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Month: February 2016 Page 1 of 3

Arts District Idea Hits a Hurdle

Last year, the Council discussed with Dr. Sheri Parks, the Associate Dean, College of Arts and Humanities of the University of Maryland, about the possibility of establishing an arts district in College Park near the UMD campus.

As a follow-up, City staff convened a meeting of representatives from the University of Maryland, County Council Members Glaros and Taveras, the County Executive’s Office, the Gateway Arts District, and the Maryland State Arts Council. The County Executive’s Office provided correspondence outlining why the County Executive would oppose an expansion of the Gateway Arts District. Although participants support more arts and entertainment events in the College Park area, many expressed concerns about any expansion or creation of a new designated arts district. Additionally, based on the Gateway Arts District experience, the State incentives offered by the designation have not been as significant a driver of arts and entertainment investment as perhaps envisioned originally.

There was some discussion of what structure or entity could be used or created by the University and the City to support an expanded arts capacity in this area. See the attached meeting summary for additional information. Based on the meeting discussion, an application to expand or create a new arts district would require a significant amount of work, and it would likely be opposed by important local leaders.

The amount of work, likelihood of success, and value of the designation does not make this an attractive option. At tomorrow’s worksession, the Council will discuss these recent developments and will decide whether to move forward further in establishing an arts district in College Park.

Council to Review City’s Two Farmers Market

At the conclusion of the 2015/ 2016 farmers market season the City’s staff conducted surveys to assess customer and vendor satisfaction for the Downtown College Park Farmers Market. The City’s staff also met with the leaders of the Hollywood Farmers Market to assess the success of their market season. Both markets received positive evaluations.

The City of College Park FY 2016 budget allocated $9,195 for the Downtown College Park Farmers Market and $8,000 for the Hollywood Farmers Market. Additionally, the Downtown College Park Management Authority (DCPMA) contributed $2,250 towards the Downtown College Park Farmers Market. Similar amounts are anticipated to be budgeted in FY 2017.

Pedestrian Crossing Light Vandalized on Rhode Island Ave

Some of you have probably noticed that the RRFB pedestrian crossing light on Rhode Island ave near Muskogee street east has been missing. It appears that someone damaged the light and the stop sign, took the light assembly and dropped it on Edgewood Rd median near 49th avenue. ( please see pictures attached).

Our staff has been in contact with the sales rep, manufacturer, and installation contractor. A police report will be made, this is grand larceny and destruction of public property.

I’ll let you know once the light is restored.

College Park – A 2020 Vision

Please click here to make your reservation online.

College Park Scholarships for UMD Summer Camps

Once again, City has announced a scholarship application for up to $500 for the University of Maryland summer camps. Only City of College Park children pre-K up through high school are eligible to apply. Please see below for details and spread the word. Thank you!



Police Seeks Help in Finding Berwyn Vandalism Suspects

The Prince George’s County Police Department is seeking information on the above pictured suspects in connection with a vandalism report. The incident occurred on 02-20-16 at approximately 0323 hrs at two businesses on Berwyn Rd in College Park.

The first location is Smile Herb Shop located at 4908 Berwyn Rd. The second location is White Lotus Wellness Center located at 4912 Berwyn Rd. If you have any information pertaining to the identity of these individuals contact the Prince George’s County Police Department (Northern Regional Investigative Division-Property Crimes Unit) at 301-699-2601.
A cash reward is being offered.

North College Park Crime Map – February 13-20, 2016

Theft from auto
2/12/2016 3:11 THEFT FROM AUTO 10100 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
2/17/2016 6:27 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

Stolen Vehicle
2/12/2016 7:54 STOLEN VEH 9611 52ND AVE
2/14/2016 11:21 STOLEN VEH 9314 CHERRY HILL RD
2/18/2016 14:15 STOLEN VEH 9500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
2/18/2016 23:12 STOLEN VEH 10211 Blk BALTIMORE AVE NB

2/17/2016 17:10 THEFT REPORT 10100 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
2/19/2016 14:39 THEFT 4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

2/18/2016 20:53 ASSAULT 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

Breaking and Entering

Council Discusses Proposed County Zoning Laws

pg zoning rewrite
At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider approving a letter be sent to the Prince George’s County Planning Department with the City’s comments on Module 1 of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance Rewrite that addresses zones and zone regulations, use regulations and interpretations and definitions.  The letter applauds the County for undertaking the arduous process of rewriting the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations.  The current zoning code is outdated and cumbersome and the proposed new format and many of the recommendations contained in Module 1 reflect best practices that are welcomed.  The letter includes some concerns, however, about the shift to more by-right development and how that will impact public and municipal participation in the development review process

At last week’s worksession, the City Council discussed the new zoning laws that may affect College Park. The comments include:

1. For communities inside the beltway, replacing the existing Open Space (OS) zone with an Agricultural Land (AL) zone that provides for agriculture and forestry as well as single-family lots greater than 5 acres isn’t a good fit. College Park has both O-S and Reserved Open Space (R-O-S) property but the distinctions between them on the ground aren’t really clear. The City suggests that two different Public Land (PL) zones might be more appropriate: a PL-P zone with the primary purpose of preserving and protecting environmental features and a PL-R zone for parks and recreational facilities.

