New Redistricting Map Puts Entire College Park into County Council District 1

Yesterday afternoon in the County Council’s Committee of the Whole, Council Member Derrick Leon Davis proposed a brand-new map that many, including some County Council members, did not see before.

The proposed map was different from the one proposed by the Redistricting Commission, which was published before.

For College Park and surrounding communities, this new map includes multiple changes to your representation, below are several of the largest changes:

  • All of the City of College Park, including the University of Maryland, will be moved to District 1
  • All of the City of Greenbelt will be moved to District 3
  • The Town of Landover Hills and Bellmeade community will be moved to District 5
  • The communities of Lincoln Vista and all of Glenn Dale will be moved to District 4

The Council approved the map proposed by Council Member Davis by a vote of 6-4. Those opposing it were Tom Dernoga, Dannielle Glaros, Monique Anderson-Walker and Jolene Ivey. Those voting for it were Chair Calvin Hawkins, Vice-Chair Deni Taveras, Mel Franklin, Todd Turner, Sydney Harrison and Derrick Leon Davis.

The meeting was live-streamed and the archived video should be available to view here at the 3:47:45 mark.

The County Charter requires that Council Members must live in their district for one year prior to running in a primary election. The Council primary is in June 2022. This new map may impact multiple individuals across the County who are already running for County Council next year or are planning to but will have been required to live within these new boundaries since last June. This is the reason that the Redistricting Commission’s map only changed boundaries when it was necessary for population balance.

To view the Redistricting Commission’s report click here. To view the map proposed by Council Member Davis that was approved today click here.

The new proposed Councilmanic district map will be on the agenda for Introduction on next Tuesday morning. If it receives a favorable vote on Tuesday, it will not be able to be changed. The public hearing will take place in November. However, at that time, only two options are possible: approval of the new map approved today, or the Council could take no action which would mean the Redistricting Commission’s recommended map moves forward.

Residents can reach out to the County elected officials and the At-Large members before Tuesday, October 19, when this new map is on the agenda for Introduction.

The College Park City Council is expected to discuss the topic and send a letter of opposition at next Council Tuesday’s meeting.

[Source: Offices of CM Jolene Ivey,  CM Dernoga, CM Glaros]

Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting : Election Forum

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

View Zoom Meeting Information:
NCPCA Meeting Zoom Information

Agenda Times & Topics (subject to change)

7:00 Welcome & Review of procedures.
7:05 NCPCA officers’ reports & approval of September minutes.
7:15 Election of Secretary – Dylan Burns is the only candidate but nominations will be taken from the floor
7:25 New Business & Future Agenda Items
7:30 CANDIDATES FORUM – Questions have been prepared by the Candidates Forum Subcommittee. Each question will be asked to each candidate whose response will be limited to 2 minutes. Due to time constraints, questions will not be taken from the audience.

City Council Approves Takeover Agreement of Rhode Island Avenue from the County

At last night’s meeting, the City Council voted on an Ordinance, authorizing the acquisition, ownership, jurisdiction, control and maintenance of Rhode Island Avenue from Paducah Road to Greenbelt Road from Prince George’s County.

Thank you all for your important input on the proposal.

There are many benefits of the City’s ownership of this segment of Rhode Island Avenue.

(1) Help with the current and future projects: In North College Park, the City has invested in two major projects along Rhode Island Avenue, namely the Hollywood Streetscape Project and Rhode Island Avenue Buffered Bike Lane Project – which will extend the trolley trail to the northern end of College Park. These two projects prompted a discussion with Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation about the transfer of the road from the County to the City, as the ownership will facilitate the implementation of current and future projects. Negotiations have resulted in a proposed Road Transfer Agreement. The City has experienced delays and added costs with the approval process on two projects it has undertaken along Rhode Island Avenue. We could anticipate additional costs, delays, and denials for our projects if the roadway remains a County road. The road has not been maintained at a high level, which detracts from the quality of the community.

(2) Improved Services: We hope to see some significant improvements in the way the City will provide services on this segment of Rhode Island Avenue. For example, the snow cleaning of the road during winter is expected to be a lot faster, as the County snow trucks take some time to clean the County roads.

(3) Road Safety: Many residents have told us this segment of Rhode Island Avenue is too dangerous, for both motorists and pedestrians. Despite the fact that we added a few yellow flashing RRFB lights at multiple intersections, some motorists often disregard these lights. Others have complained about motorists drive too fast. Some residents have also asked to reduce the speed limit on the road. This could be finally possible if the City is able to own the road.

