Minutes of April 5, 2001
Town of Riverdale Park
Mayor and Council Legislative Session
Call To Order
The legislative session of the Mayor and Council was called to order at 8:00pm. Present were Councilmembers Herman, Donaldson, Tiberio, Davis, Gross and Scott. Also present were Police Chief Evans, Public Works Supervisor Donaldson and Administrator Prangley.
Pledge Of Allegiance And Invocation
The Mayor led the pledge of allegiance and read the invocation.
Approval Of Agenda
Mayor Ferguson noted that Item 9a, Town Center Development Committee Report had been omitted from the agenda and needed to be added. A motion was made by CM Herman to approve the agenda with the noted addition. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of minutes of March 5 special and March 21 special legislative sessions
CM Tiberio pointed out a change needed on page 6 of the March 6th meeting minutes - the Ward 5 judge noted should be Ward 2. CM Tiberio made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 5th meeting with the amendment. CM Donaldson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Herman noted a change on the March 21st Special Legislative Session Minutes - the motion, on page 2, for W. Beale Circle was made by CM Davis and seconded by CM Tiberio. CM Tiberio made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 21st Special Legislative Session with the noted change. The motion was seconded by CM Gross. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis requested that letter #2 and #6 be read. CM's Davis and Donaldson both requested that letter #10 also be read. CM Davis requested that letter #2 from the Crescent Cities Jaycees Foundation, Inc. be included in the next issue of the Town Crier to introduce residents to the "Wall of Friends". The Mayor congratulated Mr. Prangley on letter #6 from Stattler Stagg & Associates which commended Mr. Prangley and his staff for their outstanding efforts during the design and construction of the Town Hall Council Chamber renovation.
Mr. Prangley read the Treasurer's Report. CM Donaldson made a motion to approve the report as presented, subject to audit. CM Davis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor commented on the affects of last Thursday evening's thunderstorm on the Town. Sections of the Town lost power including some of the Town buildings but a generator restored power to the Town facilities. Sections of Wards 5 and 6 were more severely affected.
An upbeat article on the Riversdale Mansion was published in the University of Maryland's Outlook publication. The article noted that the Mansion had once been the home of the University's founder.
Approval of Participation Agreement with PG County for Storm Water Improvements at 48th & 49th Avenues
CM Davis made the motion to approve the participation agreement with PG County for storm water improvements for 48th and 49th Avenues. CM Herman seconded the motion.
CM Herman explained that the March 15th letter from the County received by the Town offered a joint partnership between the County and the Town for storm water improvements up to $150,000. CM Davis and Herman agreed that needed improvements would have been outside of Town funds available for the project, so the County's contribution would go a long way toward finishing the project. CM Herman stated that the downside for those most affected by the problems, the residents of 48th Avenue, 49th Avenue and the 4800 block of Somerset, would be that work would be delayed, possibly until mid summer when the allocated funds would be available in the County's new fiscal budget.
The motion passed unanimously.
Town Center Development Committee Report
Mayor Ferguson asked CM Davis if there were any additions to the report. CM Davis said Appendix D included the latest which provided the latest Town Center report from the Chesapeake Group (compiled in 1994), some minor uniform edits to clean up discrepancies across reports, a map not included in other reports, a list of improvements made to the Town Center since the study began, and highlights of business expansions within the Town.
CM Davis made a motion to accept the report. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
CM Herman praised the report noting that the report placed Riverdale Park at the top of the redevelopment community activities in PG County, and set an example of how to develop a model for re-establishing blighted properties. CM's Tiberio and Donaldson also voiced praise for the report and appreciation to individuals who worked on the project.
CM Davis read the committee report summary for those not in attendance.
Gerard Kiernan of Riverdale Road, a member of the architectural subcommittee, made comments and asked questions about specific parts of the report. He noted that settlement, as noted in the Executive Summary, will happen when the judge condemns the properties. He pointed out that there was no place in the timeline for the drafting of an RFQ (Request for Qualification). Mr. Kiernan clarified that page 12 of the Committee Report refers to 7 properties that are really only 1 property with 7 storefronts. He also noted that reference to a Vision Statement on Page 18 is confusing since there is a Town Center Vision Statement, and a Town Wide Vision Statement, which are two separate documents.
CM Davis and Ann Marie Larson, Co-Chair of the committee responded to Mr. Kiernan's questions or comments that needed a reply.
After Council, and public comment, the Council voted on the motion to accept the report. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis then made a motion to discharge the Committee from their duties in regard to the report submitted and accepted by the Council. Discussion followed.
CM Herman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis notified the Council that Committee members had expressed their willingness to reconstitute themselves for a Route 1 corridor redevelopment study.
