Minutes of March 4, 2002
Town of Riverdale Park
Mayor and Council Legislative Session
Call To Order
Present were Councilmember's Feldberg, Tiberio, Davis, and Scott. Also present were Police Chief Evans, Administrator Prangley, and Mr. Houser, Director of Public Works.
CM Blaschke, and CM Almirez were absent.
Pledge Of Allegiance And Moment of Silence
Approval Of Agenda
CM Tiberio made the motion to approve the agenda. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Herman explained that CM Blaschke is still in North Dakota caring for her mother who is terminally ill and under hospice care as her condition continues to get worse. CM Blaschke is doing all she can to ease her mother's pain and comfort her father. Mayor Herman wished her family well during this difficult time. CM Almirez is attending a course necessary for certification of his job. Both excused absences.
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. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Prangley said a report will be provided later in the meeting on the one sole bidder who responded to the bid opening with the architect's estimate to provide inspection services. Also , a report from our engineer that's a follow up to our street improvement presentation on the WSSC engineering will be discussed later this evening.
Mayor Herman said the town has entered into, and signed an agreement, with WSSC for $468,000, to be paid to the town of Riverdale Park, for road improvements that have been impacted by the water line replacements occurring over the last year. It was reviewed for legal sufficiency, and culminated in a successful round of negotiations for the town. We've also executed the Community Legacy Grant contract between the town and the Department of Housing and Community Development. We have assurances that the check will arrive any day now and the legal community has already signed off on it. Mayor Herman, Mr. Prangley, and CM Tiberio went to Annapolis a few weeks ago to testify on legislation drafted by CM Tiberio but introduced by our district delegate, dealing with personal property taxes and the ongoing negotiations toward having financial successes. CM Tiberio will cover it in his report later in the evening.
There was a well attended public hearing regarding the proposed redevelopment at the intersection of Route 1 and EW Hwy. There was considerable community input and extensive council conversation about possibility of an Eckerd store at that intersection. The council voted 3 - 2 to commence/continue negotiations with Eckerd and Potomac Development Corp about redevelopment of that corner. The public will be kept apprised of everything as things progress to the next phase. Communication is anticipated between Potomac Development Corp. and the adjacent property owners regarding shared parking areas and the parking situation on that block.
There are several matters that will potentially affect the size of the town of Riverdale Park. Over the last month the Mayor has been involved in some capacity in three different proposals that tend toward the issue of annexation. Douglas Jamal, the Town Center's successful redevelopment bidder has executed an agreement to have his commercial properties on Kenilworth Ave annexed into the town of Riverdale Park. Annexation would provide added security for he and his tenants on that parcel as well as increased revenues into the town of Riverdale Park. At the Mayor's request, there was also a meeting with residents of the Parkside Development - the area across from Madison Hill on Good Luck Rd, in which there are 31 homes that average around $260,000 - $280,000 per home. That development would bring in additional revenues of around $40,000 - $50,000 annually. CM Tiberio also attended the meeting which went extremely well. Residents are in the process of gathering a petition requesting annexation. When received, he said he hopes there will be a speedy, and favorable consideration.
In addition, the Mayor was asked to attend a meeting with Riverdale Heights. Their civic association, in consultation and consideration with the Riverdale Heights fire department, has begun initiation of a petition to have Riverdale Heights, or sections of Riverdale Heights, annexed into Riverdale Park. Exact terms, specifications, and areas to be annexed, are within their province and discussion. He brought it up because no petition has been presented yet, but there's the desire to start redistricting meetings and to have redistricting proposals before we prepare for 2003 municipal elections. The council will have to discuss whether we'll move forward with initial proposals, or whether we'll hold off, or table that for a couple of months pending receipt of one or more annexation petitions.
Town Center development continues. Later in the meeting the council will be discussing restrictive covenants that will be placed on Town Center properties. After that procedure is completed and covenants are filed, we can enter into contract for the sale of the property to Douglass Development for the successful redevelopment of the Town Center properties. Preliminary designs are available at town hall and everyone's welcome to come by to look at them.
Route 14 service for The Bus began it's satellite service today. Brochures about the service will be at town hall (bus service and route information). Everyone is encouraged to use the service as the Town was eager to have it. A suitable route serving the needs of the community was the result of cooperation between community and department of public works and transportation
Mayor Herman reported that he was happy to attend the 2002 Farmers Market kick off meeting. The Market will commence it's 5th year on May 16th and will be open every Thursday from 3:00 - 7:00pm in the Town Center through October 31st. They're looking at ways to increase advertising. The Mayor noted that he'd learned there are only about four dozen farmer's markets in the state of MD
Everyone is reminded that volunteer camera operators are still needed to assist Mr. Danka. Training will be provided at no cost. It's a great opportunity to serve the community.
The annual Riverdale Park Easter Egg Hunt will be held March 23rd on the mansion grounds. Notice will be published in the Town Crier.
The Mayor reported on the death of CM Isaak Gourdine, PG County Councilman, who died last week in an auto collision. The passenger riding with him survived. The Town sent flowers and condolences to the funeral.
Police Department and Code Enforcement Report
Chief Evans read the February crime report. He noted that crime is down from January.
Police department Corporal Marlow, a four year veteran, has resigned to go into private industry.
The PG County Municipal Chief's Association Awards Ceremony will be held at the FOP Lodge 89 on March 8th. PFC Larry Hayes will be awarded Officer of the Year and Deena Johnson is the recipient of the civilian of the year award for her work as Chief Dispatcher prior to her new assignment in Code Enforcement. PFC Hayes' reserve unit was activated following the September 11th attacks and is currently serving in the states. The ceremony will also be attended by several Councilmember's and the Mayor.
A number of issues have been dealt with but they're still coming up to speed. The Officer is working predominantly Tuesday through Saturday, citing and sending registered letters, and impounding vehicles. They've been involved in a couple of incidents where hazardous materials are being dumped into sewers. Those who did it were cited and warned against the practice.
Residents should report code problems to the police department and they'll be addressed immediately.
CM Feldberg had a question about shots fired on Lafayette and Ravenswood near where she lives. The mic didn't pick up the rest of her question. The Chief said he'd look into it.
CM Davis asked about a robbery in progress noted referring to an address on Rhode Island Ave in Ward 4. Chief Evans said he'd have to look into it because of the way it was listed in the report.
Bruce Wernek, 4606 Queensbury Rd, asked about the status of the buildings adjacent to his property that were partially improved and vacant (4608 and 4610), but without any obvious additional construction going on. He wanted to know if something like zoning violations was delaying work from continuing. Chief Evans said they are monitoring the situation but he wasn't aware that both were vacant and thought one had students living in it. Mr. Wernek described the location next to the shopping plaza, and differentiated between siding and block on the homes. The Chief said he was thinking of other buildings initially. Mr. Wernek noted that a lot of construction had been done initially but it had stopped. Though he'd heard rumors about why, nothing more was done. The Chief said they were looking at how the property was maintained and it had been cleaned up as they'd requested. The owner had informed them that she was continuing work as funds became available. She is planning to have them occupied or sold but he wasn't sure of their current. Mr. Wernek was if something was preventing her from continuing like zoning violations delaying the work but was told it was b/c of funding. Chief assured it was a funding issue.
Public Works Department Report
Mr. Houser said his department was able to plant 16 of the 20 trees that were left for the predestinated locations for them because the weather cooperated. The corrective reflectors that were supposed to be installed for the Riverdale Rd lights were just received (today). Two were installed in front of Tricia James' house, and some of the frosted bulbs still need to go up. Two poles were hit and knocked down by cars. They were replaced by the contractor but they're still working with the insurance company. Public Works applied for a secondary scrap tire collections facilities license, and the license was received today (fast for the state). As reported in the Town Crier, free mulch is available to residents and is located at the end of Queensbury Rd. He encouraged residents of Riverdale Park to help themselves but to take only what you'll use personally. They're trying to keep an adequate stock pile, and are using it to mulch around existing town trees. The PG County Spring Clean Up Day will be held Monday, May 20th . Details of the event will be forthcoming. A stop sign at 44th and Queensbury was relocated, and they cleaned the curb and replaced two No Parking Anytime signs in Ward 4 at the councilmember's request. Attention has been drawn to inconsistencies in signage and traffic painting that does not conform to MUTCB specifications. It's their goal to methodically work on those corrections, and control costs as labor and ability allows. The silent auction ended February 15th. A few items have not been paid for or picked up. Bids were not received on some items, and Public Works is looking into alternate methods of disposal. Finally, plastic bags, 25 bags per roll, are available for $2.50 each in the town office.
CM Davis asked how many of the old paper bags were still in stock Mr. Houser said very few, maybe 300 or 400. CM Scott asked about the gallon capacity of the plastic bags and was told they were 40 x 48 and would fit inside a 55 gallon drum. They're rated to hold 75 - 80 lbs. and have a larger capacity than the brown paper bags previously used.
Debbie McClellan, 5508 Riverdale Rd, asked if residents are to use the new plastic bags when the paper ones run out. Mr. Houser said the plastic bags are beneficial to public works because they can see the contents. he encouraged resident to separate items such as yard waste in the plastic bags for easy identification when picking up. The Mayor said the question about reordering of paper bags hasn't been answered yet. It was agreed to make them available for sale at cost but that a very large number had to be ordered to do so and would cost tens of thousands of dollars to do so. He said both paper and plastic would be available to see which residents preferred and the council would act accordingly.
Ms. McClellan noted that the Town had changed since she moved here and noted that her fence has been taken down or damaged three times by a vehicle and now also a tree along a main road. The first time her fence was hit it also destroyed her tree. Asplundah is coming out to her neighbor's home to take out their portion of the tree that's affecting PEPCO lines. Her family has to take down the rest themselves. She wanted to know if they would be eligible to get a tree from the Town to replace the large pin oak tree that is being removed. The Mayor asked and she confirmed that the location is on private property so he told her about the Town's tree program Mr. Houser confirmed that a few were still available, possibly even an oak. CM Feldberg asked Ms. McClellan contact her if she was unable to arrange for volunteers to plant the tree herself.
Ms. McClellan pointed out that drunk drivers have taken her fence down twice and it's been dented a third time. She said she's had to do it twice at her own expense. She pointed out that they were fortunate that their children weren't playing in the yard, or that a pedestrian wasn't walking on the sidewalk at the time of the accident and noted that being near to Kenilworth Ave is a real safety issue. The Mayor said one of the reasons work on Riverdale Rd was so costly was due to the new design planning to narrow the road and slow traffic. He voiced concern that the person who did it was identified once but that the McClellan's had to pay for damages. She said it was the same person who knocked out the fire hydrant two years ago (that time her fence was grazed).
