College Park's trusted source for daily news and updates since 2009

Category: City Council Page 2 of 28

City Plans to Make Homeowner Grant Program More Attractive to New Homeowners

At next week’s Council meeting, the City Council will discuss ways to expand the reach of the City’s homeownership program and further incentivize homeownership in the City

In 2005, the City Council established a homeownership grant program, known as the New Neighbors Program, to provide $5,000 in closing costs to buyers purchasing a single-family home in the City and agreeing to reside at the property for a minimum of five years.

The primary purpose of the program was to encourage the conversion of rental properties to owner-occupied housing, and eligible properties are currently restricted to properties that have been rented for a minimum of two years, properties in foreclosure or subject to a short sale, and newly constructed homes.

An amendment to the program in 2016 allowed City grants to be combined with the CPCUP homeownership grants for eligible properties.  CPCUP offers $15,000 grants to University of Maryland faculty and staff.

Buyers not subject to the New Neighbors property restrictions include City employees, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. All purchasers must execute a Declaration of Covenants with the City or repayment agreement with CPCUP.

Since the inception of the program, 69 grants have been provided for a total of $360,000 or approximately 4-5 grants per year.

To make the program more attractive to new homeowners, staff is recommending amendments to the program guidelines as follows:
1. Eliminate the requirement for a property to have been a rental for a minimum of two years except in cases where City funds are combined with CPCUP grant assistance.
2. Increase the grant amount for the purchase of a former rental property from $5,000 to $10,000.

[City of College Park]

Reflections on Starting my Sixth Term

Last night, I took the oath of office to serve the residents of College Park for my 6th council term.

As the oath reads – “I will, to the best of my skills and judgment, diligently and faithfully without partiality or prejudice, execute the office”. These are heavy words and put a lot of weight on my shoulders.

I am not the best in the community, so I need your help in getting things done right, with your ideas, advice and even criticism, in private and in public. Thank you!

City to Form Lakeland Restorative Justice Commission

A sign saying the “Urban Renewal” project in the Lakeland community in the 1960s. [File photo]

At this week’s meeting, the City Council discussed a proposal to form a restorative justice commission to study what happened in College Park’s Lakeland community back in 1960′ as part of the “Urban Renewal” project and find possible restorative justice to address those issues.

Back on February 9, 2021, the City Council approved creating the Restorative Justice Steering Committee in response to Council resolution denouncing the systematic racism, which called for a restorative justice process to address the harms caused to the Lakeland community by the City, particularly during the urban renewal process in the 1960s.

The Resolution stated that the City acknowledges and apologizes for its past history of oppression, particularly regarding the Lakeland community, actively seeks opportunities for accountability and truth-telling about past injustice, and aggressively seeks opportunities for restorative justice.

On April 13, 2021, the City Council appointed eight members to the Restorative Justice Steering Committee (RJSC), which is recommending establishing a Restorative Justice Commission.

Within the next 5 years after its establishment, the committee would deliver the following

  • Records of historical race-based adverse actions and harm caused, and that of truth-telling
  • Community engagement process that consistently solicits input and feedback from current, former, and future members of the broader Lakeland community
  • Concrete restorative measures, which to the extent possible, correct the race-based harms from the City and its partners impacting the African American community of College Park, Maryland
  • An active memorial space sited in Lakeland, the historic African American community of College Park, to house the historic record and serve as a place of recognition and celebration for the City’s cultures and history.

The City has allocated $100,000.00 for the start of the Restorative Justice Commission’s budget in FY 2022.

The Council will formally form the commission and appoint the committee members at a future Council meeting.

Residents May Continue to Participate Council Meetings Virtually, Once the Council Starts to Meet In-Person

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the Council will continue its discussion whether to meet online and/or in a hybrid format (attending in person and online), and for the public to attend in the same manner.

Major changes from the current practices can be summarized as follows:

(a) For Mayor and Council meetings: Elected officials can participate remotely based on just cause, such as being ill, out of the area due to vacation or work obligations, absence due to a funeral, a family emergency, or a generally declared emergency, as reasons for Councilmembers not to be in-person during voting sessions. The public should be able to attend in person, to the extent possible under any space/distancing restrictions.

The public should also be able to attend remotely, with access to audio, and access to visual, to the extent technologically possible, with the intent of making visual access available to all attendees.

