Minutes of September 4, 2001
Town of Riverdale Park
Mayor and Council Legislative Session
Call To Order
The legislative session of the Mayor and Council was called to order. Present were Councilmember's Feldberg, Blaschke, and Davis. Also present were Police Chief Evans, and Administrator Prangley.
The Mayor noted that CM Tiberio out of town on business with the Census Bureau. CM Scott was sick. The Mayor received word later in the meeting that CM Almirez was at the hospital due to a family emergency.
Pledge Of Allegiance And Moment of Silence
Approval Of Agenda
The Mayor noted that a quorum was present to address all matters of business except agenda item #15, Approval of Lease Purchase Agreement on Police Cruisers.
Motion to approve the agenda was made by CM Davis. Seconded by CM Blaschke. Item 11a, Clean-Up Invoice for Harrison Ave Lot was added by the Mayor and Item 9a Resolution for the Town History Center Archives was added by CM Davis. CM Blaschke requested that Item 17 be moved to Item 11b because the parties were in attendance. There was no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Town Administrator and Treasurer's Report
Administrator Prangley read aloud the Treasurer's Report .
Mr. Prangley provided the Town Administrator's report announcing that current projects around Town are on schedule but noted there will be a lot of activity in the coming months including street reconstruction work. The water main replacement and sewer enhancement work being done by WSSC will continue through the end of November and pick up again sometime in the spring before being completed. Several programs are coming up for approval including CDBG - Program Year 28 which has an October 1st deadline. Mr. Prangley also announced that Mayor Herman will join the President of the Maryland Municipal League the following day in hosting a joint visit from several Mayors representing countries south of Sierra Leone.
CM Davis asked about estimated ETA's for completion of WSSC projects in Ward 4 - what streets, when starting and completing which will all affect parking, road accessibility and water issues. A letter was sent to residents but there was no specific detail. Mr. Prangley said they were waiting for further detail from WSSC.
CM Blaschke asked for a 54th Ave improvement status report noting a gas main was uncovered that was only 8" underground instead of the standard 18" so work had come to an abrupt halt to examine safety issues. Mr. Prangley said the situation was being handled aggressively as CDBG grant funds with a December 31st deadline were involved.
CM Davis made the motion to approve the treasurer's report, subject to audit. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Herman gave more detail about the following day's visit by several Mayors from the Ivory Coast. In a program sponsored by the State Department, these officials will stop off in Riverdale Park during their visit to the US, to learn more about how government and democracy works. The Mayor noted that creation of sister city relationships between different municipalities exists as a result. The individuals visiting represent the first free and democratically elected governments at this level in their countries so far.
The qualifications package for developers or redevelopers interested in the Town Center project is available. Deadline for bid submissions is September 14th.
The Town Crier guidelines, which have been drafted and modified will be discussed at the last work session in September (last Monday in September) Those interested are encouraged to attend.
CM Tiberio will soon schedule a Finance Committee meeting to review first quarter numbers. The date will be announced and published for those who are interested.
Mr. Danka, the town's camera/video operator, has asked for volunteers to assist in video operations. Those interested should notify the Town Hall. Students who need audio visual training are welcome and volunteer credits will be applied.
The Mayor sadly reported on the death of Edith Kalmus in August. She was a resident of Tuckerman St for more than sixty years Her late husband was a town council member and her son Ralph Kalmus was the Town's chief of police for several years.
Christine Houchens, 4904 Riverdale Rd submitted documentation to the Mayor and Council regarding problems with Mr. Conti, a contractor and his men. who are building a house on the property next to her residence. She reviewed problems she and her husband had experienced which included property line disputes, easements, cut phone wires, harassment, and even a threat against her dog. The two properties share a double wide, common driveway where some of the problems have occurred. She explained that they have retained a lawyer and papers would soon be served for Mr. Conti to appear in court.
Mrs. Houchens repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with Riverdale Park police department's handling of the situation. Discussion centered around an August 21st incident. She claimed that the police were not writing reports on calls made by she and her husband.
The Mayor clarified that under civil law in the State of Maryland, police action is limited when the reported misdemeanor is not observed in the presence of an officer. He agreed that the Houchens were proceeding properly by seeking remedy from the courts.
CM Feldberg asked Mrs. Houchens if she or her husband had personally spoken to Chief Evans about their problems. Mrs. Houchens said not to the Chief directly but following the August 21st incident she'd spoken to several officers after the recent police town hall meeting where she was told they'd be more observant but she believed they had not.