CM Feldberg asked the Chief if he could comment on the situation. Chief Evans said they make a number of arrests of individuals driving under the influence, and when it occurs, individuals are charged. Information for property damages are provided to the owners. CM Feldberg asked if there were identifiable times when this occurs and if patrols could be increased. The Chief said they spend half their time in that ward, and that most arrests made, and calls for service are in those wards. He agreed there's a problem and they're addressing it. CM Scott noted the McClelland's property is at the end of an apartment building driveway where people come out too fast and don't turn quickly enough and the cars end up in nearby yards. The family has spoken with resident managers/owners and speed bumps were put in. CM Scott asked if a license plate number was reported. Ms. McClelland had returned to her seat and her responses/comments weren't picked up by the mic.
John McClelland (??) said he had a trash collection question and asked if the new bags should be tied up and put out as they are, or if they should be placed in containers. Mr. Houser said it depended on what's in the bag. The bags can be used as liners for regular trash, but if used for yard waste, just tie them and place them out as they are so they're easily identified and separated from regular trash pick up. The Mayor noted that potential changes in public works operations would be discussed later in the meeting and answers to his questions about containers would come then.
Fire Department Report
Dave Sutton reported that there were 5 single family, and one apartment fire last month. He said they can't stress enough the value of checking smoke detectors on a regular basis.
He said Resolution 43 is creeping up in the news, and is coming to the attention of local governments. He explained that PG County Local IAFF introduced the resolution, naming every volunteer fire corporation in the county as a rival organization. For example, if someone is a career fire fighter in DC, Fairfax County or Montgomery County, they can't volunteer for a fire department in PG County. The resolution affects roughly 30 -40% of their membership and recruiting efforts. He said there's a lot in the press, and you hear a lot of bickering between volunteers and career fire fighters, but they don't have that in their company. Everyone gets along and they hope to keep it that way. The Riverdale Park VFD always accept applications for membership whether for administrative, EMS only, or riding the trucks, and will provide training, uniforms and they always accept donations.
Mayor Herman asked if the volunteer fire houses are asking local governments or officials to do anything in terms of weigh in on the issue. Mr. Sutton said not a lot can be done on local level, most would have to be done on federal level regarding matters such as fair labor standards. The county fire stations are asking citizens to write their congressman He encouraged a letter writing campaign to federal and state representatives to get them to call IAFF to encourage them to undo it. He noted that Kurt Weldon brought it up on the floor expressing disgust for actions of IAFF. He doesn't know if there's a planned federal action, but knows the National Volunteer Fire Council is looking into it (largest PAC on the hill) and may take action on it. The Mayor asked him to provide a sample letter that the town and residents can use.
CM Davis asked how many members are in department. Mr. Sutton said they have 25 - 30 and about 10 of them are affected by Resolution 43. They won't come around the fire house to avoid conflict with union brethren. 15 are in various states of activity, while some are not as active as others, and then there are life members which represent a larger number.
In answer to CM Feldberg's question, Mr. Sutton confirmed that Riverdale Park has volunteers that are paid fire fighters elsewhere: 4 in DC, 4 in Montgomery County, 2 in Arlington, and 1 in Fairfax. In response to the PG County local, they have received notice from their local saying they either have to quit volunteering, or turn in their union card and lose union benefits. They won't lose all benefits because of the right to work states so they will receive some part of them, but they won't get full medical and legal representation. They would get basic bottom of the line services. That's why some won't come around until this matter is resolved.
CM Davis asked how many are affected in Riverdale Heights but he wasn't sure. He said 160 - 200 that received notification are affected county wide. Howard County is getting ready to notify their people but that will probably only affect the northern part of the county.
Susan Hines, 4510 Oliver St. reported what she considered an ethics violation which occurred during the Eckerd debate. She said a great deal of emphasis was placed on ethics during the last election, and thought the council would be sensitive to her predicament. She said she was very active in opposing Eckerd and during her political activities, she sent an email to several people including CM Scott. Even though the email was only intended for CM Scott, it was circulated to the entire council. Ms. Hines contacted Mr. Prangley about the Town's email policy/protocol, and she was assured that this is not how it was supposed to work. Emails to councilmember's are not to be shared with the council at large as long as only one email address was on it. She asked Mr. Prangley to confirm that. Mr. Prangley said the way it is, they have one general email that comes in, not to say that those who have access to it, or those who have the code number can't see email to a particular councilmember. When town staff downloads them, it's distributed to all if it's an item addressed to the Mayor and council. If addressed to a particular councilmember, then staff places it in a mailbox in the back room that is accessible to The Mayor and council. Ms. Hines confirmed that there wasn't much security. Mayor Herman confirmed that there wasn't any security.
She said on February 13th, she emailed her councilmember and cc'd the Mayor, registering she and her husband's opposition to Eckerd. She asked if those two were the only ones to get it. She said when she emailed a “potential” press release to Audrey Bragg, Alan Thompson & Sarah Wayland-Thompson, Ward 6 RiverdalePark.md.us, and Tracy Tuscano, it was copied and distributed to all town council mailboxes. She said it was distributed further because she rec'd a personal email from CM Davis' husband that evening, accusing her of making a personal attack on Ms. Davis. She asked for an explanation for why the email was shared with the council at large, and why it was shared with a family member, and why the family member was allowed to respond to it.
CM Davis said to Mr. Prangley that when the email was forwarded to her, all the originating info was stripped from it so she had no idea who it was addressed to when she received it. She said she's had that problem with other emails and knows they're working on a policy but wasn't sure what's going on. Ms. Hines said that wasn't quite the case because the response to her from Ed Joins was cc'd to some of the people from the original email. The Mayor said in the event that a transmission of something, intended for a councilmember was distributed more broadly, was a mistake and shouldn't happen again no matter what the subject. He didn't think there was any malice intended with regard to the specifics of who sent it, or what the content was. The policy is, that a person in the town office would download emails sent, and there aren't separate data dumps for each individual councilmember to retrieve their own. He said this person made an unintentional oversight by distributing the email.
Mr. Prangley interjected, saying he and his staff have very high professional standards and expectations, and the tenure of the staff speaks for that. He said if they made a mistake, they made a mistake, but Ms. Hines had asked him to investigate the event and he did it on the spot. The staff person who handled the email remembers the email, and remembers distributing solely to the councilperson the email was addressed to. He said no one knows what happened after that point and it is an open system, but that the email was not broadly distributed. Mr. Prangley said he'd notified Ms. Hines of his investigation into the event and she was satisfied.
CM Davis said that is not what had occurred. She said she received a call at work saying she'd received emails about Eckerd. She asked to have them forwarded to her and that email was forwarded to her and a copy was in her box. Mr. Prangley said he was not privy to that. All he knew was that he interviewed the person who did the distribution, and that person recalled it coming in and being distributed in that box. He said there was another assortment of emails that came in about Eckerd that was broadly distributed because it was a general information for all parties email, not solely to one person. In doing that part they couldn't discover that the email was intentionally, or by accident, broadly distributed. He said he relied on the staff person and their memory was very accurate. The Mayor said to the extent that they've been alerted to a situation, in the event that any email is received in the town, it will come with very strict instructions to first identify who the intended recipient is, to be sure it only goes to that person. They have a non-secure setting for the mailboxes. He said he refuses to lock his office because it belongs to the residents of the entire town and the councilmember's. and that's always been his policy. Ms. Hines said she was sure he wouldn't share an email a constituent wrote to him willy-nilly...He said no. He said he didn't want his point to be lost and continued saying they have a non-secured environment in terms of having an open mailbox area. In theory, people (elected officials, staff members, anyone with a key from public works, or access to internal offices in the building) theoretically, could access the info. He restated that his office is not locked and that's where the boxes are.
Ms. Hines asked if he was saying that the investigation ends here. The Mayor said if she files a formal complaint, it would be forwarded to the ethics commission for investigation. At a certain point he'd/you'd, have to look at the language, and said he doesn't get involved in the ethics complaint itself, that's up to the individual member/resident. As for the genesis of it, he can't answer her question. He said if she's not satisfied with Mr. Prangley's response, she can put that in writing and it will be forwarded to the appropriate ethics commission, which has met on at least two separate occasions in the last six or seven years.
Ms. Hines asked CM Scott to verify that she did not forward that email to anyone on the town council. CM Scott said she wasn't sure when all this occurred but the first time she first saw a copy of the email it was in hardcopy form at the February worksession (on 2/25). Ms. Hines said she was under the impression from CM Feldberg, that she was under the impression, that all emails to the central mailbox were distributed to everyone regardless. The Mayor said no, that he'd received emails only for him.
Ms. Hines said she was not satisfied by their response and will file a formal ethics complaint. She noted, especially since ethics was so very emphasized during the election. She said she was very disappointed that CM Davis did not respond to an email Ms. Hines sent to her earlier that week, and that she decided to share an email not only not intended for her, but with her husband. She said even if it were intended for her, she didn't believe it should be shared with a family member.
CM Scott suggested that in the future, emails addressed to individual councilmember's could they be enclosed and sealed in an envelope and placed in the persons box (not just placed in the box uncovered). Mr. Prangley said that's a policy consideration, but explained they have to have a policy more specific than what's in place. He said the staff person with the code who downloads daily, witnesses the emails coming in. That person has noted, if someone wanted something specifically private, under the current open system there's no lock or security and suggested limiting that accessibility. Some discussion should occur to have the emails redirected to the councilmember's house, so it goes only to them or is viewed by them. The Mayor suggested they adopt that resolution right away. Ms. Hines said the suggestion was primitive, but probably the least that could be done. CM Davis said the web site committee's concern was that not all councilmember's had email and they wanted to keep things on even footing. There are problems setting up immediate forwarding of anything coming into the office since emails are not always addressed where they need to go. She said there needs to be a compromise policy that allows emails to be addressed directly to a councilmember's email. Mr. Prangley said he recommended that as well.
CM Davis said she was forwarded an email that wasn't supposed to be hers, and she didn't get the one sent to her. Mr. Prangley said the current staff person does an impeccable job under the current system and policy, and he doesn't see where she erred on anything she's done. He reiterated the Mayor's comments about the current open system, and of the need to investigate, and change the policy so it doesn't happen again. The staff is looking at other solutions such as adding new computers with specific email stations, but the current policy is still very open. CM Scott asked if they could seal envelopes as a stop gap measure.
