I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study DEIS Public Hearings

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) have completed the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study. Six Joint Public Hearings will be conducted to hear testimony on the DEIS and the Joint Federal/State Application (JPA) for the Alteration of Any Floodplain, Waterway, Tidal or Nontidal Wetland in Maryland.

The Public Hearing brochure and the Public Hearing online presentation, featuring a narration of virtual display boards, are now available on the Program website. You may also pick up a Public Hearing brochure at any location where a hard copy of the DEIS is available for review. Note that the content of the online presentation can be translated into other languages on the web page; translated versions of the DEIS Executive Summary are also available on the Program website.

Comments on the DEIS and JPA must be submitted between July 10 and October 8, 2020. The public comment period may be extended 30 days. Please visit the Program website, 495-270-P3.com/DEIS, for updates. All comments received, whether at the hearing through oral testimony or through other methods (comment form, email, and letter) will be given equal consideration. Learn ways to comment on the DEIS and JPA here.
Managed Lanes Study In-Person Public Hearings’
COVID-19 Social Distancing Protocols
In an effort to safeguard the public and staff, individuals considering attending the in-person Public Hearings on September 1st and September 10th should follow the “everyday preventative actions” as established by the CDC.

A reminder that in-person hearings are by appointment only and participation at virtual hearings is encouraged. The following procedures and social distancing protocols have been developed in adherence to CDC guidelines; facility occupancy and admittance requirements; and in coordination with MDOT SHA and the State of Maryland. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

While at the Public Hearing:
Wear face coverings at all times.
Remember to social distance, at least 6 feet apart.
Sanitize your hands upon arrival and frequently throughout your time at the hearing. Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the hearing spaces.
Follow all signage and direction from staff which is designed to adhere to capacity requirements and support social distancing.

MDOT SHA has worked with all facilities to ensure adherence to State guidelines regarding capacity and other related safety protocols.

Additionally, staff will disinfect all hearing materials and equipment before and after each hearing. A Hearing Health and Safety Officer has been designated for all hearings. Questions or concerns can be directed to the hearing registration area.

[State’s Highway Administration]

Statewide Mask Order Expands Tomorrow, Friday, July 31.

Effective this Friday, July 31 at 5 p.m., the State of Maryland is expanding the current statewide masking order requiring the wearing of masks or face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state. Face coverings will also be required at outdoor public areas whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.

This expansion of the masking order is an action that is fact-based, apolitical, and solidly grounded in science. While it can be an inconvenience, especially in the heat, the science and the data are very clear: wearing masks is the single best mitigation strategy we have to fight this virus. It is the best way to keep you and your family safe, to keep people out of the hospital, and to keep Maryland open for business. “If you do nothing else, wearing a mask alone would help us significantly slow the spread of this virus and continue on the road to health and economic recovery.” – State’s statement says.

Read more from yesterday’s press conference: https://bit.ly/312osX5

[Source: State of Maryland]

Grab N Go Senior Meals

Reminder: Due to the crisis facing our community with COVID-19, the Department of Family Services, Division of Senior and Disability Services, in collaboration with M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County, is coordinating “Grab and Go” meals for seniors (over 60s)tomorrow from 12 pm – 2 pm.

Debido a la crisis que enfrenta nuestra comunidad con el COVID-19, el Departamento de Servicios para la Familia, División de Servicios para Personas de Edad Avanzada y Discapacidades, en colaboración con M-NCPPC, Departamento de Parques y Recreación, Condado de Prince George’s, está coordinando comidas “Grab and Go” para personas de la tercera edad (mayores de 60 años).

Resources for Renters and Homeowners

Recently, the Prince George’s County Council enacted CB-16-2020 and amended the Prince George’s County Landlord-Tenant Code to prohibit rent increases and rental terminations; provide payment plans with certain tenants; and prohibit late fees or penalties from being charged during the COVID-19 statewide emergency and within 90 days after the expiration of an emergency.

Outlined below are the substantive provisions of the new regulations:

Tenants with substantial loss of income —  for County law, this means tenants who can demonstrate proof through documentation or other objectively verifiable means, that the tenant suffered a Substantial Loss of Income and are therefore unable to make rent payments because of the emergency, as defined by the Governor of the State of Maryland’s Executive Order Number 20-04-03-01.
During the COVID-19 health emergency as declared by the Governor of the Maryland, a landlord may not increase the rent for a tenant with a substantial loss of income if the rent increase would take effect during the health emergency and within 90 days after expiration of the emergency.
Additionally, landlords may not impose late fees or penalties for any tenant. Landlords shall not issue notices of rent increase, late fees or penalties that apply to payments required during the emergency and within 90 days after expiration of the emergency.

