT9700 Blk 53RD AVE
10/04/20121134ASSAULT, WEAPON4900 Blk EDGEWOOD RD (Arrest )
Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
10/06/2012244THEFT FROM AUTO9800 Blk NARRAGANSETT PKY
10/06/2012918THEFT FROM AUTO10000 BLK BALTIMORE AVE
10/06/20121309THEFT FROM AUTO4700 Blk CHEROKEE ST
10/06/20121421THEFT10000 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
10/07/20121648THEFT FROM AUTO9000 Blk 50TH PL
10/08/2012546THEFT4800 Blk LAGUNA RD
10/08/2012756THEFT FROM AUTO9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
10/08/20121608THEFT FROM AUTO5100 Blk KENESAW ST
10/08/20121721THEFT FROM AUTO5100 Blk KENESAW ST
10/09/20121201THEFT FROM AUTO9000 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
10/10/20122107ROBBERY, OTHER9100 BLOCK BALTIMORE AVE
10/11/2012828ASSAULT9200 Blk DAVIDSON ST

Free Car Seat Check, Tomorrow

Free care seat check

75% of Maryland car seats are installed incorrectly. Could yours be one of them?

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 13, 2012, The prince George’s Police will provide a free car seat check up at the Police Districts II of Prince George’s Community Federal Credit union Parking Lot at 15201 Hall Road, Bowie, MD 20721. The happen will happen from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Inspections will take approximately 30 minutes per car seat. Appointments are not necessary.

Please note the followings:

  • Your car seat should already be installed in your vehicle;
  • Car seat technicians will check for recalls, ensure your seat is correct for your child and that the harness and vehicle installation are correct;
  • You will be involved in the safety check;
  • Please have your vehicle and car seat owner’s manuals with you if available.
  • For More Information, Please Call Kids In Safety Seats (KISS) @ 800-370-SEAT

Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting: Online Reporting, CP Foundation, Dog Park..

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month and hence the day for the October NCPCA meeting.

The meeting will start with a presentation on College Park Community Foundation. The foundation has been in works for several months for now. The Foundation has been modeled after other similar charitable organizations in other municipalities, such as Greenbelt.

Bob Ryan, Director of Public Services and other staff will discuss their efforts on City Parking & Code Enforcement. . Mark Shroder, a member of the City’s Noise Board, will also discuss noise complaints. Please bring your questions and concerns about any of these issues!

Chantal Cotton, Assistant to the City Manager will present info about this new way to report problems via the City’s website. She will also discuss the City Survey of Resident Satisfaction.

Members will discuss possible new Dog Park at Davis Field. I wrote about the idea of this park here before.

Members will also discuss possible changed to permit parking zones Near Greenbelt Metro on the eastern side of Lackawanna Street.

As usual, the meeting will take place at Davis Hall at starting at 7:30pm. See you there.

Bulk Trash Cleanup, Electronics Recycling and Document Shredding, This Staurday

Got junk?

The City of College Park Public Works facility (9217 51st Avenue) will be open for City residents the second and third Saturdays in October, 10/13 and 10/20, from 7:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon ONLY. City residents may drop off bulky trash, electronics for recycling, and yard trim. Hazardous materials will not be accepted (shingles, propane tanks, paint, etc.). Air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers may incur a disposal fee; tires will incur a disposal fee of $4.00 each. These weekends are only open for College Park City residents; you must show proof of residency in the City of College Park to participate.

You can also donate the items you no longer want or need during the cleanup Saturdays! American Rescue Workers will be present to accept clothing and household items. Community Forklift will be collecting reusable building, landscape, and gardening supplies (surplus or salvaged). All items need to be in good condition. Clean out your homes, garages, and sheds, and bring over the items you no longer use or need, donate them for reuse, and receive a tax deduction for your donations.

Remember – you MUST be a resident of the City of College Park AND bring proof of City residency in order to participate. Call or email Public Works for questions and more information (240-487-3590; publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov).

Also, document shredding services will be available to City of College Park residents at the Department of Public Works (9217 51st Ave) on Saturday, October 13, from 8 a.m. – 12:00 noon. Bring your old tax records, medical paperwork, and any other confidential information to be shredded while you wait. All paper will be

Tonight’s Council Meeting: Book Exchange, Trolley Trail, MUTC, Transit Development Bills..

College Park City Hall

Tonight’s meeting will start with a public hearing on the abolition of the Animal Control Board at 7:15, followed by a brief agenda.

7:15 – PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ORDINANCE 12-O-09. The Animal Control Board was originally established by the City Council a number of years ago to hear appeals of cases involving aggressive pets and violations of the City’s animal control ordinance and to oversee the City’s animal control program. Since then, the City’s Animal Control Officer has started using the City’s municipal infraction process, and the County process has become available for aggressive animal cases. Also, the City’s Animal Welfare Committee now oversees the City’s animal control program. As a result, the Animal Control Board has not met in at least 10 years. This Ordinance would amend the City Code to eliminate the Animal Control Board.