Any Charter amendments required should enable in-person and remote attendance at meetings but otherwise allow flexibility, with the details to be set through amendment of Mayor and Council Rules and Procedures.

(b) For Council-Appointed Advisory Boards: In-person and/or remote attendance at meetings will be allowed as determined to be best by the advisory board, to encourage participation and ease the burden on volunteers.

(c) For Appointed Boards, If attending remotely, the public will have access to audio, and access to visuals to the extent technologically possible, with the goal of making visual access available to all attendees.

If the Council decides to move forward, several changes to the City Charter and Code, the Council rules and procedures will need to be made.

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.

2021 November City Election Information

City Election
Sunday, November 7, 2021 | 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Although the City election is still several weeks away, you should decide soon how you plan to vote. You have two options: by Absentee Ballot, or in person at the Poll. The City will not offer Early Voting this year.
By this time, you should have received applications for absentee ballots. The City mailed the applications to all registered voters on September 20. If you wish to vote by mail, return your application promptly, and you will receive your ballot in the mail. Ballots will be mailed beginning in early October.
If you prefer to vote in person on Election Day, do not return the application. In-person voting takes place on Sunday, November 7, from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the College Park Community Center, 5051 Pierce Avenue in Lakeland.
Don’t Receive Your Application? If you don’t receive an absentee ballot application in the mail, you may download it from the City website or pick it up from any City building. Make sure we receive your completed application by October 26, so we can mail out your ballot.
Is Your Voter Registration Current? Have you moved or changed your name since the last time you voted? If so, you must update your voter registration no later than October 10. Please contact Prince George’s County at 301-341-7300, or visit For more information about the upcoming City Election, please contact Janeen S. Miller, City Clerk, at 240-487-3501.
[City of College Park]

City Announces Kenneth Young as the New City Manager

At tonight’s City Council meeting, the City announced the appointment of Kenneth “Kenny” Young as its new City Manager.

Mr. Young’s tenure starts with the City begins on September 27, 2021 and they will be also implementing the ndis assistive tech to simplify the tasks.

Mr. Young brings to the City more than 25 years of progressive local government and private sector experience. Mr. Young has a wealth of experience leading counties, municipalities, and departments across the country. Mr. Young most recently served as County Administrator for Goochland County, VA where he oversaw a budget in excess of $141 million and 175 employees. During his time at Goochland, he directed and supervised operations of all County departments and guided the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic with one of the highest vaccination rates for residents within the State of Virginia.

Prior to serving in Goochland, Mr. Young was the Assistant County Administrator for Loudoun County, VA, an organization with more than 4,100 employees and budget of $3.2 billion. There he oversaw several departments including Building and Development, Planning and Zoning, Economic Development, as well as major projects like the county-wide Comprehensive Plan. Under his leadership, the county was recognized for the most business investment for counties of its size in America.

Previously, Mr. Young served as Assistant Town Administrator for the Town of Capitol Heights, MD and as an acting assistant City Manager for the City of North Las Vegas, NV. He has also held positions in economic and community development, neighborhood services, and planning.

Mr. Young is a Credentialed Manager from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and a member of the National Forum of Black Public Administrators, having previously served on their Executive Board. He received his master’s degree in Public Administration and bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University.

Mr. Young fills the position left vacant by previous City Manager Scott Somers who resigned to pursue a position in Arizona. Assistant City Manager Bill Gardiner has served as Interim City Manager since December 2020.

[City of College Park]

City Considering to Acquire Rhode Island Ave in North College Park

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.

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 salient terms are:

(a) The County will prepare a quitclaim deed that conveys Rhode Island Avenue between Paducah Road and Greenbelt Road (MD 430).

(b) The City will accept ownership, to the extent transferable by the County, jurisdiction and regulatory authority over, and maintenance of, the road including all streetlights, traffic signs, bus shelters, the traffic signal, and related equipment at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road, and the stormwater management quality facility at the southwest corner of Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road.

(c) The County will resurface the road between University Boulevard (MD 193) and Muskogee Street and Niagara Road and Paducah Road on or before November 30, 2021 and restripe the road between MD 193 and Muskogee Street in accordance with plans provided by the City.

(d) The County will continue to be responsible for the repair, maintenance, and replacement of any existing storm drain system in the road, with the exception of the referenced stormwater management water quality facility. (e )The County will provide a copy of all maintenance and warranty records for the appurtenances within the road and technical assistance, as needed, for one year following the transfer.

(f) Maryland State Highway Administration user funds for the road will be allocated to the City beginning July 1 of the year following the date of transfer.

(g) The effective date of transfer of the road to the City will be upon conveyance and City acceptance of a quitclaim deed. Because the conveyancing process includes certain ownership rights, the deed should be approved by an Ordinance. The Public Works Director and City Engineer have reviewed the proposed Agreement and indicated that traffic signal maintenance is estimated to be $20,000/year, resurfacing will be needed every 20 years, restriping will be needed every 3-4 years, and snow removal funding will need to be budgeted.

Time to Speak about Proposed Changes to the Neighborhood many months of work on “Zoning Rewrite”, the County has proposed a streamlined zoning map for the entire county. For a few areas of north College Park, especially in the Hollywood Commercial district and the areas along Route 1, some of the proposed changes are concerning. For those living near the Edgewood and Rhode Island Avenue area, the new zoning could mean considerable density in the form of retail and residential combined properties. This could greatly impact our small-town feel. This includes:

  • CGO (Edgewood and RI Ave.) — 20 townhouses/48 multifamily units per acre; 4-5 stories
  • IH (Stone Property) — heavy industrial uses or 12 multifamily/live-work residences per acre; no height requirement but there are conditions
  • RMF 20( North Autoville) — up to 40 townhouses/20 multifamily buildings per acre; 4 stories
  • NAC (Cherry Hill/South Autoville) — 30 units/acre; 3-4 stories
  • LTOe (East & West side of Rt. 1) — 40 units/acre; 6 stories

The City Council sent a letter sharing its concerns a few months ago. The letter has been accepted as part of the record.

Please sign up to pre-register by 3 p.m., Thursday, September 9, 2021 to speak at the Public Hearings on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 at 5 p.m. or Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 at 5 p,m. Click on the following link to do so.

Written testimony will also be accepted in lieu of or in addition to oral testimony. It must be done through Council’s eComment portal not US mail. Comments can be emailed: or faxed to 301-952-5178.

All written comments may be submitted through Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 4 p.m.

View the Public Hearings via live stream here.

To learn more about the Zoning Rewrite process, its purpose, and the opportunity to participate in a Public Hearing, visit:

For a guide to easily compare all the new zones and what they entail, check the following link:

If you do not know what your neighborhood/area is currently zoned, use the first link below to use an interactive map to determine your zone.  Then, for further explanation of how that zone was determined, see this link.

The NCPCA will be having a special session at this Thursday’s meeting with a  guest from County’s planning board to answer your questions.

City to Assist Local Non Profits for Food Services

The enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and specifically the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (LFRF), has provided the City with significant funding to be used to help the City, its local businesses, families, and individuals recover from the major negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City’s total ARPA funding is $21.97 million. The first tranche of $10.98 million was received August 13, 2021. The remaining 50% is supposed to be paid 12 months later, August 2022.

The FY2022 Adopted Budget includes uses of the funds as follows (excluding recovery of lost revenue):
– Contractual for administration and compliance & related FICA $ 107,650
– Grants and assistance:
Food service organizations 350,000
Business/non-profits 2,000,000
Families/individuals 250,000
– COVID specific costs (PPE, cleaning, public outreach, etc.) 320,000
– Equipment 50,000
Total proposed uses $ 3,077,650

Although staff is still in the process of developing programs for the business grants and family/individual assistance, immediate contributions can be made to local food service organizations. These organizations continue to see significant increase in demand for food assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and additional funding is much needed.

Based on the community needs and the work by these organizations, staff is recommending contributions of up to $50,000 be made to Meals on Wheels of College Park, College Park Community Food Bank, Community Meals Program at College Park United Methodist, and Route 1 Communities Care.

Staff will evaluate the organization’s capacity and proposed uses to determine if the full $50,000 should be provided initially for operating or small capital expenditures. Further recommendation of an additional $50,000 each to the same organizations may be considered in January or February 2022. If an organization would like for the City to consider supporting a larger capital expenditure, staff recommends that the request be considered separately.

The City provided grants in FY2021 and FY2020 to three of these organizations totaling of $174,000 which were reimbursed from the Coronavirus Relief Fund spending plan with Prince George’s County.

[City of College Park]

Page 2 of 28

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén