It should be a fairly short meeting tomorrow night. We’re starting off with a public hearing on the changes to the City’s vehicle ordinance, and then we’ll be dealing with a number of other issues. Here’s what’s going on:
1. PUBLIC HEARING RE: VEHICLE ORDINANCE. Currently, the City’s code enforcement provisions regarding vehicles prohibit people from parking any vehicles larger than 21 feet long or 6 feet wide on the street in a residential neighborhood at night, even if the vehicle is used for personal (non-commercial) use. Unfortunately, with cars as big as they are now, this covers many personal vehicles. As a result, the City staff has proposed amending the City’s vehicle ordinance to make it more specific to commercial vehicles, by prohibiting the following vehicles between 8 pm and 6 am on City streets in residential zones:
a. Any vehicle exceeding 21 feet in length or six feet in width that is used for commercial purposes:
b. Any vehicle exceeding a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight specification of 8,500 pounds;
c. Vehicles containing advertising other than a firm name or similar designation less than 4 inches high’
d. Vehicles exceeding 300 cubic feet of load space; and
e. Any stake platform trucks, dump trucks, crane or two trucks, or vehicles with dual rear wheels.
Also, the proposed ordinance would prohibit parking of recreational vehicles (campers, boats, etc.) on the street – these must be on people’s driveways.
Some exceptions to these rules are allowed with a permit from the City. I’m interested to hear if any one has any concerns about this – I don’t want to prohibit the parking of vehicles in residential areas that are for legitimate residential purposes. Let me know if you have any comments or questions.
2. FAREWELL TO STUDENT LIAISON BECCA LURIE. Becca Lurie, who was our deputy student liaison last year and has served as student liaison since May, is graduating. Although she will still be at U-MD as a graduate student, the student liaisons have to be undergraduates, so we’ll be saying goodbye to her as our student liaison. Becca has been an amazingly hard-worker over the past year and a half, and she will be missed.
3. 2010 LIBERTY MUTUAL “BE FIRE SMART PLEDGE PROGRAM” GRANT AWARD TO COLLEGE PARK VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT. The College Park VFD recently was one of ten fire departments around the country to win a $10,000 grant from Liberty Mutual to fund new fire equipment. The grants were awarded based on votes from people across the country. We’re very lucky to have one of the fire departments that serves North College Park win this award.
4. CONSENT AGENDA – APPROVAL OF 2011 MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING SCHEDULE. The Council will consider its meeting schedule for the next year, which is basically the same as this years – worksessions every first and third Tuesday and formal meetings every second and fourth Wednesday, except for June, July, August and December, when we only meet the first two weeks. The first worksessions in August and November will be moved to Wednesday due to, respectively, National Night Out and the municipal elections.
5. ORDINANCE TO CLARIFY THE DEFINITIONS OF PUBLIC STREET AND PROHIBITED VEHICLES. The Council will vote on the ordinance discussed above.
6. RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE EXTENSION OF THE MATURITY DATES OF THE BOND ANTICIPATION NOTES USED TO FINANCE THE DOWNTOWN PARKING GARAGE. Based on the advice of our bond counsel and in order to get more favorable long-term financing for the parking garage, the City is considering extension of the term of the Bond Anticipation Notes to January 31, 2011, with the possibility of extending them to February 28, 2011. The City issues these notes to fund the building of the garage in 2007. This resolution would also authorize City staff to begin soliciting bids right away for the long-term financing, to settle on long-term financing in February at the latest. SunTrust has offered the City to extend the BAN’s to February 28, 2011, on the same terms as before.
7. RESOLUTION TO AMEND 02-R-03, WHICH ESTABLISHED THE STUDENT LIAISON POSITION, TO CLARIFY THE ROLE OF THE DEPUTY STUDENT LIAISON AND OTHER MATTERS INVOLVING THE STUDENT LIAISON. The city will be considering a resolution to clarify the student liaison and deputy student liaison positions in the following ways:
1. Change the title of the deputy student liaison from “student liaison-alternate” to “deputy student liaison,” to reflect the deputy student liaisons role as a sort of assistant to the student liaison;
2. Clarify that both the student liaison and deputy may attend closed sessions, except for executive sessions related to personnel matters;