Ms. Hines said it is too much responsibility for one person to police the email for the entire council. It's unfair to put any employee in that situation, especially considering the open mailbox situation. She suggested changing the password so only that one person had access, because even with a sealed envelope situation, anyone with the password could still gain access to emails. Mayor Herman asked if anyone on the council knew the password. When no one answered, the Mayor said he didn't have it either, and that answered Ms. Hines question. Ms. Hines suggested that they change it anyway, just to be sure, and for a greater level of security. The Mayor said fine, but it wouldn't make a difference. He said if she'd like the change, and it would make her happy by giving an added sense of security, they'd do it. Ms. Hines interrupted and said this wasn't about making her happy. He attempted to restate his point, but she continued noting that it was the year 2002. She said this is about bringing Riverdale up to speed with the rest of the world, both in terms of technology (and it's not expensive), and in terms of privacy, and the way business is conducted in town hall. She said it's this kind of rinky dink stuff that gives Riverdale Park a very bad reputation, and is the kind of thing that would discourage an attorney from wanting to serve Riverdale Park. She said she thinks this is an important matter and the Mayor was trying to minimize it. Mayor Herman said she's entitled to her opinion, and thanked her for her input. CM Davis asked if a statement could be added to the website to inform people that the emails aren't secure so they aren't under the illusion that they are. Mr. Prangley said they could.
Mr. Prangley said he believed it was important for the residents to know that when the policy was developed, it was not staff or official driven, citizens were involved and helped advise, and formulate the policy. A committee was designated and they developed the policy. He noted that it was one of the few policies that was not driven by staff or officials. The Mayor noted that ironically, some of those people were recipients of this email. Mr. Prangley said the committee was made up of residents and they're adhering to the present policy. He said he encouraged, and recommended, that that committee meet again to come up with new recommendations. He asked the Mayor to direct the committee to look at this matter, and come up with recommendations. The Mayor asked Ms. Hines if she wanted to consult with Dr. Thompson, one of the people on that committee, since she was in contact with him, or if he should. Her response was made off mic and was not picked up by the tape. Mayor Herman thanked her and said it would be done.
Bruce Wernek said he didn't get a chance to speak his mind at the February 18th Eckerd meeting and wanted to make the council aware of his thoughts as they're in the process of negotiating. He hoped they would give them careful consideration. He believes the town is at an important period in it's history, and decisions they make will affect the town for a very long time. He read from a 13 page presentation which he'd distributed to the council before coming to the mic. He said he was not trying to criticize, or pick on people in the presentation, what he's trying to do is state the facts as succinctly and bluntly as he sees them.
He reviewed the documents overview including purpose, background, a town center vision statement review, changes that are occurring up and down Route 1, a topical financial analysis so people have an understanding of how much money is involved (he noted it's very topical), discussion of the value of the corner property Eckerd intends to purchase, discussion of a few alternatives, bottom line, and conclusions.
He reviewed and clarified the circumstances surrounding negotiations between the Mayor, Council, and Eckerd, to demolish several early 20th century buildings located at the corner of EW Hwy and Route 1, and to build an Eckerd drug store there. He wants to discuss alternatives.
Background: the proposed location of the Eckerd store in the pending historic district was rejected by the previous administration. Eckerd has had contracts in place with the corner property owners for the last three years. The Mayor said Mr. Wernek's information is not accurate as the contracts had expired and were renegotiated. Mr. Wernek asked him to verify the period of time between contracts, to which the Mayor said was a period of (many) months. Mr. Wernek said Eckerd has offered the non-resident owners well above market value based on numbers that were presented by Mr. Caputo. He noted that prior to Eckerd, the cleaners was for sale through a commercial realtor, but Peelers wouldn't come down on their price though several parties were interested. He said it wasn't that people weren't interested in purchasing, and noted that the dentist wanted to buy it, but said they wouldn't come down in price. The dentist couldn't afford their price which didn't make economic sense. Mr. Wernek said the current administration has decided to negotiate with Eckerd without the approval of their constituents, without considering any alternatives, and without any covenants or plans in place. He asked the Mayor to confirm the information he had provided. Mr. Wernek said there are at least seven pharmacies within a two mile radius, and Eckerd would be the eighth. JC Penny, the parent company, is having significant financial problems (he referred interested parties to a litany of articles on the web).
Town Center Vision Statement: Mr. Wernek pointed out that he'd been involved in the vision statement. He highlighted an excerpt that said, “.....will be restored to reflect it's early 20th century architecture”. The Town Center includes the area near the RR tracks and the area up on Route 1. The vision statement is what everyone is talking about, that a lot of people were involved in, and is what he thought was going to happen.
Route 1 Improvements: He noted the Courthouse, and it's recently completed suite of buildings, a completely remodeled DeMatha High School, Douglas Jamal purchased Crestar Bank, The Dental Group, one of the most sophisticated and elaborate dental operations Mr. Wernek said he'd ever been in (he encouraged anyone to go up and see what he called a dental supermarket serving approximately 30 people at once), McDonalds relocated down a block to the corner of EW Hwy which he said they obviously feel the corner is valuable or they wouldn't have made the move), Franklin's Delicatessen just spent approximately $1M plus to expand (you have to make reservations at least a day in advance to even get in), Cingular Wireless just opened an office next to Lustine Chevrolet, a new restaurant is scheduled to open in the old McDonald's building, and Douglas Jamal is negotiating with the town to redo the corner property.
Financial Analysis: Mr. Wernek's litany of numbers are his best guestimate based on the taxes and insurance he pays for his property, and said he didn't include a lot of things like Eckerd's inventory. He just wanted to give people a feel for how much money is involved, and referred everyone to the page 8 financial analysis summary. His total monthly sales figure, for Eckerd to make this work is $72,000, noting it's probably more than that including inventory.
Property Value: It's a very valuable piece of property. Though we're used to seeing derelict buildings, Eckerd thinks the property is worth $4.2M, and Mr. Wernek agrees. Mr. Kiernan informed him that the condo property next to the gas station just sold for $2.5M. The corner property is very valuable which is supported by the fact that Eckerd has waited a long time to purchase the property. The previous administration rejected their proposal but they're trying again.
Mr. Wernek said there are clear indications that positive things are happening on the Route 1 corridor. We live here and don't notice what's going on because of our routines. He reiterated that the property is very valuable. The Mayor asked him to wrap up his presentation as he'd been talking for twelve minutes already when people at the hearing were only given about three minutes each. Mr. Wernek continued with alternatives to Eckerd, and pointed out that the property owners were never cited for disrepair of their properties. The town has $300,000 to do same thing on that corner that we did at Town Center to make it attractive to potential buyers (improve parking lots or put street lights there). He suggested negotiating a plan with building owners to sell their properties as a block, similar to what they're doing now except with in covenants or plans there for more historical significance. The town could also generate RFP's, solicit bids, etc. and present only those bids that would preserve the historic character.
Bottom line: The corner properties at that intersection are very valuable, they're marketable to any number of owner occupied, or larger businesses. Eckerd, or it's affiliates, have controlled the corner properties for on, or about the last three years (Mr. Wernek thanked the Mayor for pointing out that there might have been intervals of time when they didn't). They used above market sales prices as a carrot to guarantee their first rights to ownership, and convince the non-resident owners not to sell or rent their properties. Eckerd used the condition and vacancies of the corner properties, to convince the town council, and some residents, to allow them to build. They claim they will improve the area even though they are partially responsible for it's condition because they've had the sellers locked into a contract, and thinking they have a hold on the big payday.
Mr. Wernek said the Mayor and some councilmember's have done little to pressure property owners to improve them, they have not considered any alternatives, and have unilaterally decided that the plans and covenants adopted for the Town Center do not apply to the corner portion on Route 1. He noted the town is going to a lot of trouble for Town Center but isn't caring about the corner of Route 1. The Mayor asked if Mr. Wernek agreed that the town owns the Town Center and he agreed noting it was a good point. Mr. Wernek said no plans or covenants are in place yet for the other town center. The non-resident property owners at the corner of Route 1 have been assured of a big payday. He's annoyed that they've neglected and not cared about their properties for years and now they get a big payday for all the kindnesses they've extended to the town. This situation directly contradicts the town center vision stmt, and advocates the removal of historic districts and a pending historic district. Constituents are being ignored after he believed they made it clear at the February 18th meeting that the majority of the residents attending the meeting did not want Eckerd. The council took a vote on the matter when Councilmember Blaschke was absent and unable to represent Ward 2. He acknowledged that some attending the February 18th meeting supported Eckerd but noted that some of those were the property owners, and one resident had a personal interest since Mr. Wernek had heard he is the realtor for the properties.
Summary: The Route 1 corridor is experiencing a resurgence in popularity and prosperity. The corner of EW Hwy is very valuable and the Town of Riverdale can afford to be selective in the types of business that occupy that property. He believes the town is still living with an old way of thinking - that we're living on the dark side of town, and have to quickly jump on this opportunity. He doesn't believe the town is desperate, and Eckerd is not our only possibility. There are other viable alternatives. Mr. Wernek urged the council to be very cautious and take this into consideration. He reminded them to keep in mind that once the decision is made, we can't go back. He thanked the council for their time.
The Mayor announced a 5 minute recess. After the break Mr. Kiernan said he had comments that he didn't get in before a recess was announced.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said he had two issues. The first was about approval of the minutes under action items. He said it was interesting to him that the February 4th meeting that ran 4 hours had 28 pages of minutes, and the February 18th meeting that ran for 3 hours had 2/3 of a page. Mayor Herman pointed out that one is transcribed from a video tape, and special legislatives are not transcribed, and pointed out they weren't when he was on the council either. Mr. Kiernan said he had asked for TV coverage and the Mayor assured everyone who came to the February 18th meeting that there'd be adequate minutes taken. He thought since the person who signed the February 18th minutes, who also edited the 75th anniversary history of the town, might at least have served the purpose for anyone coming along in 2020 who might work on the 100th anniversary history of the town, to know that this was a contentious issue, and that most of the people who attended spoke against it. He understood that names and addresses were being taken as people commented. He voiced disappointment at the inadequacy, or possibly even legal sufficiency in the minutes for the sake of future historians.
Mr. Kiernan said his second time was that it was suggested to Ms. Hines that she would possibly pursue filing a claim with the ethics commission if she wished to. He said that would be a little difficult since the town doesn't have an ethics commission. Mayor Herman said last he'd checked it still does. Mr. Herman said no, it does not. The code has very specific term requirements, and 2 of the 3 terms have expired, and have been expired for 9 months. Mayor Herman said at the appropriate time, when a commission is needed to be assembled, there will be a commission. Mr. Kiernan said he didn't have that option, and he believed the code said there was supposed to be one.......he was walking away from the mic and the tape did not pick them up.
Approval of Minutes
CM Davis made the motion to approve the February 4th Regular Legislative Session. The motion was seconded by CM Tiberio. The motion passed unanimously.
The motion to approve the minutes of the February 18th special legislative meeting were made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM Davis. CM Tiberio asked if the February 18th minutes were on tape and was told they are not. A follow up comment or question was not picked up by the mic. CM Davis said it's been a council standard practice not to have the minutes be as big as a regular legislative session, but Mr. Prangley can do them if he wanted them done that way. CM Tiberio asked if CM Davis had them. CM Davis said she took some notes during the meeting but they were not exhaustive because she couldn't always tell who was speaking. CM Tiberio said if we have the notes then we should get them transcribed. CM Davis asked Mr. Prangley to take care of that. CM Davis asked CM Tiberio if it would now be council practice to put all the public comments in from special legislative meetings. CM Tiberio nodded in agreement.
Mayor Herman said it was more appropriate for a motion to table approval of the minutes. The motion to table the motion approving the February 18th meeting minutes until the April legislative session was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded CM Davis. The motion passed unanimously.
None were requested
Approval of Six Foot Fence Permit Request, 4914 Sheridan Street (Ward 2)
Mayor Herman asked, but no one from the community was present who wished to speak about the fence request. He reviewed that the permit request was forwarded to each councilmember. CM Tiberio made the motion to approve the fence request. CM Davis seconded the motion. The Mayor noted that he spoke to CM Blaschke earlier in the evening, and though not permitted to vote in abstention, she had no opposition to the request as Ward 2 council member.
CM Davis confirmed that the address is a corner lot, and asked if the line of site issue with a 6 ft fence was ever resolved. The Mayor said it is at the council's discretion. There is very specific language with regard to chain link fences, but not 6 ft fences. CM Davis noted that there was an issue in Ward 5 or 6, and it was denied because of traffic line of site issue. CM Tiberio said that's not an issue here because it's the back of a property. The front and side of the property facing street will not have the fence.
CM Scott asked about the red line on the plan, and of the location of the fence on the plan. CM Tiberio said no but his comments were not picked up by the mic. The Mayor said it's 42”, if you turn it sideways, from the part of the front of the building it says 42”. If you turn the document sideways, it says 42” wood fence along that front side, as long as along the front itself, and then from the rear building line begins the 6 ft fence that butts up to Taylor Rd Again, CM Tiberio's comments were not picked up by the mic. CM Feldberg asked if this meant they'd stop parking on the dirt and noted that they park in the backyard. The Mayor said it has no affect on parking on the dirt, but it can be made a condition if she wanted to make it an express condition of approval. The Mayor said they're allowed to as long as they don't go on an impermeable surface going from front to back. CM Tiberio's comments were not picked up. The Mayor's response was that it would certainly preclude it so it would be a good thing.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously
Approval of Six Foot Fence Permit Request, 5908 Riverside Drive (Ward 3) (Add-On)
Mayor Herman introduced the matter noting it was an add on fence. He asked her to explain her plans to the council.
Ms. Holder explained that she currently has a 3 ft chain link fence all around the back of her house. She wants to replace it with a 6 ft fence in back, around both sides, with a gate in front. Following renovations to her home, she had intended to put a six foot fence in front of the door so she would have back yard privacy. It's a 20 ft depth, and 6 six feet into that depth is where she wants to place the 6 ft gate. She said CM Tiberio told her it wasn't allowed when she spoke to him. The Mayor confirmed that placement was not totally rear of the back building line. Ms. Holder said the door was a totally private back door leading to her back yard, but the door was moved to the side because of renovations adding a laundry room. She thought, and was hoping to put the 6 ft fence right at the door so she could walk out that door into her back yard in privacy. CM Tiberio and Ms. Holder confirmed that the back door is now 5 ft up from rear of house line with 15 - 16 ft still to the front of the house headed toward the street.
CM Tiberio said in the motion he will make for special exception, he would add that the rest of the property in front would have a 42” fence. The Mayor clarified that the motion was to permit her to have an exception of 5 ft forward of the rear building line on the right hand side portion of the fence enclosing the back yard (referring to the diagram), and just on that one side. He noted too, that for purposes of this motion, that would be the east side. The exception would be to allow it to protrude a foot toward street line on the east side of the house. The motion was seconded by CM Feldberg.
The Mayor noted that Ms. Holder had indicated at one point in time, that her preference was for her neighbor do the fence because of animals that were having interaction problems - cats on one side, dogs on the other. The neighbor had received approval, but had not for done the fence for monetary reasons so Ms. Holder was seeking to remedy the problem at her own expense.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
CM Tiberio made comments about Ms. Holder coming by the office that the mic did not pick up.
Request for Additional PEPCO Pole on 47th Avenue (Ward 4)
CM Davis said the PEPCO pole is already there, and the motion is actually to request an additional PEPCO light on 47th Ave, at the terminus of EW Hwy where it dead ends. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The Mayor noted that the matter had been discussed at the worksession where they had agreed to further discussion tonight. CM Davis said the location is where 47th Ave dead ends, and goes into the walkway towards the bridge, to go into Town Center. WSSC is presently storing equipment on the park ground, and two of the three houses there are vacant, so the light is needed. The Mayor noted that the light was also requested by at least one resident on the block. CM Tiberio asked if this was subject to a financial consideration since PEPCO has not given a price. CM Davis said the town hasn't bought one recently. The Mayor noted requests came in so intermittently, maybe a half dozen or less over his 8 years serving on the council. He knows it's a multi-thousand dollar expenditure, but doesn't believe financial consideration was ever used as basis to decide. Mr. Prangley said they can get a cost and annual operation cost estimate for authorization, but they generally run $600 for installation of a new lamp, and up to $300 - $400 a year to operate it. The total would be approximately $1,000. Mayor Herman asked CM Tiberio if he was prepared to move on it based on that explanation. CM Tiberio said he'd vote for it, but wanted to see the estimate. He knows it'll be months before PEPCO puts it in and CM Davis said it'll probably be the next fiscal year. CM Davis asked if he wanted her to add that the cost would not to exceed $1,000 to the motion. He said no.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor asked Mr. Prangley to get the paperwork started even though they probably won't be paying for it this fiscal year.
Changes in Public Works Procedures (Public Works Committee) & Resolution Changing Fee Schedule for Heavy Pick-up and Specialty Items (Public Works Committee) - Agenda items 16 & 17 were covered in together
CM Feldberg explained there was an extensive article in last month's Town Crier covering the proposed changes to Public Works procedures. She read aloud the resolution. The Northern half of Town was stated as being north of Route 410, and the Southern half of Town was stated as being South of Route 410. The resolution proposed collection on the north side of town on Tuesday and Friday, yard waste collection on Tuesday, bulk trash and metal collection on Friday. The south side would have garbage collection on Monday and Thursday, yard waste collection on Monday, and bulk trash and metal collection on Thursday. The following are the proposed fees listed in the resolution for pick up and disposal of specialty items: Tires - $2.50, Dehumidifier - $5.00, Air Conditioner - $15.00, Refrigerator or Freezer - $25.00. Note: Seniors (60 years and older) are eligible for up to a 25% discount. Individuals will be limited to putting out no more than three cubic yards of bulk trash on any given day without paying a separate fee. The fees will be $25 for up to four cubic yards, $65 up to five cubic yards, and $125 for more than five cubic yards. CM Davis seconded the motion for the purpose of discussion.
CM Feldberg explained that public works is trying to use the equipment they have more efficiently, encourage people to put out their yard waste to have it recycled, and bring back mulch for the town. The Mayor made a point of order, noting that the last whereas clause “discussing the capacity of no more than 39 gallons....” was an amendment to the town code according to Chapter 32 - Trash and Refuse. He believed that part should not be included in the motion just made, rather a second motion because it's an ordinance change identifying the appropriateness of suitability of containers which is set forth in section 36.7 (Garbage Containers Require Disposal Regulated). If the definition of what is a suitable container is to be changed, we would actually be amending 36.7. Another point of order: the part of the resolution saying this will go into affect March 11, 2002. He said unless council suspended the rules under it's emergency provisions, that part could not go into affect March 11, 2002. CM Feldberg didn't believe that was the case and said it stated “it shall be enclosed in proper vessels, or containers, as herein after provided” and said it's not provided. The Mayor said it necessitates that if we are going to specify that it's “herein after provided”, that in other words, it'd be in the code, not by promulgated regulation outside of the code. CM Feldberg pointed out that currently it is not provided anywhere. The Mayor agreed, but said it's still a language amendment to an ordinance that requires publication before enactment. He said even if the council wanted to adopt the remainder of this, because it clarifies language in Section 36, only onto that matter, that would not be germane to that motion. As parliamentarian, the Mayor found that out of order, but said everything else was germane and could be adopted if it was the pleasure of the council.
Someone in the audience indicated that they wanted to speak to the point of order so the Mayor gave them the opportunity.
Gloria M. Valare, 4714 Nicholson St, said the original town code stated that all the waste was to be disposed of in the paper bags and placed in the metal containers, but then they were still issuing the paper. She said she didn't know what happened to the paper bags that were supposed to save money, where did the money go, and said now residents are being told that we need to use plastic bags instead of paper.
Mayor Herman said he'd given Ms. Valare special permission to speak at that particular time instead of under public comments because he thought she was going to speak to the point of order. He said they would discuss the whole matter with time for public comment. She said the point of order was the code. He said the point of order was the 39 gallon container language that would be an ordinance amendment and could not be part of the same resolution to be made effective March 11, 2002 unless the council suspended the rules and passed it as an emergency ordinance, and that was the only point of order he'd made. The Mayor asked for council discussion on either the point of order, or the resolution in total.
CM Tiberio said he'd talked to a lot of people about the proposed change and was getting mixed responses from constituents. He was not opposed to yard waste being picked up separately from garbage and believed it should be separate. He didn't agree with the pick-up of heavy items and didn't care what the fee was, labor intensive as they are, and didn't believe in the storage of tires here. He said the rule, or resolution, passed before said there'd be no tires picked up in the town and we are undoing that resolution. He didn't believe in the north/south pick up of garbage plan or of the day changes. He continued saying he didn't agree with them at all and didn't see any reason why half the town would be one day, half the town the next day, half the town another day. He agreed that garbage should be in some kind of closed container. He'd received questions from some who still use the paper trash bags with the old closed containers, and wanted to know what they have to do now if they still use paper or can they use it anymore. Do they have to take it out front on garbage day, or will someone still go get it out of the secured holder in their yards (for senior citizens). He said that question hasn't been answered. He said even though it was in the Town Crier, he'd received calls as late at last night from three who said they did not receive a Town Crier this month and didn't know anything about the changes. For that reason, he was making a motion to table the matter for 30 days, until the next council meeting, pending more public hearing's.
Before asking for a second on the motion, the Mayor asked if CM Tiberio, as maker of the motion to table the matter, would consider entertaining public comment for those who attended the meeting to discuss the matter and to take their comments into consideration when the council ultimately discusses adoption of the resolution. CM Tiberio said not really, and that he thought there should be one night to discuss it in public. The Mayor said if someone seconded the motion there would be no public comment. CM Davis seconded the motion to table. The Mayor asked for a vote and then a roll call. (done by Ward)Ward 1/CM Feldberg - no, Ward 2/CM Blaschke - absent, Ward 3/CM Tiberio - yes, Ward 4/CM Davis - yes, Ward 5/CM Almirez - absent, Ward 6/CM Scott - no
The Mayor said as the deciding member he voted nay so the motion to table fails, and council discussion could continue.
