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Transportation Development Bills Postponed

Metro

Two transportation bill (CB 79 and  CB 80) that were going on a fast track before the County Council Committee on Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZED) today, have been postponed.

Both bills would reduce some of the review requirements for developments located within 1/2 mile from a Metro station – including the proposed developments at the Greenbelt Metro Station.

Council Bill 79: CB 79 exempts development projects within a half mile of Metro, MARC or Purple Line stations from conceptual & detailed site plan approval.

Council Bill 80: CB 80 gives an automatic finding of transportation adequacy for developments within one-half mile radius of Metro, MARC or Purple line stations.

In a letter, County Council member, Mel Franklin, one of the bill’s sponsors, wrote:

The ILUC legislation was removed from today’s Council agenda because of the need to fully review new drafts of the legislation and related public comments that were distributed to PZED Committee Members only in the past few days. While I appreciate the interest in moving this legislation quickly, I strongly believe that the inherent complexities of zoning and subdivision legislation, particular legislation as sweeping as the ILUC legislation, must be fully understood and vetted by Council Members and staff prior to being voted on in committee. The legal questions alone require a substantial amount of review and consideration. It is far more important to get this legislation right the first time rather than to get it done quickly in error.

College Park Resident Survey Now Open

College Park residents survey

College Park asks all City residents to participate in the newest resident survey, the 2012 Resident Satisfaction Survey. The City uses it as a tool to gauge the quality of services provided to residents. The last survey, completed two years ago in 2010, provided the City with valuable input which helped develop the City budget and make service improvements. It was the City’s first online survey.

This year’s survey, also online, is slightly shorter and addresses some of the newest services available, such as the College Park Central software. The online feature allows for faster results and 24-hour access to the survey.

How can residents complete the survey? Go to www.collegeparkmd.gov/survey anytime before November 9, 2012. Please complete only ONE survey per household.

Can residents complete a paper version of the survey instead of going online? Yes. The City has a paper survey version available in both Spanish and English. Call the City at 240-487-3501 to request a paper copy of the survey or just stop by City Hall, Davis Hall, or the Youth and Family services building.

The City looks forward to hearing residents’ voices through the survey. Complete your survey TODAY! All surveys, online and paper, must be submitted by November 9, 2012.

Past survey results can be viewed at: http://collegeparkmd.gov/resident_survey.htm

For more information, please contact: Chantal R. Cotton, Assistant to the City Manager at ccotton@collegeparkmd.gov.

Birds, Freezer, Sewer line, Sleep and a Trip Over: What is in Common?

Healthy but troubling..

Confused? Here is a challenge for you to figure out: What is in common between a damaged freezer, nasty bird droppings, a fractured swear line, lost mid-night sleep and a painful trip over?

The short answer – a tree, rather a healthy one.

My Councilmanic fun job took me to this street in my district over the past weekend, when I met half a dozen of neighbors, troubled with a bunch of trees that seem to be giving them more trouble than help.

The City planted these trees in late nineties, with a very good purpose – give shade to these very neighbors. Unfortunately, over the years, as they started growing, they began to give troubles – so much so that these neighbors  now want to get rid of them.

I first came to know about this problem a few weeks ago, when I met one of these neighbors at our local civic association meeting.

I cannot take this anymore.” – he told me with visible signs of frustration on his face.

What happened?” – I asked. He took me out to the parking lot, where he showed me his car parked there. What I saw was not so exciting – Yuk! his car was fully covered with nasty bird droppings.

He said dozens and dozens of birds come to these trees under which he parks his car in front of his house. He told me he spends $8 and 45 minutes almost every day to clean these nasty stuff.

The City did try to discourage these little creatures from making these trees as their resting place – by using a kind of colorful ribbons on the branches. Unfortunately that seem did not work.

In addition to nasty droppings, the neighbor said birds also cause noise in the middle of the night that often breaks his sleep and cause him to come out of his house to break their singing chorus. If you also suffer from light sleep and wake up due to sounds of birds or passing cars, consider taking the ferber method sleep training for a better sleep.

Our continued discussion revealed more problems that led me to arrange a meeting over this past weekend on the spot, where I met a few of his neighbors.

One neighbor complained she had to spend $12,000 to fix her broken sewer line caused by the roots from a similar tree in front of her house. Her next door neighbors told me they also had to snake the sewer line to clean it from these obtrusive roots.

One of the neighbors also had trouble with intermittent power surge caused by the tree branches under heavy winds – so much so that the surge damaged her kitchen appliances and overhead light. In total, she had to spend about $5000 to replace her microwave, freezer, stove and electric overhead system.

Then another elderly neighbor came to me and told me how she tripped over on the uneven sidewalk, raised by roots from these trees. This seemed to me a rather serious safety issue, in particular for two very old neighbors, another neighbor who walks on a cane, and another blind neighbor – all live at houses near these trees.

I started to take notes of all of these problems and ended up with at least 5 issues in total.

But we need a solution.

The easiest solution is probably rather a brutal one – take the trees down, but that won’t be so easy, given all the long term environmental impact this might cause. The other compromise solution could be to replace them with less obtrusive and gentle ones. The City often replaces trees when utility companies such as Pepco cut trees that cause safety hazards on their power lines.

We’ll have to look into these options and discuss with our City staff,

In the mean time, if you have any other cool ideas, please let me know.