Landlords must inform a tenant with a substantial loss of income in writing to disregard any notice of a rent increase if: (1) the landlord provided the notice to the tenant prior to the emergency; and (2) if the effective date of the increase would occur on or after the date the emergency began.Landlords may offer a written rent payment plan to a tenant with a substantial loss of income. Additionally, landlords are prohibited from evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent for any eviction proceedings not initiated before the COVID-19 emergency. This prohibition is effective for the duration of the emergency.

Moreover, any new complaints filed against tenants for failure to pay rent shall be prohibited during the duration of the emergency. This new provision regarding evictions applies from the date of the Governor of the State of Maryland’s Executive Order Number 20-04-03-01 on April 3, 2020 until August 31, 2020.

References and more information:
Additional Resources:
Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP) – rental assistance, eviction and foreclosure assistance, household finances assistance: https://hiphomes.org/covid-19-resources-for-maryland-residents/
Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County – free legal representation if you are facing eviction or foreclosure: https://www.clspgc.org/
CASA – rental/landlord issues and legal services: https://wearecasa.org/
United Communities Against Povertyhttps://www.ucappgc.org/

[Source: County Councilwoman Danielle Glaros]

College Park Meals on Wheels Needs Help in Relocating to a Larger Space

After operating out of the College Park United Methodist Church since 1974 without interruption, College Park Meal on Wheels (MoW) is looking for a new space.

Since the pandemic started, the number of residents they serve has nearly tripled, amounting to about 150 clients. The MoW clients need their help more than ever, and more need help each week. They are dedicated to continuing our mission to provide nutritional meals to seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations 3 times a day.

For $5 every day, the program delivers three meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with some snacks — to senior citizens in College Park and other areas in northern Prince George’s County. And elderly people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

With many residents now hesitant to leave their homes, organizations in College Park — both new and more established — have stepped up to the plate. Though some have begun serving food to older residents and others have offered assistance in completing daily tasks, they share the same goal: making sure people stay safe.

MoW has had hundreds of volunteers from the Prince George’s County community ranging from high school students, college students, differently-abled individuals, and seniors, many of whom were eligible for meals themselves. Their dedicated staff includes six kitchen workers for food preparation, assembly, and packing in thermal bags for pick-up by their eight to twelve volunteer drivers. Due to the pandemic, they can’t provide as much interaction as they usually do. Many of their clients are housebound and they’re the only people they see for long periods of time.

Some of their regular drivers not only deliver meals, but they take clients to doctor appointments and help them with grocery shopping and other errands. They even have one driver who sometimes brings her daughter with her, so that she can play the violin for her clients. They often receive thank you letters and emails from clients or their families, for not only helping their clients to maintain their physical health but for providing them with healthy meals that taste good and friendly interactions. Volunteers now have to wear gloves and masks while making deliveries. And inside the kitchen, surfaces are sanitized twice a day.

MoW is asking for help to raise funds to purchase a building, warehouse, or modular unit, as well as the supplies they need to keep operating and serving their 150+ clients. The equipment they need includes items like the following: Refrigerators, Freezers, Stoves, Worktables, Shelf units, Pots, and pans

Their goal for this is $500,000. A modular unit alone would be about $300,000, and then on top of that, they’d need to purchase land, get water, gas, and electric hook-ups, and acquire all of the necessary permits. Alternatively, to purchase a warehouse or structure in their immediate area, will also cost approximately that much.

Below you will find a link for a Go Fund Me page for Meals on Wheels which is raising monies for the purchase of modular to house its operation.  Please consider making a contribution today and help MOW purchase much-needed equipment and move to a new site.  https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/fund-us-to-feed-them 

Helping Our Neighbors Eat and Our Restaurants Survive

[The following was sent by group of concerned residents along the Route 1 corridor. They have spent the last month organizing a fundraiser that will support some of our local restaurants that are struggling financially and county residents in need of food. ]

Covid-19 is having devastating effects on our local communities. Prince George’s County residents who too often already struggle to put a meal on the table are now faced with joblessness and uncertainty about their health and their future. In spite of the temporary efforts of local food banks, they and their families may go hungry. Several of our locally-owned restaurants are also struggling to stay open, and in many cases have had to lay off their employees or close.

As members of a coalition of concerned Prince George’s County citizens, Greater Riverdale Cares & Route One Communities Care ask you to help our neighbors most in need and our local family-owned restaurants. Your donation will pay for the preparation and distribution of nutritious meals for our neighbors facing food insecurity. Five local restaurants are currently participating and more will shortly join. This model has
been very successful in other parts of Maryland.

Please consider making a donation (any amount will help) by going to here:

As the pandemic is likely to continue to affect our community well into the future, we hope you might make a regular monthly contribution.
During this time of social distancing, this is an effective way for you to help by becoming part of an area-wide effort to sustain our communities. We have formed a partnership with Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation, which will act as our fiscal agent, having served low income individuals and small businesses in the region for many years. We are reaching out to residents of Hyattsville, University Park, College Park, Riverdale Park and possibly other Route 1 corridor communities for
financial support to sustain our neighbors in need and the vitality of our neighborhoods. Together, we can come out of these difficult times a stronger and more united community. We ask you to support this worthy cause.

City Announces the Jack Perry Award, 2020

In February 2013, the College Park City Council established an award in recognition of Councilman John Edward “Jack” Perry.

Councilman Perry served on the College Park City Council from 1979 to 1983 and from 1989 to 2011, for a total of 26 years. From the time he moved to College Park’s Berwyn neighborhood in 1969, until his death in 2012, Jack was deeply committed to serving his community, which he demonstrated by spending many hours working to improve the quality of life for all who lived and worked in College Park. Through the years, he volunteered on numerous associations, boards, coalitions, task forces and committees at the neighborhood, city, county and state levels. This Award will recognize a member of the community who emulates Councilman Jack Perry’s legacy of public service.
Eligibility: To be eligible for the award, a person must be at least 18 years of age and a registered voter or legal resident of College Park.
Criteria: The Jack Perry award will recognize a College Park resident who has participated to an extraordinary degree in neighborhood, civic, or municipal affairs within the City in a manner that improves public spaces, fosters community cohesion, eradicates blight, informs discussion of public issues, provides leadership, and/or furthers the best interests of the City as a whole.
Nominations: Nominations are now being accepted. Nominations must be submitted in writing to the City Clerk, City of College Park, 8400 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 375, College Park, MD, 20740, or by e-mail to cityclerkoffice@collegeparkmd.gov no later than September 30, 2020. Nominations will be reviewed by a Committee that includes a member of the Perry family. This non-monetary award will be presented by the City Council in the fall.
[City of College Park]

Virtual Memorial Service For Tom Johnson: Today, Friday, July 24th at 8pm

Recently, the Hollywood, College Park community lost an active resident Tom Johnson. Tom has been the Hollywood Elementary School PTA president for more than three years. He was always energetic, positive, and care for others.

Please join Tom’s family in celebrating his life this Friday evening, July 24th at 8 PM eastern. The service will be held via Zoom, and the family requests that you please register in advance, and participate as a household to limit the number of registered users. (You may enter more than one name in the “First Name” field to indicate all attendees.) Once you register, you will be e-mailed the link that you will use to join the service. Please note, the registration will be used to create a guest book.

Save Water and Win!

At the last City Council meeting, the Council adopted a resolution to support the City’s annual Participation in the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

A volunteering component of the Challenge offers residents the opportunity to participate in the Challenge safely from their home with hands-on, do-it-yourself projects around the house and in the community that protect, preserve, and beautify the environment.

Residents can participate by taking an online pledge to reduce resource consumption at www.mywaterpledge.com

Bill to Repeal Property Tax Credit Cap Tabled

Yesterday, I joined dozens of our residents voicing concerns over the negative impact of the County bill CB-48-2020 on our property tax bills. Thankfully, the County Council voted to table its decision in the end.

As I said in my testimony, I think the timing of even considering this bill could not be worse. Our homeowners are struggling with huge unemployment and many of them are struggling with their mortgage payments.

Our College Park City Council sent a letter to the County Council recently requesting them to give more information to the voters that explain the effects of the amendment language and offers examples to the taxpayer of how it may affect their property taxes. I wish our City council could take a stronger position against the proposed bill.

Personally, I find it a little frustrating that the County Council is considering this bill, because at the College Park City Council, over the years, we have been trying to reduce the homestead tax credit cap on the College Park’s portion of the property tax. This cap could be as high as 10%, as some other towns have, but in College Park, it has been reduced to 0%. It’s frustrating because the County Council’s effort to repeal the cap on the County’s portion of the tax is going in the opposite direction that College Park is trying to do.

We know the County needs additional sources of revenues, especially when it’s projecting significant losses due to COVID-19 pandemic, but I do not think to tax our residents more during this difficult time is the right thing to do. Could there be other opportunities to generate revenues, such as attracting more successful and sustainable businesses to the county? Historically, Prince George’s has an unduly high proportion (68%-32%) of residential tax base compared to the commercial tax base.

Here you can find more about yesterday’s vote.

City Renews VeoRide Contract, with New Pricing Structure

At the last week’s City Council meeting, the Council approved the Pilot Program be extended for one year to August 1, 2021 and to approve the Amended Mobility Share Agreement – Pilot Program.
(a) An extension of one additional year of the micro-mobility pilot program was approved since the use of the service has been disrupted due to the global pandemic.
(b) VeoRide recommends and City, Town, and University staff agree with the removal of pedal bikes from the shared system as they require more maintenance and receive much less use. VeoRide can work with the parties to repurpose or donate pedal bikes in the local community. A limited number of ADA compliant pedal bikes will be made available through the University of Maryland.
(c) Staff proposed allowing scooters and e-bikes to park at any bike racks or at any of the geofenced parking locations. Previously, scooters were required to park only at geofenced parking locations. Click here for Manfirth’s great selection of electric scooters for men.
(d) Staff proposed modifying the hours of operation to make all vehicle types available 24/7. The Town is adopting these hours. The University of Maryland may limit hours of operation (5am-9pm) on campus through a digital “no-ride zone.”
(e) VeoRide requests an increase in pay-as-you-go pricing to match their national rates as follows:
(f) Staff proposed issuing a $35 fine to VeoRide for every improperly parked vehicle in the service area that is reported to VeoRide and not relocated within 24 hours.
(g) VeoRide will follow all CDC guidelines and each vehicle in service will be sanitized at least once a day.

Council Okays New College Park Marriott

At last week’s City Council meeting, the Council supported the approval of Detailed Site Plan 18047 with conditions in accordance with a few staff recommendations.

The Applicant, New County Hotel, LLC (Republic Properties), is requesting Detailed Site Plan (DSP) review to construct a 5-story Marriott Residence Inn with 161 hotel rooms, 6,800 square feet of ground-floor retail and 80 surface parking spaces.

The 2.11-acre property is a triangular-shaped corner through lot located on the northwest corner of Campus Drive and Corporal Frank Scott Drive.

The property is currently used as a 240 space County parking lot. The Planning Board is scheduled to hear the DSP on July 30th.

City Awards Hollywood Dog Park Construction Contract

At last week’s Council meeting, the City Council will awarded contract CP-20-07 to WGCI Enterprises for the construction of the Hollywood Dog Park in the amount of $314,806.75. Residents have expressed interest in the creation of an open access dog park.
Mayor & Council approved a Design & Engineering contract to A. Morton Thomas & Associates in November 2018 to develop construction plans, bid specifications and obtain required permits for the project on the Prince George’s County Board of Education parcel located in the 9300 block of 51st Ave.
An RFP was advertised in June 2020; thirteen bids were received by the closing date on June 29,2020, with WGCI Enterprises providing the lowest bid amount. Weather permitting, the park is expected to be built by the end of this year.
You can read more about the project her on City’s website: https://www.collegeparkmd.gov/304/Hollywood-DogPark

Tired of Being Bit by Mosquitoes in Your Yard?

Would you like to trap and kill those pesky mosquitoes without harming bees or birds? There is a solution, and for a limited time, it’s free.
The City of College Park Committee for a Better Environment has purchased 48 GAT traps. These traps are designed to attract and capture mosquitoes without any toxic chemicals. They are used successfully throughout neighboring University Park.
The Committee for a Better Environment would like to test the traps out in a few neighborhoods. They work best if they are deployed two per yard and several neighbors take part together. If you and four or five of your neighbors are interested in trying these traps out, the City will drop them off for free at your houses. In exchange, all we ask is that you take a short survey at the end of the summer letting us know if it was easy to use the traps and if they worked.
Contact Janet McCaslin at 240-487-3590 or jmccaslin@collegeparkmd.gov if you and several neighbors are interested in deploying GAT traps in your yards.
[City of College Park]

Pepco to Perform Tree line Clearance Work in College Park

Power line clearance tree work along Albion Road will be occurring very soon this month (July). The tree pruning will be performed by Asplundh, PEPCO’s contracted tree company.

Click here for a map of the planned power line clearance work in Old Town, Lakeland, North College Park, Yarrow, Berwyn, College Park Estates, Berwyn, and Calvert Hills.

PEPCO is beginning to plan for routine tree work to maintain required clearance from the overhead electric lines to provide for reliable electric service and reduce outages caused by trees.

The PEPCO planners will be working in all City neighborhoods planning for line clearance work this year, beginning in The College Park Estates and Yarrow neighborhoods. All trees, including those on private property, growing near the electric power lines will be inspected by an arborist to determine what will need to be done, whether pruning will accomplish the required clearance or a tree removal may be needed. Pepco arborists will leave a door hanger with contact information if a tree on private property is planned for trimming or removal. Residents should respond directly to the planner with comments or questions related to the tree work planned for their privately owned tree.

The City will be working with PEPCO planners to review the tree work plan and approve or deny work planned on trees in the public right-of-way.

[City of College Park]