3. Set the term of these positions from June 1 to May 31 each year; and
4. Clarify the process for removal of the student liaison for misconduct.
8. CONSIDERATION OF AN AMENDMENT TO THE PROPERTY USE AGREEMENT OF VITO’S PIZZERIA TO ALLOW IT TO SELL LIQUOR. When the Council agreed to support the application of Vito’s Pizzeria for a liquor license, we did so on the condition that Vito’s could not sell liquor for the first six months of its operation. Although it has only been operating about four months now, it has done so without any problems, and seems to have acted appropriately to prevent underage drinking. I hope that this will continue, but it seems like Vito will be following the rules as long as we’re watching him like this. So the proposal on the table is to allow Vito’s to start selling liquor now. Given the challenge that many businesses downtown have been facing recently, I will likely support this.
9. LETTER IN SUPPORT OF GREENBELT’S POSITION OPPOSING THE CURRENT PROPOSAL FOR GREENBELT PLACE, A NEW APARTMENT DEVELOPMENT BEHIND BELTWAY PLAZA. I brought this up last week after speaking with Mayor J Davis from Greenbelt. For many years, Greenbelt has been working with a developer to try to comprehensively redevelop Beltway Plaza, to establish a quality development there with quality retail, to potentially complement the new Greenbelt Station development. Unfortunately, the proposal that the developer brought to the table would add significantly to the density in the area without offering any new benefits to area residents – it would only build apartments behind the mall without doing anything to improve the mall itself. Mayor Davis thought it would be helpful if College Park takes a position on this as well, especially given the traffic problems that this additional density might cause for us if the developer does not handle it correctly.
10. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF “CHARTING NEW WATERS,” A CALL TO ACTION TO ADDRESS U.S. FRESHWATER CHALLENGES. “Charting New Waters” is a commitment by different organizations, businesses and governments to fix problems related to freshwater management through effective regulation and new strategies across different levels of government and different sectors of the economy. This commitment proposes that the City incorporate fresh water management and resource considerations in all development and infrastructure decisions. The City will be considering a resolution in support of this program.
11. LETTER TO WMATA REQUESTING ADDITIONAL SAFETY MEASURES AT THE GREENBELT METRO STATION. This follows from a number of earlier conversations with WMATA police about safety problems at the Greenbelt Metro station. After an attempted rape and a mugging this year at the Metro station, a group of residents collected petition signatures to send to Metro to request a closed-circuit camera and additional lighting. This letter will request those issues and ask that WMATA continue to provide us updates as they consider additional closed-circuit cameras along the Green line.
12. CONSIDERATION OF A LETTER REQUESTING THE PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY PLANNING BOARD TO RECONSIDER A CONDITION THAT THE CHINESE BIBLE CHURCH SUBMIT A DETAILED SITE PLAN. The Chinese Bible Church on Autoville Drive has been considering an expansion for the past couple of years, and is on the verge of getting final approval. The Planning Board placed a condition on the final approval of the addition that the Church submit a Detailed Side Plan, which it did in March 2010. The County then approved the Amended US 1 Corridor Sector Plan, which removed the church property from the overlay zone, thereby eliminating the requirement that the project submit a DSP, but requiring it to obtain a Departure from Parking and Loading Space (DPLS) from the City of College Park. The church filed this application and went before the Advisory Planning Commission – at this meeting, the Michaels Company appeared and opposed the church’s application. The Park and Planning Commission then determined that the Church DID have to submit a Detailed Site Plan, so the church resubmitted their revised plan, but also asked that the Planning Board waive their rules and reconsider this decision. The City is considering a resolution in support of waiver of the rules so that the Church can move forward with the project without the DSP. The City has consistently been reviewing the Church project, and the Church owners have constantly cooperated with the City and with residents.
This whole thing is a mess, but to make a long story short – the Michaels Company is trying to hold up the project because they would like to cut across the Church in order to connect North Autoville Road to Hollywood Road west of US 1. Residents of Autoville are staunchly opposed to this connection. If this reconsideration happens, it will be easier for the Church to move ahead with its development without Michaels holding it up.
13. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMITTEES – Thanks to District 1 resident Harleigh Ealley for volunteering to serve on the Animal Welfare Committee, and thanks to Robert White and Robert Day for continuing to serve on the Noise Control Board, and Jerry Anzulovic for continuing to serve on the Veterans Memorial Improvement Committee!
Thanks for reading – please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments.