Minutes of February 4, 2002
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, Tiberio, Davis, Almirez and Scott. Also present were Police Chief Evans, Administrator Prangley and Mr. Houser, Director of Public Works.
Pledge Of Allegiance And Moment of Silence
Approval Of Agenda
CM Davis made the motion to approve the agenda. The motion was seconded by CM Tiberio. The motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Herman announced the absence of CM Blaschke, who is still in North Dakota caring for her mother who is gravely ill, and her elderly father. Mayor Herman wished her family well during this difficult time.
Chief Evans announced that Paul Paczek, the most senior civilian in the police department, has resigned to take a technical position with a company in Columbia. Mr. Paczek played a major role in the technological advances within the police department and was the Town's Y2K guru (there were no glitches). The Chief announced that Mr. Paczek will still be available to assist them in technical efforts.
As a token of esteem and appreciation, Chief Evans presented Mr. Paczek with a plaque for seven years of service to Riverdale Park. On behalf of the council and the town, Mayor Herman echoed the Chief's sentiments and wished Mr. Paczek well on future endeavors.
Mayor Herman announced that the order of the evening's presentations would be changed because some of the presenter were not yet present due to other commitments.
County Council Bill CB-40 Referendum
Deborah Stover-Springer said the county council passed CB-40 in November 2001 and that it dramatically changes the face of development with respect to our school system. CB-40 replaces CB-3, which was a managed growth initiative passed by the county council in 1997.
CB-40 divides the county into clusters. The old bill (CB-3) looked at a new development and determined how it was going to affect the individual local schools (elementary, middle and high schools) to which the new residents children would attend. If the schools were at 105% capacity, a certain thing would happen, but if the schools were at 130% capacity, then there was an absolute moratorium and the builder couldn't build for 4 years.
Ms. Stover-Springer explained that CB 40 changes all that. Instead of looking at the individual school. it looks at a cluster of schools. CB-40 divides our county into five clusters for elementary schools. We have over 125 elementary schools. There are three clusters for middle schools and three clusters for high schools. CB-40 averages the number of kids that go to the schools, among all the schools in that cluster. If the number is under 105%, the builder can build anywhere in that cluster even if it meant building right next to a school that was already at 145% capacity. She said PG County has plenty of schools that are between 125% and 150% capacity.
Another loophole is that more than 55% of the elementary schools have been completely taken out of the equation. They're referred to as a developed tier, and the schools in our area are part of a developed tier. Developers can develop here without regard to paying any fee whether or not schools are overcrowded. Developers already have permission and approval to build 11,000 homes (with plats). These aren't even affected by CB-40. There are some waiting periods within the bill, but if a builder wants to start now, and doesn't want to wait the 3 or 6 year waiting periods provided for in CB-40, they can pay an extra fee and can start building immediately (if plats are approved). That is called pay as you go. Pay as you go was used in many jurisdictions in the area, but was done away with because it didn't work. Builders are willing to pay the extra fee because they pass the cost on to the homeowner and it allows them to build wherever they want to build.
Many citizens are concerned about CB-40 and are asking that the bill be put to a vote in November. Ms. Stover-Springer said CB-40 should be put to referendum and allow the voters to decide if it is a reasonable way to allow development to occur in PG County. Opponents of the bill are not against development, and understand that residential homes need to be built and that they provide an important revenue stream to the county. On other hand, our schools are in crisis now. Our schools are severely overcrowded, and the county can't build schools fast enough to support the children currently in the system. She said many think that it makes sense to have managed growth. She believes that CB-3 did that, and that CB-40 does not. She asked the council to support a CB-40 referendum, allowing the voters the opportunity to decide whether or not it is a good piece of legislation for the county.
Mayor Herman said that many are following discussions about this and the APF Test (Adequate Public Facilities Test), and he believed that CB-40 grew out of the fact that the current system is so unmanageable, that even the people administering the program didn't understand it. He said CB-40 was attempting to create a flat fee. The Mayor asked what alternative opponents of CB-40 proposed to the APF Test. Ms. Springer-Stover said that CB-40, as it is written, is flawed, and there was a rush to judgment on the bill. She explained that the bill cuts the Board of Education out of decisions. It had originally been included, but the day it was passed by the county council they were deleted from the bill. She believed there should be more dialogue before CB-40 impacts the county.
CM Tiberio asked about a resolution on the referendum by the county attorney's. Ms. Stover-Springer said that the county's legal council had ruled that the referendum was illegal. She said many are puzzled by the ruling because the law is clear that legislation can be brought to referendum if there were the required number of signatures. She said the ruling is being handled two ways. The county delegation is introducing legislation requiring that the county remove the legal opinion roadblock to allow the referendum to come to a vote if the required signatures exist. A legal coarse is being pursued through the court system as well, but they're waiting to see if the legislation passes. 10,000 signatures must be obtained by mid-March for a referendum and they filed over 4,100 by the first deadline on January 25th. Only 3,334 were required by that date. She doesn't know exactly how many they have at the moment, but many petitions are still circulating.
CM Feldberg asked a question that was not picked up by the mic. Ms. Stover-Springer answered that the money will all go toward the schools. She said the problem with the bill is that it will be accumulated in one pot, therefore the money can be spent anywhere in the county. A developer might be building next to your school, but the money may not go to build a new school in your area, or even to build an addition to one of the schools affected by the new development. Also, if your school system meets the 105% capacity test, and they're planning even an addition to a school in your cluster that might only take care of 200 children, then that is considered construction within the cluster and some of the waiting periods dissipate. She said there are many problems with CB-40.
Questions were asked off the mic and were repeated by Ms. Springer-Stover.
The question was asked whether or not the petition was available the evening's meeting. She said yes and that copies of the full bill and the official summary of the bill were available as well. Mayor Herman asked for copy the bill for council consideration.
A question was asked about the $5,000 flat fee and was it the same for all tiers/all development tiers? Ms. Stover Springer said within a developed tier, like our own, there is no moratorium on building and it can start tomorrow without our regard. She noted that 55% of elementary schools will be affected because they're within a developed tier.
The Mayor thanked Ms. Stover-Springer for presenting the information and asked about a timeframe for Municipal action. She said petitions must be submitted by mid March and 10,000 signatures were needed so their response would be appreciated as soon as possible. Mayor Herman said she could stand in the back after the presentation to be available for anyone who wished to sign the petition. The Mayor asked and was told that Peter Shapiro would be the most appropriate member of the county council to ask for information in support of CB-40. In response to his question about how Tom Henderschot voted on the bill, she answered that he supported it and the council vote was 7 to 2. CM Tiberio asked if Mr. Maloney supported it. Mr. Maloney had passed away by time of the vote, but she said he vehemently opposed CB-40. He had been a sponsor of CB-3 and was not pleased with CB-40. Council member Tom Dernoga is also against CB-40 and is the lawyer representing the CB-40 referendum petition when it goes to court. She thanked the mayor and council for the opportunity to speak.
Status of Riverdale Elementary School and Introduction of New Initiative
The Mayor introduced Ms. Carmela Smith, principal of Riverdale Elementary School and said that she spoke to them at last week's meeting about issues pertaining to the school, both current events as well as other initiatives that the school and the town may be undertaking collaboratively. Ms. Smith had asked to speak to the council and the community.
Ms. Smith said that last week, the Maryland State Department of Education had added Riverdale Elementary School to the local reconstitution list. Although their MSPAP scores had dropped from the previous year, when they had won the Maryland School Performance Program Recognition Award from the state, and a $3,000 school performance award last spring from the Department of Education, there were wild swings in scores across the state. Twenty of twenty four school systems showed a drop in school performance indexes. Two hundred schools across the state experienced double digit drops.
Ms. Smith said they know their students are progressing despite the state test performance last spring. Scores on comprehensive test of basic skills (the national test) showed growth last year. The total test percentage in the second grade went from 20.7% in the year 2000 to 34.7% in 2001 and showed over a 17 point gain in second grade math. Fourth grade increased from 18.5% to 23.3% in total test scores for over a 4 point gain in the total test. Although there was a slight decline in total test scores for the sixth grade, there was over a 4 point gain in reading so they're in the 39.7 percentile.
Riverdale Elementary has a hardworking, dedicated teaching staff, and she believes they have a good plan for improvement. Last year was the first year of Success for All (SFA), a comprehensive school reform model which is a Johns Hopkins University research based model under the supervision of Bob Slavin. The school began the 2000-2001 school year with 21% of the children reading on, and above grade level. They ended last year with 43% on, and above grade level, which, she noted is phenomenal growth. The goal is to have all students on, or above grade level by grade three. They began this school year with 37% of the children at, or above grade level, and as of last week, 38% were reading on, or above grade level. Ms. Smith said while it doesn't sound like much, she can track each grade level. For example, she can tell if a second grader is reading at a first grade level, and though they're reading below grade level, she can track if the child is progressing. She said the bar for what determines grade level, is different the second quarter than first quarter because they raised expectations.
Ms. Smith believes they're making progress and just need more time to close the grade level proficiency gap. They also need to maintain their wonderful staff. She expressed appreciation for the support received from the mayor & council, Chief Evans and his department, Mr. Prangley, and the PTA.
Ms. Smith said a proposal was recently discussed to provide adult literacy classes in the community. A resource in the county was found, Mr. Nelson, who is willing to support it with a program and instructional material. They're looking at it and trying to make it a reality for the community.
Ms. Smith suggested ways the community can help:
Parents need to assure that their children attend school consistently and on time
Last year had seven buses and they now have one (??). Five hundred and ninety students walk to school this year. The attendance rate dropped below satisfactory last year to 93.8%. 94% is satisfactory. School attendance is part of the school performance index.
Parents need to be sure children complete their homework so they're prepared for learning when they arrive at school each day.
