KabirCares.org

Opportunities in serving on a City advisory board

Volunteers Wanted

Are you interested in serving on a City advisory board?

Serve your community, lend your talents, and meet your neighbors. The following advisory boards have vacancies:

  • Advisory Planning Commission
  • Bee City USA
  • Committee for a Better Environment
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Committee
  • Noise Control Board
  • Recreation Board
  • College Park Seniors Committee
  • Veterans Memorial Committee

Interested in volunteering? Please complete and submit an application to jsmiller@collegeparkmd.gov or to me by May 18th. For additional information on City advisory boards, please visit our website by clicking here.

For additional information regarding vacancies, please contact me or the City Clerk’s office.

The City is currently seeking volunteers for:

Advisory Planning Commission
Individuals interested in serving on the Advisory Planning Commission should have a City-wide perspective and interest in planning and housing issues; a track record of civic-mindedness from work on other City projects or committees and some knowledge of the planning and development process and related laws and procedures. The Advisory Planning Commission has one vacancy for a District 1 resident.

Bee City USA
Are you interested in, or have a background in, ecology, native plants, garden communities and nature? Is protecting pollinator populations important to you? Would you like to volunteer to serve your community? A new committee is being formed to enhance community awareness of urban pollinators in the City of College Park. The Committee will follow the guidelines established by Bee City USA to maintain the City’s affiliation with this organization.

Committee for a Better Environment
Individuals interested in serving on the Community for a Better Environment should have an interest in sustainability and the environment.

Dr. Martin Luther King Tribute Committee
Individuals serving on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Committee will help to plan the City’s annual tribute event.

Noise Control Board
Individuals interested in serving on the Noise Control Board should have interest or expertise in mediation, noise measurement and control, code interpretation, administrative law, and fair adjudication.

Recreation Board
Individuals interested in serving on the Recreation Board should have interest and expertise in entertainment, recreation, sports, social activities, organizational skills, media relations, and consensus building.

College Park Seniors Committee
Individuals interested in serving on the College Park Seniors Committee should have expertise in senior issues and/or community-building and networking.

Veterans Memorial Committee
Individuals interested in serving on the Veterans Memorial Committee will be involved in planning the City’s Veterans Day and Memorial Day events to honor our veterans.

Tonight’s Virtual NCPCA Meeting – City Budget, Hollywood Streetscape, and More..

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Please see below today’s meeting agenda. Please send an email to district4vision@yahoo.com by 5 p.m on Thursday to receive the teleconference phone number and password. You can also text: 202-213-5579.

7:45 City services update – review of available city services.

8:00 Update on 2021 Budget — Q&A for residents to ask their elected officials about the budget

8:20 Hollywood Streetscape – MOTION. NCPCA supports funding for final design and construction of the Hollywood Streetscape project, and particularly the less costly and most immediately valuable elements of the concept, including the paved walking path, benches, trash cans, street lighting, signs, trees and plantings, and similar improvements that will enhance the area for the benefit of residents and commercial visitors. TO BE FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION.

8:35 Cherry Hill Rd beautification – attempts have been made to replace the bollards on Cherry Hill Rd. at Rt. 1. MOTION. NCPCA strongly supports the replacement of the bollards on Cherry Hill Rd. west of Rt. 1 as they are an eyesore and no longer serve their purpose because the majority of them are missing. TO BE FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION.

8:45 Election of Officers – discussion on how nominations and elections will be conducted.

Please visit our website at www.myncpca.org for previous agendas, meeting minutes, bylaws, and more!

Council Grants Tax Credit to College Park Metro Apartments Developer

At last night’s meeting, the City Council voted to grant a City Revitalization Tax Credit to the Gilbane Development Company for College Park Metro Apartments (The Atworth).

Over 5 years period, the developer will be getting a total of $701,542 in tax credit from the City. The amount equals 75% of the increased assessment of City tax imposed in the first year, 60% in the second year, 45% in the third year, 30% in the fourth year, and 15% in the fifth year.