The Mayor asked Chief Evans if he wanted to respond to Mrs. Houchens comments. The Chief explained that he'd spoken to Mr. Houchens and had advised him to contact an attorney since these were civil matters. He gave further detail about the property and his interactions with Mr. and Mrs. Houchens. He said there were discrepancies in Mrs. Houchens recollection of the August 21st incident, and clarified what he knew of the incident. He explained the town code about not parking within 3 feet of a driveway without permission of the owner and that Mr. Houchens was asked to move his vehicle because he had violated that space adjacent to the other adjacent driveway so a contractors truck was unable to back out. The Chief said he believed the Houchens were addressing their problems with Mr. Conti as best they could by going through the courts. The Chief explained that there were allegations on both sides, and the contractor had been warned about inappropriate conduct on his part.
In response to Mrs. Houchens complaints that no reports had been filed following calls to his department, the Chief explained that "no report written" meant that there was no actual crime reported (burglary, robbery, murder, etc) to file paperwork on. He said reports of the calls and events were written up - 15 were noted and available for review if needed.
Mayor Herman said he'd like the opportunity to review papers Mrs. Houchens had submitted. CM Davis requested copies from Mrs. Houchens of the letters she sent to Mr. Conti of the 3rd, 6th and 10th.
Lynda Mohamed, 5408 Kenilworth Terrace, said she is a 3 year resident of Riverdale Park and is also a candidate for the 2002 PG County Council. She commended CM Davis for her work and expressed her support for Mayor Herman during the election. She explained that her move to a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood was intentional so she could help address the needs of the residents there since it's not as "comfortable" as other parts of Town. Ms. Mohamed said her latest attempts were to address the litter problem. She said she's working with the Town's code officer but also suggested posting signs and notices in Spanish about the laws to assist non-English speaking residents. Those she'd contacted on the County level were interested in her idea.
CM Blaschke noted that there had been discussion about providing Spanish translations on community issues at a recent legislative meeting and noted that CM Almirez is currently working on some translations for area residents.
She said her only problem so far with a community trying to address their problems had been with the Town's police department. She commended them for other good works they do, but expressed concerns with community drinking and gambling problems and protecting the children of Jefferson Hall.
She reported that she had observed children out after 9:30pm and of men blowing kisses at some of the girls. She'd asked officer Steve about a curfew but was told there wasn't one. She said the Town's dispatcher was rude when she called there so she contacted the County where she learned there actually was a curfew that could be enforced.
Ms. Mohammed also suggested that criterion be drafted for apartment owners and landlords in Town for accountability purposes. She noted standard discrepancies between the east and west ends of Riverdale Road property owners and cited trash and pollution problems she'd observed.
The Mayor said the Town is looking into taking over inspections of multiple dwelling units as opposed to the County doing it in an effort to improve the quality of life for affected residents. In response to an inquiry by CM Feldberg, Ms. Mohamed explained that the Jefferson Hall Citizens Association meets every Wednesday. She further noted that the owner/landlord had been approached about translating signs to Spanish, but said their response was not very positive. Mayor Herman asked her for copies of their response letters. He asked her to encourage members of their citizens association to participate in the Neighborhood Watch Program which hopes to increase citizen patrols. The next meeting is September 20th. It was noted that communities most in need of Neighborhood Watch assistance had the fewest participants.
Ms. Mohamed also informed Councilmember's about problems with the Giant at Riverdale Plaza. She said she'd seen molded breads and old meat on their shelves, among other lower standards of that facility. She said she'd already had some discussion with managers there about the treatment the Town's residents get and noted that more affluent communities are treated better by Giant.
Approval of Minutes
Approval of minutes of the August 6th , Regular Legislative meeting was made by CM Davis. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Motion to Extend Deadline for Structural Engineer Estimates until September 14th
CM Davis made the motion to extend the deadline for structural engineering estimates until September 14th. CM Feldberg seconded the motion. CM Davis says the Town is aware that there are structural engineers interested in submitting estimates for work on the Town Center but because of staff shortages and vacations they had been unable to meet the previous deadline. She believed an additional two working weeks would provide ample time for those interested. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Resolution for the Town History Center Archives
CM Davis made a motion in the form of a Resolution #2001-R-5, which was drafted by Susan McElrath, of the Preservation Association of Riverdale Park, sponsoring the creation of an archives to preserve Riverdale Park historical documents and related items. CM Feldberg seconded the motion.