Parents need to be sure children are reading at least 20 minutes every night, every day of the week.
Ms. Smith said she has observed a direct correlation between students who read daily, and the amount of student growth made in reading. They have children who made a 6 month- 1 year's growth, in reading, in just one quarter, but students have to work to achieve these successes and it is possible.
Support the teachers. Ms. Smith said it has taken three years to assemble a wonderful group of dedicated, hardworking individuals, and they want them to stay at Riverdale Elementary.
Ask to see your child's homework agenda.
Communicate regularly with his, or her teacher.
Reinforce the idea that school is your child's workplace.
Attend parent teacher conferences.
Join the PTA.
Volunteer if you have time. The school is always looking for adults who can listen to the children read, help with math, or help in the media center.
Ms. Smith announced that a community information meeting will be held at the school this Wednesday, at 7:00pm, in the multi purpose room, to learn more about the local reconstitution process. Dr. Eleanor White, Regional Director, and Mrs. Deborah Mahone, Director of School Improvement Office, will conduct the meeting.
Ms. Smith said that last weeks news was discouraging, but it can be a window of opportunity. The school will receive enhanced staffing, and increased funding, as a result of the designation. They face tremendous challenges; very overcrowded conditions, open space building, an 84% poverty rate, a 49% mobility rate, and their ESOL population is rising.
When she arrived at the school three years ago, the ESOL population was 28%. It was 34% last year, and is now at 44%. It is going to take everyone to make Riverdale Elementary a success and she believes they can. Ms. Smith said the children at Riverdale Elementary are wonderful and urged the community to get involved and to help them help the children. The investment will be priceless.
Mayor Herman thanked Ms. Smith for making the sacrifice to speak to them this evening considering the many meetings required of her following last weeks designation. He pointed out that the school was designated a 21st century school several years ago. With the promise, and commitment to the school from the school system to bring it up to its potential, it was learned during the process that the county didn't have a plan at all for the 21st century program, or the resources to meet the commitments made. The Mayor said his point was that the reconstitution designation may bring the resources the county had promised under the 21st century designation but had not delivered. He said he and the council want to make sure the school gets the resources they're entitled to and promised. He asked her to keep them informed about delivery of the resources promised to the school (and the community) and that they're entitled to - be sure they get into the school. He said the minimum they can do is to be sure the school gets its share of resources and allocations they were promised, using the force and effect of the council, as well as the people they know in Annapolis and Upper Marlboro.
Ms. Smith said she wasn't at the school when they received 21st the century designation. Since coming on, she has worked hard to stabilize the staff. The ongoing challenge was having to hire numerous positions and she still has a few to fill, but this year was the smallest number of teachers she had to hire. They've been fortunate and hired five additional teachers to reduce class size in grades 1 & 2. Last year they added a 6th position. This summer they added another five teachers. Eleven teachers total reduced class sizes for grades K - 3. Last week's designation should improve that, and she will be able to affect class sizes in intermediate grades as well.
The Mayor said some of the issues are complex and will be fully addressed at Wednesday's meeting. It's a good opportunity for residents to learn what they can do to help.
Ms. Smith answered questions asked by the audience. No mic was provided so questions were restated.
A resident who had five grown children who had attended the school asked how she could help. Ms. Smith reiterated that adults can help with the reading program by letting kids aloud to them, or they could help with Math Facts. For those not comfortable working with children, adults can help in the media center. She explained that they had added $33,000 ($16,000/$12,000/$5,000) in library books to their media center over the last three years. With their collection greatly increased, and with children coming weekly, it is difficult for Mr. McKnight to keep up with the checking in and shelving of books. Other ways to contribute exist as well. They are looking to use the talents of those with time to volunteer. Some of their children come from needy families and clothing is provided for them. Mrs. Portia Moore is the coordinator of the Family Support Team and can be reached at 301-985-1850. Issues are looked at outside of the school house that affect the children.
Someone asked her to explain the mobility rate, and commented that the true success of any school is its graduation rate. Ms. Smith explained that the mobility rate is affected by the number of children enrolling in school, and the number of children transferring out - some enter or leave mid year, which makes instruction difficult. Riverdale Elementary's mobility rate is 49%. A question followed about the graduation rate in later years, but she noted that graduation would be from high school and she didn't have those figures. The Mayor noted that the question requests a judgment call regarding what is social promotion vs. actual promotion, and the question should be directed at sociologists. CM Davis said another mobility rate factor was that a portion of sixth grade students are attending middle school while others attended elementary school.
The Mayor, referring to newspaper reports about MSPAP scores, pointed out that last year was the first year that children were required to take the MSPAP exam by the third grade, even if they were not native English speaking, and spoke a foreign language prior to enrolling in an educational facility. They may have only learned, or had been speaking English, for three years prior to taking the test. Ms. Smith said in the past, a non-English speaking child could be exempted one time from taking the test - if they enrolled in the first or second grade, they wouldn't have to take the test in third grade, but would take it in the fifth grade. She pointed out that it takes five to seven years for an individual to achieve fluency in a language. She said the MSPAP is a hard test because the test measures more than just math and reading, it measures how a child applies the skills with higher order thinking skills, and is basically a writing test.
Ms. Smith confirmed that last year was the first year the state changed the guidelines, and any child enrolled in an English speaking school during any part of first grade, had to take the test in third grade, and that's very hard.
In response to the Mayor's question, Ms. Smith said that 44% of Riverdale's students were not native English speaking. Last year, 34% of the student population were ESOL students but the school was affected by boundary changes last spring, and they lost 113 students to the new Robert Grey Elementary School.
Mayor Herman thanked Ms. Smith again for the presentation, and for her courage. He said he is looking forward to a greater collaboration effort, and the adult literacy program. He hopes CM Almirez, as liaison into the community, will be able to assist them in going forward. He encouraged everyone in the community to attend Wednesday's meeting, and to participate with the school whether or not you have children there. Ms. Smith thanked them and said she wouldn't want to be at any other school.
Proposed Eckerd Store at Route 1 and East-West Highway
Mayor Herman provided brief presentation explaining that Eckerd had appeared before the previous mayor and council and a set of complex negotiations were undertaken. Ultimately, by a narrow vote, the council decided to discontinue the process. Approximately a year later, Eckerd and Potomac Development Corporation have provided a different proposal, and redesign, of the proposed facility. They wished to present their ideas to the council and residents of Riverdale Park. The first public presentation was made at last week's meeting. Notice was given about this evening's presentation to a local newspaper for distribution on Thursday, which would have provided adequate, and ample public notice for the public to hear. and ask questions about the proposed redevelopment of the intersection. Due to a news judgment error, the paper elected to run other articles instead, and the notice was not published, so the community has not been adequately informed. Because of this, a special legislative session will be scheduled at a future date, to determine whether or not, under certain circumstances, the council is prepared to enter into negotiations with Eckerd, for the proposed redevelopment of that parcel. Mayor Herman hoped the council would defer their vote for a week or so until the public hearing was held.
Mr. Joseph Caputo, Chief Executive Officer of Potomac Development Corporation introduced himself and those with him. Also attending were Sheldon Naster, President of Potomac Development Corporation, Susan Boujois, Regional Director of Real Estate for Eckerd Drug Stores, Dave Konapelski, GTM Architects.
Mr. Caputo said the initial proposal from a year ago, was for a free standing, corner drug store. They're revisiting the project to try to incorporate some of the details of the 1993 Town of Riverdale Park Master Plan, which encompasses an enhanced scope including the entire area bounded by EW Hwy, Rt 1, and Queensbury Rd. It also involves a reconfiguration of the parking area behind some of the stores, and an enhancement of the streetscape which goes up to Queensbury Rd, and continues from the church (which is the boundary edge of the development), through to the corner of EW Hwy and Rt 1. Some factors under discussion are the park, and architecture, which are integral to the development. They've taken a great deal of time, to try to incorporate many of the aspects of other buildings in Riverdale Park to enhance their building. An area of great concern was the architecture itself. Dave Konapelski was asked to explain the progression from the original plain building design, to the enhanced new building.
Mr. Konapelski explained that they took Eckerd's prototypical building, their requirements set on the site, and incorporated the council's requirements. There were historical requirements for the building to fit into the neighborhood. In the beginning, he visited the site, and noticed the building scale (1 -1 ¬[omega] stories), with a rich architecture of brick detailing, cornice and brick work, and bay windows. They believed it was important, and worked to incorporate these features into the new building.
The new building, is a story and a half, to two stories high. It's meant to be a transition in mass from the buildings which are one, to one and half stories, on the upper side of the lot to the EW Hwy/Rt 1 intersection, and the large three story building on the lower part of the site across the street. Some of the elements Eckerd established as the prototype were the two gable elements on the front, and side of the building. The parking lots are on either side of the building, and it meets the pedestrian street at the front. They felt it was important that the building line up. or be continuous with the buildings adjacent to it to be more sympathetic to the public, and fit in with the context of the site. Landscaping runs around the entire block to meet the park at the rear of the site. There's paving in the front, and detail on the new building, from the street lights currently on the street. From adjacent buildings there is a lot of cornice, and basket weave brick patterns, creating a richness in the brickwork that breaks down the scale of the building. The EW Hwy facade has a little bay, and a gable element, reflected in a series of columns that breaks down the scale of the side, as well as a brick pattern on the side of the building. Drawings were sent to Eckerd's design team in Florida, who felt strongly about integration of the bays. Some of the adjacent buildings have a bay detailing with a small metal panel, which was incorporated into the detailing. He said they worked to be contextual, and to make the building fit into the site while balancing the Eckerd's prototype. They're hoping this meets the needs of both the town council, and Eckerd. Part of the design package is signage. They have two Eckerd pile on signs, one at each of the entrances to the building, so they're very low scale. One is 4 ft x 6 ft,. made of brick to match the building, and also of cast stone. At the corner of EW Hwy and Rt 1, there's a larger cast stone and brick Welcome to Riverdale Park sign, which is also part of site design package.