The tax credit program was established in 2012 to provide financial incentives to encourage economic development and redevelopment through a five-year tax credit on the increased valuation of the property after redevelopment. You can find more about the program and the eligibility criteria here in the City Code.

Though I supported tax credits to a few other developments in the past, I struggled in supporting this proposal, mainly because of my concerns with the uncertain economic future ahead of us. The development is expected to be completed in 2022, around when we’ll have our next triennial property assessment, and may see a hit in our property tax revenue due to a possible softening of the housing market.

I wish we could wait a few more months to see if the economic situation improves and consider the tax credit at that time.  There are precedences in giving tax credit after the development is completed, as we have seen in the case of the student housing “The View”. Though the circumstance could be different, the precedence is there.

City Code 175-11C also allows the City Council to reduce or eliminate tax credits in case of possible economic hardship.

175-11C: If a tax credit approved under this article is not financially feasible based on City budget constraints, the Council may reduce or eliminate the amount and/or duration, and/or alter the sequence, of the tax credit. The tax credit is transferable to subsequent property owners within the term of the original agreement.

On a good note, the applicant agreed to execute a Declaration of Covenants with the City that includes this provision and has requested approval of their application for a City tax credit. Last year, the City Council declined to approve the requested City Revitalization Tax Credit because the Applicant declined to execute a Declaration of Covenants with the City that included a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) provision if the property were sold to a tax-exempt entity (such as the University of Maryland) in the future.

Last night’s vote was 5-3. Council members Mitchell, Mackie, and Kabir voted in opposition.

Meals for our most vulnerable residents

County Councilmember Tom Dernoga’s office has partnered with World Central Kitchen to provide 1000 meals a day at two locations to District 1 residents and to date they’ve given over 10,000 meals. They will be doing this every weekday until the Governor lifts the Stay-at-home Order. Each meal will be individually packed and sealed, made by Honey Flower Foods, and will include green, starch, and protein. Documentation status will not be asked and identification will never be required. Please see the flyer below for more details.

District 1 Council Bulletin: Time to Give Your Input about the New City Budget

Dear neighbors,

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, you’ll get an opportunity, to speak before the Council about the new fiscal year’s (FY2021) budget. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic effect, many of you have concerns about City’s financial situation. Please read below more about the proposed budget. Also, please review this past weekend’s budget town hall meeting to take a quick look at the proposed budget here . In case you cannot attend the public hearing, you can email your comments to the City Council at cpmc@collegeparkmd.gov by tomorrow at 5 PM. In addition to the budget hearing, the City Council will vote on whether to support the sectional map amendment request for the new student housing on Hartwick road, Additionally, the Council will vote whether to give a tax credit to the proposed development by the College Park Metro. Please see the full agenda below:

FY 2021 Budget and the Constant Yield Tax Rate Hearing
The Council will host a public hearing on 20-O-07, the Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund, Capital Projects Fund, and Debt Service Fund budgets, and the constant yield tax rate. Per City Charter, the budget will be adopted by May 31. City staff has provided for over $2 million of reduced revenue and additional contingency due to the pandemic to account for the financial loss to the City. The reductions assume that business will start to be back to “normal” by the end of this fiscal year – June 30, 2020. Thankfully, due to City’s healthy economic situation, we do not see any immediate impact. If the revenue loss due to the current economic downfall continues, the City may consider adopting other measures, depending on the scale of the future revenue losses. Also, the City is not proposing a tax increase in the proposed budget. Two important projects in north College Park – Duvall Field renovation and the Hollywood Streetscape are also fully funded. The construction work of both projects is expected to start this summer.
PROCLAMATION: Take the Parks to Kids Day on May 16
This year, COVID-19 has impacted everyone across the nation and the world and has limited our ability to interact with our beloved national, state, and local parks. The Mayor and Council will proclaim May 16, 2020, as Take The Parks To Kids Day, and encourage families to explore our great American parks using the National Park Trust’s Park Passport app, and remind children and families that an active lifestyle can help combat issues of childhood obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia.
PROCLAMATION: Public Service Recognition Week
The Mayor and Council will proclaim to recognize May 3-9 as the Public Service Recognition Week. Residents are encouraged to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of government employees at all levels, in particular, our City staff and crew who have been serving every single day tirelessly especially critical today during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, let us give a shoutout to our neighbors who have been working in other “essential” worker capacity and providing important services during this challenging time.
20-G-89 Approval of a Cooperation Agreement for the Community Development Block Grant  The Council will consider approving participation in the Prince George’s County Urban County Entitlement for CDBG and HOME funding for FY2021 – FY2023. The City has been successful in the past in securing CDBG funding from the Prince George’s County Entitlement program and generally receives an amount equivalent to our per capita contribution
20-G-96 Reappointments to College Park City University Partnership
The Council will consider approving the following reappointments to the Board of Directors of the College Park City-University Partnership (a) Class B Directors Patrick Wojahn, and Stephen Brayman (b) Class C Directors: David Iannucci 6/30/2023
20-G-91 “The Standard” Student Housing on Hartwick Road
The Council will consider approving the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision (PP) of “the Standard” located at 4321 Hartwick Road, 450 feet east of the intersection of Guilford Drive and Hartwick Road. The developer Landmark Properties is proposing a mixed-use building containing 282 dwelling units/951 beds for student housing and 6,671 square feet of retail space. The subject site currently contains approximately 12,119 square feet of office space and surface parking. The Planning Board is scheduled to hear the application on May 14th. Based on the discussion at last week’s work session on May 5th, the following changes have been included (a) further defining the public use dedication/easement for the new road; (b) deleting the requirement for a traffic signal warrant study; (c) adding conditions to address stormwater management and permits that may be required for wetlands and wetland buffers and stream impacts.
20-R-12 Revitalization Tax Credit for the College Park Metro Apartments (The Atworth)
The Council will vote whether to grant a City Revitalization Tax Credit to the Gilbane Development Company for College Park Metro Apartments (The Atworth). Last year, the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision and Detailed Site Plan was supported by the City and approved by the Prince George’s County Planning Board with conditions. The City Council declined to approve the requested City Revitalization Tax Credit because the Applicant declined to execute a Declaration of Covenants with the City that included a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) provision if the property were sold to a tax-exempt entity in the future. The applicant has now agreed to execute a Declaration of Covenants with the City that includes this provision (attached) and has requested approval of their application for a City tax credit. The maximum tax credit is an amount equal to 75% of the increased assessment of City tax imposed in the first year, 60% in the second year, 45% in the third year, 30% in the fourth year, and 15% in the fifth year.
20-G-93 Approval of Certain COVID-19 Related Relief Efforts
Council will consider approving of the following COVID-19-related relief efforts: 1) Waiver of business license renewal fees through the end of FY21; 2) Suspend commercial sign and banner code enforcement, and 3) Encourage landlords to delay or forego rental payments from their tenants if financially feasible. The Council may discuss the following additional assistance items in the future (a) Delay payment of City business personal property taxes (b) Identify existing Federal, State, and County business incentive programs where City assistance could be beneficial by filling a gap. (c) Modify Business Assistance and Façade improvement Program to enable more businesses to access the program and address current business needs.
20-G-94 Award of Contract for Feasibility Study to Establish a City Department of Building Code, Permitting & Enforcement:
The Council will consider approving a contract not to exceed $51,720.00 to IBTS to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of the City assuming the responsibility for building construction permits and inspections. The goals for the study are to 1) improve services to residents, developers, builders, and contractors performing work in the City of College Park (and neighboring jurisdictions, if any, who elect to contract with the City for said services), 2) reduce timeframes associated with these services, 3) increase efficiency and workflow and reduce redundant services, 4) standardize review of applications for permits, and 5) avoid repeated reviews that result in multiple revisions of plans and unnecessary expense. Included in the study is the identification of steps necessary for the City to assume responsibility for these functions from the Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE). The selected consultant shall recommend the most efficient and cost-effective method of providing these services within the City (and neighboring jurisdictions, if any, who elect to contract with the City for said services.
20-R-13 Dedication of Amherst Avenue as a Publicly Dedicated Street
The Council will consider accepting the dedication of Amherst Avenue (in Old town College Park) as a publicly dedicated street/right-of-way, based upon the delineations in the “Johnson & Curriden’s Subdivision of College Park”. This is an undeveloped swampy area (also known as ‘frog pond’) that houses a number of animals, aquatic and plant species resulting in a bio-diverse place. There has been an interest in the City in taking jurisdiction of this area to preserve and study it.
Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you’ve any questions.

Fazlul Kabir

[Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of mine alone and are not necessarily those of City of College Park, or any other organization that I’m officially affiliated]

College Park Budget Town Hall Video and Presentation

Thank you all who joined yesterday at our virtual town hall meeting. We covered quite a few items in the meeting, including our tax rate, COVID-19’s impact on our budget, City services, and some of the key ongoing capital projects. Please click on the image below to see the recorded video. You can also see the PowerPoint presentation here. We’ve got quite a few comments from 30 or so residents at the town hall. We plan on following up on them in the near future. If you have more questions, please let me know.

[TODAY] Budget Town Hall at 4PM

A friendly reminder about today’s budget town hall.

In addition to going over the proposed FY2021 budget, we’ll go over two important budget-related issues that our residents are concerned about.

Post-COVID recovery: What does College Park’s current financial health look like? Is it resilient enough to withstand tough days that may be ahead of us? What options the City has in its belt to adjust the situation and at the same time continue providing quality services to its residents?

Is City raising its Property Tax rate?: Last week, the City posted a notice in the Washington Post with the title “CITY OF COLLEGE PARK NOTICE OF A PROPOSED REAL PROPERTY TAX INCREASE”. We’re getting quite a few questions from residents about it. Does this mean the City is increasing its property tax rate in the upcoming fiscal year? If the answer is a NO, then why the City is posting this notice?

Please join three of your Councilmembers at today’s virtual town hall to find more about these important issues and give your feedback.

Join Zoom Meeting URL: http://bit.ly/2Wwx2er

Join by Phone: 13017158592
Meeting ID: 880 8666 4423
Password: 352856

Paint Branch Riverwalk Survey

The Neighborhood Design Center, in partnership with the College Park City-University Partnership, is asking questions to help understand what enhancements could potentially be made to the area along Paint Branch (the creek) from North Gate Park and the underpass of Baltimore Avenue to Metzerott Road. This visioning project is a collaboration between the College Park City-University Partnership and the Neighborhood Design Center, with cooperation from the City of College Park, University of Maryland, neighborhood associations, local developers/landowners, and Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Here is the survey link.

Budget Town Hall – This Saturday, at 4 PM

Please join Councilmembers Denise Mitchell, Maria Mackie, and Fazlul Kabir for a virtual town hall to learn more about the proposed FY2021 for College Park and to share your feedback and ideas on how to make our city and community a better place to live, work, and play!

Join Zoom Meeting URL: http://bit.ly/2Wwx2er
Join by Phone: (301)715-8592
Meeting ID: 880-8666-4423
Password: 352856

Support College Park Volunteer Fire Dept Tomorrow!

Join College Park Nursery School and Potomac Pizza in raising funds for their first responders at CPVFD. 20% of all purchases at Potomac Pizza tomorrow (Thurs 5/7) from open to close will go to the fire department. They have contact free takeout options! Help our students and families recognize the hard work of our emergency workers during this crisis time.

UMD’s School Of Medicine Begins Coronavirus Vaccine Trial

According to this CBS report, researchers at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine have begun testing experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The report says the research is being funded by Pfizer Inc. and will study the safety, efficacy, and dosing of an experimental mRNA -based vaccine.

The vaccine research is being conducted in the UMSOM Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, and it is part of a multicenter study in the U.S. and in Germany that will include up to 360 participants in this initial stage.

For individuals in the Washington area interested in participating in this important vaccine trial: Call 1 (410) 706-6156, text COVID19Vaccine to #555888, email clintrial@som.umaryland.edu, or click here.

New Student Housing Coming to Downtown College Park

A new student housing is being proposed at 4321 Hartwick Road, 450 feet east of the intersection of Guilford Drive and Hartwick Road.

The Applicant (The Standard at College Park, LLC) is requesting the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision (PPS) review for the property. The purpose of the subdivision is to create a legal parcel for the development of a mixed-use building containing 282 units/951 beds for student housing and 6,671 square feet of retail space. The subject site currently contains approximately 12,119 square feet of office space and surface parking.

The proposed parcel contains 1.845 acres including 0.67 acres of floodplain. As part of the application, the Applicant is requesting approval of proposed impacts to regulated environmental features and a variation to waive the Public Utility Easement requirement. Staff is recommending support for the plan’s approval. The Planning Board is scheduled to hear the PPS on May 14th.

The City Council will discuss the new proposal at tomorrow’s meeting.

Council to Consider Assistance for Local Businesses Affected By COVID-19

At next week’s meeting, the Council will discuss how the City may assist local businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

At the April 7, 2020, City Council Special Session, the City Council discussed options for providing emergency assistance to Meals-On-Wheels and the College Park Community Food Bank and other potential assistance to local businesses. At that meeting, Council authorized emergency funding in the amount of $12,000 each for Meals-On-Wheels and the College Park Food Bank and directed staff to issue the funds immediately.

In addition, the Council expressed interest in further exploring several economic assistance measures designed to assist local businesses during this difficult time. In particular, the Council asked staff to conduct additional research concerning:
1) extending the payment period for City business renewal licenses; and
2) delaying payment of City business personal property tax for businesses with fewer than 50 employees or forgiving a certain amount of tax due.

In addition to providing information on these two items, staff offers the following business economic assistance programs for further discussion and consideration. This is not an exhaustive list. Staff continues to explore other programs and options, including those being implemented in other communities.
(a) Extend the payment period for City business renewal licenses.
(b) Delaying payment of City business personal property tax for businesses with fewer than 50 employees or forgiving a certain amount of tax due.
(c) Identify existing Federal, State, and County business incentive programs where City assistance could be beneficial by filling a gap.
(d) Business Assistance and Façade improvement Programs can be modified.
( e )A local Business Certificate program could be created.

Air Force to Fly over DC In Honor of COVID-19 First Responders

In honor of the frontline COVID-19 responders and essential workers, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, and the Thunderbirds will be flying multiple low passes over DC just before noon today. Please see their flight path below.

