Hollywood Farmers Market in the Works

NCP residents discuss Farmers Market in Hollywood

For the past several weeks, Councilmember Wojahn and I have been having weekly meetings with a group of residents to start a Farmer’s market in north College Park.

Earlier, a survey run by Hollywood resident Kimberly Schumann showed overwhelming support for the market among the residents in our area. A farmer’s market in North College Park will help improve sustainability and walkability among our residents and will also help revitalize the Hollywood commercial district. These objectives are in line with City’s action plan and also Route 1 sector plan.

The Hollywood Farmers market will be very much run by residents in north College Park. So far, the residents have formed a market committee and are working on a number of few other tasks. Those include creating By-laws, forming a 501C3 non-profit entity, seeking grants and sponsorship, making a marketing plan, designing a website  and contacting vendors.

The residents want to start the market sometime in early June, somewhere at the  intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road.

At tomorrow’s worksession, we will present the progress made so far about the our Farmer’s market and discuss the extent of City’s involvement in this market.

Once we finalize the details of this market, we’ll let you all know more in the next few weeks.

There will be also a presentation at May 9th NCPCA meeting on our market. In the mean time, if you are interested in helping out the market committee, please let me know.

North College Park Crime Stats – April 6 – 13, 2013

Please see below last week’s crime reports. Thanks to Prince George’s Police for sending us the crime report in the old detailed format again. Please let me know if you have any questions about the incidents in the report.

[mappress mapid=”110″]
Date of
Time of

04/06/2013333ASSAULT9100 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
04/06/20131346THEFT FROM AUTO9300  Blk CHERRY HILL RD
04/06/20131632THEFT9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
04/07/20131444THEFT FROM AUTO10105 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
04/09/20131402THEFT9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

FY 2014 Budget Discussion to Begin Today

Today will begin the first day of our Budget Review Process for the Proposed FY 2014 Budget at 8 AM. Today is the first of two two Saturday budget worksessions.

You can view the session on either Comcast-channel 71 or FiOS-channel 25. Today, we will review the following items/departments:

  • City Manager’s Introduction to include the Financial and Budget Policies
  • General Revenue Fund
  • Engineering
  • Public Works
  • Public Services

If time permits we will review Administration.

Here is a brief summation of the budget process from the City Manager’s notes….

The City Manager instructed departments to limit non-personnel operating expenditure increases to 0%.

There was a 5.6% increase in property tax rates, from $0.322 to $0.34 for real property and from$0.805 to $0.85 for personal property per $100 of assessed valuation, is proposed,primarily due to the 9.76% decrease in FY 2014 real property assessments (prior to application of the homestead tax credit). This is the first property tax rate increase in 6 years.

Even with the proposed increase in property tax rates, budgeted property tax revenue only increased $37,193 due to the real property assessment decrease (first year of a new triennial assessment for District 21 ), inclusion of a half-year assessment for the Domain College Park annexed property and 1 0% annual depreciation on personal property tax assessments.

Intergovernmental revenues (admission & amusement and hotel/motel taxes) and other revenue sources are fairly flat. State highway user tax revenue, reduced by approximately 89% in FY 2010, increased for FY 2014 only to $252,774. Estimated speed enforcement camera revenue decreased $305,000 from FY 2013.

Total operating revenues increased $85,914 or 0.6% from the FY 2013adjusted budget. As of July 1, 2012 the City had $5,944,767 in the unassigned reserve. A proposed $1,5000,000 FY 2013 budget amendment would reduce that amount to $4,444,767 to fund a City Hall Expansion. The current unassigned reserve balance represents 40.57 per cent of the requested FY 2014 operating budget, in excess of the Charter-mandated goal of 25%. The proposed FY 2013 budget amendment for City Hall expansion would reduce the unassigned reserve to 30.33%

A separate work session review of the Capitol Improvement Program( C.I.P) has not yet scheduled; however, it may be incorporated into the 2 existing work sessions. The budget ordinance is scheduled for introduction on Tuesday, April 23.

The public hearing on the operating and capital budget is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14. No constant yield tax rate public hearing is required as the proposed real property tax rate of $0.34 does not exceed the constant yield rate tax rate calculated by SDAT of $0.3447.

We are scheduled to adopt the FY 2014 adopted budget ordinance on Tuesday, May 28 for the budget to go into effect on July 1, 2013.