CM Davis said she had some difficulty with a couple sections of the resolution. One being the north/south division. We know we're about to be approached with a petition from Riverdale Heights asking for annexation into Riverdale Park. That will change the balance of the town, probably Riverdale Heights will end up in the north, and will change garbage pick-up again. She said she was not in favor of instituting this until they find out how many people they're dealing with. She thought it would be inappropriate to make such a sweeping change, to find six months from now that we have to change it back if the annexation goes through. She thinks it's not good policy to set.
CM Davis said she's not sure why we're going to charge our residents to pick up tires, dehumidifiers, and such when the County picks them up for free now. CM Feldberg said the county pays the town of Riverdale Park a certain fee to responsibly dispose of those items so if the town decides they need to charge a fee to do that , they have every right to do so. The Mayor said he believed other municipalities who collect tires also charge, and asked Mr. Houser for clarification. He said yes, that some do. In a meeting with residents of Riverdale Heights, CM Tiberio said their citizens wanted to know why they should pay us, when they currently get free pick up of items like dehumidifiers and air conditioners from the county. Mr. Houser made comments off mic that weren't picked up. CM Tiberio said they didn't know about that, and it hit them cold not knowing (the Mayor and Mr. Prangley were also in attendance). Mr. Houser made further comments about the county picking up that were not picked up by mic. CM Feldberg asked if they had to call for a special pick up CM Tiberio said they asked about that too and they said no. The Mayor said county residents are also paying in excess of $200 a year surcharge for trash removal on their tax bill. CM Davis said our people are also paying a surcharge, to which the Mayor said ours is not a surcharge, its part of general taxing.
CM Scott said her question was, if we're selling 55 gallon plastic trash bags, why are we limiting the size of the reusable container to 39 gallons. The Mayor said his understanding was that the reusable bags were designed primarily for yard waste which would not be required to be put into a container. The whole intent there was for people to tie them up for yard waste collection, and they would not be required to be in receptacles. CM Scott said it wasn't clear to her that the plastic bags were only for that use. The Mayor said they aren't only for that and they could be used for other stuff as well.
CM Feldberg said no one is required to purchase the plastic bags, they're just being provided for town residents if they want them. CM Scott said she would be tempted to purchase them as liners for her trash can but she has a 55 gallon trash can which means she couldn't use them for that purpose. The Mayor said they wouldn't need to be full. CM Feldberg said there was a 39 gallon limit because after that point they're getting too heavy for employees to pick up. CM Scott asked about rollers for trash containers but CM Feldberg said they still have to be lifted. The Mayor noted that he'd used a 40 - 50 gallon Hefty trash bag in a trash can, obviously not fully filled, but the capacity is extraordinary for these. If it's yard waste it won't weigh as much.. CM Feldberg said the main reason for getting those bags is for yard waste because they're clear and employees can easily separate yard waste from regular trash. If people want to use them for other purposes, they're welcome to.
CM Scott said she wanted to be clear, if the bags are used for purposes other than non-yard waste, do they have to be put in containers. CM Feldberg said yes. CM Tiberio said if the 55 gallon bags are full of non-yard waste material they won't fit into containers. CM Feldberg said the garbage should go into closed containers. CM Scott said that is not clear from the resolution. CM Feldberg said the difference between garbage, trash and yard waste is defined in the ordinance. CM Scott said she meant use of the plastic bags was primarily for yard waste. CM Feldberg said they are not trying to tell people how to use them, they're just providing them as a service to put yard waste in. If residents want to put yard waste in something else, they can but it doesn't need to be discussed here. The Mayor asked if he could interject something. CM Tiberio said the council was talking and he should let them talk. CM Feldberg said there's nothing in the resolution that discusses whether residents use a plastic bag or not, that's not what resolution is about. Residents can separate yard waste in any manner they choose, the town is just providing the bags to use if people want them.
CM Tiberio said he still didn't get an answer to his question about future use of the Riverdale Town bags that are put into 80 year old metal containers that are kept on the side of a person's house. He asked what residents were to do. Can't they use the town's paper bags any longer that are put into closed containers? Mr. Houser asked if he was referring to the list they have of senior citizens who need people to bring their trash around front. Of the trash system that still exists, the Mayor said even if they're 39 gallons they wouldn't qualify under this definition. CM Tiberio said his question is whether or not public works will still pick up those paper bags in the back yards of these people's houses? Mr. Houser said yes, of coarse. CM Tiberio asked if the town will continue selling these paper bags? The Mayor added that the plastic bags can be used in the same capacity. Mr. Houser noted they could be used in the same container.
Mr. Houser said the question of how long it takes the county to do a special pick up has come up, and noted it's a bone of contention in neighboring communities. He said it could take the county weeks to come by, with the items going directly to the county disposal. One of the reasons for the town's disposal fee, is that in most cases, the pick up will happen the day residents call. Mr. Houser said he doesn't have the manpower to haul a single item to the county landfill where it has to be disposed of, so they will store items at their facility until there is a load to be taken to a county facility. CM Tiberio asked if it's the same with tires and were we storing tires out back. Mr. Houser said they already have a number of tires. CM Tiberio said that practice is totally contrary to the resolution currently in affect. This one amends it, but the current one says we don't pick up any tires. Mr. Houser said public works eventually picks up tires that are left on the side of the road, in a gutter, or on a sidewalk, and that's why these tires are in their facility.
CM Tiberio said his final comment was that he believed some of these items should have been separate items as opposed to one resolution. As the Mayor pointed out, the resolution is deficient in that it's amending an ordinance in one line item, and he agrees they are, but thinks it should have been in separate line items so they could vote on any one, or all of them individually
CM Davis said she is in favor of upgrading the trash program, but not with this resolution, and she can't support it as it currently is. If it were tabled, discussed and taken apart she would be in wholehearted support of it. If the part about dividing town waited until public notice about it went out, and we discovered how many people the town will be supplying trash pick up for in the next year, she would be more amenable to it, but she can't support it the way it is.
CM Feldberg said the possibility of annexation went into the north/south pick ups when drafting the resolution.
Mayor Herman said the reason he voted against the motion to table, and he was sure it would be back in a few moments, was that he did not want to cut off anyone who was there to speak on the issue, and there will be time for comments. He said one of the reasons they asked Mr. Houser to look at improving the quality of the public works and delivery of services here was recognizing that calls come from every ward in town about birds, rodents, and vermin eating into trash receptacles. Rodents, or crows, that might be infected West Nile Virus were ripping through trash containers and spreading trash in yards that public works employees were having to pick up. People from every ward were also complaining about the kind of receptacles that people put their trash into or the lack of them. He said regardless of what the council does tonight, starting dialogue on the appropriateness of the container is a way to start thinking about how we keep our community clean. Even if the council has to fight their way to some understanding of what is the best way to do this, this is the first salvo to solve a problem correctly because it is not working as presently designed.
Gloria M. Valare, 4714 Nicholson St, asked about using Edmonton's trash containers that roll out and back again. She suggested buying those with money the town's not spending on paper bags. The Mayor said they're quite a bit more expensive (from $6,000 a year spent in past to $60,000). She commented about how bad trash cans look like after trash is picked up and cans and tops are scattered and asked the town to give residents something that would really work. She asked where money from farmers market went. The Mayor explained the money went to the farmers, and the small amount they paid seasonally to sell there ($150 a season) would take 4 years times and many more farmers to afford the containers she referred to. She asked whatever happened to the paper bags that used to be delivered every 6 months and disappeared. The Mayor gave her a history to update her on the council's decision to making them available for purchase in the town hall and to availability of the less expensive plastic bags that might be more appropriate. Ms. Valare pointed out that Home Depot also sells the brown bags at a higher cost.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said he agreed with CM Tiberio that there are three separate issues with the resolution. The first is administrative regarding the trash pick up schedule and how its done. The second issue has to do with the generalized policy under the code trash chapter where the town sets a fee for special clean ups and pick ups. Now going to a more defined set of conditions and what the fees will be for those conditions. he suggested that the council should codify that so if someone leaves excessive trash there's a basis for code enforcement to take action. The third issue, as discussed at last weeks worksession was if they want to put in a new design, or 39 gallon trash can, it is a modification of the existing code chapter and has to be treated as a code resolution - introduced, and considered at the next meeting. He seriously suggested on the second issue that they should add a paragraph to the trash and code chapter, similar to the business license chapter, where the items, fees, and amounts of trash are defined.
Gloria M. Valare, 4714 Nicholson St, said she believed charging additional fees to pick up appliances, tires, etc, will create criminals because people will not pay to get rid of junk. Instead they'll dump it and pointed out that people dump illegally or in someone else's lot where it's not supposed to be either. She thinks changing $25 to dispose of a dishwasher or washer is too much. CM Feldberg said there's no charge for picking up those items, they're free under heavy metal pick up. The Mayor said the charge is for items that contain freon. She also asked how the town is doing recycling metals. Mr. Houser said they've increased metal recycling and they're pulling metals out of the trash at least twice a week. They're also receiving 70% more money for the metals than they were a month and a half ago, and are recycling any, and every kind of metal, which was part of the proposals. Instead of doing once a month, they're proposing once a week. Mr. Houser believes too many recyclable items were going into garbage trucks and disposed of at $49 a ton rate at the landfill with items that could be sold. He referred to a recent article by the Mayor in the Town Crier about efforts to recycle everything and agreed that every bit of recycling makes a difference. Ms. Valare suggested recycling junk mail. Mr. Houser said on Saturday's a truck is designated at Public Works for recycling of mixed paper items (including cardboard, junk mail, etc). Mr. Houser clarified that items containing freon have to be handled separately as required by the EPA, and there is no charge for picking up of other metal items. He reiterated their proposal is to collect those items once a week instead of once a month.
CM Feldberg mentioned that she received several calls from her constituents in full support of this proposal. She also wanted people to realize that Mr. Houser had put a lot of thought into these proposals. He's worked for many years doing a whole lot more recycling and separating of trash than anyone here had ever done. Mr. Houser's proposals are very sound, and a lot of thought and discussion went into these at the public works meeting. CM Feldberg thinks people should more seriously consider approving the resolution. She said she was more than willing to leave out the section about the 39 gal container and leave the rest in. The Mayor noted that the motion is still on the floor without the 39 gal section in it.
CM Feldberg said it's definitely a savings to the town, to charge a little extra for large quantities of bulk trash versus having to send a code enforcement officer to take care of it. The Mayor noted that the practice of charging for excess bulk trash pick-up, is a practice the town has had for many years.