City Announces Resumption of Some Services

Today, the City issued the following notice announcing the resumption of several important basic services, with some modified guidelines. Please see City’s notice below.
=========================================================
One month ago, Governor Hogan issued an executive order stating that residents must stay at home unless leaving for an essential job or reason. In response to this executive order, the City directed all non-essential City staff to distance themselves at home and not report to work at City facilities. Staff unable to work from home have been provided paid administrative leave.
Additionally, the City closed all City buildings and facilities to the public. This includes City playgrounds, fit lots, and ball courts. Many events, activities and City services have been suspended or modified due to the pandemic, and most of these changes remain in place.
However, the City has determined that certain services are essential or can be provided with no risk to City staff or the public. Therefore, effective Monday, May 4, 2020 the City will resume the following services on a modified schedule to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines set forth by the government:
  • Animal Control
  • Bulk trash and yard waste
  • Compost and mulch sales
  • Electronics and white goods collection
  • Exterior code enforcement
  • Parking enforcement
The updated list of City services – effective May 4, 2020 – is as follows:
The following events, activities and services are suspended until further notice:
  • All Seniors Program activities, community meetings, and City events – including the City of College Park’s 75th Anniversary Parade and Festival and the Memorial Day Tribute – have been canceled. A virtual 75th Anniversary contest will be held (details to follow);
  • Issuance of parking permits and animal licenses;
  • All Department of Youth, Family & Senior Services group meetings (including the Lakeland STARs tutoring program, Hispanic Parent Support Group and therapist-led school groups); and
  • Notary services.
The following services and activities will continue:
  • Police patrols and emergency response;
  • Seniors Transportation Services for essential trips (medical appointments or medications which are vital or to purchase items that are essential for subsistence within the next 7-14 days only);
  • Regular trash, recycling and yard waste collections. Residents should call DPW at 240-487-3590 or email publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov to schedule an appointment prior to putting your woody yard waste, brush, or bulk items out for collection;
  • Bulk trash and yard waste (May 4, 2020). Residents should call DPW at 240-487-3590 or email publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov to schedule an appointment prior to putting your woody yard waste, brush, or bulk items out for collection. Bulk item drop-off at Davis Hall has been terminated;
  • Compost and mulch sales (May 4, 2020). DPW will load trucks or trailers Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 am to 11:45 am and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Customers should call 240-487-3590 from the Davis Hall parking lot to pay by credit card for 1 cubic yard or more of compost or wood mulch. Please note there will be no self-service (customers shoveling their own product) until further notice. Please email publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov with your name, address, phone, email, and how many cubic yards of compost or wood mulch you need;
  • Electronic and white goods collection (May 4, 2020). Residents should call DPW at 240-487-3590 or email publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov to schedule an appointment for electronics pick-up. Please note there is a charge of $20 per item for pick-up. Up to three electronic items may also be dropped off at Davis Hall for free Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:00 near the entrance of the front door to Davis Hall. Must have a valid College Park ID;
  • Parking enforcement (May 4, 2020). The City will continue to provide free parking in downtown City garage, City-controlled lots, and metered City streets;
  • Animal Control (May 4, 2020); and
  • Exterior code enforcement (May 4, 2020).
The following services and activities will be modified until further notice:
The following services can be conducted online, via email and/or by phone:
  • Meetings/consultations with City staff;
  • Department of Youth, Family & Senior Services case management and client meetings; and
  • Application and processing for City building permits, variance and departures, homeownership grants, Business Assistance grants, and chain-link fence grants.
The following services can be conducted anytime online, or on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:00 am to 4:00 pm by phone (240-487-3509) with a credit card:
  • Parking ticket payments;
  • Personal property tax payments;
  • Refuse collection payments;
  • Payment for speed camera citations;
  • CDMA and liquor license payments;
  • Occupancy permit payments (phone only);
  • Building permit payments (phone only); and
  • Municipal infractions (phone only).
Only credit card transactions and checks arriving by mail can be processed at this time. No cash transactions can be processed until further notice. For any finance related questions including payment questions, please email finance@collegeparkmd.gov or call 240-487-3509.
City staff in all departments will continue to process and respond to email and phone calls remotely. For contact information for all departments, please visit the City’s website. Many of the City’s services can still be conducted online or via phone.
For all COVID-19 related City information, please visit the City’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19. The website has information related to which essential local businesses remain open to the public, as well as other resources and information for residents and businesses.
Please sign up for the City’s emails (www.collegeparkmd.gov/cpconnect) and follow the City’s Facebook (www.fb.com/collegeparkmd) and Twitter (@collegepark_md) for the latest and most up-to-date City news.