Hollywood Gateway Park In Pictures

A representative from the landscape architect company Floura Teeter came to last night’s NCPCA meeting to present the conceptual design of the proposed Hollywood Gateway Park at the intersection of Route 1 and Edgewood Road. They will come to before City Council soon to discuss the plan further and finalize it. Once that happens, the construction is expected to begin in Fall this year. Please see some of the design renderings below and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

The developer also had a power point presentation with more information. You can review the power point here on our website.

(please click on the the thumbnails to see larger views)

Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting: JPI East and Gateway Park

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month and is the day for our monthly NCPCA meeting.

Here are two important development items that NCPCA will discuss at tonight’s meeting:

7:35 Revised Development Plan for JPI East. The wooded land on Cherokee St. at US 1 was planned for apartments and retail, but the project has been stalled.   Now, a new developer will present details for a revised concept. Please see below a map showing the location of this development. I will make another post once I find more details of this development.

8:20 Hollywood Gateway Park. The City will demolish the small brick house at Edgewood Road and US 1 and build a landscaped park for public use.  Many themes have been considered for this park, but now the City is close to a decision… and wants your feedback. Please check my yesterday’s post on more about this development.

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

[mappress mapid=”109″]

Gateway Park Design to Get Community and Council Reviews

Hollywood Gateway Park - Wind and Weather Design

The much discussed Gateway Park at the intersection of Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue will be finally presented to the community and the City Council.

To recap, City plans to demolish the existing house at the corner of Edewood and Route 1 and build an eco-park there. a group of residents and University of Maryland worked earlier to come up with a number of conceptual plans. At the end, a landscaping arhitecture and design farm “Floura Teeter” was awarded the contract. Please see here more about that contract.

Since then, Floura Teeter has met with a focus group of city residents to discuss a few conceptual designs. One of the designs, that appear to get most support is called “Wind and Weather” design. Please see above for a schematics of that design.

Here are a few features of the Wind and Weather design:

  • “Gateway Park” Sign at the intersection of Route 1 and Edgewood
  • Park entrance from Edgewood Rd near the intersection
  • New trees along Route 1 to make buffer
  • Sidewalk along Route 1 to be moved behind trees
  • Screen and native planting around the exisiting properties on Edgewood Rd
  • Slides and stairs in the park
  • Pavillion with green roof from recycled house foundation. Cistern / rain barrel inside pavillion
  • Community terrace – connected to 47th Place through entry walk
  • Wind driven sculptures in the lawn

Representatives from Floura and Teeter are expected to be at North College Park Civic Association meeting tomorrow to present this and other designs. They are also expected to come before City Council soon to have their plan finalized.

City Releases Annual Residents Survey Results

Residents' Survey 2012 results

City staff received a total of 324 surveys, 48 of which were paper surveys (including surveys from Spellman House and Attick Towers), and 276 of which were completed online through the URL: www.collegeparkmd.gov/survey.

Customer service: Respondents were asked how responsive and timely each division was to their concerns. With the exception of the Public Works department, respondents rated the other departments’ and divisions’ responsiveness and timeliness lower in 2012 than in 2010.

Respondents remained generally satisfied with Public Works services. Parking Enforcement services mostly maintained previous ratings with a few decreases. Respondents rated Animal Control services lower in the 2012 survey than the 2010 survey although the ratings remained higher than other previous survey years. Satisfaction with Code Enforcement in both commercial / retail areas as well as neighborhoods decreased in the 2012 survey from previous years. Noise Control Code Enforcement also received less positive responses in the survey.

While Youth and Family Services received mostly positive ratings, Seniors Services received a less positive rating than previous years.

Overall, respondents’ maintained a relatively positive perception of public safety in the city with the exception of safety as a pedestrian safety and near the Metrorail stations. The percentage of respondents feeling less safe as a pedestrian in the city decreased simultaneously as the percentage of respondents feeling safe decreased.

This implies that more people feel neutral about public safety as a pedestrian in the city. Respondents continue to feel less safe at
both Metrorail stations, although fewer respondents felt less safe at the College Park Metrorail station in 2012 than in 2010. Some respondents also noted public safety concerns in the open ended questions.

Fewer 2012 survey respondents note the City’s Municipal Scene as a useful guide for public information than the 2010 survey respondents. Even with the decrease, more respondents rely on the Municipal Scene in 2012 than in survey years prior to 2010. Other public information outputs also received varied results in comparison to previous survey years.