Materials used in the proposed building are time honored materials, with a lot of brick being used, predominately darker brown red brick, with a beige accent brick. There is a split block base that runs up about two feet along the base of the building, and there is a copper awning overhang to integrate with the other awnings up the block. The roof is copper colored, which is a standard Eckerd detail. There are some diamond patterns in the lighter brick, with beige accent brick to pick up nearby building accents.
Mayor Herman asked them to highlight how the new proposed building is different from the previous building design. Mr. Caputo said the original design was perpendicular to the road, but they've rotated it 90 degrees, to have the short side of the building on the street, as close as they can get it with regard to the set backs in order to match existing buildings. Those were requests of the previous council.
The main differences between the previous, and current plans are that they've tried to address many aspects of 1993 Master Plan. The biggest components are; reconfiguration of Beale Circle (the half moon shape from EW Hwy to Queensbury Rd), improved access to all the parcels for better flow of traffic through interparcel access and giving 30 - 40 more parking spaces for businesses having trouble with parking, increasing the size of the park, providing better access to the park and surrounding properties, and allowing walking access to the facility which they hope will also help with traffic.
Building design improvements from the previous proposal are; expanding the scope of the building to appear as though it's a two story building with gabling elements and brick work, which will also make it appear older than it is so it fits into the community rather than the look of a brand new building (also a request of the prior council).
CM Feldberg asked if they had considered adding a second story to the building to rent out as office space. Mr. Caputo said they'd considered it, but the project budget scope was already quite extensive, and the budget couldn't handle it. It is also not a part of Eckerd's business plan, and the parking would create a burden on the commercial viability of the project. It came down to cost and there wasn't enough parking space.
CM Davis asked about Eckerd's level of investment in the project so far. He said they would be leasing from the development, but the total project cost would be around $4.5M, acquisition and building costs included.
The Mayor asked how much the cost was enhanced from the previous proposal. The last cost proposal was around $350,000 - 400,000 less. Most of the additional expense comes from the reconfiguration of Beale Circle, utilities that need to be relocated, reconfiguration of Queensbury Rd street scape, and the park. Some of increase dollar improvements you don't see involve reconfiguration of the plan to create a lot of extra impervious parking space, which will require modification to the storm water management plan previously in place. They will also likely have to do $140,000 underground system.
CM Scott asked the council first learned about Eckerd's intent to come back to present a new proposal. Mayor Herman said that he spoke to Potomac Development Corporation, on behalf of Eckerd Drug, a few months ago. He told them they needed to meet with the council to present their revised plan. He said he saw the design plans for the first time last week as they did. CM Scott said her concern was about the volitability of the issue. As a council person who had opposed the issue last year, she would have appreciated a heads up that this was coming again, and given an opportunity to participate in the conversations. She said there had been some communication on an issue that she has a stake in. She asked that all council members participate, or be made aware, if there are sensitive issues in the future that come up again. Mayor Herman said, with all due respect, he had nothing to discuss with anybody until a proposal was advanced. Until he saw a proposal there was nothing to discuss. The Mayor said during the election, it was imminently clear he made his position very frank that the council had made a mistake abandoning the multi million dollar project to rehabilitate dilapidated buildings that were a major eyesore to the residents of Riverdale Park. He said the location was an entrance gateway to Riverdale Park saying “welcome to Riverdale Park, the land of vacant buildings”. As far as he was concerned, he invited them to put forth a proposal when they approached him. The first deliberations occurred last week when CM Scott was present with the whole council.
CM Scott told Mr. Caputo she saw an area that had been a sore spot with her last year: that the view along the east corner of the gateway would be of parked cars instead of trees, and it's not anymore attractive this year than last. Mr. Caputo said one of the things they've proposed for the corner, the entryway, is a Welcome To Riverdale Park sign, or monument, combined with some landscaping. and masonry, to highlight the corner and screen the appearance of a parking lot. They have other areas they want to enhance, and are open to proposals that make sense. he noted that this is the first step in maybe a hundred hurtles still to go through with the town, and county, and lots of dialogue in the process still. They know the building and site has to look good in the community, and they want to be reasonable.
CM Scott said one of her suggestions last year was to move the building further north, towards EW Hwy, and make the whole side greenery. She noted that the facade is lovely, and much better than they saw last year but suggested moving the parking area to the center, allowing the outside area, or east side of the gateway, be greenery leading to the park. He said there are issues in regard to set backs to consider. Also, one of the difficulties are the long term viability components about the building - good access and ease to the parking lot. There is the entrance on one side, and the drive through on the other. It's difficult to get the drive through, loading, and parking areas all to work. The Mayor noted that at the point where EW Hwy moves to the south, if the building were moved, even a small distance, you actually wouldn't get much more parking on the right side of the building. Mr. Caputo said it's a less efficient set up. One of the key components is to get enough parking. Eckerd will have to make amazing sales to make the high project costs work. Their commitment is long term and this is the most efficient way to get all the components to work. He said they've poked and tweaked the plans a thousand times to fit it all together.
Alan Dombrowski, 5023 Riverdale Rd, asked if in the end, the company and architects will deliver what they are showing to the public. He also asked if they were going to accept the lowest bid. Mr. Caputo said they would not necessarily accept the lowest bid because the lowest bid doesn't always mean your project gets done. Mr. Dombrowski referred to the new Bowie Town Center as an example of his workmanship concerns, pointing out that the new Hecht's building is crooked. He'd heard about Hecht's settling because of budget restrictions. Mr. Caputo said the look of the building is a key point and they'll have a design that works and stick to it. He said Eckerd's has a very select list of contractors they'll even accept bids from. These contractors have experience with Eckerd, so the plan they put forward, and agree to, is the plan they will build. Eckerd's goes to great lengths to budget these projects. The design is a fancier version of Eckerd's very specific prototype. It will not be their intention to change the look of the building agreed to, which is a key point. Mr. Dombrowski said his concern is about workmanship.
The Mayor recommended that residents with multiple questions or comments, yield to others who were waiting, until there was a chance to speak again.
Mr. Dombrowski asked what type of products Eckerd's would sell, and was concerned about the competition this might bring to nearby businesses already in town. Mr. Caputo said Eckerd's has a certain list of items they sell in all of their stores, and they won't restrict them. Mr. Dombrowski said the residents of Riverdale Park should consider that.
David Hiles, 4804 Sheridan Street, asked two questions. What makes the site attractive, and how does Eckerd plan on meeting their sales goals? Mr. Caputo said one of the great things about the intersection, is also what makes it a problem, traffic. A lot of people pass through the intersection, and Eckerd considers it “Main and Main”. To achieve their sales goals, they have to be able to get people into the store, it's got to be safe, and it needs to be something the citizens like. If people don't like it, they won't go there. If it's not easy to get to, people won't shop there. They know they need to do the best job they can do to make it look good, and make it efficient. He said Eckerd does a great job operating stores, and thinks that residents will be impressed when they move into the neighborhood.
Ann Marie Larson, 4513 Queensbury Rd, Co-Chair of the Town Center Redevelopment Committee asked to hear more about the plans for the park, and also about pedestrian friendly access to the store. She added that the plans were a great improvement on the previous design. Mr. Caputo aid pedestrian access will be achieved with brick pavers meandering through the park, and they will have a detailed landscape plan. They expect to eventually have this available for public comment, and to identify the types of plantings and things that work.
Mayor Herman noted that in the event the council convenes, and decides to enter into negotiations with Eckerd, that is only the beginning of the process. It would mean exercising good faith towards coming up with a final resolution and plan. What residents see, may not be the plan that's ultimately adopted by the council because of the need to incorporate people's suggestions as the process continues. If Eckerd is interested, and serious about doing business with the town, some of the questions and suggestions will be reflected in the revised plans, to the extent that they can be accommodated as we move forward. Some things cannot be changed, but there are others that will.
JD DiMattio, 4900 Somerset Rd, asked if the store will provide jobs for the community, including managerial, as well as clerk positions, and how many. Ms Boujois said Eckerd will employ approximately 35 - 40 people. Management can come from the local community and from outside. Eckerd has a training process for anyone interested which can begin at any level, and train to go through the various supervisory positions; photo lab supervisor, pharmacy technician, service representative, and they have their own in house training programs.
Mr. DeMattio said the copper type roof that the architect spoke of was a major concern to him. He said a copper type roof will create a glare in the morning and evening from certain directions on EW Hwy, and pointed out the hill near where the building is situated. He specifically asked if the roof would be shiny, or if there would a reflective glare. Mr. Caputo said it was copper colored roof. The architect clarified that it's copper colored and somewhat dull (a sample was provided), and noted there will be a fair amount of trees in front. He said it's a matter that can be studied. Mr. DiMattio asked if the park would have lights for access at night. Mr. Caputo said lighting is a detail of the plan still to go through the process. If it's determined that some form of light is necessary, they'll work with the Town. They want to create a safe environment for everyone to shop and enjoy themselves.
Mayor referred to earlier employment comments by Ms. Boujois, saying to the extent that the project goes forward, Eckerd will be advertising jobs in local newspapers to try to attract local residents, so the people who work there, live in and around the community.
JD Williams, business owner at 6309 Baltimore Ave, member of the PG County Historic Preservation Committee, and VP Riverdale Business Association, said it's important to him that the historic part of town be preserved and the project looks good to him from a historic perspective. As a business person, and neighbor, it's important to see that the business is viable. Sufficient Parking and good traffic flow because it is a very busy intersection. Mr. Williams He said he'd spoken with five or six other business owners in the association, and they support and welcome, new business to Riverdale Park. He believes Eckerd will be a good addition, and the development will raise the assessed value of the site, as well as the tax rolls for the town, which we desperately need. When the time comes he will support Eckerd, and recommend, and hope the council votes for it.
