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Month: March 2015 Page 2 of 4

What Does the Purple Line Mean for College Park?: A Forum for Students and Residents

Purple line

Join the SGA Student Sustainability Committee on Tuesday, March 31st to engage in a forum on the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line project. The Purple Line would have major implications for the University of Maryland and surrounding communities, servicing 21 stops between Prince George’s County and Montgomery County. The infrastructure project could generate as many as 6,300 jobs and remove 17,000 cars a day from our roadways. But, not everyone is supportive.

A panel of experts and stakeholders including College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows, Leslie Henderson of Prince George’s Advocates for Community-Based Transit, Michael Madden of the Maryland Transit Administration, and John Fitzgerald, a practicing lawyer and an opponent of the Purple Line from Chevy Chase, will speak regarding the project at 7pm in the Prince George’s Room in Stamp.
Come to learn about how this project will affect you, and bring questions! RSVP to the Facebook event here.

Pepco Giving Away 1,500 Free Trees to Local Customers

Energy Saving Trees

Energy Saving Trees

Pepco is providing 1,500 free trees to customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia through the Energy-Saving Trees program. It’s the fifth year of the Pepco-Arbor Day Foundation partnership that provides two trees per household while supplies last. This year, the free trees are more developed as they’re lightly branched and 2 to 4 feet in height. The Energy-Saving Trees program helps customers conserve energy and reduces household electricity bills through strategic tree planting. Pepco customers can reserve up to two free trees by visiting or by calling 1-855-670-2771. The types of trees offered are Eastern redbud, Crapemyrtle, Northern red oak, red maple and river birch, which will be delivered directly to the customer at an ideal time for planting.

“Our Energy-Saving Trees program is another way that Pepco is committed to helping our customers continue to conserve energy as well as improve the environment,” said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. “By strategically planting the right trees in the right places, we help maintain a balance between the aesthetics of the tree canopy and the reliability of the electric distribution system while also offering our customers energy reductions.”

An online tool can help Pepco customers find the most strategic location for planting and estimate the annual savings that will result from the tree. The Energy-Saving Trees online tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of the Davey Tree Expert Co., and uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the USDA Forest Service’s i-Tree Software to calculate estimated benefits. This tool requires an up-to-date internet browser. If customers experience an issue, we ask them to please call (855) 670-2771, for help.

For more information and updates, visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect, and download our mobile app at

City Needs Your Feedback for Future Direction

College Park seeks your comments for its future direction

As the draft College Park strategic plan is now ready, the City is looking for your comments on how you want to see the City to progress in the next 5 years.

Please attend the Public Forum in the Council Chambers at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 to comment on the draft 2020 strategic plan.

Also, consider holding a “Meeting in a Box” with a few neighbors or others to discuss the draft plan and provide comments electronically. See the link below–the process is very easy, and staff can provide copies of the documents.

All comments should be submitted by April 10.
In case you do not have time to organize the “meeting in a box” group meetings, please use this form to submit your comments. According to our staff, the Google Doc form was developed to submit comments from the Meeting in a Box, but it can also be used if someone prefers to submit individual comments.

The form is here:

And here is the link to the draft strategic plan:

This “environmental scan” document should help you to find some important data and trend on key activities in College Park:

Additionally, you can come to the March 24 forum to talk about the plan (details below).

In Pictures – the Revised UMD Hotel Design

The developer came to last night’s Council worksession and presented the revised UMD Hotel design. Here are some of the design schematics. I must say the new design is much more attractive than the previous one. As I wrote earlier, the developer has agreed to reduce the height of the buildings from 13 stories to 10 stories to comply with the aviation rules.Hotel-Mar-17-5

Seniors Spring Luncheon at College Park Youth and Family Center

Nate Sullivan, Park and Planning Director of the College Park Youth Services Center in North College Park is hosting a Seniors Spring Luncheon on April 7th from 10 am – noon at 4912 Nantucket Road.

In addition to the lunch, Nate will be gathering information from attendees about their interests as well as type of events or clubs they would like.

Please spread the word. He is hoping for a good showing and that it will generate a lot of ideas that he can develop.

