Council to Hear Oral Argument in Branchville Crossing’s Fence Application

At tomorrow night’s Council meeting, the Council will hear oral argument on a request by Cruz Development, for a departure from the City fence ordinance to erect a 6′ high front yard fence. The property (called “Branchville Crossing”) is located at 4800-4900 block of Branchville Road.

The Property has two very long frontages: 630.16-feet along University Boulevard (MD 193) and 527.88-feet along Branchville Road. The frontage along University Boulevard has a guardrail and no curb-cuts. There is unrestricted access to the property from Branchville Road.

Cruz asserts that the property has been used for illegal dumping, trespassing and other activities that appear to access through the front yard without proper authorization and a fence is needed for security and to prevent liability. Cruz referenced use of his property for the burning of a vehicle and for parking without his permission. The property is more difficult to monitor and police than a developed property and the owner is out of town. Continued information here to learn more about illegal dumping, causes, reasons, effects and solutions.

The Branchville Volunteer Fire Department testified that installation of a fence would block their use of the applicant’s property when turning and maintaining their vehicles. Vehicles belonging to Fire Department members are routinely parked on the gravel area on the applicant’s property. On October 1, 2015, the APC conducted a hearing on the merits of the variance, at which the APC heard testimony , and it recommended the approval of variance by a 3-1-0 vote.

Staff recommends that the front yard fence variance from the City Fence Ordinance be approved with the following conditions:
(a) Correct the fence location plan to accurately reflect the height of the existing fences on the western property line. They are 4-feet tall not 8-feet tall.
(b) Reduce the fence height to 4-feet to lessen the impact on the neighborhood.
(c) Upgrade the material of the fence from welded wire to black metal or something similar that would be more compatible with the neighborhood.

Public Meeting on Greenbelt Metro Interchange Project

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is moving forward with the design of the Greenbelt Metro Interchange Project along I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway) from US 1 to MD 295 (Baltimore/Washington Parkway) in Prince George’s County. This 3.2-mile-long project will facilitate the planned Transit-Oriented Development at the Greenbelt Metro Station and the potential relocation of the FBI headquarters to the Greenbelt Metro Station area.

For additional information, you are invited to attend a public meeting on:
· Wednesday, December 9, 2015
· Eleanor Roosevelt High School
· 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Please click on the image below to see more details about the project and the public meeting.


Tapped: 60-minute Film About the Bottled Water Industry

Tapped: 60-minute Film about the Bottled Water Industry
When: Saturday, December 5, 4 pm
Where: College Park City Hall, Council chambers, 2nd floor, 4500 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

Although this award-winning documentary was released in 2009, the topic is as important—if not more so—than it ever was. This film reveals the truth about the bottled water industry and prompts many important questions, such as: Is bottled water, and the package it comes in, safe, or at least safer, than tap water? Is the convenience worth the environmental impact?

Film followed by discussion and door prizes!

RSVP: Appreciated for planning purposes–but not required: janiso@erols.com

Cosponsored by the College Park Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) and the Prince George’s group of the Maryland Sierra Club

Protecting Your Residence While You’re Home or Away

residents' Safety

Leaf Collection Calendar: Nov-Dec 2015

Please see below the updated leaf collection calendar. The green and orange boxes indicate scheduled dates on east and west side of Rhode Island Avenue respectively.

North College Park Crime Map – November 15-24, 2015

Stolen Vehicle

[11/19/15]STLVEH18:4520:179500 Blk 51ST AVE,
[11/24/15]STLVEH10:4611:389600 Blk MILESTONE WAY


Breaking and Entering

[11/17/15]BREAKR12:0013:4710200 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,



[11/20/15]THEFT12:1412:46SUPER 8 MOTEL, 9150 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740
[11/23/15]THEFT13:1614:089100 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,
[11/23/15]THEFT19:5320:22SHOPPERS FOOD – COLLEGE PARK, 4720 Cherry Hill Rd, College Park, MD 20740


Robbery Citizen

[11/22/15]ROBCIT19:0721:11BUFFALO WILD WINGS, 10240 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740

December Live Smart, Eat Local Tour

The next next “College Park Live Smart, Eat Local” Tour will take place on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:00 p.m.
at Mamma Lucia Restaurant, at 4734 Cherry Hill Road (next to Shoppers). Please spread the word. Thanks.

Council Mulls Comments on Greenbelt Station

At tomorrow’s meeting, the City Council will consider approving a resolution about City’s views on the 3rd phase Greenbelt Station development. The Council discussed the items at last Tuesday’s worksession.

Some of the items we’ve been considering are as follows:

1. Revise the site plan to relocate the pedestrian overpass to the area shown as Alignment 2 in the City of College Park Pedestrian Overpass Feasibility Study (copy attached). a. Remove townhomes on lots 34, 35, 40 and 41. b. Dedicate a 50-foot Public Use Easement to accommodate a 12-foot wide trail and 16-foot wide bridge per AASHTO Guidelines.

2. Show a detail for the proposed sound wall that uses an absorptive material or coating in order to mitigate reflective noise. a. The absorptive material or coating shall have a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.70 or greater. b. The absorptive material or coating shall be used for the entirety of the west side of the wall facing the railroad tracks.

3. Revise the site plan to provide more detail for the retail site on lot 116 including the building footprint and access.

4. The City requests that the Developer conduct an analysis of current noise levels in north College Park neighborhoods located parallel to the Southcore /Greenbelt Station Development . Suggested analysis points are 9100 and 9200 blocks of 51st Avenue and the 5200 block of Huron Street. Analysis should include daytime and evening noise and levels when METRO and CSX trains are passing and ambient noise level.

The City further requests that the addition of new structures and installation of a sound barrier between the Southcore property and the railroad tracks be constructed in a manner that does not increase the current noise levels in north College Park.

To facilitate no additional increase in noise levels in north College Park, the material used for the sound barrier should

5. While the current number of proposed units meets the trip cap established for Southcore, we are concerned about changes to and increases in traffic circulation in College Park as a result of the project. The City asks for consideration in reducing the density of units in the development, in order to add more green space within the development and reduce overall trip count through the development, subsequently reducing traffic impacts on MD-193 and Rhode Island Avenue in College Park.

Once the proposed Greenbelt Parkway is built connecting the north and south core developments, and the proposed FBI development takes place in north core, the trip count through the development from MD-193 to the beltway is expected to rise significantly.

We plan to make the final draft before the meeting tomorrow night.

Small Business Saturday, November 28


Small Business Saturday will take place on Nov 28th, and College Park is going to celebrate with a #ShopSmall Selfie event!

At last week’s Council meeting, the Mayor and Council proclaimed November 28th as the Small Business Day.

How it works:
1.) Show your support by taking selfies while you shop at your
favorite local businesses on Nov 28th.

2.) Tag the businesses in each photo and post the photos using the following hashtags: #ShopSmall and #ShopCollegePark.

I hope to see you on Saturday, 11/28!

City to Ask Revoking Backyard Grill’s Liquor License

At next Tuesday’s council meeting, the City Council will ask the County’s liquor licensing commission to revoke the liquor license of College Park Backyard Grill.

The letter requests that, based on the severity of the case, and the fact that this is the second incident involving a serious violation of the law, the liquor license for this premises be revoked, and that the BOLC take any other action necessary to prevent further threats to the public health and safety.

The letter will be sent with the City’s position with respect to the Show Cause Hearing to be held by the BOLC concerning an incident which occurred on September 26, 2015 at DKL Investments, Inc., t/a Backyard Sports Grill, located at 7313 A and B Baltimore Avenue.

City staff will be authorized to appear at the show cause hearing to present the City’s position.

On September 26, 2015, an incident occurred inside the Backyard Sports Grill that involved a large fight during early morning hours. Security personnel were unable to break up the fight, which then spilled into the street. During the altercation, an off-duty Prince George’s County police officer who was working secondary employment at the premises was assaulted.

