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New Beige Yard Waste Carts Go for Sale

City Resident Bill Taylor takes his new Yard Waste Cart home

City now has beige 65-gallon yard waste carts available for residents to purchase for $25. These carts are selling quickly, so get yours soon!

The new beige yard waste cart can be used for either “soft yard waste” or “woody yard waste.” Soft and Woody yard wastes are collected on separate days and processed into two different products.

This sturdy cart has wheels and a lift-bar for easy collection. Using the new yard waste cart can save time and money – single use paper lawn bags become expensive over time and can tear or fall apart when wet.

Please call the Department of Public Works at 240-4873590 to arrange payment and to coordinate pick-up or delivery.

Split Council Decides to Use Eminent Domain and Acquire Route 1 Properties

At last night’s City Council meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of properties located at 7409 and 7411 Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) using eminent domain. Five businesses at these locations will be affected by the acquisition and further development, including Smoothie King, Subway, Hair Cuttery, Shanghai Cafe, and a cell phone repair shop. It’s unknown when the leases of these businesses will expire.

The vote was a tie. Brennan, Day, Dennis and Stullich supported the measure. Cook, Kujawa, Kabir, and Nagle opposed it. Mayor Wojahn broke the tie in favor.

Before the vote, a motion to table the vote was defeated (tied at 4-4, with Mayor breaking the tie).

I personally felt that the Council should have selected a concept design and the associated budget before deciding to acquire the Route 1 properties. Over the past 5 years, the City Council discussed a few options to build a City Hall at the current location. The cost figures of these options ranged from 4 million to 12.5 million. It’s true that the City Council decided to select the Knox Road site for the future of City Hall, however, it never voted on how the new City Hall would look like.

Back in 2012, the City Council engaged a consultant to design a concept plan to build an extension to the existing City Hall. This design would have cost the City Hall between $4 to $5 million.

In 2014, when the Council decided to select the Knox Road site as the future of City Hall, it talked about two options – whether to build the City Hall alone ($8 million) or build jointly with the University. The joined project was later estimated at 12.5 million and would require the acquisition of the Route 1 properties.

Several residents spoke at the meeting. Many residents also sent their comments via emails. Almost all of the District 1, 2 and 4 residents opposed the proposal. They were concerned about high cost of the project, the loss of property tax revenues from the affected businesses. The majority of the District 3 residents supported the proposal.

City Announces Holiday Decorating Contest ‘Deck the City’

City announced yesterday the Holiday Decorating Contest or “Deck the City”.

Residents may nominate themselves or their neighbors. The form would request information like street address and homeowner contact information so that we can easily locate the nominees’ homes, and contact the winners.

Staff propose that residents nominate homes from November 28 at 12pm (noon) through December 14 at 6pm.

Contest is open to residential addresses within the City of College Park only.

Entries must be received by 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

Completed entries will be accepted via email, mail or by telephone. A completed form may also be dropped off at City Hall only for submission. Incomplete entries may not be accepted.

Judging will be held from Friday, December 15 through Sunday, December 17, 2017 between 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Holiday lights and decorations must be turned on prior to the start of judging.

Prizes will be awarded for the three winners in each of the City’s four districts (twelve winners total).
Winning homes will be notified on Monday, December 18, 2017. Winners must have their lights and decorations on Tuesday, December 19 between 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for photos.

Photos of winning homes will be posted on the City’s website, social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), Municipal Scene and possibly other City channels.

For information, please visit City’s website here.

City to Oppose Hike in Water Bill for Small Households

At the November 14, 2017, meeting of the Mayor and Council, Joseph Beach, the Chief Financial Officer for the Washington Sanitary Commission (WSSC) presented the rate structure alternatives that had have been evaluated by WSSC.

The WSSC submitted the General Manager’s Recommendations to the County Council for review on November 15, 2017.

While the City Council appreciate that the new rate structure will reduce the average water bills for higher volume users and thus will satisfy the recommendations set by the Public Service Commissions, the Council also found that each of the three recommended proposals would result in higher water bills for smaller households with the lowest water use. These families typically try to keep their water bills to a low level by preserving more water and thus they feel that they will be in a disadvantageous position under the new proposed rate structure.

It is the opinion of the College Park Mayor and Council that the inclining 3-Tier Option B alternative presents the most affordable option for families while still providing an incentive to conserve water use.

College Park has a long-standing policy on sustainability, which includes water preservation. The City also annually participates in the National Mayor’s challenge for water preservation.

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider approving a letter to the Prince George’s County Council asking them to consider adopting the WSSC rate that will do the most to reduce the burden of increased water rates on smaller households.

North College Park Crime Map: November 19 – 25, 2017

Please see below last week’s crime map and let me know if you ahve any questions. Thank you!

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 25, 2017 is Small Business Saturday – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.  With the holiday season upon us now is a great time to purchase goods which support local businesses and contribute to College Park’s economic growth and vitality!

Don’t forget to take a break from all your shopping to have a meal at a local restaurant as well.

