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Proposed Legislation for Outstanding Parking Fines

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By Cynthia Blaschke

The Maryland Municipal League's (MML) Legislative Conference was held in College Park October 18 -19. Proposed legislation was submitted to the MML Legislative Committee, with three recommendations approved by the MML membership. These legislative recommendations will be forwarded to the Maryland General Assembly and include:

  • Establishing a task force to study and report on strategies and recommendations for facilitating and reducing costs of undergrounding Overhead Utility Facilities, including power lines, cable and telephone services in Smart Growth Priority Funding Areas.

  • Enacting legislation to establish a Sewer Infrastructure Repair and Replacement fund to provide financial assistance to both large and small communities in our state.

  • Enacting legislation to provide to all municipalities currently covered by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission the discretionary authority to exercise full planning and zoning powers. Currently, Laurel is the only municipality in the County that has this authority, and College Park has limited authority. The remaining 25 municipalities have no authority.

Of these recommendations, Riverdale Park was most interested in the Municipal Authority for Planning and Zoning since it would have the most direct effect on how we plan our community and its future development. However, Riverdale Park also submitted two pieces of draft legislation for consideration. We hope to present these to the General Assembly for consideration since they would make a positive financial impact to the community.

The legislative committee met on November 12. Topics of discussion included campaign finance reporting, redistricting, and the revision of Riverdale Park's chartered governmental form to council-manager. If the town's governmental form is changed, it will affect redistricting options. Draft redistricting options will be available by January 2002. Districts should be redrawn by August 2002.

Also discussed was draft legislation submitted by the Riverdale Park Police Department for the collection of outstanding parking fines within our jurisdiction. Riverdale Park currently has over $17,000 in outstanding parking fines from individuals who have received multiple parking violations. If a vehicle is observed in town with two or more parking violations that have been outstanding for more than thirty days, that vehicle may be impounded. The vehicle will not be released until all fines and fees have been paid. Fees would include towing and daily storage incurred by a private towing service.

The committee deferred discussion on signs, vendors, and graffiti until a code enforcement officer is hired. The committee plans to work closely with this staff member and Chief Evans to develop an Implementation Plan and Guidelines for Code Enforcement in Riverdale Park. A "Quick Guide for Ordinances" will be developed, providing a synopsis of the ordinances considered to be of greatest importance to residents.

Cynthia Blaschke is the Councilperson for Ward 2 and Chairperson for the Legislative Committee.

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