In light of the differentiation or discussion that occurred, the Mayor said he can call to question, or if anyone wanted to move to table again...., he said he wasn't sure that the resolution was in the same posture. CM Davis made the motion to table until the April legislative meeting. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The Mayor said he thought they were in a different posture and he'd accept that resolution as being in order and called a vote. He called for division again. Ward 1/CM Feldberg - nay, Ward 2/CM Blaschke - absent, Ward 3/CM Tiberio - aye Ward 4/CM Davis - aye, Ward 5/CM Almirez - absent, Ward 6/CM Scott - nay. Due to the tie, the Mayor voted aye as the deciding vote, and the matter was tabled until the April legislative session. He asked for agreement from councilmember's voting to table the matter that it would also be discussed at the worksession.
Resolution Concerning Students Bused into Riverdale Elementary School for 2002 - 2003 School Year
Mayor Herman reported on a conversation he had with the principal at Riverdale Elementary school. There is a proposal for the 2002-2003 year, that the remaining 34 children being bused into the school from Seat Pleasant, were going to be returned to their community school now that Seat Pleasant Elementary School has been built. With it's current enrollment, Riverdale Elementary is at more than 120% capacity, and the Seat Pleasant school is not. Riverdale Elementary's enrollment capacity is 545 children - there are 640 children enrolled (including the 34 children from Seat Pleasant). The original proposal was that those children would be returned in the next school year beginning in September. According to a recent non-decision by school administration in Upper Marlboro, that decision cannot happen until the 2003-2004 school year because “it's too late to do boundary changes”. Mayor Herman was advised by people familiar with the process, that influenced by elected officials and city councils, sometimes makes them rethink their posturing on this very issue.
The Mayor reminded everyone that Riverdale Elementary has been slated for potential reconstitution. Additional resources are going to be brought into Riverdale Elementary and this will allow class sizes to be reduced by up to 2 pupils per classroom, something that would be very attractive to the teachers there as they seek to improve the quality of the education. He asked if someone would make a resolution or motion, that we encourage the school board to consider removal of that bus grouping, back to Seat Pleasant for the 2002 -2003.
CM Davis made the motion/resolution to encourage the school board to consider removal of the bused grouping back to Seat Pleasant for the 2002-2003 school year, in order to alleviate the crowded conditions at Riverdale Elementary, and to get out of reconstitution status. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Tiberio asked how the total population of 545 was arrived at as the optimum number, and if it took into account the three extra buildings out back. The Mayor said with the three buildings out back they have a 545 child capacity, and the three buildings are fully used. CM Tiberio thought the capacity was 700 some odd kids. CM Davis said the original capacity was 400 something when the school was built. The Mayor said they moved to an open school/classroom format which allowed a higher density but it was distracting, and it was a failed educational experiment. CM Tiberio said he was only asking for clarification and he still thought the plans called for 700 students when the school was first built. The Mayor said the current listing by the county is for 545 students, with 650 now enrolled. Based on local enrollment projections that keep going up, there's no guarantee they'll still not end up at 640 or 650 even without the 34 students from Seat Pleasant. The one thing they know for sure is that those 34 students add at least 2 kids per classroom to an already over capacity school.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor said he would direct a letter the next day to school board member Jim Henderson, and cc the remaining members of the council.
Recess until 10:05pm
Award of Contract for Public Works Building Improvement
Mayor Herman said councilmember's had been provided a segmented bids document on the multiple projects to be done at the public works building. He asked for a motion to begin discussion. CM Davis (?) made the motion. CM Tiberio made the motion that they accept the low bid. The Mayor asked if he wanted to put a dollar amount on his motion to accept the low bid. CM Tiberio said the bid is for four different items and the amounts exceed the budget, and he asked Mr. Prangley to explain what each item was. The Mayor said he'd find that in order before moving to the appropriate resolution.
Mr. Prangley said they advertised bidding of the project which was well in excess of $5,000, in accordance with the town ordinance and requirements. The architect on staff prepared bid specifications. The deadline was this past Friday and they had one bidder for the proposed work. The bidder was the same contractor who did the council chamber improvements. He said in follow up to a charge by the councilmember's at a prior meeting, two items would be added to the bid specifications after his discussions with Dr Kazmerzack. In addition to the offices improvements, there is an infrared heating to replace the 30 year old heating systems. The old system was inefficient and releasing close to $8k of heat a year into the atmosphere, not into the buildings. Also included are high energy, efficient overhead doors, to replace 30 yr old doors. The architect did send out a cost estimate that was discussed at the worksession, and the cost estimate came in at $119,756 with contingency. The bids came in as follows (broken down as the councilmember's requested)
office work/locker facility $42,250
Mr. Prangley, Mr. Houser, CM Feldberg (Public Works Committee Chair), and CM Tiberio (Finance Committee Chair), discussed different options, and the budget collected so far is $62,000, based on the last two years levy's. They have until June 30th to meet the $69,000 goal (approximately with interest included on those funds).
Mr. Prangley recommended accepting the first bid items for $42,250, assuring that the offices and lockers would be constructed as planned with modifications agreed to by himself, Mr. Houser and the architect. This would convert without any additional cost, the present office space into a ladies staff locker room (it would already have a facility), and construct the other two offices, one for Mr. Houser, and an auxiliary office for support staff. $42,240 will cover all that.
The Mayor asked if the recommendation is that the main bid item, and bid item 1, be awarded to Santos? Mr. Prangley said he recommended the $42,250 be awarded to Santo's. The Mayor and CM Tiberio verified item #2 also. Mr. Prangley recommended bid item #2 for $20,175 as well, however, he said they have some additional information with the staff internally dealing with those doors and would like #2 subject to further negotiations. The Mayor clarified that the resolution would award Santos a contract not to exceed $62,425 subject to negotiation. The motion was made by CM Feldberg and seconded by CM Tiberio. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Prangley skipped to item #4. He believes, in consultation with Mr. Houser, and in conjunction with council wishes, they can do item #4 with in house staff to eliminate the $5,950 cost of painting the facility.
Mr. Prangley said the 3rd bid item for $27,220, would obviously well exceed their budget resources for the infrared heating. He feel it's a very important item that they need to attend to though and if this is deferred (eliminated or deleted), that they take this up in the new budget process and look at ways to save on implementation, such as going to a mechanical engineer during the summer season to install at a lesser cost. The Mayor said the resolution would not preclude attempts to find a ways to achieve the same objective at a lower cost, or discussion of it in the budget process. They didn't need to discuss it for purposes of the motion though.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Prangley added that the budget was $69,000, and the bid to design meeting with the county on the original proposal was close to $4,900. He said they had a subsequent expense in adding the infrared and overhead doors when they had to amend the plans and go through the process with Mr. Sam Hencoop again. They negotiated the fee and got it down to half of what Dr Kazmerzack submitted, and noted that the councilmember's have a copy of the inspection fee broken down. He's suggesting $4,800 for the inspection fee. Mr. Prangley believes it's essential to be sure we're in compliance with everything in the bid documents, but also to give us authority, subject to further negotiations, up to a certain amount. CM Tiberio asked about the amount not to exceed. Mr. Prangley said it was 4,800 originally. CM Feldberg made the motion for the inspection fee not to exceed $4000. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
The Mayor asked Mr. Prangley how much the town gave as part of the original architect award for the initial portion of the work he's completed noting he's done work already on this. Mr. Prangley said in the first part of his report he noted that approximately $4,800 was paid in the design, the additional $3,700 he wanted was split and negotiated down to $1,750 so far. The Mayor noted the amount was roughly what they'd anticipated for the entire engineering cost of the project.
There was no additional discussion and no public comment.
The motion to authorize and negotiate the inspection fee to Statler Stagg for up to $4,000 passed unanimously.
Award of Engineering Contract for Public Works Building & Award of Engineering Contract for Infrastructure Improvements Phase III (Correcting Areas where WSSC did water line replacements) - Agenda items 20 & 21 were covered together.
The Mayor reviewed a memo from GNC consultants to Mr. Prangley on the engineering costs for the WSSC areas. For convenience he said he would refer to this as Phase III, public improvement projects. He can do this amount of work, excluding Riverdale Rd engineering for $58,894. The Mayor said given the total, they have 3 options: not award or do anything with it, put it out to bid, or waive the public bidding on it for whatever circumstances, and award a sole source contract. CM Tiberio proposed that they award a sole source contract for an amount not to exceed $58,894 because of GNC's total familiarity with all the road projects, sewer projects, and that we allow him to do the engineering for the rest of the work. CM Davis seconded for purposes of discussion.
CM Davis asked why the amount was so high noting the engineer knows the roads intimately. The Mayor believed it was due to the amount of work - $500,000 some odd dollars. He said in addition, his understanding is as they deal with the streets WSSC destroyed, we're also going to be doing other infrastructure work (curbs, gutters and sidewalks) when necessary, depending on their condition, and it involves more than 20 street blocks. CM Davis noted some were streets he'd already engineered, noting the 4500 and 4600 block of Oliver St, and the 4500 and 4600 block of Tuckerman St. She said these were recently repaired areas that WSSC totally decimated, but he already engineered these roads. The Mayor said he's sure we won't be paying him for engineering/architect design work on areas he's already engineered. GNC will only be paid for the inspection/approvals of any of the work done in the replacement, which is what he would do under his architect and engineering contract. We will not pay him for design work he's already been designing for other streets. CM Tiberio said the engineer made it clear in his presentation that those projects don't get the engineering and design work because they've already been done. He noted there are many new streets that will come into this that do need redesign. CM Davis said these are also streets he did in his engineers report and updated so this is not new. The Mayor verified that she was referring to the survey, and noted that was not design work. The survey was a basic engineer estimate (cursory review) and would not be appropriate to design a street. CM Davis said she understands that, but thinks a lot of this has been looked at and she's concerned that the amount is so high considering this is duplicate work in places. CM Tiberio said if that's right, Mr. Prangley has been able to bring down the cost of many jobs in the past. When he'd tell someone to cut the bill, he usually wins and it comes in for less. CM Tiberio said he's seen that happen throughout these projects. The engineer has to give a ball park estimate based on the projects.
Mr. Prangley said with GNC's familiarity, there's probably a lot of room for negotiations, probably in the 40's. Because that would bring the amount into the [omega] million dollar ball park. CM Tiberio made comments about negotiating that the mic didn't pick up clearly. CM Davis said fine, as long as he tries. CM Tiberio said he believed that was a given. The Mayor thinks GNC anticipated other infrastructure work in the bid for the engineering services. The repair and replacement of a sidewalk doesn't involve an engineering fee - just removal and replacement, and is managed by whoever successfully bids the public works contract. It's not something he'll be entitled to on fee, but it's based on invoice and as CM Tiberio said the town has been successful there.
Mr. Prangley reminded everyone that Mr. Houser has the ability to perform inspections on existing infrastructure's in place, (i.e. a sidewalk where it doesn't impact on the grade of the roadway to convey water properly). The Mayor said they'll do everything in their power to minimize the costs. CM Feldberg said she puts full faith in Mr. Prangley to be sure the town isn't being overcharged.
Gloria Valare 4714 Nicholson St, said according to her neighbor, the new sidewalks on Riverdale Rd do not meet ADA code, and told of her neighbor watching someone trying to maneuver a wheelchair there. The Mayor said they'll be doing a final inspection of Riverdale Rd improvements and they're aware of a couple places where they may have compliance issues. The final walk through will occur prior to the next worksession, and ADA compliance issues will be dealt with. Residents can be assured that ADA compliance is part of the contract that engineers and contractors enter into with the Town. Ms. Valare asked who engineered and designed the Riverdale Rd project and was told, Way Woo and GNC Consultants.
There was no addition public comment or council discussion.
The Mayor restated the motion, to suspend Section 623 of the Charter of the Town of Riverdale Park requesting competitive bids for anything in excess of $5,000, and to award a sole source contract to GNC Consultants for a fee not to exceed $58,000, for architecture/engineering work for the additional Phase III projects identified in those areas where WSSC was performing relining work. The motion passed unanimously.
Town Center Covenants
CM Davis made the motion to adopt the draft covenant list prepared by the Town Attorney Fred Sussman, with comments from the Town Center Advisory Committee. The motion was seconded by CM Feldberg.
CM Davis recalled four items the council considered deleting from the use restrictions list (article 3, section 1), and were subject to additional conversation. CM Tiberio reviewed his comments at the last meeting saying he had only questioned the pizza item, not that it be included for deletion. The other was a small printing establishment. There was also a fast food definition to be worked out, and he said if they're taking away liquor stores, then take away anything dealing with liquor.
The Mayor suggested they deal with them individually, as amendments to the draft resolution, or to take them off the restrictive covenants. CM Tiberio made the amendment to the original motion, and to include the recommendations of the committee, with the exception of the amusement/arcade or center. CM Feldberg seconded the motion.
The Mayor reviewed the situation for those listening, that the were discussing a list of restrictive use covenants developed by the Citizen Advisory Committee for the Town Center redevelopment. These are uses or businesses not permitted in the Town Center during it's redevelopment. The majority of the list was agreed to at a prior meeting by not objecting to their inclusion. The four that were in controversy will be discussed tonight to decide if they will become part of the final restrictive covenants on the property. The Mayor explained that a vote in favor of the amendment means it will be deleted from the restricted uses and it will be a permitted use in the town center.
CM Davis said the committee's reasoning for listing Amusement arcade or center, was that it would attract people hanging out. They wanted to encourage use of the Town Center but not loitering.
Chauner Blaustine (name?), of Somerset Rd asked for a copy of the list of proposed covenants being discussed which was provided to him.
The motion to amend passed. CM Feldberg, Tiberio and Davis voted yes. CM Scott voted no.
CM Davis explained that the committee felt strongly that an appliance, radio, TV, or furniture repair shop, was not the type of business they wanted in the Town Center. She noted that an upholstery repair shop was covered under a separate discussion under county code. CM Davis said she would oppose removal of this from the list. The motion to amend the main motion to permit Appliance, radio, TV, or furniture repair shop, as a permitted use was made by CM Tiberio and seconded by CM Scott.
CM Tiberio asked what a computer repair shop was considered, and was it listed anywhere else. He noted there was one in town and what would happen if someone wanted to open one in Town Center. CM Feldberg said if it's not on the list then they can. The Mayor agreed, and said in terms of interpretation of restricted covenants, they are looked at very strictly. The general presumption is in favor of a permissible use if zoning allows it, unless it is abundantly clear from the restrictive covenants list that it is not permitted. The Mayor reiterated that a vote of yes was a vote in favor of deleting the item from the list of restrictive covenants, and allowing it as a permissible use. The vote was 3 - 1. The motion to amend failed.
CM Tiberio said the motion for Liquor stores (but not gourmet wine and cheese shop) should delete any reference to liquor including the parenthesis description listed. The motion to amend the main motion to delete liquor stores, and all references to anything related to liquor was made by CM Tiberio. The motion failed for lack of a second. The Mayor noted it will remain a restricted covenant as presently worded.
Comments were made from someone in the audience who didn't come to the mic. The Mayor answered that Dumm's is not a liquor store (they have wine and beer sales but do not sell liquor), S&J's is a bar (they sell liquor on and off), and the deli sells beer and wine.
Referring to Pizza or other food carryout only/delivery only (does not apply to restaurants; definition to come), CM Davis said the committee decided they didn't want a business that provided carry out only. If a food use, there would be a sit down restaurant. The business could also have carry out, but it wouldn't be carry out only. CM Tiberio referred to definitions of fast food restaurants provided to the council. CM Tiberio asked if a McDonalds was a permitted use because you can sit in, or carry out. The Mayor said this is only a restriction as an exclusive take out. CM Feldberg explained, like Pizza Hut Express, or Domino's. CM Tiberio said he never made a motion to put this on the list or to exclude it. The Mayor asked for a motion. No one made a motion, so they moved to the next item.
CM Tiberio made the motion to amend the restrictive covenant list to permit a printing shop exceeding 2,000 square feet. He noted that it's currently allowed with a special exception. The Mayor noted that nothing the council does would trump zoning laws. There was no second to the motion so the motion failed for lack of a second. The restricted use remains.
The Mayor asked if anyone wanted to speak to any of these, or who wished the council would reconsider as expressly prohibited in Town Center, any of the projected, or perspective restricted covenants. There was no public comment.
The Mayor said there were several definitions presented to define the prohibition on fast food from the Town Attorney. CM Davis provided copies of other municipal codes. She said some are extensive, and break out the definition into four different types of fast food restaurants. She said the committee was concerned that there not be a McDonalds in Town Center, but that there were other types of restaurants owned by fast food chains, and they didn't want to discourage those from locating there. She explained that McDonalds owns a really good Mexican restaurant that wasn't fast food oriented. The Mayor asked for a recommendation of what definition to apply to get to the essence of restricting fast food
CM Davis said she liked the following definition: Restaurant, fast food, and establishment, where ready to eat food, primarily intended for immediate consumption, is available upon a short wait and time, and wrapped or presented, so that it can readily be eaten outside, or inside the premises
CM Davis said all of the definitions would be useful for their purposes, the more comprehensive the better. She said she hopes they don't scare off the developer. CM Scott said she thinks section II might scare off the developer.
CM Scott suggested using (Class 1/Item 1) restaurant which has the following meaning: Class I, fast food. (1) A fast food restaurant is an establishment other than a bakery, bake shop, candy, or ice cream store, which provides as a principal use the sale of foods, and beverages, in a ready to consume state for consumption off premises. Fast food restaurants may have sit down seating and delivery service, but not provide dancing, live entertainment, the service of alcoholic beverages, or a bar. Fast food restaurants may have some outdoor dining and drive up service. A fast food establishments design, or principal method of operation, includes two or more of the following characteristics: food or beverages are served in edible containers, or in paper, plastic or other disposable containers. Eating utensils, if provided are disposable. (2) The line of food or beverages is limited, and is usually prepared in advance of the customers order. (3) Food or beverages are served over a general service counter for the customer to carry to a seating facility within the restaurant, or carry off premises, or carry to an occupant of a motor vehicle while seated in the vehicle, such as through a drive in window. (4) Carry out sales, including delivery service, constitute over 10% of the food service business.
The Mayor said he thought everything was good up to the last one. CM Scott suggested revising it. CM Davis said we pick any of these. CM Feldberg reminded members the definition says “includes two or more of the following characteristics..” and noted that it doesn't have to include them all. Everyone agreed it was a good definition.
CM Scott made a friendly amendment to the main motion that they adopt the definition of fast food read that she had just read, and to say that definition will apply to the prohibition of fast food restaurants in the Town Center. The motion was seconded by CM Davis.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said he had more of a question than a comment. Since the covenants are based on the zoning codes of PG County, and we're using two and three word descriptors because that's what's in the zoning code, what does the zoning code define fast food as. If the council picks a definition that's not in compliance with the county zoning code, we may be opening a loophole to drive a truck through. The Mayor said he absolutely disagreed. If there is a restrictive covenant that defines it more restrictively than would be interpreted under the county zoning code, the covenants apply, not the zoning code. Mr. Kiernan agreed, but said they may also be opening a loophole of providing a full, and fair definition, of every term in our covenant. The Mayor said we define them as, unless otherwise specified, they are defined as either commonly known, or as in the zoning code.
CM Davis read the definition in the county zoning code. An establishment used for the preparation or sale of food products which are (1) generally packaged in paper, or served in/on disposable plates, wrappers, or containers. (2) intended for ready consumption either outside the building at tables, on the patio, on the premises of parked cars, off the premises. (b) The operation may or may not follow service directly to patrons in their motor vehicles (c) the term does not include a retail outlet selling food items primarily for home preparation and consumption or to a restaurant which serves food primarily in non-disposable tableware which provides (instant?) carry out service where the space may be used for carry out service not to exceed 5% of the total patron seating area or 80 square feet, whichever is less.
The Mayor said they can do either, but the motion on the table is to adopt the language offered by CM Scott. In deference to the comment made, the covenants will say the definition will either have common meaning, or as defined by the zoning code unless otherwise specified.
The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis introduced Article 5, Architectural Control for discussion CM Davis said it's very comprehensive, but she asked that the committee's two page report be attached to the covenants or referenced, because Article 5, Architectural Control, explains what it is legally but doesn't really talk about what it is for what the town is trying to do at Town Center. She felt very strongly, and reiterated several times, her belief that the committee's two page report should be included or referred to in some way since the architectural control info goes back to the report which talks about conforming with the then existing design concept. The Mayor noted that the committee's report won't have any legal bearing. CM Tiberio suggested adopting all of it except for the paragraph in question. The Mayor said they can't go to settlement on the sale of the property for redevelopment until the covenants are filed first, and the $300,000 Legacy Grant could be lost if the project doesn't get up and running quickly. He said the time consideration is very important and that's why they were handling an issue that would normally be discussed at a Worksession.
CM Scott voiced concern about leasing the property after reading the information because the criteria is so stringent, and may scare away some potential renters. The Mayor said he shared her concern and wasn't convinced that it was advisable for them to do. He was nervous they would create a problem of user ship in their zeal for historic and architectural specificity. It's not exclusive to exterior design. CM Scott said the MD Historical Trust has imposed an easement on them for interior and exterior that they had to contend with. CM Tiberio agreed it was very, very restrictive.
Mr. Prangley said they have not received comment or response from the prospective purchaser on the section dealing with the architectural standards info.