Pete Spiropoulos, Dumm's Corner Market and Pizza owner, and President of the Riverdale Business Association said the business association has not had a chance to discuss the matter yet. He said though Eckerd will provide competition, he welcomes the competition, and doesn't like to see empty buildings. He said a lot of people come to his small corner store, and his sons will compete with Eckerd, and they will do better things in the town even though they do not have as much money. He said he doesn't know where everyone comes from, but they come to his store and thinks they will go to Eckerd too. He doesn't like what's there now, and will support Eckerd. The Riverdale Park Business Association will meet February 12th at 5:30pm at the Calvert Mansion, and they'll discuss Eckerd's proposal then if anyone would like to attend. He hopes everyone will support this, and they are there to help.
Ken Laureys, 4718 Riverdale Rd, and a member of the Town Center Redevelopment Committee. said this proposal was much nicer than the last. The community put pressure on Eckerd, and they responded quite favorably. He asked when if once you enter the parking lot from the EW Hwy entrance, which takes you behind the building close to Beale Circle, would you also be able to go all the way through to exit onto Queensbury Rd, as well as turning the corner to exit onto Rt 1? Also, would all the other businesses there be able to use the parking spaces? Mr. Caputo said exclusivity questions will be part of the process still to come. Eckerd will need adequate parking, but they will meet with adjacent property owners to discuss the pros and cons of it. Eckerd needs to be viable, but they want to make the situation workable. Mr. Laureys said one of the important parts of the original Town Center vision was to reconfigure Beale Circle to provide more parking. Mr. Caputo acknowledged that parking and access are critical, and Eckerd knows that. Mr. Laureys noted that the plans for Beale Circle looks much nicer. He asked if the landscaping along EW Hwy was a waste high wall to block the cars parking there (as Rite Aid did) Mr. Caputo said there's an ordinance that requires a big wall, but they were going to be asking for a variance to reduce the size of it. They recognize that part of the need for a wall, or impediment, is to block headlights from shining into oncoming traffic creating an unsafe environment. Some type of screening combination of masonry/landscaping will be there along with the Riverdale monument, and landscaping, to create something that looks nice, using the same materials used in the building. Mr. Laureys said a big concern, is about the gateway that the passerby traffic into Eckerd maybe will carry over into the new town center, and would they have easy access onto Queensbury Rd to get to it. He hoped a gateway synergy would exist and asked if they had looked at the demographics? Mr. Caputo said the vision of 1993 Master Plan would allow for a nice place to stop and for synergy throughout. They also hope that with improvements, that will happen.
CM Davis said most of her questions were already answered.
Mayor Herman said in order to reflect the issue of notice, it would be prudent to pick a date for a special legislative session to discuss only this matter, and to decide whether a resolution will be passed to enter into further negotiations with Eckerd. The council agreed to February 18th at 7:30pm. Mr. Caputo was asked to attend along with any other representatives who were available The Mayor thanked them for the presentation and apologized that they had to be available for a third presentation,
Summer Carnival in Riverdale Park
Patricia Hayes-Parker, Executive Director of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Association, thanked the Mayor and council for the opportunity to speak. Ms. Hayes-Parker explained that there are over 100 different countries represented in PG County, and members of ATHA have proposed celebrating the Carnival event July 5th - 7th of this year, and over the Memorial Day weekend in future years. The Carnival event has four goals: to capture the imagination, and support of the public, but also to educate the public, and celebrate the multicultural heritage of Carnival's in all the America's. They hope to impress the value of such programming on corporate sponsor's, which would also support local businesses in the areas Carnival is conducted. They hope to demonstrate to elected officials, and government leaders, that the event will be self sustaining. She said the proposed initiative has been certified, and they've received initial funding with the state to conduct business. Information was provided for council review and for residents in attendance.
The proposed event will occur over three days. On the first day, a Mardi-Gras kind of a masked ball event. The next day, the carnival parade would occur. Many countries are already planning to participate. The parade route would begin with a staging area at PG Plaza, and come down EW Hwy, make a left onto Rt 1 proceeding through College Park, turning right onto Paint Branch Pkwy, continuing along Paint Branch Parkway to River Rd. All floats, and participants would disembark there. On the same day, an ABC Heritage Village would be present, made up of many tents, and vendors, with a focus on education and what the celebration of carnival is all about - a celebration of heritage. Several performers will demonstrate how instruments work, there will be songs, dances, many instruments and drums. The event would be of interest to families as well as individual adults.
If they are able to conduct the ABC Village, it may involve the park area adjacent to River Rd in Riverdale Park. She wanted to present this event but talk with council and answer questions after they've had time to review the document. The event will stage itself using the hub of the College Park Metro. People are expected to come from all over the metropolitan area. The event is supported by the State Office of Tourism Development, county and state delegations, as well as ambassadors, non-profit, and performing organizations.
Mayor Herman said there will be a time at a later date to discuss the event further, but asked how many people they were expecting to attend. Ms. Hayes-Parker said they project as many as 10,000 a day the first year may attend, growing to about 30,000 a day and beyond that in later years. The will be talking with the PG County Police Department and expect officers from other jurisdictions will be called in. They will provide marshals and self-monitoring will take place, as occurs at the Caribbean Carnival held in DC. They will be talking to MNCPP about involving their police, and park rangers. ATHA is sensitive about security and safety issues. On site emergency vehicles will be arranged. Entertainers will be coming from outside of the area, and from outside of the country and families will be attending, so it will be a safe and enjoyable event
The Mayor asked if their plan addressed issues of transportation and security. Ms. Hayes-Parker said it is not included yet because they still have to work closely with the PG County Police Department. The next time she speaks to the Mayor and council, she will have the benefit of those discussions and hopes the police will have spoken with the town about the event as well. The event will involve Riverdale Park, College Park, and University Park.
CM Davis asked if volunteers are still being accepted to work on the event. Ms. Hayes-Parker said they hope all municipalities will advertise the event and volunteers are welcome. Several committees are listed in the document with their individual focus and budgets.
Mayor Herman asked her to provide information or an article the town could include in the Town Crier.
There was no public comment or further council discussion.
Five minute break
Town Administrator and Treasurer's Report
Mr. Prangley read aloud the treasurer's report. The motion to approve the report, subject to audit was made by CM Tiberio. CM Davis seconded the motion.
Mr. Prangley reported that there was a meeting with Mr. Weincoup, Director of Environmental Resources, who helped facilitate the new public works facility improvements and electrical review. Things are going smoothly with the staff he assigned. A permit has been issued. Brand new overhead doors, as well as infrared heating facilities will all be added into the bid specifications. The advertisement will be provided tomorrow for release and they're ready to go. Approximately 80% of project funds have been collected. The project should be completed by June.
The Riverdale Rd project is nearly completed. A review, or walk through process will be held within the month. The date, to be determined, will be advertised. He encouraged citizens to provide input to their representatives. Mr. Houser is assigning staff to be sure the work is ADA compliant and review what is left in the contract documents still to be completed. Retainage funds will be held until everything is done satisfactorily. He thanked public works, and the police department for their help coordinating efforts, reviewing safety issues, signage for placement, and the height of signs.
US Senator Sarbanes Project along the 6200 block of Route 1 between Queensbury Rd and EW Hwy is moving along. There is a meeting this week with Sue Plumber to start scheduling work which will begin this spring.
The Greenway Dr project should be mostly completed for review by the next worksession. The engineers will present it to the council before we go out to bid. A meeting will be scheduled, with affected residents, to get their input before town goes out to bid on the project.
FY2002-2003 budget process has begun and input from department heads is being received at this time. Mr. Prangley said they're on an aggressive schedule and hope to present it to the Mayor ahead of time, before the 60 day deadline, so there's ample time to set up meetings with the council before the deadline.
Mr. Prangley said the Mayor will report on the party that donated an appliance to the Boys and Girls Club, who again came to the aid of a town organization after responding in quick order from last week.
Mayor Herman reiterated that every effort is being made to present next year's budget document earlier than has been the tradition, giving the council, and the public, time to review the proposed budget, rather than having everything compressed into a 30 day period of review. He appreciated what department heads, and town staff, are doing to make that a reality.
Mayor Herman noted that a constituent pointed out that the Riverdale Rd stretch, commonly referred to as a 1.2 mile distance, is actually less than one mile.
The process of making improvements to the new Riverdale Rd lighting is underway. Most residents, who have spoken with elected officials, and town staff, are delighted with the lighting. A couple of unintended consequences, with lights shining into people's houses are being corrected. Adjustments are being made with screening, and frosted bulbs, in a few locations to reduce the light output. Residents with conditions uniquely affecting their property should contact the town staff or their councilperson and corrections will be made where they can be.
CM Tiberio requested that excess money from the Riverdale Rd project, be used to create a park on the south side of Riverdale Rd, by the bridge. Examination of the more than $800,000 in grant money, that came in for the project is being reviewed to see if there is any excess after retainage.
Testimony will be given tomorrow, at 10:00am before the MD Historic Trust on the National Historic Designation for the two sections of Riverdale Park. If anyone is interested in attending, the address is 100 Community Place, Crownsville, MD.
Later in the agenda, two contract matters will be addressed. One is a draft agreement with WSSC for payment of more than $400,000, essentially for resurfacing and reconfiguration of roads destroyed, or damaged, due to water main replacement going on around town, primarily in ward 4. Details of that contract will be finalizing in the next two days, with the funds into the town's treasury in less than 30 days.
Later we'll also be voting on the Community Legacy Grant, where we will be submitting a contract document to the legacy grant folks administering the program. We hope to have $300,000 in the treasury in less than 30 days, maybe as early as 15 days.
The deed for purchase of the Town Center properties has not been recorded because $6,200 in back taxes is owed to the town. The town was given assurance by PG County, that upon payment of the back taxes, and filing of the deed, the monies will be rebated to the town. After receiving the appropriate written assurances, the check was cut, and hand delivered to PG County. The deed is being filed accordingly.
The Mayor reiterated to the viewing public not tuned in to the earlier part of the meeting that there will be a meeting at Riverdale Elementary School on February 6th at 7:00pm. There will be a full community discussion, not only concerning MSPAP scores, but also about the possible state takeover of Riverdale Elementary School, and the affects of that on our entire community.
Kudos were extended for the wonderful cooperation between the police department and Jim Houser and Public Works during the recent snowfall. The Police department makes the initial call out for road conditions, then operations are handled by Jim Houser, Director of Public Works. Only a couple of inches fell, but at times the conditions were really bad. The town staff and crew did an excellent job responding, clearing streets rapidly, and salting to prevent any threat to public safety.
In the event of a snow emergency, residents must park on the odd side of the street. A snow emergency was declared that day, but people didn't move their cars. In a heavier snowstorm, cars would have been ticketed and towed. Residents are reminded of possible inclement weather coming.
The Mayor also thanked the public works director and staff for their work on the silent auction that is underway. Items removed from the 8 vacant buildings in Town Center will be auctioned off, including photocopiers, bookcases, and an old washing machine (a working antique). the auction runs through February 15th. Residents are encouraged to come down during business hours, or this Saturday from 9:00am - 4:00pm to see what's available. A complete list can be obtained from town hall, and most of the list is printed in the Town Crier.
Mayor Herman expressed appreciation to Apache Appliance for donating a refrigerator to the Riverdale Boys and Girls Club. He read aloud a signed and sealed Certificate of Appreciation from the Town of Riverdale Park to Jerry Nolan and Apache Appliance. The Mayor asked the council for unanimous consent to thank Jerry Nolan and Apache Appliance for their generous donation. The resolution passed unanimously.
Police Department and Code Enforcement Report
Chief Evans reported that the code enforcement officer was busy surveying problem areas and working on community projects such as i.e. Queensbury Rd, and 54th Ave. They located the owner of the lot on the 5400 block of Riverdale Rd who cleaned it up. The code enforcement officer works Monday through Friday one week, and Tuesday through Saturday the next, so they are available two Saturdays a month. Code enforcement issues should be called in to the police department.
On March 8th, FOP 89 on Landover Rd, will host the annual awards ceremony held by the PG Police Chiefs Association honoring the officer and civilian of the year. Officer Hayes is the officer of the year. His unit was called into active duty following the Sept 11th attacks. He led the department in stats, arrests, and work load in the first part of the year, he still holds the record even in his absence. He was a very active, diligent officer. He's made arrangements with his commanding officer to attend the awards ceremony. Officer Hayes was notified that he could attend in his military uniform but he chose to wear his Riverdale Park uniform. The town's code enforcement officer, Deena Johnson, is the recipient of the civilian of the year award for her work as Chief Dispatcher prior to her new assignment.
The Mutual Aid Agreement signing will be held February 20th in Hyattsville where the signatory agencies, Riverdale Park, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Mt. Rainier and Bladensburg, will all come together.
Chief Evans read aloud the January crime report. He noted that the call volume, for a winter month, when calls are usually down, was significant. He said he was pleased that policing, effective enforcement, and patrol, is taking place in Riverdale Park.
The Chief noted that there were six robberies; four in ward 6, one in ward 2, and one in ward 5. Three burglaries occurred, all were minor assaults. There were fifteen stolen vehicles - nine in ward 6 alone. They're looking at initiatives, such as working with the county police's Auto Theft Unit to curtail this. They're asking for resident participation to report any suspicious activity. They're attempting to address the crime increase in ward 6 through redeployment. The department is fully staffed and doing everything they can, but citizens assistance is needed. If something looks suspicious and draws your attention, call the police to have them check it out.
CM Davis asked if there was any movement finding a suspect for the break inn's in W. Riverdale Park and University Park. The chief said they have suspects but they've been unable to develop information to make arrests. They've been unable to locate any of the property taken from the burglaries in town. They are moving forward on it. The burglary rate has dropped following suspect interviews which may have caused wariness on their part.
The next Neighborhood Watch Meeting is February 19th at 7:00pm at Town Hall.
CM Scott noted that it had been about three months since the Alamo dance permit had been approved and asked about the status. The chief said there were no problem to report but didn't think they'd had any functions yet. The Mayor said he believed PEPCO still had not turned on the lights but approval is expected in the next few weeks. He spoke to the owner who verified they have not had any dances yet. The Mayor asked the chief to inform them of any activity since the lights were a condition of the dances.
CM Feldberg asked the chief to explain the difference between a theft, robbery and a burglary report. Chief Evans said crime is categorized by the federal government for record keeping purposes. A burglary would be breaking and entering of a home. Robbery could be by force, intimidation. or with a weapon, and would be a physical taking of property, by a person, from a person. There are various degrees of theft - theft under $500. (minor or petty theft), and theft over $500 (major crime), which pertains to the amount of punishment, or corrective action taken by a court, and of how the crime is categorized. He said people frequently say they've been robbed if something is taken from their shed, when what they mean is that they've been burglarized.
Reverend Ben Sly of Christian Life Center, 5600 Taylor Rd asked about the exact location of ward 6. CM Scott explained that it's Riverdale Rd, from the river to Kenilworth Ave, and Kenilworth Ave, from Greenway Dr up to EW Hwy. It's the Kenilworth Ave strip, and Riverdale Rd, and the streets that come off Kenilworth Ave. Reverend Sly said his concern is about the number incidents, particularly in ward 6, and what the community, and church community, can do to help. The chief reiterated that citizen eyes and ears are what they need, and to call the police when suspicious activity is observed. He said they've made a number of apprehensions based on a citizen observation and phone call. They respond to everything, and are often on site within seconds or minutes. Reverend Sly asked if the Neighborhood Watch program was active in ward 6. The chief said no because it's a very transient community which makes it difficult to organize. They're working with CM Scott to help with that, and are working on other initiatives they hope to get off the ground by spring, such as having a citizen auxiliary patrol. The Chief announced that another community meeting is scheduled for March. Mayor Herman encouraged Reverend Sly to invite his members to attend the Neighborhood Watch meeting.
Public Works Report
Mr. Houser said about a half dozen people have been through to see what items are available for the silent auction. he suggested that those who come later will be able to see where the bids are at to know how to bid on items of interest to them.
Public Works picked up 142 Christmas trees and delivered them to the Anacostia Watershed Project. They've asked for no more.
A Public Works Committee Meeting is scheduled for February 11th at 7:30pm at Town Hall. Major changes to Public Works collections schedules will be discussed.
Mr. Houser said when he started with the town, the yard waste program was relatively new. A town this size should haul 30 tons or more of yard waste out of town, which would save about half off in landfill fees. Public Works would like to see more of this and will be discussing how they might more efficiently pick it up, and make sure it gets to the cheaper collection and disposal points. He said some of what's been printed about what they will pick up isn't true. Public Works will pick up limbs and branches up to 6 inches in diameter, and up to 5 feet long. They are currently picking up 2 days a week, though they don't have equipment to do it as efficiently. He's working with his department to realize what they need to do with yard waste materials, how to separate it, and where it needs to go.
They're still waiting on light fixture corrections. It's only been a week and were told it'd be about two.
Fire Department Report
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd had several comments on the Annual State of the Town Report given at the January meeting, and published in the Town Crier. He was concerned about deficit comments, expressing surprise that it happened, considering that Mayor Herman, and three of the current council members were council members in June 2000, and voted for that budget. He said they knew from the 1999 - 2000 budget that there had been a significant shortfall in traffic enforcement, but they voted for significantly larger traffic enforcement income numbers in the 2000 - 2001 budget. He pointed out that they received monthly statements from Ms. Zorns, and a month later, received statements from outside bookkeepers. He said he found s it disingenuous, and considered it a councilmember's duty to question if there is a deficit developing.
Mr. Kiernan congratulated the council on completing 1/3 of its term in office. In the economic development section of the written report, he noted that Vice Mayor Davis was selected to chair the Economic Development Committee, and that money was set aside in the budget to hire a deputy administrator. He said he mentioned that because the Economic Development Committee has yet to meet.
Alan Dombrowski, 5023 Riverdale Rd, said he has information from PG County on new laws in the making about keeping chickens, goats, or roosters, for religious purposes. The legislation regards methods of killing animals, and that it has to be instant, not by cutting the throat. If someone wants to kill an animal, they must get a slaughter permit from the county, and they won't issue a permit in a residential area. The Mayor said it's already in violation of town code to keep livestock within the town. Mr. Dombrowski said he knew that but there are places in town that have keep roosters and goats. One place he knew of had a basement full of chickens. CM Tiberio asked if he knew of these places for certain. Mr. Dombrowski said he wasn't at liberty to say. He explained that the town gave 24 hours to get rid of these animals if they find them in someone's ownership. The county will immediately confiscate the animals if found. Owners are given 24 hours if they wish to claim them, but proof must be given that the animals are not going back to a residential area before they are released.
Mr. Dombrowski talked about the new street lights. He has a letter authorizing him to be in the park after hours to document wildlife - what is coming and going, or not returning. and which wildlife is present that is fragile. He said the lights at the bridge are interfering with the blue heron which roosts in the shallow parts of the creek towards the waterfall, and in the trees at night time. The new street lights light up to the waterfall and the blue heron will not come into the light so they're being pushed out. Before the lights were installed, deer would come through around 2:00 - 3:30am, now they won't come up the west side of the dike. You can see them with the light on the side of Tanglewood Apartments - which doesn't interfere with the animals. He explained how to tell the difference between a male and female deer by how light reflects in their eyes at night. He said there is also a pair of eagles nesting around peace cross, but who come up this way when the perch and herring run. Chipmunks that lived in the rocks were killed by cats. Ducks are affected by light like the blue heron.
Since the new lights were installed the wildlife has been disturbed. He suggested the lights be turned off, or directed down to the ground immediately beside them. The Mayor asked if he could provide information from a wildlife organization documenting the effects of light on wildlife and their habitats. He said the lights will not be turned off though. The Mayor reminded Mr. Dombrowski that he complained about the lack of lighting in his area affecting conditions outside his building.
Mr. Dombrowski said he did not want the lights and fought against it when management wanted to put lights on his side of the building. He opposed the lights in previous years as well. He said the state of MD has said it's unlawful to cast a ray of artificial light on the animals.
Reverend. Ben Sly of Christian Life Center, 5600 Taylor Rd wanted to inform the council of two issues. First he thanked public works for their efforts on behalf of his church. He handed out information on a Jobs for Youth Program called Poor Towns, (??) Jobs For Youth by the Reverend Gayle Addison. Rev Sly said he believes Riverdale Park needs a Jobs for Youth Program. This program has almost a 100% success ratio. It's a collective community development consortium, and it's purpose is to involve youth in the revitalization, and economic development of PG County. It's goal is to provide youth summer jobs in PG County communities. The strategy is to get buy in from local schools, officials, churches, CDC (?) and businesses, making it a program owned by the community. They want to make the youth of the town, stake holders in local the economic development process by promoting a healthy community, decreasing drugs, crime, and violence in the community, to revitalize and sustain the community, attract new homeowners and businesses to the community, and to provide business owners an economic hiring resource. Rev Sly said he believed we need to build the community around a spirit effort around our youth. Many youth are struggling, and they need all the help they can get. He asked the council to review the program. It's already in order, all Riverdale Park needs to do is to adopt it into the community. With corporate efforts , town citizens, the town council, and area churches, this can happen. As example, a town whose businesses agreed to participate provided summer jobs for 49 youth.
Rev. Sly said he'd like to see it happen this summer. Everything is already done, it's just a matter of adopting the program. He believes we need to help the youth of Riverdale Park, give them a chance to achieve in life, and this is a start. Rev Addison has offered to help implement this dynamic strategy as Riverdale Park's, Job's for Youth Program.
He also provided a copy of information from a recent meeting which was attended by Mayors, and community leaders, of several nearby municipalities. There is already a $50,000 grant from the governor to support the program.
Rev Sly also wanted to inform everyone that his church has begun a new program called Passion and Compassion. He'd said he'd had this in his mind for years, to seek out the needs of the community. Efforts have been made to assist needy families on an as needed basis, but they've begun this program working with Portia Moore at Riverdale Elementary who is submitting names to them of families they can serve. They have raised over $3k in the last month and a half to purchase new clothes and toys for those they serve. They want to provide quality. They're providing for 4 families that Portia Moore has given them, they will be providing for four more this Saturday. This is a bi-weekly ministry at the present time.
He explained that Rev. Addison also has a ministry called Faith in Action out of DC and there is another ministry serving the poor in DC called Food and Friends. They serve over 5000 hot meals a week to those in need, and deliver over 500 boxes of groceries to families per month. They have asked Rev. Sky's church to assist them in distributing groceries they provide for needy families. Rev. Sly believes there's a community of people in Riverdale Park who need help. He asked the council to let him know of people this ministry can help and to search them out. He said he is not there to ask for money or support, only to help them serve the community. They are not serving these people to bring them to the church, or solicit their faith, only to help people in need. He asked that council let them know who they can help if they're aware of a need.
Rev. Sly told of a church in Baltimore, called Rock City Church, which has a million dollar a year food distribution program. A director of that food distribution program said they will provide food for distribution through Rev. Sky's church. St Bernard's, and New Covenant in Colmer Manor, are also planning to fill up food banks to serve the needy in the community.
He just wanted to let the town and council know they are there and to open the church up to help the community with anything they can. Referrals can be called in to 301-277-5969. He explained that once a referral is received, the church contact's the family to let them know what they'd like to do, and get their permission before coming. He said occasionally individuals feel too proud to accept help, and they respect their wishes.
CM Davis asked if Rev. Sly would make the same presentation before the Riverdale park Business Association at their next meeting on February 12th at 5:30pm at Riversdale Mansion. She said the association is very interested in community outreach programs, and some do them on their own, but most are looking for a more comprehensive way to be involved. She invited the Rev. Sly to attend the meeting as her guest.
CM Feldberg asked if he knew of the program out of Riverdale Elementary and said she believed the Jobs for Youth Program was a win - win situation. Rev Sly said Portia Moore who handles the Riverdale Elementary program is the individual they deal with. She asked if Rev Sly had contacted other churches in the area about the Jobs for Youth program and he explained that there was a recommended process to follow for the program. The first approach before contacting local churches and businesses was the town council for their approval.
The Mayor believed the business association would be a great start to identify target businesses for the Jobs for Youth program.
Mr. Dombrowski had another comment about the lights. He said the lights he's referring to don't illuminate a parking lot or area where cars are. They only light the field, creek and animals so there isn't a cause to have them on.
Approval of Minutes
CM Davis made the motion to approve the January 7th Regular Legislative Session. The motion was seconded by CM Feldberg. The motion passed unanimously.
None were requested
Legislation on Repeat Parking Violations (Legislative Committee)
The Mayor noted that Resolution 2001-OR-3, concerning individuals with multiple parking infractions pending and providing authorization to tow vehicles in an effort to collect payment, was printed in the current Town Crier. In absence of CM Blaschke, CM Davis made the motion to untable the motion. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. CM Davis said she had heard nothing from the public on the legislation. There was no public comment. The motion passed unanimously. The Mayor executed the document to Mr. Prangley to be incorporated as part of the new Town Code.
Resolution Granting Doug and Susan McElrath Authority to Accept Items for Town Archives
CM Davis made the motion to grant authority to Doug and Susan McElrath to accept items on behalf of the town archives. The motion was seconded by CM Tiberio. CM Davis explained that the McElrath's have been instrumental in setting up the town archives (located behind the new conference center in Town Hall). Mr. McElrath is curator of the Marylandia Collection at the University of Maryland. Mrs. McElrath works in a similar capacity. They, along with many other residents in town, amassed quite a collection during publication of the 75th anniversary book. They've been instrumental in helping to put it all together in one place for anyone interested in doing research. CM Davis believed they were the most qualified for the job she called tedious, and a labor of love.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Donation Form
CM Davis made the motion that the donation form, put together by the McElrath's for use in their day to day job operations, be accepted as the donation form. CM Davis said the form looked good to her. CM Feldberg seconded the motion. Mayor Herman said the McElrath's had asked him to review the deed of gifts form in his capacity as an attorney. He said it was straight forward and he didn't see any problems with the document.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
Discussion on Covenants for Town Center Properties
The Mayor said the topic, which came up at the worksession, and a draft list was provided to everyone as they had indicated they wanted to review the proposed restrictive covenants for the Town Center. CM Feldberg's earlier comments were reviewed. She suggested that the council strike “amusements arcade center” (under “uses currently allowed under CSC (or CFC or COC?) from the covenants and actually make it an allowable use. CM Davis noted that the committee wanted to put it in as not allowed, CM Feldberg doesn't want to prohibit that use. CM Feldberg referred to it as services for our children. The Mayor asked about the council's pleasure regarding the list, whether to discuss the list of covenants tonight, or at a subsequent meeting. He reviewed that the purpose in providing the list last week was to give everyone an opportunity to review it.
CM Davis made the motion to accept as restrictive covenants, the list furnished January 28, 2002 (knowing that there will be revisions). CM Scott seconded the motion.
CM Davis provided background information. Once a developer was selected, the town center redevelopment committee broke off into a couple of groups. One group worked on the architecture of the buildings, another was charged with coming up with recommendations for restrictions or covenants to the property - property uses we did not want to see there. At a January 22nd meeting, the committee met, and agreed to restricting the covenants on the list the council has. Several definitions or clarifications are pending with the town attorney, one is the definition of a fast food restaurant, which the council also has questions about). It is also realized that that changes in zoning laws could allow future unacceptable uses that are currently banned to become acceptable again, this list includes those also. The list is a comprehensive list of what the committee recommended. They sat down with the latest county list of what's allowable in a CSC zone, and went through piece by piece taking off what they didn't think was acceptable, and making suggestions to put them into covenants that they didn't want to see them in Town Center.
CM Tiberio offered amendments: the arcade. He pointed out that a covenant travels a long time - the life of the property (unless another council changes it). The Mayor pointed out that a subsequent council can change the covenants once adopted, and they run with the land. However, if the land is sold, the council cannot put covenants on land it does not owned. The Mayor, and CM Tiberio discussed nearby properties. The Mayor said ACF was negotiated. He said the council cannot place covenants on property it does not own, and it is incumbent on property owners to place covenants on their own property.