How You Can Participate? Check some of the local and small business listed right here on the Shop College Park website

More information about Small Business Saturday 

Holiday Burglary Tips

City Mulls Changing Inspection Frequencies of Rental Properties in College Park

At tonight’s Council meeting, the City  Council will discuss reducing the frequency of interior inspections on some rental units in the City.

Since 1965 the City has been conducting annual interior inspections of all residential rental units and commercial properties as part of the occupancy permit process required by the City Code (Chapter 144-6-A).With the number of new properties in the City, it is difficult for code enforcement to perform the required interior inspections and also enforce exterior property maintenance throughout the City.

Staff find the most hazards and code violations in single-family home rentals. Staff’s opinion is that single-family homes, townhouses, individually owned condominium units and small apartment rental properties pose the greatest risk to health and safety.

As of April 2017, there are 1,336 permitted single-family, individually owned condominium, and townhouse residential units in the city. There are 3,875, apartment units, 1,057 hotel rooms, and 447 commercial properties with permits.Additionally, there are 15 fraternity and sorority houses and 10 rooming houses.

Staff is suggesting going to biennial inspections of the living spaces at “modern” apartment structures and hotels and continuing annual inspections of common public spaces at these locations, and annual review of their third-party inspection of sprinkler systems, fire and smoke alarms, elevators and other system maintenance items.Staff is recommending continuing annual interior inspections of single-family homes, townhouses, individually owned condominium units and small apartment rental properties.

Staff estimates that up to 450 hours could be reallocated from an interior to exterior inspections by reducing the inspection frequency of modern apartment structures and hotels.

Council to Discuss County’s New Zoning Laws

The Council will discuss recently released M-NCPPC Comprehensive Review Draft of the proposed new Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations and Landscape Manual for public review and comment.

The M-NCPPC has requested comments be submitted by December 15, 2017, in order to be considered by staff and the consultant team prior to the presentation of a legislative draft to the County Council in early spring 2018. A countywide map amendment (zoning map) to implement the new ordinance will then follow.

The Comprehensive Review Draft represents over four years of work that included the previous release of an Evaluation and Recommendations Report and various Zoning Modules with proposed changes. Public input has been sought during the process through the M-NCPPC project website at zoningpgc.pgplanning.com. Many public meetings have been held and the City Council has provided formal comments along the way back in February last year.

Based on the public comments received, and discussions with the District Council, some initial proposals and recommendations from the consultant team have changed. Some of the key changes include:

• District Council call-up is retained
• Accessory dwelling units are not permitted in single-family zones
• Backyard chickens are not permitted in single-family zones
• Beekeeping is added as an accessory use
• Private dormitory is added as a new use and rooming house redefined
• Urban agriculture is more clearly defined
• Recognizes existing authority and role of municipalities
• Revises thresholds between minor and major detailed site plans to require more site plan review
• Reinstates certification on nonconforming use procedure and removes ability to substitute one nonconforming use with another
• Eliminates the term adjustment for variances and departures
• Increases requirement for off-street parking inside the beltway from 1 to 1.5 spaces.

In general, staff is supportive of the direction and substance of the Comprehensive Review Draft and views it as an overall improvement. There are several specific issues that have the potential to substantially impact College Park and need to be further explored:
• Elimination of the Development District Overlay Zone (DDOZ) and Transit District Overlay Zone (TDOZ)
• Elimination of the Mixed-Use-Infill (M-U-I) Zone.
• Transition to proposed new zoning categories
• Applicability of Neighborhood Compatibility Standards
• Shift from discretionary to administrative review of development applications
• Changes to public notice and community involvement in the development review process
• Changes to the transportation adequacy requirements at time of subdivision

The Council may also want to address other issues and concerns during the Worksession discussion.

North College Park Crime Map: November 12-18, 2017

AddressType
9500 Blk 52ND AveTheft from auto
9300 Blk Baltimore AveBreaking & Entering

Today – Branchville Fire Co Vendor & Craft Show

Tomorrow’s Farmers Market: It’s been a great season!

Vol. 3 Issue 29 – It’s been a great season!

The season will be coming to an end this Saturday.  Thank you to all of you who have been dedicated to our market every Saturday.  It’s been a great fifth season and it wouldn’t have been possibly without our dedicated customers and vendors.  We look forward to seeing you in April.

Raffle Time!

We have a lovely brand new Crock Pot (like the one pictured) that has been donated for a raffle.  Our vendors will fill the pot with items from our market.  Stop by the Market table and try for a chance at this with items from our vendors.
Some items from our vendors include a bracelet from Designed Naturally, one pound of coffee grains from Alcoba Coffee and beef jerky and cheese from Waltz Family Farm. A surprise veggie from Dicot Farm will also be part of the raffle.
Please note- the raffle will go from 9 until noon.  At noon a name will be drawn and the winner will be contacted.  All other names will be shredded and recycled.  The winner will need to be able to pick up their prize by 1pm.

Yoga!