Extensive discussion followed
The amendment changing 30 days to 45 days (and reference to the 31st day to the 46th day) in Section II, for how long the council has to review changes to the design, was made by CM Scott. It was seconded by CM Davis. The motion passed. CM Tiberio abstained from voting.
The motion was made by CM Scott to amend the last sentence in section 4 to read ...”the owner shall require the builder to maintain the property in a reasonably safe, clean, and uncluttered condition and consistent with the codes of PG County and the Town of Riverdale Park”. The motion was seconded by CM Davis.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said the covenants committee drew up a list of uses they preferred not to see occur in the Town Center. He said listening, and not seeing the document the council is working from, it sounds to him like a covenant that's going to be attached to the land in perpetuity has grown tipsy into some odd conglomeration of weird conditions to be put on the redeveloper. The only other time the Town has entered into land covenants with a developer was under CM Tiberio's administration on the Riverside Project (Colton/Laskin properties). He recalled that the only covenant put on it was about the number of square footage of the total build out and the uses. The Mayor said this is the first time the Town is entertaining covenants for a piece of land they own that will be redeveloped by a different person who is going to take ownership. Mr. Kiernan said since it's not the sales contract that will be entered into with the developer for what you want to see him do, it's a set of properties that will attach to the land in perpetuity until some body in the future, this body or it's successor government changes (PG County, or state), he's concerned we're making references to a code that may not make sense in a covenant that will be in effect 50 or 60 years from now because it's totally revised twice since. he recommended they keep to the prohibited uses, but not get into strange conditions that may not be in effect years from now depending on how the code is written.
The motion passed. CM Tiberio abstained from voting.
CM Davis said Mr. Busman had forwarded a copy of the definitions provision for PG County Zoning Code. He had asked if the council wanted to reference, or adopt, any portion of it. CM Davis said she was not sure what the Council needed to do with it. CM Feldberg voiced concern that the council might be making sloppy decisions because they were under time constraints. The Mayor asked what the council's pleasure was, and said he wasn't willing to jeopardize a $300,000 grant, and he was willing to stay as late as needed.
The Mayor suggested that the council direct Mr. Busman to apply what was put into the covenants saying, the definitions of words contained herein shall have their common meaning, or, if defined under the PG County Zoning Code, those terms shall be defined, or, unless, and except, (the next couple of words were not clear on the tape and may need correction) specifically defined in the covenants, than that definition shall be controlling. The Council agreed that it was their preference for the Mayor to convey to Mr. Busman interpretational information such as the definitions provision for the PG County Zoning Code.
The maker of the motion (CM Davis), made a friendly amendment to the motion, to consider that this is a provisional adoption, and in the event that the redevelopment firm has comments, or objections, to specific sections, that the council will agree to come back in a special legislative meeting to modify positions. However, if they do not have objections, and they say this is ok, then the town will file these restrictive covenants to the Town Center.
The motion for conditional approval of restrictive covenants as amended passed unanimously.
Committee and Ward Reports
CM Scott encouraged residents to attend the Traffic Study Committee meeting who are interested in Greenway Dr, removal of the Do Not Enter signs, and removal of the No Parking signs on the park side. The meeting will be held at 7:00pm, tomorrow evening at Town Hall.
CM Scott was contacted by the Home and Garden TV cable channel concerning their interest in doing a presentation on renovated homes in Riverdale Park. Jack and Janet Bond from Ward 4, along with their architect and engineer were contacted, and the broadcast will be featured this month (CH B52 or see www.HGTV.com for scheduling). She's checked channel listings through March 10th but is not sure when it will air after that. She said the Bond home is a great example of what one couple can do to improve the condition of their home and now it will be featured on national TV
The Mayor said CM Almirez asked him to report that he is setting up a meeting to resolve parking and towing problems that are happening in multiple buildings with the owners of several apartments within Ward 5, and the boundaries of Ward 6. Also, had consultation w/Chief Evans concerning what type of enhanced security measures recommended for apt complexes to increase safety and security of individuals entering complexes in evenings and late night hours. Those recommendations w/be forthcoming and w/ be presented to property owners.
Apologized for not being able to attend evenings meeting but course attending was necessary to licensure for work he does
CM Davis reported that there was a house fire on 47th Ave and a family was displace. Residents interested in donating items or funds to the family can should contact CM Davis as she knows where they're staying. They're working with insurance company and hope to return to the home shortly.
Code issues in Ward 4 are being worked on. The most visible are along EW Hwy and Route 1.
WSSC is beginning huge construction work starting at Town Center and moving west so as not to interfere with the Farmers Market, redevelopment of Town Center, or other construction. Traffic patterns and parking will be disrupted, but the end result will be attractive. The Town is still waiting on final disposition of the 43rd Ave speed humps. She still believes they should pave half the street and let Hyattsville sort it out if resolution doesn't come. The parking situation around the church that relocated on Route 1 near post office is still being worked out. They purchased a building where there isn't enough parking and the town is trying to work out win - win situation with them.
She attended the Farmers Market organizational committee meeting with Eric Rosencrantz, and a representative from Douglas Development who assured the farmers, and the town. that construction will not interfere with the market on Thursdays.
A set of restrictive covenants was ironed out earlier in the evening. In answer to questions about how the town can do that there, but not on Route 1 - the town owns the Town Center properties but not the Route 1 properties. She's expecting a set of architectural plans and will meet again with the architectural committee. Plans will be based on a 1919 photograph found, and a two page document prepared by the design committee.
CM Davis asked that residents would continue emailing suggested uses for the Town Center. Even with restrictions, there is a very long list of things the town will accept. She suggested a small business on the first floor or office space on 2nd. The town is very interested business owners interested in locating there.
The town has recently received confirmation that there will be a Riverdale Park MARC station.
CM Davis reported that Eckerd is still a consideration. First thing they need to do is to sit down with the property owners involved, one of which is Riverdale Park, to discuss shared a parking situation.
The town is close to hiring the assistant town administrator who will serve as the economic development staff person. Once hired CM Davis will hold the first Economic Development Committee meeting and she's reluctant to develope a set of expectations without discussing them with the person who actually has to carry them out.
Under new business, CM Davis will explain a proposal to attract two businesses onto Route 1. The town is also looking at annexation of Riverdale Heights. One of the annexation proposals involves a big chunk of commercial property on Kenilworth Ave. Calvert House is applying for the Sarbanes Grant which would provide them with $25k to do major facade improvements to their Route 1 property.
The Preservation Association of Riverdale Park will meet March 21st at 7:30 in Town Hall to discuss how we'll navigate through the Historic District process and reminded everyone it's the National Register District and there are no rules. The benefit to us is it's a marketing tool. Those who spend more than $5k on a historically accurate renovation will get a tax rebate. The town also qualifies as a county historic site which has a set of rules attached to it. The 2002 house tour will also be discussed at the meeting.
CM Tiberio announced a Finance Committee meeting on March 11th at 7:30pm
Redistricting plans are ready. He spoke about the potential annexation but he was too far from the mic to record his comments. He'll submit his plans to council next week, but he doesn't suggest beginning public hearings until sometime in April. The council should review what's being proposed so they can suggest changes.
CM Tiberio understands there's a door to door representative somewhere in town soliciting changes in utility companies(gas & energy). He's heard the person (a woman?) is very assertive and aggressive and is asking residents for copies of their gas bill. He expressed particular concerns for senior citizens who are vulnerable. He said even if a company is legitimately soliciting, they should report to the town office so there is knowledge of the situation and where they'll be, and they should be wearing proper identification. He hopes someone will report the person to the police at the time of their visit so they can verify they are who they say they are and warned residents to be careful.
He said he won't talk about personal property taxes and will see how the vote comes out in Annapolis.
CM Tiberio has received numerous ward complaints about code violations. The code officer has only been on duty a month and understands that all the wards have problems. He asked if he could ride along with code enforcement officer to visit addresses that have been reported and explain some of the problems. He expressed concern that things are going downhill and believes the problem is due to properties changing hands. Some of the current residents are having trouble with the fact that new residents aren't like the ones who lived there 30 - 40 yrs and took care of their property. He believes some of the new residents aren't aware of the serious town code.
CM Feldberg reported that Farmer Market email reminders can be sent which would include information on produce that will be available that week for those who would like to receive them. Those interested can call CM Feldberg at (301) 864-2779.
A Public Works Meeting will be scheduled in April to discuss changes in the code in reference to definitions of trash, garbage, and other code changes having to do with collection and recycling. Also, with spring approaching, mosquitoes are a concern. There are very large stands of bamboo around town which significantly contributes to the mosquito problem. She encouraged residents to consider removing bamboo that's on their property. Those who need assistance should contact CM Feldberg.
CM Davis has been in contact with her counterparts in Hyattsville, College Park, and University Park areas about proactive ways to attract the businesses everyone really wants to see on Route 1. They're interested in doing a high profile, proactive petition drive, to pursue Trader Joe's and Fresh Fields about locating stores on Route 1, somewhere between College Park and Mt. Rainier. Many residents and citizens from surrounding areas have been interested in those two businesses. Preliminary discussions indicate a reluctance by both to locate in PG County (we don't have the best press these days). Census data shows income increases, but some have trouble believing that. CM Davis will get this started with interested colleagues and citizens. It will take quite a bit of time to get the requisite number of signatures to get these companies to pay attention.
CM Tiberio said he'd like to see the committee and ward reports moved up the agenda at future meetings, and suggested that they follow somewhere after the Mayors report. He said councilmember's have things they don't say that residents don't hear because of the lateness of the hour when it comes up on the agenda. He suggested that items such as approvals for specific issues/people (i.e. fences) can be put later in the agenda, and their councilperson can contact them. Mayor Herman said comments from colleagues about how to increase efficiency and move the meetings along are always welcome.
Mayor asked if there were public comments. CM Tiberio suggested that they adjourn with absence of a quorum. Motion to adjourn was made by CM Davis.
Meeting adjourned at 11:42pm
Minutes prepared from videotape.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Tuesday, March 5, Traffic Study Committee, Town Hall, 7:00pm
Wednesday, March 6, Riversdale Historical Society Meeting, Riversdale, 7:30pm (new lecture series in March and April)
Friday, March 8, Police Awards Banquet, FOP 89 Lodge, 6:00pm
Monday, March 11, Recreation Board, Town Hall, 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 12, Madison Hill HOA, Town Hall, 7:00pm
Tuesday, March 19, Neighborhood Watch, Town Hall, 7:00pm
Thursday, March 21, PGCMA Meeting, District Heights Town Hall, 7:00pm (County Executive Candidates Forum)
Thursday, March 21, Preservation Assn of Riverdale Park, Town Hall, 7:30pm
Saturday, March 23, Easter Egg Hunt, 1:00pm., Riversdale
Monday, March 25, Council Work Session, Town Hall, 7:30pm
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