The Mayor thanked Ms. McElrath for her work on the resolution and her presentation of the information at the last work session indicating how the archives would benefit the Town's residents and of it's preservative abilities. The Mayor reiterated that the motion in the form of the resolution did not involve the expenditure of resources. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Fence Request at 5411 Powhatan Rd (Ward 6)
As CM Scott was absent, CM Davis made the motion to approve the 6 foot fence request at 5411 Powhatan Road. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. The Mayor asked Mr. and Mrs. Soles who were present to clarify whether the fence request was for a new or pre-existing fence. Mrs. Soles explained that part of the fence was pre-existing but they wanted to install new fencing around the entire yard. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Fence Request at 5906 Riverside Drive (Ward 3)
As CM Tiberio was absent, CM Blaschke made the motion to approve the 6 foot fence request at 5906 Riverside Drive. CM Davis seconded the motion. Mayor Herman explained that CM Tiberio had spoken to the neighbors on both sides of 5906 Riverside Dr and both supported the request. The Mayor noted that the request had previously been brought up to the Council. There was no Council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Clean Up Invoices for Harrison Avenue Lot (Ward 4)
CM Davis made the motion that the Town waive the $200 clean-up fee assigned to Mr. Atwell and his property at 6307 Baltimore Avenue, vacant lot originally attached to the other side of Harrison Avenue. CM Blaschke seconded the motion.
Mr. Paul Atwell, President of Pressman's Union, 6307 Baltimore Ave, explained the small diamond shaped piece of property on the other side of Harrison Ave that was a part of 6307 before they put Harrison Ave in.
CM Davis read from Mr. Atwell's letter which explained how the property had been littered, but not by the Pressman's Union. The letter stated that the furniture and debris deposited on the lot was put there by the owners of the property next to their building when they cleaned out the home's garage. The individuals had intended to pick up the trash left behind but hadn't yet before public works picked it up. The Mayor explained that though he intended that code enforcement matters be taken out of the office of the Mayor, he'd requested the matter be brought before the Council because of the unusual circumstances surrounding the problems created at the lot and the seeming error of how the fine was imposed. CM Davis felt properties for the businesses on Baltimore Ave and Kenilworth are in an unusual situation. She believed the Town could act in a good Samaritan role to resolve matters like these as many of these businesses are changing hands and boundaries are not clear. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously. The Mayor said he would take care of the administrative matters to waive the fine.
Cell Tower Request by Elks Lodge (Ward 2)
CM Blaschke read aloud a June 20th letter regarding Special Exception #4423 of Nextel Communications. The exception was also filed with MNCPPC on June 20th for the purpose of erecting a monopole for telecommunications usage on the Elks Lodge property located at 6700 Kenilworth Avenue. Leslie Moore Romine, Attorney for Nextel Communications was in attendance. It was noted that information requested of MNCPPC had not been received. The Mayor said the Council wanted to hear from Ms. Romine to determine if the Council needed to take a position.
Ms. Romine explained that the 95 foot galvanized steel monopole, which looks like a pencil, required a special exception because of zoning issues on the Elks Lodge property. The property was originally zoned CSC (Commercial Shopping Center) but in 1994 the area was comprehensively rezoned by sectional map amendment and the zoning was changed to OS (open space) because of the stream valley park behind it which categorized it as nonconforming use which freezes the footprint of the property. No changes to the property are allowed at all without approval. She noted that monopoles up to 100 feet are permitted on non public props (i.e. Elks Lodge), and up to 199 feet on public properties. Ms. Romine provided a map showing the proposed site behind the Elks building. She explained that the monopole will not interfere with anything there, no trees will be removed, there will be minimal landscaping interruption and it meets all the placement requirements. The total affected area will only be 12 x 20 square feet including the monopole and equipment shelter. She added that a site search had been underway for approximately a year.
Jack Andrews, Nextel consultant, explained that a monopole only has antennas hanging off of it and because of that a tower can be placed on top of a building even but tree line clearance was necessary. He explained zones around private airports determined by MNCPPC to protect airspace encroachments by buildings and towers. The Elks Lodge is in the farthest zone protected by the determined zones. Documentation will be submitted to the FAA to allow, or disallow, the tower location, even if everyone else approves it.
The Mayor noted that there is one tower already in the town and one just outside it. Mr. Andrews said that AT&T and Cellular One own those and companies co-locate antenna's on these towers. CM Davis asked if there was anything that could be done to keep the towers from looking industrial, considering the mansion and surrounding neighborhoods that would have to look at it. Mr. Andrews said the tower can be painted any color(s) the Town requested. Mr. Prangley suggested a color that would camouflage the tower from season to season.