CM Davis pointed out that the town could still own the buildings for a long time and they should think long term. The Mayor suggested discussing individual, or potential covenants, instead of getting mired down. CM Feldberg asked why members couldn't submit changes instead of going through it all now. CM Tiberio said CM Davis discussed the intent of the original motion, and she reiterated that she made the motion knowing that there would be changes. CM Tiberio continued his list of additions including: appliance/radio/TV repair shop (he and CM Davis noted that “upholstery” was in a separate/zoning law section). He pointed out that previously, a TV sales and repair shop was where the bookshop currently is. He said he didn't understand the reference to liquor stores (“gourmet wine and cheese shop”) - was it allowed or not? CM Davis explained that a gourmet wine and cheese shop was not prohibited because more than alcohol was being sold. The Mayor added his understanding that hard liquor could not be sold, but wines could be. CM Tiberio said if you're excluding the liquor store, exclude it all. CM Tiberio said they couldn't discuss a pizza shop until they receive the attorney's fast food definition, but added a print shop to the list. Approval of a print shop less that 2000 sq feet (with a special exception), and banning of a large print shop was clarified. CM Davis said the committee approved a print shop less than 2000 sq feet (definition in CFC (?) zoning). The Mayor noted that CM Tiberio had raised four questions.
There were no other council suggestions or modifications.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd pointed out that at the time the committee met, with the mandate to discuss mandates, and what people would like to see in town center, no one knew about the possibility of Eckerd coming back to Rt 1 and EW Hwy as was discussed last week and tonight. He pointed out that the master plan is defined as being from the railroad tracks to US 1 and EW Hwy to Queensbury Rd. His question is, if we're getting a brand new commercial property on the northwest corner of the rectangle that constitutes town center, they'll have no hoops if Eckerd goes out of business. They can do whatever they want and it's allowed in that commercial zoning area. In the same town center rectangle, at the southwest corner, we put Douglas Development through hoops regarding covenants on the property just because we own the property. We need to think about consistency and how we're dealing with commercial properties at one corner of town center vs. commercial properties at the opposite corner of town center.
The Mayor asked, since they're dealing specifically with covenants on 8 parcels of land, and the list that's there and Mr. Kiernan said he'd changed his mind, and thinks maybe they should think about not having the list at all. The Mayor clarified Mr. Kiernan's statement, as a member of the committee who came up with the list, and that he was recommending that he was going against his own recommendation. Mr. Kiernan said he had changed his mind b/c if we were going to have a major commercial development at one end, where, if Eckerd goes belly up and they may well, (they came in last Monday night and on Tues morning the Wall St Journal and Wash Post reported that JC Penny has changed it's corp. structure to a holding company so they can devolve themselves (i.e.: sell off Eckerd) so they can get the cash by next October. He said all he's trying to say is that we should have consistency and suggested if Eckerd were sold, it could be bought up by Rite Aid and we'd have one empty building someplace. If we're thinking of having restrictions on property we own by the railroad track, maybe in the long term, we should have constraints, or negotiate on property they develop (Heineke property - 40 - 50 yr outlook). The Mayor asked if Mr. Kiernan's opinions were his own, as he was going against recommendations of the committee. Mr. Kiernan said he was expressing his own personal opinions because there was a new development since those recommendations were made, and he believed we should be consistent throughout the town center area.
The Mayor suggested that since we're dealing with a development firm, who's had the opportunity to look at the community legacy contract, we should make sure the redevelopment firm is fully apprised of the situation. They may have the opportunity to tell us if we will have an unintended consequence by one of the recommended disapproved uses. He asked the council if they wanted to forward the draft list, and to defer the matter until comment, or feed back, can be obtained from redevelopment firm.
CM Davis said she was able to explain why the choices made by the committee, but one involved a definition they were waiting for from the town attorney. They are not in a hurry, and can defer the matter for a short time. If the liquor store, amusement arcade, pizza place, and appliance repair shop, are the only changes we can look at it later she said.
CM Tiberio moved that the council table the matter for two weeks, until February 19th, as a non-discussion motion, at the same night the council would discuss the Eckerd matter. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor asked Mr. Prangley to fax the list to Douglas Development for their comments.
Creation of Handicapped Parking Space - 4812 Riverdale Rd, Residents George and Martha Pontes (Ward 1)
CM Feldberg made the motion that the town create a handicapped space in front of 4812 Riverdale Rd. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
CM Scott asked if there was a curb cut was needed for handicapped access, and if not, was one needed. The Mayor explained that the individual who needed it had a heart situation, and the curb was not the problem. The distance from the car to the house was the issue.
There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor asked Mr. Houser to visit the site and make arrangements for the appropriate signage, and blue coloring of the curb for a handicapped space. CM Davis noted there was a handicapped space on the 4500 block of Tuckerman St they could look at if needed.
CM Tiberio asked about painting another designated curb property (the mic didn't pick up the address). CM Tiberio asked Mr. Houser to take a look at it, and they could discuss it. The Mayor noted that the traffic study committee was meeting tomorrow evening at 7:00pm and asked council member attending to raise the issue with Mr. Houser then, and to indicate that they were looking for a speedy answer on the matter.
Mr. Prangley said they just updated a new traffic manual that gives all the current specifications on height, and how far signs are to be set back, etc. They are currently being reviewed for Riverdale Rd. There are several locations, and the police department can coordinate this to see how much out of regulation we are currently. Some of the signs placed by contractors are too far back, and are too low, and it was noted that the contractor is responsible for this, and they will make the adjustments. The Mayor noted the matter will be handled administratively after it's been reviewed.
The Mayor indicated that the Chief of Police, or Mr. Houser, could leave if they needed to go since the remaining items didn't affect them. CM Scott noted that there was a clean-up matter in ward 6 that she wanted his support of. The Mayor said he was willing to suspend where they were to address the matter. Discussion followed about when was best to handle the matter and it was decided that it was best raised at the Public Works meeting next Monday evening. The Mayor verified that there was no other business (old or new) that needed either gentleman's attention.
Resolution to Approve Legacy Grant Conditions
The Mayor explained that the town was in the process of negotiating, and has negotiated, an agreement with DHCD (dept of housing and community development) of the State for the $300,000 community legacy grant awarded to the town. Conditions were placed on this allowing for the MD historic trust review of the grant, the redeveloper proposal, as well as creating a timeline specified in the document (exhibit B). The council has had opportunity to review the document, and negotiations have been going on for about a month or so. Mr. Prangley has been intimately involved in negotiations with the DHCD representative. He said he was looking for whether the council would approve the contract in its latest formation, and if so, it will be forwarded on, and the town will receive the money.
CM Tiberio made the motion to approve the contract in it's latest formation to be forwarded to DHCD. CM Davis seconded the motion.
CM Davis stated two public concerns she had: the MD Historic trust review of the facade and interior of this project when there is no easement on it, which is out of the ordinary, and the timeline definition. One of the requirements is to complete the rehabilitation by December 2002 but Douglas Development is building these properties on the interior to suit. Her concern is that it is “complete rehabilitation” by December 2002, not partial rehabilitation, or facade rehabilitation or a percentage of it.
There was no further council discussion or public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor instructed Mr. Prangley that the agreement be executed tonight and be hand delivered to DHCD tomorrow.
Resolution to Support WSSC Draft Agreement
Mayor Herman said they now have a draft agreement with WSSC concerning the replacement, or furnishing of the town with monies to cover damages to streets caused by the water relining project. He indicated that there are minor details that still need to be resolved, but the draft process has been going on for an extended period of time and the details will be in town hall tomorrow. He asked if there was a motion allowing him to execute the agreement, and any modifications insisted on by WSSC, on behalf of the town, unless they contravene, or go against the grain of the agreement as it is for the $468,000.
CM Davis made the motion as stated above. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
There was no further council discussion or public comment on the draft final agreement or the procedure they were agreeing to. The motion passed unanimously.
Committee and Ward Reports
Mayor Herman noted they were going backwards tonight.
There was no news but she noted that she was glad to see officer Clites back in uniform.
Ward 6 Report
CM Scott urged citizens from ward 6 to come to next week's Neighborhood Watch Meeting on February 19th at 7:00pm. As heard in Chief Evans reported earlier in the evening, there were four robberies and nine vehicles stolen in ward 6. The only way to ensure it stops, is to give the police the support they need, and to come out, and find out what we can do to stop it.
CM Scott thanked Suzanne Downey Roti in ward 4 for her letter in response to CM Scott's letter in the December Town Crier appreciating her interest in protecting the interests of animals. She was disheartened today to see that Montgomery County received approval for six dogs parks, and PG county has none this year. There's work ahead of us there. Ward 6 is quiet except for crime
CM Almirez said the good news is that residents in his ward are happy about the lights on Riverdale Rd. They believe additional lighting will contribute to safer driving, and walking, along Riverdale Rd. 56th Ave, and 54th Ave suffered vandalism this last month. The Chief will be coming to talk to managers of apartment buildings to help them prevent it. Tanglewood Apartment residents complained to managers about the discriminatory practice of having taxi's pick-up, and deliver their passengers behind the building because it is considered commercial use. They believe this is also a dangerous practice, since many work evening hours, and passengers are endangered by being dropped off and picked up behind the building after dark. CM Almirez has received complaints about morning traffic around the elementary school during drop off times. There are lines of vehicles dropping students off and they're asking for help with busy traffic and the lines of vehicles parking.
Mayor Herman welcomed CM Almirez back from vacation after being away. He said the town is attempting to set up a meeting with Sawyer management, and he will be invited to address resident issues about taxi drop off and pick up regarding resident safety. The Mayor said he would get correspondence on the matter to him as well.
CM Davis said she had a lengthy report but would shorten it due to the late hour.
Ward 4 code enforcement issues previously reported are being addressed, but residents with code enforcement issues don't need to call CM Davis because there is now a code enforcement officer. The number is 301-927-4343 x576.
As the Mayor mentioned earlier, there are several major redevelopment projects in ward 4. The one in town center by the MARC station is being handled by Douglas Development and the citizen advisory committee, and the possible redevelopment of the corner of Route 1 and EW Hwy by Eckerd. CM Davis will keep everyone informed in the Town Crier. If anyone has questions, please call at 301-277-6615, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
She reported that tomorrow she will have the honor of attending the MD Historical Trust Meeting with the Mayor. Howard Berger, and Laura Trieschmann, will testify and answer questions on behalf of the town's historic district. This is the last step needed in the quest for the national historic register district, which she reminded everyone, there are no rules for, but it would be helpful in marketing the town.
CM Tiberio reported on the death of a 50 year resident, Ms. Lil Billings, of Madison Street who passed away last week.
CM Tiberio has received a number of calls about the lights and only one negative response from his ward. People are pleased and feel safe.
Park and Planning cleaned the ditch along Taylor Rd - really cleaned the ditch, they tore down every shrub, bush, and small tree. Residents will have to wait till spring to see if the greenery comes back. He wondered about getting the sanitary commission to clean the ditch parallel to bike trail along the Nicholson property, by the little park back there. He noted that the water is not running down the ditch at all, but backing up stagnant at the dam. He said it's the long ditch coming from Taylor Rd, going all the way down behind the houses, and that it had to be cleaned.
CM Tiberio requested that the Mayor set up an appointment with the head of Park and Planning to discuss the possibility of our taking over Riverside Park, or to at least get it under our control if that's possible. He'd like to have a meeting as soon as it can be set up.
CM Tiberio mentioned last month that there would be a finance committee meeting soon. He had it down for the 6th , but hearing about the school and other things that are happening that night left him wondering which is most important. he said he doesn't mind rescheduling the meeting but doesn't want to go far past the 13th. Everyone agreed to meet February 13th at 7:30pm.
He also proposed that a meeting be held later this month to discuss redistricting plans so far. Dr. Thompson is trying to get it on the web site. He asked CM Davis if she could finalize her part. The Mayor proposed an introduction on the 25th at the worksession, but CM Tiberio thought it would take more time that that would allow. Discussion followed about a date. The Mayor said they should move it into the first week of March in deference to CM Blaschke being able to attend. CM Tiberio noted he was “sub contracted out”, of sorts to do the work and wanted to do it as soon as possible. He noted that CM Blaschke will want to be involved in the charter changes when the legislative process begins. The Mayor proposed February 28th at 7:30pm. CM Tiberio said he'll definitely have information available well in advance of the worksession, but by then at the latest. CM Tiberio suggested holding the finance meeting following the public works meeting ,but CM Davis said Mr. Houser had serious changes he wanted to propose and they should focus on those.
CM Scott asked for clarification of a few meeting dates and the Mayor reviewed the list as follows: Finance Committee Meeting February 13th at 7:30pm, Public Works Committee Meeting February 11th at 7:30pm, Covenants and Eckerd Meeting on February 18th at 7:30pm, Neighborhood Watch Meeting on February 19th at 7:00pm, Execution of Mutual Aid Agreements on February 20th at the Hyattsville Municipal Center at 7:00pm, Worksession on February 25th at 7:30pm, and the Redistricting meeting on February 25th at 7:30pm.
CM Tiberio is still receiving complaints about putting lids on garbage cans but the ordinance has been amended yet because CM Blaschke is out of town still. He has a draft of a minor revision but has held it back in deference to CM Blaschke. The Mayor asked him to bring to Monday's Public Works Meeting since it is also a public works matter.
CM Feldberg said all her comments have been covered by others earlier. She received complaints from several in her ward, and they're working to address or correct those. She reiterated that the community needs to get involved with the elementary school by adopting it and contributing to making it a better school. She believes we can turn it around by contributing to it. The Mayor said he looked forward to everyone attending the meeting at the school this Wednesday night.
Mayor Herman said it is technically new bus because it's coming to the council for first time, but it's about this is about a letter received on December 20th 2001, by cc to all members of the council. The letter was from Jack Jones regarding use of the fields along the NE branch of the Anacostia. He was looking for the organization considering the proposal, and offering support individually, or organizationally, by sending him a letter of advocacy for the proposal to his address. The request was to create ball fields along the NE branch of the Anacostia where overgrowth now is. There used to be a number of ball fields there but they've grown over. CM Feldberg said something not picked up by the mic about someone else the letter should have been forwarded to at Park and Planning first. The Mayor read the letter aloud. Mr. Jones indicated he was sending the letter to Dave Hamil, Chief of the Storm Drainage Maintenance Division, Department of Public Works requesting establishment of six soccer fields in the flood plain area of the NE branch of the Anacostia. The B&G Clubs inside the beltway experience considerable competition for the limited open field space in the area. Having these six fields would reduce the competition in football, and baseball fields, which often are overlapping, and which, he noted was no problem for those two sports since they occur during different seasons, but soccer is in competition with both. He was asking for letters of advocacy from individuals, and organizations, that will be forwarded to Mr. Hamilton. CM Tiberio asked about their using a location behind the community center, between the town buildings, and the ditch heading south along EW Hwy. Discussion followed about the exact location CM Tiberio suggested. The Mayor suggested if someone wanted to look at the area but he thought it was possibly too narrow. Mayor Herman said right now Mr. Jones is simply looking for council and community support to try to establish more ball fields and noted that reticence originally was about traffic going through there but it's a park. The Mayor said they can leave the matter until the next worksession. He said soccer is played near there but growth has taken over the rest. CM Scott said it has become a wildlife habitat and suggested Mr. Dombrowski could help with details about that. She said she can't support the letter because of the wildlife she sees there and doesn't want to destroy it for ball fields. The Mayor said there's a habitat on the other side as well.
Someone from the audience spoke off mic and Mayor Herman responded that they were not talking about the hiker biker side. There hadn't been a flood there since the dike was built. The Mayor asked about putting the matter on the next worksession agenda to discuss when Mr. Jones could be in attendance. CM Feldberg suggested he bring diagrams.
CM Davis requested that the town ask Betty Hewlett, of Park and Planning, for staff planning time to work on a redevelopment plan for Kenilworth Ave. CM Feldberg asked what they did for Town Center. CM Davis said in 1992 and 1993, they had a series of meetings with stakeholders/property owners over a six month period, to come up with a comprehensive town center revitalization plan which ultimately was folded into the Planning Area 68 Document. CM Davis said they will be looking into updating that document, and it is a long stretch of road with all sorts of uses. We may get turned down for a grant this year, but it would be good if they knew it was on our radar screen. There were comments the mic didn't pick up, then CM Scott noted she thought we'd missed the open hearings deadline, but CM Davis said the deadline to apply for a municipal grant is in March. The Mayor asked CM Almirez what he thought about pursuing a revitalization grant for Kenilworth Ave, and he added his support.
Mayor Herman asked if there was general support for this effort, and asked if someone wanted to make a formal motion that we direct a letter accordingly. CM Tiberio asked if they didn't need to bring it up at a worksession. The Mayor said the question is, if they waited until the next legislative session they'd miss the window of opportunity. CM Feldberg pointed out that sending the letter didn't mean they had to accept anything. CM Davis said they may not be able to devote staff time in the upcoming fiscal year, but we need to ask, that's how we got staff time to work on the historic districts. Mayor Herman said the issue is that it's a way to get it on their radar screen. CM Tiberio said he understood we can't wait until the next worksession, but it should have come up earlier.
CM Davis made the motion that they send the letter to Betty Hewlett requesting staff planning time for the revitalization of Kenilworth Ave. CM Scott seconded the motion. There were no further council comments and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously. The Mayor agreed to take care of the letter.
CM Tiberio said he'd spoken with the board of directors at the Elks Lodge and wanted to bring it to everyone's attention that they were having a bad time getting approval. Park and Planning was putting conditions on them left and right with no good reason for doing so about placing the tower on their property. He felt it wasn't that big an issue and Nextel is paying every month. The Mayor said the town's letter hasn't gone out yet because they had not returned our phone calls. CM Tiberio said the town was adding to the delay then. The Mayor said the town was delaying deliberately, and Nextel, who has the primary interest in making it happen, is the company using it and it could become a pro-forma matter, and they aren't returning calls. CM Tiberio said the council made a motion to support it, and asked again about the letter not going out. The Mayor said part of the motion was also that the town concur with requests for services from Nextel, which was part and parcel of that. CM Tiberio said that that was never in that motion. He said it may have been part of a private agreement done to get Nextel to agree to a form of blackmail, if you want to call it that, but that was not part of the motion approving this business, and then that makes us just as much at fault delaying this as Park and Planning. The Mayor pointed out that Park and Planning is not waiting for us before they decide. CM Tiberio said we have to make our opinion known because they can't act without us since we're the municipality involved. The Mayor said he would see that the letter went out this week. CM Tiberio said he wanted to see a copy of the letter when it goes.
Mr. Prangley added information about the attempts, noting that by the time we got to the final contact, Sean Hughes was the person who was to get back to us even though we'd been calling for Mrs. Michelle LaRocca, one of their attorney's, In today's update, he'd asked if there were any calls from Sean Hughes and said he thinks it's in Sean Hughes hands and we're still waiting. The chief was going to try to get an answer in the next day or so and they could tie this into that and about what possible concessions they'd give. The Mayor said they'd been trying, and that was CM Tiberio's concern, since the council had given it's direction about the color scheme, and this was a side issue they were hoping to resolve simultaneously. The Mayor said again that the letter would go out by weeks end regardless.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, asked the council to consider televising the special legislative meeting on the 18th. CM Davis asked the video operator, Mr. Decca and if he was available on the 18th. The Mayor said if they could make arrangements they may, but they would invite as many members of the public to be here and those who wanted to weigh in will have the opportunity to do so.
CM Tiberio made the motion to adjourn. All agreed
Meeting adjourned at 11:34pm
Minutes prepared from videotape.
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