7:30 – GENERAL MEETING
1.PROCLAMATION FOR NONPROFIT AWARENESS WEEK.
October 8-12 is Prince George’s County Nonprofit Awareness Week, a chance to recognize the valuable role that nonprofit organizations play serving our community. The City will issue a Proclamation celebrating the role that non-profits play in assisting people who need it and advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

2.PRESENTATION OF REVISED ARCHITECTURE FROM THE DEVELOPER OF THE MARYLAND BOOK EXCHANGE PROJECT. The Maryland Book Exchange development is a mixed-use retail and student housing development proposed for the current site of the Maryland Book Exchange, just north of City Hall. The Council has consistently opposed the various proposals for the design of this project on the basis that its design and density is incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood and that it does not meet the step-down requirements for a Route 1 development that backs into a residential neighborhood set forth in the Route 1 Sector Plan. After the District Council decided to remand the project to the County Planning Board for further consideration on the basis that it did not meet the requirements of the Sector Plan, the developer decided to revise the project slightly, but still did not meet most of the concerns that the Council had. Recently, Council voted unanimously to continue its opposition to the project and set forth a number of conditions that would have to be met before the Council would provide its support. This week, the developer came back with a revised proposal that steps the building down to three stories near the residential development for part of the building about 1/3 of the way through in line with the City’s requested step-down. For the North part of the building, though, the amended proposal maintains the 6-story height on one side until about 50 feet from the rear property line. The developer also made some other changes to the architecture of the building to address the City’s concerns. The Council will hear about these changes and then seek public input to decide whether to maintain its opposition to the project. Read more »

Book Exchange Developer to Present Revised Plan

Revised Book Exchange plan- from Yale and College Avenue

Revised Book Exchange plan - From Yale avenue

In tomorrow’s Council meeting, the Book Exchange developer will come  and present their new revised plan on the Book Exchange Development. The Council will hear a new revised plan. The City will then seek public input to decide whether to maintain its opposition to the project.

Last week, the developer came to the City with a revised proposal that steps the building down to three stories near the residential development for part of the building about 1/3 of the way through in line with the City’s requested step-down.  For the North part of the building, though, the amended proposal maintains the 6-story height on one side until about 50 feet from the rear property line.  The developer also made some other changes to the architecture of the building to address the City’s concerns.

In case you’re new to this project, the Maryland Book Exchange development is a mixed-use retail and student housing development proposed for the current site of the Maryland Book Exchange, just north of City Hall.

The Council has consistently opposed the various proposals for the design of this project on the basis that its design and density is incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood and that it does not meet the step-down requirements for a Route 1 development that backs into a residential neighborhood set forth in the Route 1 Sector Plan.

After the District Council decided to remand the project to the County Planning Board for further consideration on the basis that it did not meet the requirements of the Sector Plan, the developer decided to revise the project slightly, but still did not meet most of the concerns that the Council had.  Recently, Council voted unanimously to continue its opposition to the project and set forth a number of conditions that would have to be met before the Council would provide its support.

I will let you know once I get more information about the revised plan.

Have Your Voice Heard on Greenbelt Sector Plan

Greenbelt development shadow on north College Park's single family houses (at 8:00 am)

In case you could not go to last Tuesday’s public hearing on Greenbelt Sector plan, you can still have your voice heard by sending your written testimonies to the address below by October 17, 2012 .

Redis Floyd
Clerk of the County Council
County Administration Building, 2nd Floor
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

I want to thank everyone who went to the hearing.

We should really be concerned about the north and South core developments of Greenbelt sector plan. These two developments are located adjacent to my district. Though they are in Greenbelt, if you look at the map, you will see only residents who live within quarter mile radius of these two developments are north College Park residents in our neighborhood .

We support smart developments – developments that are compatible with the residential nature of the single family houses in north College Park. We supported the 2001 sector plan envisioned just that. It included hotels, town houses , shops and parks, where our residents and families can go and have a good time there. However 2012 plan is quite different. Its vision includes huge development with as big as 20 story fortress like structures and noisy / polluting highways very close to our neighborhoods.

Please do write if you are concerned about the impact of the plan on our community

Is Parking Scanner Good for College Park?

Parking enforcement - College Park style

In last week’s work session, the Council discussed the possibility of having a digital parking scanning system in the City.

Recently Prince George’s County recently implemented a digital system for its residential parking permits, and the University of Maryland has implemented a similar program for its students.

The digital permit system allows residents to apply for and receive permits online, and enables the parking enforcement staff to determine through a license plate number whether a car is allowed to park there, so that residents no longer need to use hang tags or stickers. Parking enforcement staff can also act more efficiently, by scanning tag numbers to determine whether the cars have proper parking permits.

The staff looked into the system, however recommended against having the system in the city, for several reasons.

For staff think it will be difficult to enforce visitor passes using a digital scanning system. It will be inconvenient for visitors to register in the parking scanning system.

Second, most of our cars in the city are parked in parallel to the street and the scanning system will be inefficient in scanning tags placed on cars that parked in parallel to the street. Research shows that the efficiency factor is only 50% in such cases. In other words the system will miss scanning half of the parked cars. This is not the case in the University of Maryland system, where most of the cars are parked vertical to the streets. Efficiency factor there is 85%.

Finally, it will take at least five years to get a financial payback from the system, given the cost of the system and its implementation.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Trolley Trail Construction Gets the Green light

Trolly trail in Berwyn Heights

In last Tuesday’s worksession, the Council gave the green light to construct Trolley Trail from Calvert Road to Paint Branch Pkwy.

According to our staff, the City recently received seven bids for the project. All bids were reviewed for compliance with project documentation and their unit prices were checked for math errors. References provided by the apparent lowest qualified bidder were checked by staff and found to be good.

Staff reviewed the subject bids is recommending that contract CP-12-03 be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder, D&F Construction, Inc. of Forestville, MD in the amount of $399,334.75, subject to SHA Concurrence In Award.

Assuming timely SHA concurrence with this award, construction would begin in spring 2013 and be completed by mid-summer 2013. The project’s funding will include only the TEP grant and City C.I.P. funding.

NCP Crime Stats, Sept 23 – 30, 2012

[mappress mapid=”83″]
Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type
Location
09/24/20121908THEFT9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
09/26/20121405THEFT FROM AUTO9001 Blk 51ST PL
09/27/2012609THEFT FROM AUTO9200 Blk DEWBERRY LN
09/28/20121441THEFT FROM AUTONB BALTIMORE AVE/EB CHERRY HILL RD
09/28/20122105THEFT4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD