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Tonight’s Council Meeting: Book Exchange, Trolley Trail, MUTC, Transit Development Bills..

College Park City Hall

Tonight’s meeting will start with a public hearing on the abolition of the Animal Control Board at 7:15, followed by a brief agenda.

7:15 – PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ORDINANCE 12-O-09. The Animal Control Board was originally established by the City Council a number of years ago to hear appeals of cases involving aggressive pets and violations of the City’s animal control ordinance and to oversee the City’s animal control program. Since then, the City’s Animal Control Officer has started using the City’s municipal infraction process, and the County process has become available for aggressive animal cases. Also, the City’s Animal Welfare Committee now oversees the City’s animal control program. As a result, the Animal Control Board has not met in at least 10 years. This Ordinance would amend the City Code to eliminate the Animal Control Board.

7:30 – GENERAL MEETING
1.PROCLAMATION FOR NONPROFIT AWARENESS WEEK.
October 8-12 is Prince George’s County Nonprofit Awareness Week, a chance to recognize the valuable role that nonprofit organizations play serving our community. The City will issue a Proclamation celebrating the role that non-profits play in assisting people who need it and advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

2.PRESENTATION OF REVISED ARCHITECTURE FROM THE DEVELOPER OF THE MARYLAND BOOK EXCHANGE PROJECT. The Maryland Book Exchange development is a mixed-use retail and student housing development proposed for the current site of the Maryland Book Exchange, just north of City Hall. The Council has consistently opposed the various proposals for the design of this project on the basis that its design and density is incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood and that it does not meet the step-down requirements for a Route 1 development that backs into a residential neighborhood set forth in the Route 1 Sector Plan. After the District Council decided to remand the project to the County Planning Board for further consideration on the basis that it did not meet the requirements of the Sector Plan, the developer decided to revise the project slightly, but still did not meet most of the concerns that the Council had. Recently, Council voted unanimously to continue its opposition to the project and set forth a number of conditions that would have to be met before the Council would provide its support. This week, the developer came back with a revised proposal that steps the building down to three stories near the residential development for part of the building about 1/3 of the way through in line with the City’s requested step-down. For the North part of the building, though, the amended proposal maintains the 6-story height on one side until about 50 feet from the rear property line. The developer also made some other changes to the architecture of the building to address the City’s concerns. The Council will hear about these changes and then seek public input to decide whether to maintain its opposition to the project.

CONSENT AGENDA:
3.12-G-106 – Letter in Opposition to Prince George’s County bills CB-79-2012 and CB-80-2012. Two bills recently proposed in the Prince George’s County Council, CB-79-2012 and CB-80-2012 would eliminate the requirements that developments in a commercial, industrial, mixed-use, comprehensive design or planned community zone located within half a mile from a Metro or MTA station (including heavily-used bus stations and future Purple Line stations) go through the Conceptual Site Plan (CSP) and Detailed Site Plan (DSP), and meet certain requirements for adequate transportation facilities. CB-79-2012, which relates to the CSP and DSP processes, would eliminate many of the opportunities that residents and municipalities have to provide input on these developments. CB-80-2012 would eliminate the transportation adequacy review altogether, thereby preventing the Planning Board from even considering whether the additional traffic these developments would bring would overwhelm the existing traffic network. Although the sponsors (Councilmembers Davis, Franklin and Harrison) appear to wish to promote transit-oriented development, the proposed bills would go much further than just streamlining the review process for these developments to seriously limiting review of these developments. These bills were scheduled to go before the County Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZED) Committee last Wednesday, and in order to provide input on the bills before that happened and because the City staff had only found out about these bills a few days before they were up for consideration, the Council sent a letter to the Committee with all Councilmembers signed on as individuals in opposition to the Bill. The considerations of these Bills was then postponed to allow for consideration of some amendments, so the Council now has an opportunity to consider sending an official letter as a Council in opposition to the bills.

4.12-G-107 – Letter in Support of Prince George’s County bill CB-75-2012. The Council will consider approving a letter to the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZED) Committee of Prince George’s County Council supporting County Bill CB-75-2012, “Requirement for a DSP for the M-U-TC Zone.” The bill would require a Detailed Site Plan (DSP), subject to District Council review, for each phase of a multi-phase project on land consisting of at least 20 acres of land rezoned to M-U-TC through a map amendment. During the review of the Cafritz project, this requirement was included as a condition of zoning approval. The passage of this bill will ensure that the City and the public can comment during the DSP process for this important development project. The bill is necessary because the requirements from a DSP cannot be implemented through a condition of zoning approval.

5.12-R-20 – Establishment of Criteria for Waiver of Field Use Fees. After consulting with both the City’s Recreation Board and the City Attorney, as well as the Maryland Stingers and Boys & Girls Club, which mostly use Duvall Field, the Council will be considering a resolution establishing criteria for waiver of field use fees. Councilmember Wojahn wanted to be sure there is a set process for waiver of field use fees so that it could be open to any group that wishes to apply. This policy would allow the Council to approve a waiver of field use fees based on the recommendation of the Recreation Board, considering the following criteria: 1) the level of use that is involved with the activity, including wear and tear of the fields; 2) the level of involvement of College Park residents in the activity; 3) the community benefit that may result from the activity, for example, recreational opportunities for youths or seniors; 4) volunteers services that the use providers to the City or its residents; 5) assistance to be provided by the use for maintenance of the recreational facility; and 6) whether user activities promote the interests of the College Park community.

6.12-G-108 – Approval of the Recognition Agreement Between the Univerity of Maryland and the City of College Park Regarding Access for the Domain Mixed-Use Multi-family Residential and Retail Development from Mowatt Lane and Acceptance of the Recognition Agreement as Satisfaction of Condition 19 of the Declaration of Covenants between the City and the Developer of the Domain Project. In exchange for the City’s support of the Domain development, currently under construction at the corner of Mowatt Lane and Campus Drive, the developer signed a Declaration of Covenants with a series of conditions. One of those conditions is that the developer must obtain an easement from the University of Maryland to obtain access from Mowatt Lane to the development through University property. The University has an existing agreement as part of a plan for improvement of Mowatt Lane to allow access for non-commercial vehicles to any private residences that abut Mowatt Lane. Because this agreement is not recorded, the University has provided a Recognition Agreement that recognizes the content of the 1979 agreement, and which would also effectively ensure access to the property. Part of the Recognition Agreement acknowledges that this satisfies the condition of access put forward in the Declaration of Covenants.

7.12-R-19 – Resolution Adopting the Recommendation of the Advisory Planning Commission and Granting Departure Application Number CPD-2012-01, 4611 College Avenue, Alpha Tau Omega House Corporation, for a Departure of 7 Parking Spaces from the Required 20 Spaces. Alpha Tau Omega is making improvements to its property that trigger the zoning requirements for sufficient parking, and applied for departure from City’s zoning Ordinance of 7 parking spaces from the required 20 spaces. The APC found that the departure is necessary to alleviate circumstances that are special to the subject use, given its nature at this location. The fraternity house predates Zoning and there was no parking requirement at the time of construction. Building additional parking would increase lot coverage and is not feasible given the building’s configuration. The only other area where a parking lot could conceivably be located would be in front of the house, but this is not permitted or advised as it would detrimentally impact the appearance of the property. Students living in housing in close proximity to the University of Maryland have other transportation options and often don’t have cars. The Council will consider adopting the APC’s recommendation to approve the departure application.

NON-CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS:
8.12-G-110 – Award of Contract to D&F Construction, Inc., of Forestville, MD, in an amount not to exceed $479,202.00 for CP-12-03, College Park Trolley Trail Phase IV Construction. The Council will consider a motion awarding a contract to D&F Construction, Inc. of Forestville, Maryland for the construction of Phase IV of the College Park Trolley Trail and related road improvements to Rhode Island Avenue in Old Town in the amount of $399,334.75 plus a 20% contingency, for a total not-to-exceed price of $479,202.00, subject to State Highway Administration (SHA) Concurrence in Award, and authorize the City Manager to execute the contract. This contract will cover construction of the Trolley Trail in Old Town between Rossborough Lane and Calvert Road. Funding for this contract will be provided through various project transfers within the FY13 Capital Improvement Program (C.I.P.). The special assessment previously scheduled for this project will not take place, instead it will be funded through a $200,000 Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) federal grant and City funding, including funds from the City’s Pavement Management Plan and Surplus Funds from the closing of the Public Parking Garage.

9.12-G-111 – Approval of a PY 39 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Application to the Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development requesting $176,000 for street resurfacing and sidewalk construction in the Old Town neighborhood. The Council will consider approval of an application to the Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development requesting $176,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for Program Year 39 for street resurfacing and sidewalk construction in the Old Town neighborhood. Program Year 39 CDBG applications are due to Prince George’s County by October 15, 2012. This funding would cover street resurfacing and sidewalk construction on Norwich Road between Princeton Avenue and Columbia Avenue, which has been identified as a priority within the City’s FY 2013 Pavement Management Plan. The Washington Sanitary Sewer Commission has scheduled work on Norwich Road and the funds requested will help to restore the road when repairs are completed. The proposed project is an eligible CDBG activity that meets the national objective of area wide benefit to low and moderate income persons. No part of North College Park is eligible for this funding.

10.12-O-09 – Motion to Amend City Code to Discontinue the Animal Control Board. Council will vote on the Ordinance for which the public hearing will have been held earlier in the evening.

11.12-G-112 – Appointments to Boards and Committees. The Council will consider the following two appointments to the Neighborhood Stabilization and Quality of Life Workgroup – Robert Thurston from District 2 and Jonathan Molinatto from District 1. Thanks to Jonathan for his continuing service to the community!!

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