School Is Back – How to Address Noisy Parties

Back-to-school time in College Park has typically been associated with increased incidence of loud parties and other noise problems.  Here is a list of tips Council member Stullich has drafted to address such parties.
If noise disturbances are a problem for you, please know that there are steps you can take to get relief.  College Park does have a noise ordinance and noise enforcement program, but it’s important for residents to understand how to use these resources most effectively.
In general, there are five things you can do.
1.       Talk with your noisy neighbors and let them know that they are disturbing you.  Sometimes this may be sufficient and if your neighbors are responsive, this can get the quickest results.
2.       Call the City’s Noise Enforcement Hotline (240-487-3588).  This is usually more effective than calling the police, because city noise enforcement officers are more experienced in dealing with noise than is the typical police officer.  City noise officers can enforce the city noise ordinance, whereas police officers do not. City noise officers will typically request police backup, so when you call the noise hotline, you are likely to get a response from police as well as code enforcement.
3.       File a written complaint with the city’s Noise Control Board.  This approach can be effective for those times when calling the noise hotline did not achieve a satisfactory result.  The Noise Board will hold a hearing and can issue fines if a violation is found.
4.       File a complaint with the UMD Office of Student Conduct (OSC). In 2013, the University extended the Code of Student Conduct to cover behavior that occurs off-campus. Examples of off-campus misconduct that may now be referred to the OSC include “rioting, hazing, theft of property, public intoxication, DUI, sexual assault, illegal drug use, stalking, large parties with excessive noise, and distribution of alcohol to minors.” Anyone can “refer” a case to the OSC. Police and city noise officers sometimes refer cases to the OSC, but residents can do so also, using the form linked below
5.       Call the landlord.  Landlords do have a responsibility to ensure that their rental houses are not causing problems for the neighborhood.  Phone numbers for most city landlords are available at thttp://www.collegeparkmd.gov/government/public_services/renting_in_CP/rental_property_listing.php#.VeI8Z_lViko.
Below is more detailed information about local noise ordinances, the City’s noise enforcement program, the Code of Student Conduct, and how you can most effectively use these resources to get relief from noise problems. 
Local ordinances governing noise
There are both city and county ordinances regarding noise:
·         The City of College Park noise ordinance is violated when the noise level exceeds 65 decibels during the day (7 am – 8 pm) or 55 decibels at night (8 pm – 7 am), OR when two or more residents are disturbed by the noise.  Violations of the City ordinance are punishable by a fine of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for the second offense within a six-month period. 
·         Prince George’s County restricts noise in residential areas that is audible more than 50 feet from its source.  County noise restrictions are in effect from 9 pm to 7 am.  Violations are punishable by a $250 fine for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses (or imprisonment for up to 30 days, but that rarely if ever happens).
College Park noise enforcement program
The city noise enforcement hotline (240-487-3588) is monitored 24-7 by a noise enforcement officer.  In addition, the City frequently has a noise enforcement officer on active duty, most commonly on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights (often working late into the early hours of the morning, if needed) and often during the day on Saturday and Sunday.  City noise officers carry a decibel meter and if they find the decibel level is over the decibel limit, they will issue a citation and fine.  Noise officers also work with the police to quiet the noisemakers and shut down the party if necessary. 
If a City noise officer is not on active duty, the officer monitoring the noise hotline will ask the police (usually city contract police officers) to handle the problem.  Police officers do not carry decibel meters and are not authorized to enforce the City’s noise ordinance – however, PGPD officers may enforce the county noise ordinance (see attachment). 
For all complaints to the noise hotline that provide a specific address, if a violation is not found the City will send a noise warning letter to the occupants and the landlord (if applicable).  This letter is not a citation and is not evidence that a noise violation actually occurred, but it can document a history of complaints that can be helpful in applying pressure to repeat “problem houses.”
Please do not hesitate to call the noise hotline.  It is very important that the City has accurate data on the extent and location of noise problems in order to identify problem houses and to support funding for the noise enforcement program. 
College Park Noise Control Board
If two or more City residents file a written complaint for a specific noise disturbance, the Noise Control Board will hold a hearing to hear testimony from both complainants and defendants.  Complaints should be sent to the College Park Noise Control Board at 4500 Knox Road within 15 days after the event. 
Although this approach requires more effort on your part, I have seen it be very effective in cases where calling the noise hotline did not achieve a satisfactory result.  It is important to include as many details as possible in your complaint – e.g., time, duration, number of people, nature of the noise, what steps you took.  Although each noise hearing must focus on one specific incident, if there is a history of prior problems it is good to provide that information as context.  Only two complainants are required for the Noise Board to hold a hearing, but having more people participating in a complaint can help to show the severity of the problem.
UMD Office of Student Conduct
As discussed above, residents can “refer” a case to the OSC using the online form atwww.osc.umd.edu/OSC/NonAcademicIncidentReferralForm.aspx.  It’s best to provide a detailed description of the problem you experienced, including any supporting evidence such as photos. The OSC Director will decide whether the behavior meets certain criteria to be adjudicated. Cases that might result in expulsion, suspension, or disciplinary removal from University housing will be accorded a hearing before the appropriate conduct board. All other cases will be resolved in the Office of Student Conduct after an informal disciplinary conference. The OSC Director, Andrea Goodwin, has reported that since the CSC was extended off-campus, the OSC has heard more off-campus cases than on-campus cases. She also reported that 1) OSC referrals are handled very promptly, usually within a few weeks, 2) the students referred to the OSC generally did not deny that the alleged misconduct had occurred, and 3) so far the OSC has not had any repeat referrals for the same student or household.
CSC proceedings are covered under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), so the results of the proceedings will not be made public – this means that the complainant will not find out what happened as a result of their complaint.  Unlike a city Noise Board hearing, you will probably not be invited to the OSC proceedings, so you need to put all of the information in your written complaint/referral. For problems such as raucous parties, we should not expect that severe consequences will be administered for a first offense. However, the OSC Director, Andrea Goodwin, has stated that they emphasize to the students in such proceedings that the OSC takes these kinds of misconduct very seriously and that any future incidents will receive more serious sanctions that could be very harmful to them, and it appears that in at least some cases, specific behavior problems leading to the OSC referral improved after the referrals.
Tips for getting results
·         Identify the source of the noise.  It is most effective if you can identify the specific address that is causing the noise problem. 
·         Be accurate.  It is essential to always be accurate and not make assumptions about where the noise is coming from.  Your credibility is your most important asset.
·         Be persistent.  If you get a recording rather than a “live person” when you call the noise hotline, do not give up – that usually means the noise officer is handling another call.  Leave a message with the details of the problem.  If the noise continues after an hour, call again.  Some problem households will quiet down when the noise officer arrives and start up again after he leaves; in such cases, persistence is key. 
·         Ask for the noise officer to call you back.  If you leave a message on the noise hotline, ask for the noise officer to call you back.  You don’t have to give your name if you would prefer to remain anonymous. It is often helpful/reassuring to be able to speak to the noise officer so that you can give them more details and learn what they are doing in response to a complaint.
·         Consider asking the noise officer to take a decibel reading from your property line.  Sometimes a loud party in a back yard may not cause a decibel reading over the limit when the reading is done from the street in front of the house – even though the noise level you are hearing from your house is much louder.  You can ask the noise officer to come to your door so that you can take them to your rear (or side yard) property line adjacent to the noise disturbance.  This requires more effort on your part but can sometimes achieve a better result.
·         Keep notes about the details of the noise disturbance.  Important details include date and time/duration of the disturbance, nature of the noise (e.g., amplified music, yelling, etc.), estimated number of people involved, who you called and when, and if anyone responded (to your knowledge)). Hopefully the first warning or fine will do the trick, but if the problem continues, then it may be helpful to have some supporting documentation down the road.
·         Check the City’s online Property Violation Search to see the history of complaints and violations for a specific address: http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/government/public_services/code_violation_search.php.
 Noise is a significant problem in our community, and I am committed to helping residents address this problem.  Please feel free to contact me about specific ongoing problems.

City to Renew UM-Shuttle Bus Contract

Shuttle - UM

Shuttle – UM

At this Tuesday’s worksession, the City Council will discuss renewing City contract with the UM Shuttle service.

Since 2008, the City of College Park and the University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services have had an MOU that allows College Park residents and City employees to use the Shuttle UM.

The City issues permits at no cost to the residents and employees. The City currently pays $6,000 annually, which allows 1,000 permits to be issued. Since the program’s inception, the City has issued 794 permits, including 71 permits since January 2015. City staff are meeting with the Transportation Services Director and will inquire about ridership data.

The availability of this service is advertised in the Municipal Scene, the Cable channel, and the City website. City staff will contact via email current permit holders to estimate how many are current Shuttle UM users, the frequency of use, and suggestions to increase the number of users.

College Park Day, 2015


Vol. 1 Issue 17

This week’s vendors include:
Pleitez Produce: Vegetables
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
Groff Content Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses
Roy and RT’s Garden and Kitchen: Prepared Indonesian cuisine and vegetables
Randalia Bee Hive Honey: Farm fresh honey
El Taco Loco: Prepared Mexican dishes
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Jesyka Padilla: Hand-crafted jewelry
Shahla Abdi Antique Trade: Bead jewelry
Inge’s Crochet Selections: Crochet made items
Dell-icious Popcorn: Flavored Popcorn
Heavenly Created: Cupcakes, pies, cakes and hot dogs
Great Shoals: Wines and Ciders
A Little Pottery: Pottery
Elated Harmony: Massage
Morning Glory Farm: Produce
Dicot Farm: Produce
Fabric Crafts by Sherry: Sewn goods
Christiane’s Designs: Knits for Babies and Adults
Take the Challenge – Play BIG at the Outdoor Chess:
If you love playing chess, you’re in luck! We have a “life-size” chess set to our market. In the past, many of our residents, especially those with children, played and enjoyed it enormously. Please come tomorrow and take the challenge!
Copyright © 2015 *Hollywood Farmers Market, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Sheriff’s Office Warns Against Phone Scams

I’ve received the following message from our Sheriff’s office warning our residents against phone scams impersonating Chief Assistant Sheriff Darrin Palmer.


Upper Marlboro, MD… The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to hear from citizens and residents that they are receiving calls from scam callers who claim to be from the Sheriff’s Office, telling them that they owe money to the IRS, they have outstanding warrants, or some other law enforcement actions, but that they can pay to resolve the matter. To get a new and secure phone line, hire now a circles phone plan.

Neither the Office of the Sheriff, nor any other law enforcement agency, asks citizens to take such an action.
In the most recent scams reported to the Sheriff, the scammer claimed to be Chief Assistant Sheriff Darrin Palmer calling to notify the citizen that they had to pay a fine to avoid further action. These calls can appear to be coming from a local number or a 1-800- number and may actually be from out of state or even out of the country.

“We will continue to notify citizens and residents each time we get these calls,” said Chief Assistant Sheriff Darrin Palmer. “There are simply no circumstances in which the Sheriff or any law enforcement agency would make calls demanding payment, period. We’re telling residents that they should never give, wire or mail funds to anyone who calls saying anything like this. These are predators, and their actions are pure and simple scams,” he said.

Previous scams have included calls saying a citizen had failed to show up in court for a red light camera ticket, or they failed to appear in court or for jury duty, or the caller was calling from the IRS on Sheriff High’s behalf. None of these is true and would simply never occur.

We continue to ask for the media’s assistance in getting this message out and we appreciate everything
they have done to report these scams. Any resident who receives such a call can contact the Prince George’s County Police at 301-772-4420 and file an incident report.

“We urge citizens who get these calls to call our office immediately, even if it is for nothing more than
reassurance,“ said Colonel Palmer.

For more information contact the Communications and Public Affairs Division at 301-780-7354.

Active Aging Week: Registration Begins Next Week on Sept. 1

In celebration of International Active Aging Week, the Department of Parks and Recreation (M-NCPPC) is offering over 30 free senior activities located throughout the County to encourage seniors to stay active and connected to our community. These events are taking place Sept. 28-Oct. 3. Registration begins next week.

Please check out this brochure to find more.


New Flashing Pedestrian Light Coming near Sunnyside Skate Park

Good News! A new flashing pedestrian light (RRFB) will be installed on Rhode Island Ave at Odessa Rd near the Sunnyside Skate Park. The equipment has been ordered and the light is expected to be constructed as early as late next month or the latest by this November. The City Council allocated money in its FY2016 budget to buy and install this additional crossing light. Our City engineer has recently got the approval from County about the location of the new light on Rhode Island Avenue, which is a County road.

Currently, we have 3 RRFBs on Rhode Island Avenue in north College Park – one near Duvall field, one at Hollywood Road and another at Muskogee st. We hope the new RRFB at Odessa Rd. will help residents and their children cross Rhode Island avenue safely to the Sunnyside Skate park.

We’ll keep you posted as we find more information about status of the new light. Thank you!

County Pledges Another $20M to Purple Line

Prince George’s County will contribute an additional $20 million toward Purple Line construction costs, while Montgomery County leaders have agreed to offer up another $40 for the rail line, College Park Patch report.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said Friday leaders have agreed to increase the county’s contribution by $20 million in exchange for construction of the Purple Line starting in Prince George’s County. Also, the state has agreed that the primary command center will be located in the county, he said.

Previously, Prince George’s County had committed $100 million toward the project.

The increased county pledges come after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan cut state spending on the proposed 16-mile light rail line extending from Bethesda to New Carrollton. Current estimates to build the line stand at $2.4 billion.

Reviving College Park’s YouthWorks Program

Recently, I came to know that the youth / teens program that used to connect College Park’s youth seeking temporary work has not been active anymore.  The  program was mainly run by the staff working at the Youth and Family services.

According our staff, the program an for about 15 years, but has been inactive in recent years. The program was run mainly by staff through phone calls etc. and too much staff time was involved in this process. In the mean time,  the YFS staff has been assigned with other programs such as Lakeland STAR program etc. and it looks like we’ll need more staff time now to bring the program back again.

The program was a good one and it’s too bad it’s not active any more. I think we can sill revive the program, at least through a web base registry service model. In this model, teens providing service and interested residents seeking services can be connected, similar to what we currently do though our online rental property list service on our website .
If you have any other ideas, please let me know. Thank you!

College Park Health Fair – Sept 16

Health day Flyer 2015 final

North College Park Crime Map: Aug 9-19, 2015

Berwyn Pedestrian Bridge Update

Staff had a call today with WMATA regarding the Berwyn pedestrian bridge.  WMATA has determined that at this time it is best to only replace the span that was knocked down.  If they were to replace both spans, they would also be required by ADA standards to replace the ramps on both sides.  That requirement would essentially trigger designing and constructing a new bridge.  WMATA may replace the bridge in 3 – 5 years, so for now they will just have the contractor replace the span that was knocked down.

They expect that the repair will occur at the end of October or in November.  If there are changes to that timeline, we will let you know.  Staff will put some information about the replacement span, including images on the City’s website under Engineering soon.

Please let us know if you have questions.

Invitation to Farewell Reception for Mr. Nagro


Getting to Know Your Neighborhood with the Prince George’s Zoning Rewrite Team!

Remember to join for the next session of the County’s zoning rewrite meeting, Build Your Neighborhood, where we will discuss some key decisions that face us as we work to transition to a true 21st Century Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations.
Thank you for getting to Know Your Neighborhood with the Prince George’s Zoning Rewrite Team! Every one had a great time and learned more about the greater Prince George’s County neighborhood. If you missed the event, do not worry. You can view pictures from the event on the Facebook page,  and view the PowerPoint presentation on the project website.
Build Your Neighborhood
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Prince George’s Sports and Learning Center
8001 Sheriff Rd, Hyattsville, MD 20785
7:00 – 9:00 P.M.

Help College Park School Teachers with School supplies

Neighbors: Please make certain that our teachers at Hollywood and Paint Branch Elementary Schools have all the supplies they need for the new school year. Below is a list of supplies needed.

  • Post-It notes,
  • Sharpie flip chart markers
  • Colored Sharpie markers
  • Highlighters
  • Red pens
  • Card stock
  • Crayons
  • Glue sticks
  • Packs of index cards (5 to 10 items)
  • Pencils and Primary Pencils (large with no erasers)
  • Colored Copier paper
  • Safety scissors for children
  • Scotch tape
  • Staple remover
  • Vertical chart paper
  • Copier paper
  • Vis-à-vis markers
  • Colored construction paper (large
  • and standard size)
  • 3 x5 card boxes (5 to 10 items)

Donations can be dropped off at the following locations until August 29th- College Park Youth, Family, and Senior Services (Monday –Friday 9:30am -6:30pm)
Davis Hall (Monday thru Friday 7:30 am – 4pm)
College Park Community Library (MTW-7-8:30 pm., TWTh- 1-4 pm, Weds, Sat 10-1)
City Hall (Monday thru Friday from 8 am until 7 pm, and on Saturday from 1 – 5)