Liz Doonan will be at the market from 11am until 12:15pm.
Strength + Balance Yoga for all levels.
Intro & Beginners Welcome.
Bring your mat and join in!

Instructor
Liz Doonan, 200 hr YT.
Yoga Alliance Registered.
11AM to 12:15PM.
Donation Based, $5 minimum suggested

 


This week’s vendors include*:

Amity Kitchen: Thai food, Spring Rolls and Mango Sticky Rice
Dicot Farm: Certified Organic Produce
Double Sharp: Local Musicians
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Roy and Arti’s Kitchen and Garden: Prepared Indonesian cuisine and vegetables
Starbucks: Giving away coffee grounds for composting or garden
Valencia’s Produce: Berries, flowers and herbs
Waltz Family Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses
Inge’s Crochet: Handmade crochet items
Christiane’s Designs: Knit hats, gloves, scarves, pet and baby items
The Baked Apple: Apple muffins and breads
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
Designed Naturally: Natural bead jewelry
Heavenly Created Desserts: Hot dogs and desserts

* This list reflects the vendors who have informed the Market Manager that they will be at the market.  This list is subject to change due to weather, illness or other life events. 🙂

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a vendor for our market please let us know.  We are always looking for more vendors. Our criteria is that the items have to be hand made.  If you prepare food- we are looking for other prepared food vendors.  Lastly, we are looking for a bread vendor.  If you know of a local company that would like to sell bread at our market please stop by the market’s information table to speak with either the Market Manager or one of the Market’s Board members.


Spay-A-Day Keeps the Litter Away

Through December 1st, 2017, the Prince George’s County Animal Management Division (AMD) will provide free spay/neuter services for dogs, cats and ferrets belonging to low-income individuals and families living in Prince George’s County (this does not include feral cats). This service is provided through a Maryland Department of Agriculture grant. For more information or to learn how you may qualify, contact Catherine Hernandez at 301-780-7252.

WSSC May Raise Rates for Lower Usage Customers

At the last Tuesday’s meeting, a representative from WSSC came and talked about the proposed WSSC rate structure.

According to WSSC, under the new rate structure alternatives because by simplifying the rates from 16 tiers to 3 or 4 tiers, the rates at the lower usage tiers have to be increased to maintain revenue neutrality.

WSSC is saying the change is necessary to address the Public Service Commission’s finding that the current 16 tier rate structure was unduly preferential to low usage customers.

While the bill for a one person household would increase at the most by only $7.70 per quarter or about $2.56 per month, it is a relatively small amount. The Commission has a number of programs to support customers who have difficulty paying their water & sewer bill including the water fund, the customer assistance program, and bill payment plans.

According to WSSC, affordability has been a major priority for the Commission during the rate review process and we are committing to enhancing the existing programs before implementation of a new rate structure.

City Asks SHA to Improve Traffic and Safety Issues on State Roads in College Park

At last night’s Council meeting, The Council approved a letter asking the SHA to improve a number of roads within College Park boundary.

On October 10, 2017, a representative from Maryland State Highway Administration gave a presentation to the City Council about ongoing projects in the City.

Council requested that a follow-up letter be sent to SHA to memorialize the City’s requests and concerns expressed during the presentation.

Regarding US 1 between IKEA Way and Cherry Hill Road, the Council asked that SHA continue to address capacity issues and the blockage of the intersections on US 1 at these locations. It also asked to post  “Do Not Block” signs at the intersection of Edgewood Road and Route 1.

Regarding the Greenbelt Road at Rhode Island Avenue (please see below), the letter asks the SHA to explore a raised median for pedestrian refuge and also to explore whether a HAWK signal would be appropriate for this location. The letter also asks a presentation at a future Council Worksession or a civic association meeting for neighborhood stakeholders regarding MD 193 at Rhode Island Avenue.

North College Park Crime Map: November 6-11, 2017

Please see below last week’s crime map and let me know if you have any questions.

About the robbery incident on 53rd Ave., the investigation is still ongoing, however, Police has released the following to public.

On 11/08/2017 at 9:03 pm, Patrol officers responded to 9700 Blk 53rd Ave, for the reported citizen armed robbery. When officers arrived they came into contact with the victim who stated that he was a pizza delivery driver for Papa John’s. He was delivering an order at 9700 Blk 53rd Ave. When he arrived to deliver the pizza two black male suspects came from behind the rear of 9700 Blk 53rd Ave. The suspects both pointed black semi-automatic handguns at the victim and demanded his property. The victim complied and relinquished his property (Samsung Cell Phone, U.S. Currency) to the suspects. The suspects fled the scene on foot to the rear of 9700 Blk 53rd Ave. K-9 Unit responded and conducted a track with negative results. An exigent was requested for the victim’s cellphone.

The description of the suspects are as follows:
1.) B/M, Short Hair, Blk Jacket, Blk Jeans Blk handgun, NFD
2.) B/M, Blk clothing, Blk handgun, NFD

AddressType
9700 Blk 53RD AVECitizen Robbery
9900 Blk Rhode Island AVETheft