2. The UMD campus is zoned Rural Residential (R-R) but obviously does not fit this description. Even though UMD is exempt from zoning and permit requirements, there should be another zoning category applied to campus to more accurately reflect the intensity of its use. For example, an Urban Campus (UC) zone that recognizes a high- density, mixed-use campus environment would better describe the land use conditions.

3. The City supports the minor changes to the regulations under the proposed Single-Family Residential-6.7 (SFR -6.7) zone that will replace the existing One-Family Detached (R55) zone. College Park has many properties that are “grandfathered” in this zone. Since the grandfather provisions footnoted in the regulations today will be replaced with new “Transitional Provisions” that have not been drafted, it will be important for the City to review and comment on these provisions.

4. The Multiple-Family, Medium- Density Residential (R-18) zone is found in College Park, particularly in the Old Town neighborhood, but many of these properties are nonconforming. Rather than transition to the Multifamily Residential-20 (MFR-20) zone which retains the same density of up to 20 dwelling units per acre, the City recommends consideration of the Multifamily Residential-12 (MFR-12) zone. This zone would more realistically reflect an appropriate density based on lot size.

5. The City is concerned about the elimination of the Development District and Transit District 0verlay Zones (DDOZ and TDOZ) as well as the Mixed-Use-Infill (M-U-I) and Mixed-Use-Transportation (M-X-T) zones that have been instrumental in promoting redevelopment along the Route 1 corridor and in the College Park Metro Area. It will be difficult to translate the character and urban design standards developed in the specific plans for these areas to more generic base zones. The Route 1 Development District Plan (DDP) and the College Park/Riverdale Park Transit District Development Plan (TDDP) were developed fairly recently with extensive citizen involvement and support. It is important to retain the site-specific nuance captured in these plans as well as the flexibility that has been key to attracting new development. This is particularly true if the Planned Development (PD) zones are not part of the initial map amendment.

The City recommends a possible compromise that retains these plans intact until such time as a new Master Plan for the area is developed. The base zone could be called Mixed-Use-Development (M-U-D) in order to correspond with the MU-PD zone. The byright standards would be those contained in the respective plans. Modifications from the standards would be allowed through the PD process.

6. The standards in the Regional Transit-Oriented (RTO) Center Base Zones that make a distinction between the core (within a ¼ mile of a transit station) and edge (within a ½ mile of a transit station) may be too restrictive. It is important that actual site conditions be considered when applying these standards. It would be a mistake to create a situation where the new base zones appear to be downzoning and work against redevelopment efforts.

7. The proposed new Campus Activity Center Planned Development (CAC-PD) zone is almost identical to the Local Transit-Oriented Planned Development (LTO-PD) zone so is probably unnecessary.

8. The Boarding or Rooming House use is carried forward from the current ordinance and the definition is unchanged. This use has been problematic in College Park and is not used as originally intended. The City recommends that this use be eliminated. If it cannot be eliminated, the definition should be changed to clarify that the dwelling shall be owner-occupied or “operated by a responsible individual” [taken from definition of Group Residential Facility]. The number of guests and guest rooms (bedrooms) needs to be clearly stated to remove any ambiguity. It might also be appropriate to require that a special exception be obtained in order to address the impact to the character of the neighborhood prior to approval.

9. Urban agriculture should be defined as it is a growing trend. Food production should be encouraged as an accessory use on rooftops and permitted in all yards in single-family zones.

10. The definition of a fast-food restaurant under Eating and Drinking Establishments that includes how food items are paid for and what they are served on seems outdated and is not an important land-use distinction. It is recommended that the fast food category be deleted and a new category of drive-through restaurant be created. Drive-through restaurants should not be permitted in the MFR-20 and MFR-48 zones as they are defined as primarily multifamily zones with supportive, walkable retail.

11. Medical Cannabis is a permitted use in the State of Maryland and should be included in the code as a new use with use-specific standards for growing, processing, and dispensing. In addition, you can visit website to avail cannabis products. You may also visit Stiiizy Santa Rosa Dispensary to see products in person.