The percentage of survey respondents who ride the Shuttle-UM frequently almost tripled in 2012. Simultaneously, the number of respondents never riding the bus also increased. This shows a serious dedication to the service by those who use it, even if only among a small number of users.

The 2012 survey showed slight increases and decreases for certain questions, but overall, many survey responses remained relatively constant from the 2010 survey. This supports the idea that community opinions remain relatively stable amongst those who take the time to complete the survey.

Other Notable Findings:
– Respondents felt that the three biggest areas of greatest importance for improvement included code enforcement (including noise enforcement), leaf and trash collection, and public safety. Although once compared with service satisfaction data, the service requiring improvement was only Code Enforcement.
– Two-thirds of respondents providing a response said that they would recommend living in College Park to a friend. Over three-fourths of survey respondents showed a high likelihood of remaining in College Park in the next 3 years.
– The top three most preferred types of businesses that respondents would like to see in the city include: a restaurant/bistro (neighborhood or on Route 1), grocery store, and a local clothing/boutique store.
– Respondents had the opportunity to respond to this open-ended question which asked them the type of recreational activities in which they would be interested in participating. The top three responses included adult athletic teams (e.g., swimming, football, etc.); activities in parks, outdoors, & tours; and biking activities.
– The top three sustainability programs for the City to invest resources, as identified by survey respondents, included renewable energy use & utility reduction; water conservation & stormwater improvements (i.e., rain barrels); and an increase in recycling of all materials (clothes, materials, etc.).

You can see the entire survey results here.

Formula 2040 Gets Council Comments

Hollywood Elementary School

In tomorrow’s Council meeting, the Council will consider sending a letter to the County Council with comments regarding Formula 2040, the County’s draft Master Plan for parks and recreation over the next 27 years.

A copy of the plan is available here. The plan includes ambitious goals to significantly increase the recreational resources available to County residents, and its goals of improving connectivity, health and wellness, and economic development in the County.

The plan also aims to re-purpose existing recreational facilities to better meet the needs and demand of the community, and to change the traditional focus on niche community centers to focus on larger, multi-generational facilities where entire families can go and each member of the family can participate in recreational activities tailored to their needs.

Most importantly for North College Park, Formula 2040 includes construction of a new, 12,000-square foot gymnasium at Hollywood Elementary School (see in picture). The purpose of this would be to open the gym up to community activities in the evenings and on weekends, with programmed activities by Park and Planning.
The Council will consider sending a letter with the following comments:

  1. Trails – A recommendation that the County develop and implement new design standards for urban trails and include a plan to light some trails with a priority for missing trail links rather than costly, larger new trail networks;
  2. Recreational facilities – Encourages a balance between larger, multi-generational centers and neighborhood recreational opportunities;
  3. Environmental performance – Encourages more attention to sustainability issues such as the environmental quality of parkland, energy efficiency and water efficiency of facilities, and the goal of obtaining LEED certification;
  4. Playing fields – emphasizes the need for quality, appropriately-sized playing fields for all ages and types of uses;
  5. Historical resources – encourages taking advantage of the County’s historical resources for culturally-based economic development and partnering with the private sector when these resources are discovered or endangered during new development;
  6. Land Development Ordinances – Encourages M-NCPPC should revisit the formula for determining open space land dedication and recreation facilities required of developers during the development review process and use these to offset the impacts of development and improve the levels of service in the immediate area of a new development;
  7. Public Art – Encourages the County to recognize the importance of public art in parks and recreation facilities and require the incorporation of public art in any new facilities;
  8. Food production – Encourages exploring ways to incorporate local food production into the County’s parkland through, for example, community gardens, urban farms, and agricultural plots;
  9. Cost recovery – Concern that the cost recovery goals may be too ambitious and may have a negative impact on services;
  10. Citizen participation – Encourages more direct engagement with municipalities to explore opportunities for partnerships to meet the needs of city and town residents; and
  11. 11.Support for the Hollywood Elementary School gymnasium, and encouragement to look into programmable activities in this facility.

If you want to send additional comments, please let me know.

PGPD Falls “Short” in Crime Reporting

In case you’re wondering why I’m not posting weekly crime maps on Sundays, here is what is going on.