(4) Improved Traffic Flow: The other benefit of ownership is that the City will be able to address the current traffic issues on Rhode Island Avenue. Now it’s very difficult to turn left or cross Rhode Island Ave from either side of the road at all crossings on Rhode Island Avenue, especially during peak time. The City has been asking the County to address this important issue for more than a decade, but unfortunately, they haven’t been able to look into this.

(5) Economic Development / Revenue: Finally, an improved Rhode Island Ave with new amenities along the road will help revitalize the Hollywood commercial district and will help bring additional revenue.

We’re very much aware of the cost issue you mentioned, and thank you for bringing this up. A significant portion of the cost is the road resurfacing – which the County said will do before they hand the road over to us for $0. The next resurfacing will happen in 20 years.

Given many benefits the City’s ownership will bring, the City Council unanimously voted to approve the takeover proposal.

September 2021 College Park Crime Map

The taking or attempting to take anything of value under confrontational circumstances from the control, custody, or care of another by force or threat of force and/or by putting the victim in fear of immediate harm.
Stolen Auto:
Theft of a motor vehicle without the use of force onto a person.
Theft from Auto:
The theft of articles from a motor vehicle. Or the theft of any part or accessory affixed to the interior or exterior of a motor vehicle in a manner which would make the item an attachment of the vehicle or necessary for its operation. The theft can occur in situations where the vehicle was locked or unlocked.
Quality of Life:
Calls for Service that include Disorderly Conduct, Loitering, Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) Complaints etc. etc.
An unlawful physical attack by one person upon another with or without a weapon.
The unlawful entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft.
Robbery or attempted robbery where the primary objective is to obtain the victim’s motor vehicle and the victim is in the vehicle or in very close proximity to the vehicle.
Disorderly Conduct
Unruly behavior that is disturbing the general public.
The violation of a court order, regulation, ordinance, or law requiring the withdrawal of persons from the streets or other specified areas prohibiting persons from remaining in an area or place in an idle or aimless manner or prohibiting persons from going from place to place without visible means or support.
The willful killing of one human being by another.
The carnal knowledge of a person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

[Source: City of College Park: https://collegeparkmd.gov/publicsafety]

Local Business ‘Shop in Maryland’ May Join New City Hall’s Retail Space

Shop Made in Maryland is a proposed new retail establishment focused on local goods in Maryland and College Park.

This store is based on the successful Shop Made in D.C. chain owned and operated by the same entrepreneurs.

The space will include a coffee bar and small cafe, and beer and wine service are slated for the evenings. Classes and seminars will be offered for retail customers and local entrepreneurs. This store will become a destination for visitors and everyone looking for unique, locally-made, high-quality products. The City is requested to provide a grant to offset a portion of the expense to build out the retail space.

The City may consider requiring the Terrapin Development Corporation and/or Prince George’s County to also provide funding for Shop Made in Maryland, and for the business to offer a certain number of events to be held at the City Hall facility (inside or on the plaza).

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will consider approving a grant of up to $75,000 for Shop Made in Maryland. The funding for this grant would come from the City’s allocation of federal ARPA funding. The FY22 budget includes APRA funding for business support and economic development.

Fall for Fun at Monarch Preschool, Friday, 5-6 pm

The Monarch PreSchool will be hosting a fall fun event at the preschool to offer free after-hour tours, this Friday at 5-6 pm. Additionally, you’ll have the chance of getting free gifts, and meeting the staff at the school. Monarch Preschool College Park provides high-quality care and education at an affordable price. They offer convenient hours, flexible schedules, and an open-door policy that encourages a culture of collaborative family engagement. Please see below for details:

Curbside Leaf Collection Begins November 1, 2021

Curbside leaf collection will begin Monday, November 1 (weather permitting). Look for signs posted in your neighborhood for collection dates.

Until then, residents should continue to set out soft yard waste (grass, leaves and soft vegetative waste) on regularly scheduled refuse and recycling collection days. You may use the beige yard waste cart which is available for purchase, paper yard waste bags, or your own reusable containers with a yard waste sticker attached (stickers are available for free at the Department of Public Works).

Please do not use the City issued green refuse or blue recycling carts for yard waste or it will not be collected. Woody yard waste: brush, branches, sticks, and shrubs are collected year-round by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays; call 240-487-3590 or email publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov before setting items to the curb.

Voter Registration Deadline is October 10, 2021.

We’re having an election on Sunday, November 7, 2021! The last day to be registered to vote in the City’s election is October 10, 2021.