Please see below for more details about the event.

Council to Discuss Revised Detailed Site Plan of the “UMD Hotel”

The Hotel - From Route 1

The Hotel – From Route 1

At tomorrow’s Council worksession, the City Council will discuss the revised detailed site plan of “The Hotel” at the corner of Route 1 and Paint Branch Pkwy.

The applicant, Southern Management Corporation, Inc., filed a Preliminary Plan of Subdivision and a Detailed Site Plan with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) last fall. The Mayor and City Council reviewed the Preliminary Plan and Detailed Site Plan (DSP) at their Work Session last November 25 and recommended approval with conditions at their regular meeting on December 9, 2014. The Planning Board reviewed the Preliminary Plan request on December 11, 2014 and approved it with conditions.

For the Detailed Site Plan, the applicant requested and was granted a continuance by the Planning Board on February 19, 2015 in order to revise their plans to comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) height regulations. The DSP request is scheduled to be reviewed at the March 26, 2015 Planning Board hearing. TheMNCPPC Technical StaffReport came out on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

The applicant has revised the DSP to lower the height, modify the architecture and increase the size of the parking garage.

According to the new plan, the Hotel’s height will be 198′ AMSL, instead of 233′ AMSL( a difference of -35′). To comply with FAAIMAA regulations, structures cannot exceed 198′ Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL). The Hotel will have 300 rooms, instead of 295. The Parking Garage will have 902 Spaces (instead of 806). The number of bicycle parking spaces will remain at 130.

Height and Massing Originally, the applicant was proposing to construct a 13-story (161-foot tall or 233-feet AMSL), 295-room hotel tower with a 5-story conference center and a 7-story, 806-car parking garage. The applicant has reduced the height of the hotel tower to 10 -stories for a maximum height of 128’6″ or 198-feet above mean sea level (AMSL) and has placed hotel rooms over the conference center. This leg of the building is 7 stories, with 5 stories over the conference center. A 9-level parking structure is proposed over first floor retail-oriented toward Greenhouse Road.

The FANMAA regulations state that no part of a structure may exceed 198′ AMSL at this site. City staff has received determination letters (one for each corner or the building and one for the construction crane) from the FAA stating that the proposed building will prove no hazard to air navigation.
Parking The applicant is proposing to add 5 hotel rooms for a total of 300 rooms and increase the number of parking spaces in the garage by 96 for a total of 902 parking spaces. The hotel/retail center is designed to initiate the development of the University-defined Innovation District. If parking in the garage is designed to be shared with future development in the area, City staff is not opposed to the increase of structured parking spaces.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities The applicant has added a pedestrian connection and crosswalk that addresses a City staff concern and is now showing a location for a future bike-share station. City staff supports these additions and encourages the applicant to continue making the site as pedestrian- and bike friendly as possible. The applicant did not follow the City Council and City staff suggestion concerning adding 89 bicycle parking spaces to comply with the shared parking formula. The applicant has not added any bicycle parking spaces from their previous submission even though they have increased their vehicular parking by 96 spaces. City staff feels strongly that the additional bicycle parking standard should be met at this location given the proximity to the University and the City-University initiative to promote bicycling in this section of College Park. City staff continues to recommend providing a total of 219 spaces based on the shared parking formula in the Sector Plan.

Signage The applicant has revised their signage package to reduce the number of signs proposed and reduce the overall square footage of signage except for the electronic message center (EMC) sign which has been increased in size. City staff is not opposed to the new sign package except for the proposed EMC sign. Originally, the applicant proposed two electronic message signs, each 133.36 square-feet to be located on the north and south elevations at a height of 80 feet to be visible from US 1. This highway is very busy with University buildings and activities located along both sides of the roads. City staff did not support these signs which can only be permitted through a modification to the Sector Plan because City staff was concerned that the flashing messages, to change every 5 seconds, could prove distracting to drivers on US 1 and create unsafe conditions. In fact, the speed limit was recently reduced to 25 MPH to address the number of pedestrian-vehicular accidents that have occurred recently in this area. Now, the applicant is proposing a 390 square-foot EMC sign to be located on the north elevation at a height of 72 feet. Since this sign is proposed to be three times larger and still targets US 1 traffic, City staffs concerns remain. If the applicant would consider: relocating the sign, possibly to the west elevation of the parking garage, substantially reducing the size back down to the originally proposed 133.36 square feet, and lowering the height of the sign to a pedestrian/bicycle user level, then City staff may support this type of sign.
Previously, three logo signs for Southern Management Corporation were proposed on the North, South, and West elevations. Now the applicant is only proposing two logo signs to be located on the West and South elevations on the upper floors. City staff is not opposed to these signs at these locations

City Recommendation
Based on the revised submittal, City staff has revised their recommendation as follows: City staff recommends approval of Detailed Site Plan (DSP) 14022 subject to the following conditions:

1. Prior to certification, the Applicant shall revise the site plan to provide an additional 89 bicycle parking spaces for a total of 219 spaces ( 1 space per 3 vehicular parking spaces as computed under the shared parking formula) for a 806-space garage.

2. If facade modifications are made by the Applicant or are required by the Planning Board, prior to certification, the applicant shall provide copies to the City of College Park Staff for review with the Urban Design Section ofM-NCPPC.

3. Prior to certification, the Applicant shall revise the sign plan to eliminate the 390 squarefoot electronic message center sign located between the 51h and 6th floors at the north elevation. An electronic message center sign could be acceptable if the size is reduced and relocated to the west elevation of the parking garage at the hotel entrance on South Hotel Drive.

4. Prior to certification, the Applicant shall revise the landscape plan to:
a. Provide a detail to show how trees will be planted on the green roof. b. Provide a planting plan and plant schedule for the northwest comer green roof. c. Replace the Japanese Blood Grass species which is invasive with a non-invasive species. d. Replace the Pin Oaks with another species due to pH and branching concerns. e. Revise the plant schedule to accurately reflect the landscape plan, Sheet LS-1.

5. City support of the modification request to allow an increase in parking spaces is subject to the parking garage being a shared parking facility within the larger innovation district.

6. Prior to Planning Board approval of the DSP, the Applicant shall sign an Agreement with the City of College Park in substantially the form attached, including the following:
a. The applicant, its successors and assigns, shall reimburse the City for all costs of maintenance and operation of pedestrian street lights within the SHA right-of-way and shall enter into an Agreement, requiring reimbursement, which shall be recorded against the Property.
b. Prior to obtaining a building permit, the Applicant shall: 1. Pay the sum of$45,000 to the City of College Park for the installation and operation of an 11 dock:/6 bike-share station on or near the subject property. n. Designate the City of College Park Planning Director as a team member in the USGBC’s LEED Online system. The City’s team member will have privileges to review the project status and monitor the progress of all documents submitted by the project team.

North College Park Crime Map: March 8-14, 2015

College Park, MD 20740

College Park, MD 20740

Stolen Vehicle






#L15068STLVEH09:3710:359000 Blk GETTYSBURG LN







#L15069THEFT12:4914:415200 Blk PADUCAH RD,

Protecting Your Residence While You are Home or Away

residence safety

Barbara Caskey to Retire This Year

Barbara Caskey

Barbara Caskey

After 20+ years as Principal of Hollywood Elementary (40+ years in PGCPS), Barbara Caskey is retiring this year.

The City is going to recognize her and celebrate her contribution to the College Park children at the May 26th City Council meeting. Parents and community members are encouraged to attend the celebration reception and make comments. Please spread the word.

Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting: Branchville Crossing, FBI Development, 5K Race

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month and hence the day when the North College Park Civic Association will have its March monthly meeting. Here are the major items the members will discuss:

Proposed Development Branchville Gardens/Crossing– Cruz Development representatives will discuss their proposal to develop Affordable Housing -Multifamily Apartments on Rte 193 adjacent to the Branchville Fire Dept.

Update on Proposal to Develop FBI Headquarters at Greenbelt Metro Station – Developer’s representative Garth Beall will provide an update on the status of the project.

Mother’s Day 5K Race– Representatives from the College Park Foundation will discuss plans for this year’s race.

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

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