A dispensary, like CBD Hemp Direct, is typically considered a retail activity but might also be placed in the Health Care Uses category.

12. Various types of group living arrangements are defined and permitted in the code such as convent or monastery, assisted living facility, group residential facilities for populations with special needs, fraternity and sorority house, etc. The City suggests that there may be an opportunity to define a new use for students who lease single-family homes in neighborhoods near a college or university and to further regulate this use in terms of occupancy, parking and other standards. This use could be called “University Group Home.”

13. Add “Bike-Share Station” as a permitted accessory use under Transportation Uses in all zones.

14. Add “Dog Park” as a permitted accessory use to Parks and Greenways under the Open Space Use category.

15. The definition of Home Garden and Home-Based Agriculture are very similar and might be combined. The City recommends that gardens be allowed in the front yard and that regulations for garden fences be developed.

16. Add “Library, Personal” as a new accessory use permitted in all zones. This use is sometimes known as a “Little Free Library” and is a “take-a-book, return-a-book” exchange that is becoming increasingly common in neighborhoods. It should be considered similar to a freestanding mailbox in terms of being an allowable encroachment into required yards.

17. Both “Hookah Bars and Electronic Cigarette Stores” are becoming more popular and have some unique characteristics that might warrant them to be addressed in use-specific standards. Consider adding these as new uses in the code.

18. The City is still discussing the merits of allowing accessory dwelling units and home housing for poultry in single-family zones. We intend to provide more input on these uses at a later date.

College Park Mother’s Day 5K Race

CPCF 2016 Run

Bill to Strengthen two UMD campuses in College Park and Baltimore

The State has recently introduced a bill recognizing the University of Maryland as a single name and two campuses in College Park and Baltimore. Please see below the message UMCP president Dr. Loh sent out earlier.

Dear University of Maryland community:
I would like to let you know of a bill just introduced in the Maryland Senate that could have a positive impact on our campus. If enacted into law, it would create a much stronger partnership between our campus and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, making fuller use of our complementary strengths.
SB 1052, “University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act of 2016,” recognizes a single name and two campuses. It defines “The University of Maryland” as “a strategic partnership” between “The University of Maryland College Park Campus” and “The University of Maryland Baltimore Campus.” (
Nearly four years ago, we began such a partnership—without the benefit of state law—known as “MPower.” It has been successful: joint research centers; joint technology commercialization that increased licensing revenue by 72%; some 60 joint faculty appointments resulting in over $70M in research awards; and new cross-university educational programs that expand opportunities for our students. The potential is even greater.
This bill builds upon and expands MPower. The intent is to empower the two institutions to reach the highest levels of national prominence in education, research, and economic impact on the state. The bill recognizes that (1) research is the “building block of a knowledge-based economy;” (2) federal research funding is “transitioning from single-discipline grants to multi-disciplinary grants;” and (3) the state must invest in research and innovation to catalyze economic vitality.
In terms of governance, the two campuses would each continue to be led by its own president. The two presidents are asked to form a joint steering committee, similar to the existing MPower committee, to promote close alignment of both institutions. When a vacancy occurs in the presidency of either campus, the Board of Regents is authorized—but not required—to determine whether to proceed with one president for both campuses.
Among the bill’s other provisions:
· Creates and funds a “Center for Maryland Advanced Ventures” in Baltimore to seek joint and interdisciplinary grant funds and commercialize the research of both campuses.
· Creates and funds a “University of Maryland Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Development (UMCEED) in College Park to advance education and research in interdisciplinary fields that are critical to the knowledge-based economy of the future, including neurosciences, virtual reality, data analytics, and cyber-security.
· Funds the construction of a new Biomedical and Engineering Education building in Shady Grove, and directs the two presidents to develop plans for joint programs that will also contribute to the economic development of the region.
· Calls for a joint plan by the two presidents to bring the assets of their respective campuses—the professional schools in Baltimore and the colleges in College Park (Education, Business, Social and Behavioral Sciences, etc.) to support job creation and reduce unemployment in Baltimore.
· Moves USM headquarters from Adelphi to Baltimore City and transfers ownership of the USM building on Metzerott Road to the University of Maryland College Park Campus.
The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership institutionalizes the collaboration between the two institutions and sets the stage for both to eventually become more highly placed among U.S. research universities in terms of combined research expenditures and federal research rankings. Almost all of the funding peers of our campus have a medical school, a law school, or both, which expand interdisciplinary research and educational opportunities.
Provost Rankin and I will be meeting with campus groups in the coming days to discuss this proposed law. We will keep you informed of its progress as it makes its way through the legislative process.
Wallace D. Loh

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