If you are already registered to vote with the Prince George’s County Board of Elections at your current City address, you are automatically registered to vote in the City Election. However, if you have moved or changed your name since the last election, you must update your Voter Registration.

Voter registration is handled by the Prince George’s County Board of Elections. To check your registration status, call the Prince George’s County Board of Elections at 301-341-7300, or visit the Maryland State Board of Elections at www.elections.state.md.us. Voter Registration Forms are available at any City building or any Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration office.

You can also register online here : https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1

For more information about the City’s election, including candidates and voting information, visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/elections.

[City of College Park]

Community Meeting on Home Fire Prevention & Safety

Please join City Elected Officials, Police, Department of Public Services staff, and your neighbors from all around the City, for an informative monthly community meeting. This meeting takes place every second Monday of the month via zoom. Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/96168994626.

This community meeting will discuss City-wide crime statistics, recent incidents of public interest, neighborhood watch tips, and special public safety related topics.

The next meeting will discuss Home Fire Prevention & Safety – Presented by Maryland State Firemen’s Association Fire Prevention and Life Safety Committee. Participate in fire safety knowledge quiz and win a 10 year battery powered smoke alarm..

County Expands Indoor Mask Mandate

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced several updates today regarding the County’s COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts, including an expansion of the County’s indoor mask mandate to include children ages 2-5.

Indoor Mask Mandate Update

Prince George’s County has expanded its indoor mask mandate to include children ages 2-5, effective immediately. Previously, that mandate only included anyone over the age of 5 in the County. Now, residents and visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear masks in all indoor public venues and businesses in Prince George’s County. Similar to past mandates, exceptions exist for eating and drinking, or those with a bona fide disability that prevents mask wearing.

County Government COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

The County Government is working to finalize its employee vaccination policy. Currently, the County is in the process of asking employees to submit their vaccination status. While that process is still ongoing, preliminary data shows that at least 64% of County employees are vaccinated. The County is using this data to look at various methods to ensure the safety of employees and residents, to include periodic testing and incentives for vaccinated employees.

One agency that has started testing on a weekly basis, for all employees who aren’t vaccinated, is the County’s Department of Corrections. This is due to the nature of the facility with congregate living. More information will be provided to County employees once vaccination policies have been finalized.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) awarded Prince George’s County $84 million to assist residents. So far, the County has assisted 4,134 households with $30.8 million in aid, helping with both rental and utility assistance. Prince George’s County continues to lead the state in distributing emergency rental assistance funds.

To make sure the County is reaching as many residents as possible, the Office of Community Relations (OCR) has partnered with the Department of Housing and Community Development to conduct a comprehensive outreach program.

OCR recently launched an Emergency Rental Assistance Hotline, where residents can get information about the program, find out their application status if they have already applied, or schedule an appointment with a staff member if they need assistance with completing an application. The hotline is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and can be reached by calling 301-883-6504 and pressing 9.

In addition, the County is hosting a number of rental assistance community fairs, where residents can attend to get more information or to receive on-site assistance with completing and submitting an application. The first community fair was held last month in Suitland, where over 400 residents attended to receive help with applying for emergency rental assistance. The next in-person community fair is this Saturday, October 9, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Langley Park Community Center.

Residents can learn more about the ERAP and submit an application through the County’s ERAP webpage.

COVID-19 Booster Shots & Third Doses

Based on CDC guidance, the County is offering booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to residents who are 65 and older, residents ages 18-64 with underlying medical conditions, and individuals ages 18-64 who work or reside in certain settings that increase their risk of COVID-19 exposure (e.g. health care, schools, grocery workers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters).

The CDC recommends that these groups receive a booster shot at least six months after receiving their second dose of Pfizer. Individuals do not have to show proof of eligibility to receive a booster shot at clinics operated by the County Health Department. Federal officials have not yet approved booster shots for those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The County is also offering third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, based on guidance from the CDC. For people with weakened immune systems, a third dose is recommended 28 days after the second dose. Federal officials have not yet approved an additional dose for immunocompromised individuals that received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Residents can find the nearest vaccine clinic at mypgc.us/COVIDVaccine.

COVID-19 Numbers & Vaccinations

Over 1,000,000 total vaccinations have been provided to eligible County residents. 548,893 residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine. According to the CDC, over 82% of adults (18 and older) in the County have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 72% of eligible residents (12 and older) are fully vaccinated.

The County’s positivity rate is 3.3% as of October 1. Last week, the County dropped below 4.0% for the first time since the end of July. The average daily case rate is 12.2 cases per 100,000 residents as of October 1. Finally, the County’s infection rate is 0.93 as of September 27.

The latest COVID-19 numbers are available via the County’s COVID-19 Dashboard. The latest COVID-19 vaccination numbers are available via the County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.

[County Executive’s announcement]

City Continues to Advocate for Seniors Program, NCP Community Center, Improvements to Hollywood Park, and More..

At tonight’s meeting, the City Council will discuss the budget priorities of the Prince George’s County Planning Board of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC).

The M-NCPPC is currently soliciting comments on the Commission’s proposed FY22 budget for planning, parks, and recreation in Prince George’s County. The Commission will hold a virtual budget forum on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at 7 pm to receive comments on the upcoming budget.

For the current M-NCPPC budget, the City made the requests below. (a) a new bike/pedestrian bridge and trail connection from the Paint Branch Park to the trail system on the west side of the river (b) Trail lighting in high traffic parts of the trail system, particularly the Paint Branch Trail north of MD 193 (c) $250,000 (from FY20 budget) Feasibility Study for a community facility in north College Park (d) Improvements to Hollywood Park including reconfigured playing fields and a drinking fountain. ( e ) Continued funding ($50,000) for senior services by the City’s Department of Youth, Family, and Senior Services MNCPPC staff have done some preliminary work on the north College Park feasibility study but has not yet contracted with a consultant. The other requests were not included in the M-NCPPC capital budget or funded in other parts of the budget.

Staff recommends that Council again request funding for a new bike/pedestrian bridge and trail connection from the Paint Branch Park to the trail system on the west side of the river; the continued funding for senior services, and improvements to Hollywood Park.

Staff also recommends that the College Park City- University Partnership submit comments to M-NCPPC supporting these projects and that we reach out to our County representatives to obtain their support. The Council may wish to request that M-NCPPC include capital funding in the budget for a community facility in the north College Park area and consider a partnership in which the City could also contribute funds.

District 1 Council Bulletin: Making it Easier for Homeowners to Get Building Permits

At tomorrow’ss Council worksession, we’ll have an important discussion about taking over the building and other permitting processes from the County’s permitting department (DPIE) to ourselves. As you know, currently homeowners need to run between the City and the County to get a simple permit, for even a small project, such as building a driveway or small improvements on their homes. Instead of going through a complex and lengthy 9-steps process (please see below), the proposed process will save homeowners time to get permits and get their projects inspected faster.

Recently, the City engaged a consultant to conduct a feasibility study to determine if it was technically and financially feasible for the City to assume certain services currently conducted by the County’s Department of Permits, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE). These services include the processing of building permit applications, the review for code compliance and approval of plans submitted with construction permit applications, the inspection of construction projects to enforce compliance with applicable code and approved plans, and the issuance of final Use and Occupancy permits.

The goals for the study are to 1) improve services to residents, developers, builders, and contractors performing work in the City of College Park, 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. According to the report’s summary, some development-related functions should remain with the current review agencies.

For example, by law, most planning and zoning authorities remain with the MNCPPC and the District Council. Similarly, other functions related to regional stormwater management and water and sewer are anticipated to remain within the purview of the current regional agencies and authorities. Although the City would have a role in coordination, College Park would not assume any of these regulatory responsibilities.

The proposed permit fees schedule and staffing structure would be designed to make this program self-sufficient and not draw from the general fund.

At this week’s meeting the consultant, Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) will present the draft feasibility study report to the Mayor and Council at the work session and answer Council questions

Rabies and Microchip Clinic, Oct 24

The City’s Animal Control and Animal Welfare Committee are hosting a Rabies and Microchip Clinic for City pets on October 24, 2021 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Appointments are required – slots are individual, you can only register one animal per spot. Appointments are in 10-minute slots, and space is limited. All animals must be leashed or properly confined to a carrier. No walk-ins.

City residents must be able to provide proof of residence to obtain free services.

Services will be discounted for non-residents as follows (exact cash only):

Rabies vaccine, $10.00 For 3-year Rabies vaccines, the pet owner must have a current signed rabies certificate (1- or 3-year), and vaccines will be given at the discretion of the veterinarian. Microchipping, $20.00

Please come no earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Please remain in the vehicle with your pets, and wait to be called for your appointment.

By participating in this event, you acknowledge and assume all risks and liabilities including possible exposure to illnesses, including but not limited to COVID-19. Masks and social distancing are strongly encouraged.

[City of College Park]

Free grocery giveaway – Sunday, Oct 10!

On October 10, College Park United Methodist Church will be partnering with the College Park police & Helpers to Good for a grocery giveaway. Please see below for details.