The Mayor asked about MNCPPC's response to the proposed tower since they are neighbors to the Elk Lodge, noting that the Town would be very interested in any objections they might have. Ms. Romine said they have not yet taken a position and the airport was the only concern anyone had offered so far.
CM Blaschke asked for confirmation about whether the Elks Lodge had agreed to placement of the tower and was informed that they had.
Alan Thompson, 4711 Sheridan Street suggested the tower be painted brown below the tree line and blue above. He noted that communications towers are expensive and add to the property values where they are placed. He wasn't sure if the Elks operated as a non-profit, but hoped the Town would maximize the revenue stream if it was available. Mr. Prangley noted that there is an operating tax that the Town would receive from it.
Ms. Romine said they expect a final decision by February or March of next year including the FAA decision, technical staff report, and a zoning hearing (hearing of record) but the first level report for approval isn't expected for a few months. If all the parties of record are satisfied, approval can occur without approval of the County Council. However, if anyone is not satisfied, or if the Council simply wants to hear the case, they can call it up on their agenda which could delay it until May. She noted there is an election year coming up but there is also an election year moratorium on zoning cases. Ms. Romine said by state law, the moratorium is October of an election year, but the County Council has historically backed that up to another point in time, even as early as February. She heard it may be around June 2002. Mayor Herman said once decisions were reached the Council would review the information and decide if they needed to take a position.
Recess from 10:48 to 10:53pm
The Mayor said during the recess he was notified that CM Almirez had been called to the hospital due to a family emergency.
Town Acceptance of Streets and Sidewalks in Madison Hill (Ward 2)
CM Blaschke made the motion that the Town accept the streets and sidewalks of Madison Hill. CM Davis seconded the motion. Discussion followed about whether streets and sidewalks of the original site plans and subsequent modifications that were agreed to had all been met by the developer. Concern was repeatedly voiced about the possibility of discrepancies that might exist. Mr. Prangley said he would look into the matter and recommended that the council defer action until the next meeting when a true verification and acceptance could be done. Mayor Herman agreed but expressed concern that Madison Hill residents kept being put on hold and noted that he wasn't sure the Town's position was changed even if the developer hadn't done all he was supposed to do. CM Feldberg asked if the Town would have any recourse if discrepancies did actually exist and questions were asked about construction bonds. The Mayor said the Town doesn't have standing to sue the developer and the question really regarded what date the homeowners association signed off on the finalized work. He noted that there is a 3 year statute of limitations in situations like these.
Robert Haughton, 5603 Silk Tree Dr, said as the previous president of the Madison Hills Homeowners Association that the bonds weren't released until sometime in the last 12 months to the best of his knowledge. The Mayor thought the County had released the bond more than 5 years ago. Mr. Haughton said the county was the beneficiary of the bond, and Dave Bowman, from the county, indicated a portion of the bond was withheld until approximately 6 months ago. Mr. Haughton didn't believe further work was needed.
The Mayor said if the Town can verify that all work had been completed according to the site plan, and that the complete public infrastructure was included in the finalized site plan, then they'll release the bond if hasn't already been done, in which case the Town will have done their due diligence before accepting the streets.
Sonja Hutchinson-Trask of Silk Tree Drive said information from Dave Bowman's office indicated that bonds for the storm management pond, not the roads or sidewalks, had been released around November 2000. She spoke to David Klaus from developer Michael T Rose's office regarding the deed release and he indicated it was released 8 - 10 years ago. However, she was told they can't find the records, or were not willing to search for them unless they were requested by the Town. She explained the release occurred in three areas: lands purchased by homeowners for homes, town or county for sidewalks and roads, and common areas to the Homeowners Association. Mr. Klaus said he would not provide written record of her conversation with him.
The Mayor said the Town needed to know if there was any work the Homeowners Association felt was not yet completed or up to standard as promised by the developer with regard to common areas or other areas under their control. Ms. Hutchinson-Trask said one would need to look at the site plans and review once more to ensure that all roads and sidewalks promised were in fact there. Mr. Prangley and Ms. Hutchinson-Trask agreed to compare the Town's site plan along side the most recent copy held by Madison Hills at their Homeowners Association meeting next week to be sure it's all done. Mayor Herman said he will speak to Mr. Klaus if the Town wants him to request documents from the developer Michael T Rose.