It has also been determined that a promoter was involved in the entertainment, which is a violation of BOLC rules.

This occurred in spite of the fact that the owners had assured the Mayor and Council during a work session on September 15, 2015 that they would cease using promoters. This is the second incident that has occurred at the premises in the recent past involving a violent incident and use of promoters.

The Council thinks that revocation of the license is necessary to prevent any further threats to public health and safety.

[Source: Staff report]

Tomorrow at the Farmers Market

Please see below the newsletter of the last “official” market for the season.

Vol. 1 Issue 28 – Happy Thanksgiving!
The Hollywood Farmers Market Board, Manager and vendors wish one and all a wonderful Thanksgiving with hopes that you are able to spend the day with family and friends.  This Saturday is our “official” final market for the season… unless the weather cooperates and then we will see you for the first 3 Saturdays of December.  How will you know if we will have a market?  Look for a newsletter or drive by and see us there or check in on our Facebook page. If we don’t get a chance to see you- have a wonderful winter season and early spring.  We’ll see you in April!As a way of celebrating our final market day we will be giving out 2 $1.00 coupons to each customer until 11:00 a.m.  Stop by the market table or catch Julie as she wanders the market to pick up your coupons (good for 11/21/2015 only, of course).

This is the last week we will be collecting canned and non-perishable foods for Meals on Wheels and the College Park Community Food Bank at the Church of the Nazarene.  The donation box can be found at the market table. 

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
El Taco Loco: Prepared Mexican dishes
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Jesyka Padilla: Hand-crafted jewelry
Crest Hill Bakery: Bread and desserts
Dell-icious Popcorn: Flavored Popcorn
Heavenly Created: Cupcakes, pies, cakes and hot dogs
A Little Pottery: Pottery
Dicot Farm: Produce
Fabric Crafts by Sherry: Sewn goods
Christiane’s Designs: Knits for Babies and AdultsMusic: Double Sharp

Remember- if you signed up for a Groff’s Content turkey you will need to pick it up this Saturday.

Lastly, Great news- Calvert Farms will be selling Christmas trees this weekend!  Christmas is only 34 days away so it’s never to early to buy a tree!

Copyright © 2015 *Hollywood Farmers Market, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Group to Discuss Traffic Safety Issues at Rhode Island Avenue and Greenbelt Road

At tonight’s Berwyn District Civic Association (BDCA) meeting, the group will discuss the traffic safety issues at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Greenbelt Road.

The meeting will be held at 8 p.m. at the Four Seasons Room at Holy Redeemer NOT at Fealy Hall as originally planned.

The issues on this road impact many groups: pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. Residents all over our city use this roadway, as do parishioners going to and from Holy Redeemer Church and School, patrons and workers of the businesses along Berwyn Road, pedestrians and bicyclists connecting to the Trolley Trail, and others just passing through College Park. We need to attend this meeting to represent our concern and our desire for a smart solution. SHA has already proposed two solutions:

Restricting left turns and crossing the intersection, traveling south on Rhode Island into Berwyn. I believe this would involve a physical barrier.
Changing the one-way direction of the traffic on Rhode Island Avenue in Berwyn, so that you can no longer enter the community at this road (Exit-only)

These solutions will potentially resolve the issues for vehicles, but there are still many other unsafe conditions that pedestrians and bicyclists face. SHA has “studied” this area multiple times and have indicated that the bicycle and pedestrian volumes at this area do not warrant more substantial solutions, like flashing beacons or a planted medians… I believe that we should advocate that they design the space for the behavior we would like to promote as a neighborhood and as a city, which balances our existing auto-centric roads with more walkable and bike-able features.

The road should also be designed to be less of a dividing line between Berwyn and Branchville. A planted median could potentially create a more cohesive feel and also provide safe refuge for pedestrians. Baltimore Avenue will be reconstructed beginning in 2018 with sidewalk, bike lanes, and median dividers, so it only makes sense to continue the same design as people turn from Baltimore Avenue to Greenbelt Road

[Thanks to District 2 Councilmember PJ Brennan for sharing this information]

Group Presents Stormwater Management work in the City

To comply with the EPA mandate, Prince George’s County must implement stormwater treatment measures throughout the County that will reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment by 25, 24 and 20 percent respectively from 15,000 acres of polluted stormwater runoff by 2025.

Compliance with this mandate requires the implementation of storm water management best practices at an estimated 46,000 locations throughout the County. Some of these storm water management best practices will be implemented in the City.

Late last year the County entered into a public-private partnership with the Corvias Group, of East Greenwich, Rhode Island. The agreement is a 30 year arrangement referred to as the Clean Water Partnership. Under this agreement Corvias will first oversee the retrofitting of 2,000 acres of impervious area within the County over the next three years. Just as a note the County, through its traditional means of procurement, is also retrofitting 2,000 acres concurrently with Covias.

Corvias has hired CH2M Hill of Englewood, Colorado to perform planning, design, and construction inspection for the first 2,000 acres.

Representatives from CH2M Hill’s Silver Spring office will attended last night’s Worksession to present their City of College Park work plan.

[Source: City of College Park]

City to Award Grants to Community Groups

At tonight’s Council meeting, the city council will discuss awarding grants to community organizations serving College Park.

The FY2016 adopted College Park operating budget provides $20,000 in funding for community services grants, limited to $2,500 per organization. Organizations receiving direct or beneficial grants or community event micro-grants from the City, volunteer fire companies receiving fire department capital equipment grants, or public schools receiving education grants were not eligible to apply.

Grant applications were e-mailed to previous recipient organizations on October 20 and were advertised on the City’s website (with links to the application form and criteria) and in the Municipal Scene.

The City received 7 grant applications by the November 5 deadline, requesting a total of $16,600. Councilmembers Mitchell, Day, Dennis and I volunteered to serve on the subcommittee to review submitted grant applications and make a recommendation to Mayor & Council for grant award.

On November 10, the subcommittee met to review the submitted applications and formulate its recommendation for grant award. Applications were rated based on the grant criteria.The committee recommends that the following applicants each receive $2,500:

  • the National Museum of Language (for a language camp and other events)
  • the Lakeland Community Heritage Project (for Lakeland Heritage events)
  • American Legion Auxiliary Park Unit 217 (for college scholarships for Miss College Park pageant participants)
  • Pregnancy Aid Centers, Inc. (for its food pantry program)
  • the College Park Woods Swim Club (for a Senior summer day camp)
  • Embry Center for Family Life (for the Lakeland All-Stars basketball program),
  • College Park Church of the Nazarene (for the College Park Community Library).

The Council will review these grants in tomorrow’s worksession.

Council will also discuss grant reporting by recipients of direct grants. Recipients of direct grants include College Park Arts Exchange, College Park Boys & Girls Club, Meals on Wheels of College Park, College Park City-University Partnership and College Park Community Foundation. In prior fiscal years, CPCUP on behalf of College Park Academy would also be included in this list.

Council to Discuss Greenbelt Station-South Core Development

Greenbelt Station (Courtesy of Ryan Homes)

Greenbelt Station (Courtesy of Ryan Homes)

At tomorrow’s meeting, the City Council will review the Detailed Site Plan (DSP) of the Greenbelt Station South Core development.

The 11.18-acre property is located north of Greenbelt Road (MD 193) on the west side of Greenbelt Station Parkway in the City of Greenbelt, just on the east side of the Metro train track.

Woodlawn Development Group (WDG) has submitted a Detailed Site Plan (DSP) for Phase III of the plan back in February this year and has made three revisions to the plan since that time in response to comments by Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Greenbelt staff.

The project is located entirely within the City of Greenbelt and is subject to a Development Agreement between the City and Developer. As a result, the City staff’s review and comments will be limited to those issues with an impact on the City.

The Prince George’s County Planning Board hearing is scheduled for January 7, 2016. The Maryland-National Capital Parking and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Technical Staff Report should be available on December 24, 2015. The Greenbelt City Council is anticipated to take a position on December 14, 2015.

The proposal is for development of 161 townhouses and 3,000 square feet of possible commercial space. If the commercial space is determined to not be marketable after one year, then it will be converted into park land. The town homes will consist of three different types with the following breakdown: 68 units will be 16-foot wide, 46 will be 20-foot wide and 47 will be 24-foot wide.

Two previous Detailed Site Plans were approved for South Core. DSP-04081 was for 61 town homes (24-foot wide), 151 town homes (20-foot wide) and 130 two-over-two condominiums for a total of 342 dwelling units. DSP-05021 was for 302 apartments and structured parking. The total number of dwelling units for Greenbelt Station South Core including the current DSP is 805 dwelling units.

College Park Pedestrian Overpass
The provision for a pedestrian overpass between the South Core and the City of College Park is the major issue for the City related to this project.

In addition, Policy 2 of the Metro Area Plan states (p. 125): “Improve bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular accessibility throughout the sector plan area [which includes the subject property] and within adjacent communities by filling in missing linkages and ensuring the internal network is pedestrian-and bicycle-friendly through appropriate design, including traffic calming techniques:”

Also in this plan, Strategy 2.4 states: ” Provide additional connections between existing and future neighborhoods and the Indian Creek trail and Northeast Branch trail systems to contribute to stronger communities that enjoy greater mobility and access to regional transportation systems.”

And Strategy 2.5 states: “Build a pedestrian overpass linking the Greenbelt Metro Station area to
North College Park south of Huron Street to maximized safety and connectivity. If it is
determined that this pedestrian overpass is infeasible or no longer necessary, the South Core
development team may take the appropriate steps to request the removal of the conditions of the
approval of CSP -01008/01 requiring the pedestrian overpass.”

Finally, Table 31 (p. 132): “Existing, Planned, and Proposed Bikeways and Trails lists the North College Park Pedestrian Overpass and states “construct a pedestrian/bicyclist overpass across the CSX and Metro line to link North College Park and the South Core area.”

Proposed Location: The applicant is proposing to locate the pedestrian overpass on the far northern side of the townhomes running along the boundary of the 100-year floodplain easement and just south of a storm water management pond. The overpass is shown to start at the west side of Greenbelt Station Parkway, travel in a westerly direction for 465-feet, then turn 90- degrees in a southerly direction for 920-feet past the City of College Park Public Works Facility and then turn 90-degrees in a westerly direction for 50-feet. The overpass is proposed to cross the train lines just south ofHuron Street and be at grade (land) 560-feet north ofthe Public Works Facility and continue as a sidewalk along the Board of Education property and the Public Works property.

Height: If the pedestrian bridge is constructed it will need to be of sufficient height to meet WMA T A and CSX standards. It will also need to be designed with a gradual slope to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The bridge on the site plan shows a gradual increase in height as it crosses the tracks with one switchback located on the Greenbelt side. It is shown to be 29-feet in height at its highest point. This would roughly be the height of a three story house.

The location of the overpass does not comply with the District Council condition since it crosses over just south ofHuron Street and not south of the Public Works Facility. Also, the 920-foot section of the overpass parallel to the CSX and Metro tracks seems excessive and unsafe (not well lit, too wooded, behind the 16-foot high sound wall, etc.). In order to ascertain

if a more feasible location could be determined, Staff retained Toole Design consultants to make an assessment. The results of this work are not yet available but will be provided on or before November 17,2015.

City staff met with the North College Park Citizens Association at their regular meeting on Thursday, November l2th to discuss the Greenbelt Station Phase III South Core proposal. The NCPCA voted to send a letter to the City Council generally requesting that the bridge be removed or at least relocated so the entire bridge is located south of the Public Works facility to minimize impact to the homes in College Park.

City of Greenbelt’s staff is also recommending disapproval. Based on their significant concerns and lock of compliance with their Development Agreement, the City Council may wish to be supportive.

City staff is recommending commenting on the pedestrian bridge by either recommending it be removed from the plan or relocated to another location based on the results of the consultant report.

[Source: College Park Staff report]