Recently PGPD has changed the format of their weekly crime reports (please see below). You will see the new format significantly different from the one we used to receive from the Police, as it does not have the information on the date and time of the incident and the location in block format.

College Park used to receive 2 separate weekly stats, one for north College Park and another for south College Park. In the new report we’re receiving one single very short report for the entire police district. For north College Park, we see only one line item (please see below).

Because of the lack of those information, I could not make and send the crime map, as I’ve done in past.

The new format is too brief and doesn’t serve the purpose of real crime reporting to our residents.

It’s true, we can still go to crimereports.com to take a look at crime map, but from my experience, the data on CrimeReports.com is very incomplete and often posted late.

To many residents and my colleagues on the Council, the new format is a step backward. Police is saying that they are doing this “to make stats as a whole, more uniform.” We’re still at a loss why PGPD had to downgrade their crime reporting email system to residents – why couldn’t it upgrade  rime reports in all neighborhood. Residents have always appreciated receiving weekly crime maps and related data in the past. I have already started to receive complaints from residents about the new format, after I sent out the March crime report last week.

District I/B-Sector Crime Stats 3/25/13 – 3/31/13
Robbery- 4000 block of Warner Ave. (Detectives are investigating)

B3 (All of March)
Assaults: 3 incidents at 6001 Good Luck Road(Parkdale HS) (Arrest) 5600 Block Gallatin St (Arrest)
Theft From Autos: 4 Theft From Autos in Templeton Knolls (Detectives are investigating)

7 thefts(Walmart) with 5 arrests
1 recovered stolen vehicle with 1 arrest(Walmart)

Commercial Robbery- 7400 Annapolis Rd. (Detectives are investigating)

2 Assaults- Area of Knox and Rt. 1 (Detectives are investigating, not domestic related)
Citizen Robbery- 8800 block 60th Ave (Detectives are investigating)

5 theft from autos- Hollywood area (Detectives are investigating)

Festival of Books Read In

Read in event, Hollwood

The College Park Community Library in partnership with The College Park Lions and College Park Arts Exchange will present a Read In on May 11th, Saturday from 2:00 – 4:00

The goal of the Read In is to bring families together through reading and related activities. Bring your blankets/chairs and set up for an afternoon of reading and fun!.

Local authors will discuss their books, children will be able to read to Bella the library’s resident beagle, art related projects: buttons making and bookmarks, face painting, book swap and more!

Please mark your calendar.

Koons Development – In Pictures

Marriott, CVS Coming to Old Koons Property

Detailed Site Plan of Former Koons Property

The developers from Keane Enterprises came to last night’s Council meeting to talk about their detailed site plan at the former Koons Ford site on Route 1 (between McDonald’s and Best Western)

This is a 2.86-acre site that is currently zoned partly Mixed-Use-Infill (MUI) and one-family detached residential (R-55). The developer is proposing to rezone the R-55 portion to MUI and build a six-story, 156-room hotel (Marriott) with over 12,000 feet of retail, a one-story pharmacy (CVS), and 295 parking spaces (mostly in a 3-story parking garage).

The developer has asked the City to forego any rights it has in a paper street called Osage Street and a triangular area between this paper street, Berwyn House Road and Route 1, which would increase the total acreage of the site to 3.12. City staff has concluded that the development conforms with the 2002 County General Plan, in that it is a high-intensity non-residential use that will support transit and be pedestrian-friendly. The 2010 Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan places this intersection in a “walkable node,” which also supports a higher-density mixed-use development with non-residential uses.

The applicant is requesting a number of amendments to the District Development Standards, particularly:

1) amendment of the front build-to line to be 12 feet from the right-of-way instead of the required 0-10 feet, to avoid building into the flood plain – staff supports this amendment;
2) amendment to the building height requirement – although the DDOZ requires 2-6 stories here, the pharmacy is one story, but reaches to two stories with a parapet roof. Staff supports this amendment;
3) an amendment to the maximum permitted parking spaces of 117 to allow 293 spaces, as required by the hotel chain and retail chain, and to prevent parking in the neighborhood. Staff supports this amendment because the parking garage would be a benefit to the neighborhood and is built into a slope to minimize visual impact;
4) a modification to the proposed bicycle parking space requirement (1 for every three automobile parking spaces) to only require this for the retail spaces since hotel guests are unlikely to use bicycles, for a total of 50 bicycle spaces – staff supports this amendment because it is enough for the uses on the site and the developer is working with the City on providing a bike-sharing space;
5) a modification to the requirement that the header (or the main support beam spanning the entrance) be wider than the entrance because of modern waterproofing and flashing requirements – staff supports this modification;
6) a modification to signage limits to allow four wayfinding signs to direct automobile drivers to the entrance – staff supports this requirement with a limitation on the height of the signs; and
7) use of an alternative standard to the requirement of a LEED-Silver development, which the developer says it may not be able to reach due to the “specialized uses” of the building.

Staff does not support this amendment and is proposing a condition that the developer provide proof of application to the US Green Buildings Council. Staff has drafted a recommendation of approval of the DSP with the conditions listed above, as well as the following conditions:
1) that the developer install a sign limiting right turns out of the north side of the development onto Pontiac Street into the neighborhood (the developer proposes closing off the Route 1 access points and putting in two access points off Pontiac Street);
2) that the development not generate more than 129 AM peak hour vehicle trips and 246 PM peak hour vehicle trips, which will keep the traffic levels within acceptable limits for the corridor;
3) that the developer revise the architecture to provide a more prominent landmark feature in the northwest corner of the building than the proposed 24′ x 45′ tower that rises 10 feet above the parapet;
4) that the parking garage, currently proposed to be made of precast concrete with a red brick veneer, incorporate more brick to meet the intent of the Sector Plan;
5) that the developer indicate a location and provide funding for a Capital Bikeshare station;
6) that the developer increase the percentage of wall area on the South side that is transparent windows;
7) that the developer either work with the State Highway Administration (SHA) to provide an underground vault for undergrounding of utilities or otherwise participate in a comprehensive plan for undergrounding utilities;
8) that the developer work with SHA to accommodate the impending reconstruction of Route 1; and
9) that the developer reimburse the City for operation of the traffic signals at Route 1 and Berwyn House Road and Pontiac Street, and agree to maintain all streetscape improvements in the public right-of-way.

Council to Discuss Student Code of Conduct Tonight

University of Maryland

At tonight’s Council worksession, the City Council will discuss the Student Code of Conduct with a group of University of Maryland officials. They include Andrea Goodwin and Linda Clement from UMD’s Office of Student Conduct and UMD Police Chief Dave Mitchel.

Both the City’s Neighborhood Stabilization and Quality of Life Workgroup and the Public Safety Committee of the College Park City-University Partnership have been discussing the possibility of extending the University’s Student Code of Conduct to student behavior off-campus.

This would mean that students that violate certain rules, such as underage drinking or intentionally causing harm to other students, as well as any other violation of the law that disrupts the safety of the community, could result in University-imposed sanctions, such as expulsion from classes, as well as criminal sanction.

The Student Government Association has endorsed this approach, and many believe that this will help hold students accountable for their behavior in the City of College Park as well as on campus.

You can read the Student Code of Conduct here.

Tonight, we will hear an update on the University Senate’s discussions on expanding the Student Code of Conduct off-campus.

City Sets Plans to Recover from Lost Property Tax Revenues

FY 2014 Budget

The Council received copies of the proposed FY 2014 budget from our City staff this weekend. It’s a long document to absorb, but as we read it, we’ll be letting you know some of the highlights.

Perhaps most importantly, due to the significant decrease in property tax assessments this year, the City Manager is proposing an increase in the property tax rate from $0.322 cents per $100 of assessed value to $0.34 cents per $100 of assessed value. For a house assessed at $200,000, this would be an increase of $36 per year.

The City Manager is also proposing an increase in the personal property tax rate (which only impacts large businesses in the City) from $0.805 to $0.85 per $100 of assessed valuation. With the new property tax revenue coming in from the Domain development, these increases would keep the City’s property tax revenue about even.

This is the first increase in the property tax rate proposed in six years.

The only significant increases in expenditures are for two part-time noise enforcement officers and an Assistant City Manager. Residents have told us that they want to see increased noise enforcement and code enforcement staffing.

Council has also talked about bringing on an Assistant City Manager to help prepare for the transition when current City Manager Joe Nagro retires.

As I’ve mentioned before, Council member Wojahn and I will be working with Councilmembers Mitchell, Catlin and Dennis to host a Town Hall meeting for North College Park residents on the budget on Monday, April 29 at 7 pm at Davis Hall.