CM Blaschke made the motion to table the matter as a nondiscussion item until the next work session. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor said Linda Stiggers Yancy, 5909 Taylor Road had asked to address the Council. Mrs. Yancy said she was watching the meeting at home earlier in the evening but felt she needed to come in and respond to comments made about the police department. She commended them saying they were always there when she needed them. Mrs. Yancy lives at corner of Taylor and Oglethorpe and complained about vehicles not stopping at the stop sign and said it happens most around the time school busses pass through unless an officer is sitting nearby. She was very concerned for the children walking to and from school and about drivers who don't stop for flashing lights on buses noting some of the students were disabled. Mrs. Yancy recognized some of the drivers as Riverdale Park residents, others were drivers of commercial vehicles (John Dorsey, AMS, and others from car part transport services). Since she is not working full time she will start taking tag numbers and calling them in to the police. She urged citizens to please stop for the school busses and recognize that some children are walking and even crossing incorrectly so drivers need to be alert. She will approach the school to request a crossing guard at her intersection. She didn't believe referring the matter to the Traffic Study Committee would help but that citizens needed to be proactive on behalf of the children.
Awarding PY27 (CDBG)Engineer Contract
CM Davis made the motion to award PY27 CDBG Engineering Contract to G&C Construction in the amount of $8,000. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. Mayor Herman noted G&C's bid was the lowest submitted and the other company who submitted a bit was KCI Technologies (formerly AB Consultants). Discussion followed about awarding the contract with only 3 council members present. The Mayor said he believed they could go forward with the vote since it was Community Development Block Grant money, not appropriated money.
There was further Council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Selection of PY28 (CDBG) Primary and Alternate Projects
CM Davis made the motion regarding Selection of PY28 (CDBG) Primary and Alternate Projects that the 6200 block of 44th Avenue be covered as the primary project. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. CM Davis explained that the 6100 block was on the Town's Phase 2 list and though the entire road was to be completed, the 6200 block kept getting dropped. She said the 6200 block is now officially not part of the project but residents are still under the impression that their street will be repaired. CM Davis said when money was there speed humps were approved, but there were underlay problems and issues with WSSC left the street in worse shape than it was before making it one of the worst in Town. The Mayor and CM Davis discussed the original engineering estimate, an upgraded estimate and block numbers on streets. Discussion continued between the Mayor, CM Davis and Mr. Prangley about amounts and what was done vs. what needed to be done.
CM Feldberg proposed 47th Ave, from Longfellow to Lafayette, as an alternate project noting its status as a very unsafe section of town. Mr. Prangley said that area was proposed at the legislative meeting as well. He noted it was a similar reconstruction project and is estimated at about $150,000. The length of road described was from the southern terminus south of Longfellow to the crest of the hill near Oglethorpe - "from hill to hill".
CM Blaschke submitted Taylor Rd for consideration as an alternate project and noted it's use by students getting to school. She explained described its condition as having very few curbs, gutters or handicapped access. Mr. Prangley said he could have G&C investigate the cost and the projects could be prioritized noting that funding doesn't come in until August 2002. The Mayor explained that under CDBG the Town receives $100,000 per project year.
It was suggested that there be a main proposal and one or more alternates. Mr. Prangley noted that 15 projects were proposed the first year the Town applied for funds He said Taylor would be a costly project for storm drainage alone and money would need to be set aside. PG County Watershed needed to tend to all storm drainage needs first and the flat terrain would cause grading issues if curbs were added.
CM Blaschke proposed work on 54th Ave from Quintana to Patterson as an alternate project. It was noted that work is currently underway on 54th Ave from Quintana to terminus where it connects to Quesada. The absence of curbs or gutters and drainage problems were said to exist there also noting that most homes have gravel for parking and don't have aprons for driveways.
The Mayor restated the original motion and said there was a need to make amendments and prioritize the proposals made. Concerns were expressed about proposing projects that were not presently engineered. Mayor Herman said they would not be able to appropriate monies from the treasury that were not currently earmarked since there weren't enough Councilmember's in attendance to vote He said the 1st and 2nd proposals could advance since they were already engineered with approximate cost. The other two would be unable to advance except for the purpose of obtaining of engineering estimates. CM Davis pointed out that the 1997 cost estimates referred to were no longer accurate but Mr. Prangley said they were well under limit.
CM Davis voiced concern about proposing new projects ahead of already approved Phase II streets that had been waiting for more than a year for work to begin but had not yet been engineered for storm drainage even (i.e. 48th and 49th ). She said residents on those projects had been notified that the work would be done and to add two more streets that need engineering in front of those was problematic. Mr. Prangley said the Council needed to decide if they wanted to do those for federal funding purposes as a separate project down the line or they would need to wait if they wanted to tag them for CDBG because the storm water process was a long one.
The Mayor reminded members that the deadline was October 1st. It was noted that CM Davis' 44th Avenue proposal had the present infrastructure and storm drainage in tact for reconstruction to take place without delay.
CM Feldberg asked Mr. Prangley for his recommendations. He agreed to the order they were proposed with 44th Avenue as the primary due to it's current infrastructure necessary for work to begin. He said the others would be ready for work in a few years if the County were contacted to begin storm water management improvements.
CM Davis amended the original motion to prioritize projects as 1, 2, 3 & 4 as proposed and in addition to request that storm water management of PG County be advised of future plans to start storm water management on the latter projects. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. There was no public comment. The amended motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Lease Purchase Agreement on Police Cruisers
The Mayor and Council agreed to meet September 6th for a special legislative meeting to discuss and vote on the police cruiser lease purchase agreement. Mr. Prangley was asked to notify absent council members and residents of the special meeting. The Mayor explained that the Council would discuss replacement of old cruisers whose warranties have expired for new ones under warranty.
Fire Department Lease
The Mayor asked the Council for any additional changes or comments on the proposed lease agreement for the Fire Department. There were none. The Mayor noted two from himself. The first was regarding the 2nd page, paragraph 6, Building Rules, instead of a summary he requested it say "a copy of house rules will be furnished to the Town government within 60 days of execution of the agreement". Dave Sutton agreed to the request. CM Davis voiced her support for that amendment to the document.
He also proposed that under paragraph 16, Tenant Holding Over, where it stated $2. a yr, if you hold over, they would have to pay $3. a year if sitting as illegal tenant. The Mayor quickly pointed out that everyone assumed a holdover status would never arise. He explained he was trying to approximate a fair market value so he was asking they make 150% the advance price of $1,500 a month, assuming there would never be a holdover tenant without a new executed agreement or lease between the two parties. CM Davis agreed to the amendment.
The motion to approve the Fire Department lease agreement with two modifications was made by CM Davis as a member of the Public Safety Committee. CM Feldberg seconded the motion.
CM Davis asked if CM Scott had voiced any opinion as Public Safety Chair. The Mayor said there seemed to be a lack of concern but there wasn't anything in the document that wasn't there last year. Mr. Sutton commented that CM Scott didn't have any comment when the lease was proposed a few months ago.
Approval of the modified Fire Department lease was unanimous.
Mr. Sutton was asked to make the 2 modifications, sign on behalf of the fire department, and prepare a copy for the Mayor's signature.
Resolution Supporting Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) Management Plan
CM Blaschke made the motion to approve the Resolution 2001 - R -6. Supporting the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Management Plan. CM Blaschke read the Resolution aloud. CM Davis seconded the motion. There was no Council discussion and no public comment.
The Mayor explained that the Town is a partner in the Anacostia Trails area and had previously provided testimony before the County Council on the Management Plan. The Resolution is a follow up to that
The resolution passed unanimously.
Designation of Patrick J. Prangley as Town Agent for Service of Process
CM Davis made the motion to designate Patrick J. Prangley as Town Agent for Service of Process. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. The Mayor explained that Riverdale Park is municipal corporation and a registered Agent for Service of Process was needed for any legal notices. No one had previously been designated. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Recreation Board Appointments
CM Davis appointed herself, Chris Davis, 4508 Sheridan St, as alternate Ward 4 representative. She had not been able to find a permanent replacement and would temporarily fill the alternate position until a permanent replacement is found. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Committee and Ward Reports
CM Feldberg noted that the previous week's attendance at the Farmers Market was the largest crowd to date and she encouraged all citizens to use the market. Upcoming Farmers Market events will include the return of the clown on September 18th, a cooking demonstration on various uses of fresh fruits and vegetables at the end of September, and The Clarinet Chorus, a very popular group of musicians from Roosevelt High School.
CM Feldberg asked residents to call with suggestions about where they'd like to see trees planted. She is focusing on the main roads entering the Town - East West Highway, Queensbury Rd, and Taylor Rd. She would like to have Public Works plant the trees which would save money allowing for more trees to be planted. The trees will provide screening to residential areas that are near main roads and will reduce noise pollution. She hopes those along Taylor Rd will also help to slow speeding cars.
CM Blaschke noted that there are construction projects on the 54th and Quesada extension. Curb and gutter work is being done on 54th Ave and trees are being cleared for extension to Quesada. Construction is also underway on the re-engineered entrance to 51st Ave and Somerset Rd pedestrian entrance to Riverdale Community Park. The asphalt road bed has been reduced in width and is now a walkway . The sod is cut and base material for sidewalk preparation has been laid and so the next step will be to lay the asphalt.
CM Blaschke acknowledged that school is back in session and echoed earlier sentiments about drivers being more cautious, slowing down, making complete stops at stop signs and stopping for buses. She reminded residents that many of the children are very young and are just learning routines of safety and how to cross streets. The crossing guard at Rt 410 and Taylor Ave are a good addition to the community.
CM Blaschke reminded residents about the National Book Festival sponsored by Laura Bush at the Library of Congress this Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm. More than 40 award winning authors will be in attendance. There will be musical performances, storytelling, panel discussions, tours, exhibitions, and generally a day of fun for the whole family. She encouraged residents to help their children make reading a lifelong experience.
CM Blaschke reported that the Legislative Committee met for the first time last Thursday. The Committee will be working on general revisions to the Town Charter and Ordinances of Riverdale Park revising governmental form, general revisions to the articles, charter and ordinances, discussions on the present governmental form and of revising it. She said she'd requested information from other jurisdictions on their governmental forms and will be researching and evaluating the material once it's received. The committee is also working on establishing an implementation plan or guidelines for code enforcement for ordinances. The Chief is currently developing a draft protocol for review. CM Scott is also researching code enforcement guidelines from other jurisdictions. The Committee would like to work on a condensed, bilingual version of major Town ordinances which would serve as a quick guide for newcomers and could be included in the Town Crier from time to time. The Committee will continue to explore annexation of contiguous commercial and residential properties. The topic of inspecting apartment units as suggested earlier, will continue with follow-up meetings in an effort to provide greater assurance on quality of life issues for residents within Riverdale Park's jurisdiction. Meetings have already been held with inspectors from Hyattsville to discuss the pros and cons of their inspection program. She noted this will probably be a long term project since there are so many entities involved.
The Legislative Committee will also be revising the current Ordinance on truck parking following the August Traffic Study Committee recommendations. Members are exploring the possibility of adopting more stringent code pertaining to signage in Riverdale Park and other issues involving vendors utilizing parking lots along Kenilworth Ave.
The biggest topic of discussion was redistricting. Members hope to have draft options available in January enabling adequate time for input from residents and a final plan for August 2002. CM Blaschke recommends the committee meet every 6 weeks to stay on top of the issues mentioned and introduce new ones as they become necessary.
Mayor Herman spoke for CM Tiberio who asked the Mayor to send his regrets for not being in attendance as he was away on business for the Census Bureau. CM Tiberio wanted to notify residents that a letter had been sent to Ms. Hewitt, Chair of the Planning Board, about the large number of cars and people using, or possibly over utilizing Riverside Park. CM Tiberio said that the matter will be handled in short order.
CM Davis noted that work is being done on code issues but the work was slow due to the new code situation. Matters being addressed were East West Highway issues, improper signage, cars parked on the grass, and trash out on the wrong days. Residents are encouraged to please continue to call in any problems they observe.
CM Davis notified residents that Mr. Prangley is working to get estimated construction times on street repairs. Residents will be notified as soon the information is obtained.
CM Davis and her husband anticipate that work will begin on the foundation of their house this week and will last 3 - 4 weeks (pending insurance approval and a town permit). CM Davis' phone will not forward calls so if you need reach her please call the Town Hall at 301-927-6381, or if calling in the evening her cell phone number is 301-367-9238.
Economic Development Committee
CM Davis said she had about 25 proposals to bring up at the work session but there were too many to get the attention they deserved so she will bring them up at the September work session instead.
The Preservation Association of Riverdale Park will meet October 4th at 7:30pm. Historic district plans and the 2001 Riverdale Park House Tour will be discussed. She is researching different forms of government for the Legislative Committee and hopes to have a side by side comparison for residents who might be interested in the process. She is also working on business items for CM Blaschke.
Chief Evans read the August police report. He reiterated earlier comments about students returning to school and safe driving habits and noted that over 500 students walk to school in our area. His department will be aggressively enforcing speed limits.
CM Davis read a letter to the Police Department from Principal Carmella of Riverdale Elementary in which she thanked Chief Evans and his department for their help in protecting and assisting their students and parents. He was invited to join their "School Hug" event on August 31st at 1:30pm. When asked about his attendance, the Chief reported that he and several officers participated in the event with the Kindergartners.
The Mayor asked the Chief and Mr. Prangley how they will be addressing the impact of students coming and going from school during upcoming construction on Riverdale Road. A meeting will be held this Friday with the Principal to discuss an alternative plan for dropping off and picking up of students. The long stretch and circle in front of the police department, Town Hall and Public Works is believed to be the short term alternate. Weather permitting, construction is expected to take 3 weeks. There will be a pedestrian friendly walkway for the children following the work. Mayor Herman reported that the State was convinced of the need and awarded grant money for the work after they saw a video of children walking along the Riverdale Rd roadway to reach their school. The Mayor commended Mr. Prangley and the Chief for their initiative in addressing these problems echoing sentiments from the Principals letter commending the police department for helping the students.
Fire Department Report
Dave Sutton thanked the Mayor and Council for approving the fire department lease and read their activity report. He said they were looking forward to Riverdale Park Day and will hold an open house event for it. Renovations of the kitchen and painting have been done. They're working on recruiting new members.
Alan Thompson, 4711 Sheridan Street asked about a change to the Town's budget mentioned at the last meeting regarding the bags moving from public works to general government. The Mayor said it was an administrative function that he would address. The Mayor and Dr. Thompson discussed arrangements to post meeting minutes on the Town's website.
CM Davis made the motion to change their meeting time from 7:30pm to 8:00pm. She explained her concern that some Councilmember's were needing to leave before meetings ended because of their late hour s ending against very early morning work schedules. She explained the difficulty of an earlier time for her due to her work and train schedule but was concerned about the need for all members to be in attendance for matters requiring a vote. CM Blaschke seconded the motion.
CM Feldberg said she preferred 8:00pm and suggested that they work to make meetings more efficient and concise. Mayor Herman said he'd be glad to hear recommendations on how to do so and believed they should broaden discussion of the change with other Councilmember's. CM Davis noted that two of the members not in attendance were ones most affected by the late hour that meetings normally ran and said she'd discussed the matter with CM Almirez. She reiterated her belief that it was difficult for individuals to stay until midnight each week with early morning work schedules but said extensive meetings agendas couldn't be rushed either. There were no comments from department heads when asked.
Alan Thompson, 4711 Sheridan Street said 8:00pm was the earliest he could arrive so he'd be late if the time was changed to 7:30pm.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Road pointed out that the meetings were not scheduled for the convenience of the Council, but rather for residents so they could either attend or watch the meetings. He said individuals running for office understood the obligations of the job before they took it. If not, he was sorry they acted out of ignorance and he saw no reason to change the meeting time.
CM Davis said the members who regularly needed to leave early should be a part of the conversation. CM Feldberg said it wasn't her preference but if members agreed to a 7:30pm meeting time she'd be there.
CM Davis proposed that they table the motion. CM Feldberg seconded the motion. The motion unanimously.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Road asked the Mayor about changes to the trash drop policy noted in the September Town Crier. He had questions about Public Works overseeing tree planting following the Town Crier article and quoted state law licensing qualifications related to the work. The Mayor expressed disagreement with Mr. Kiernan's interpretation of the law. He explained CM Feldberg's experience in the field and noted that the trees were purchased and planted at Town expense, and that they'd been doing it for years.
Alan Thompson, 4711 Sheridan Street reminded members to provide their updated information and photos for the Town website. He also asked if someone from the Traffic Study Committee could provide him with a very short summary of the truck parking recommendation mentioned earlier.
Robert Haughton, 5601 Silk Tree Drive asked CM Feldberg about the number and types of trees that were to be planted in Madison Hills. They discussed past landscaping problems and agreed that the planned trees would alleviate residents concerns.
Motion to adjourn was made by CM Davis. The motion passed unanimously.
Dates To Remember
September 5 - Public Hearing by Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee, 7:30pm at PG Community College, Hallem Theater, Queen Anne's Building
September 10 - Recreation Board, 7:30pm at Town Hall
September 11 - Madison Hill Homeowners Association., 7:00pm at Town Hall
September 19 - Park and Planning Budget Public Hearing, 7:00pm at the MNCPPC Building, 6600 Kenilworth Avenue
September 20 - Neighborhood Watch, 7:00pm at Town Hall
September 24, - Work Session, 8:00pm at Town Hall
October 6 - Riverdale Park Day, Noon - 5:00pm on the Mansion Grounds
Minutes prepared from videotape.
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