Approval of Lease Agreement with Fire Department
Mayor Ferguson said the revised Memorandum of Understanding between the Riverdale Park Fire Department Corporation and the PG County Fire Department was signed on March 29, 2001 and is part of paragraph 33 of the lease agreement. Revisions and minor changes were made.
CM Tiberio made a motion to approve the lease agreement with the Fire Department. CM Donaldson seconded the motion.
CM Davis requested a copy of the lease agreement which was not available at the meeting. CM Herman confirmed that he had seen the summary of changes and they had accurately reflected changes discussed the meeting between the Council and the Fire Department.
The motion to accept the lease agreement passed unanimously.
Appointment of Ward (3 and) 5 Election Judge
CM Gross submitted the name of Thomas Morton of 54th Avenue as the Ward 5 election judge.
CM Tiberio submitted the name of Joyce Marcos of Taylor Road as the replacement judge in Ward 3 instead of Linda Stiggers as previously noted.
CM Tiberio made a motion to accept the Ward 3 replacement judge and the Ward 5 election judge. CM Donaldson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
It was noted that there was still an opening for an alternate judge in Ward 5. As a friendly amendment to the motion, CM Scott suggested the name of Wendell Davis of Powhattan Rd as an alternate election judge in Ward 5.
There was no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
Town Crier Publication Policy
The Mayor noted that the Town Crier Publication Policy was tabled at the last meeting.
CM Herman made a motion to lay it on the table for future consideration. CM Herman explained that there were several individuals who would bring professional publication experience and expertise, but who were unable to meet last month. These individuals recognized that the Town Crier policy might also extend to the web site and to an electronic format which was not originally anticipated and would work towards guidelines about how the publication should be done. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Herman made a further motion to postpone consideration of the matter to a time definite, being the July legislative session, and for consideration and discussion at the June worksession. CM Tiberio seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis expressed concern about whether the Council should be committing a future Council to review an issue not previously settled. CM Herman clarified that they weren't binding the new Council on how to act on the matter, only to review it.
J. DiMattio of Somerset Road reported on progress made so far. He stated that the recommended standard operating procedures for the Town Crier were 65% done and would be available at the dates referred to by CM Herman's motion. Two documents requested from the US Government Copyright Office are expected in the next two weeks. Mr. Di Mattio, and Mr. Thompson of Sheridan Street, were also working on standard operating procedures for the website to go along with the Town Crier.
The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Additions to Elections Manual re: Charter Amendment
CM Herman made a motion to adopt the text of the amendment text, II C and everything thereafter, incorporating that as Resolution 2001-R-3 (he noted that the table of contents was missing from the document in front of them).
Mr. Thompson of Sheridan Street who wrote the document was asked to speak. He reviewed the Council's vote on an amendment in March to the Town Charter which required a majority vote in a town election to declare a victory. The document prevents the need for multiple runoff elections by providing explicit instructions on procedures to follow in the rare circumstance where more than 2 candidates in a run-off for the same office receive the same number of votes. The amendment is added to the elections manual to describe how to choose what game of chance, and how they are to be conducted, enabling the new Council to be seated on time.
The motion passed unanimously.
Committee And Ward Reports
CM Herman reviewed the storm water agreement with the County, that had been voted on earlier in the evening to begin improvements to 48th and 49th Avenue and the 4800 Block of Somerset.
CM Herman thanked Mr. Donaldson for the work done on the 4700 block of Oglethorpe noting that the work is moving expeditiously.
Work on Riverdale Road is continuing and is transitioning from phase 1 to phase 2 - from Lafayette to Taylor to Kenilworth. The Kenilworth project is ongoing because of weather delays.
The Legislative Committee is not meeting between now and the election.
Boys and Girls Club awards banquet will be held later in April. Special thanks to the Elks Lodge for offering their facility to the Boys and Girls Club free of charge for the event.
Registration for baseball and softball are still being accepted.
CM Donaldson noted that there was nothing to report from the Finance Committee. A year end budget meeting date will be set at the next worksession.
CM Donaldson recommended that the traffic study committee review problems at the 51st Avenue park entrance, stating that heavy trucks as well as regular vehicles, are illegally entering and exiting the park there in spite of posted signs and limited road access prohibiting use. She will contact Park and Planning, since some truck drivers were given that address as the park entrance.
Mr. Prangley was asked to check the status of a street light requested on 51st Avenue by a resident.
A pre-bid meeting for a new opening at 54th and Quesada will be held April 10th at 2:30pm. Sealed bids will be accepted April 25th at 2:00pm. Dates and times will also be advertised in the papers.
CM Tiberio reported on Community Affairs: Edna Rouco, a 50 year resident of 48th Avenue and Nicholson Stree died. George Morgan, also a longtime resident of Nicholson Street died. Condolences to their families from the Mayor and Council.
There will be an Easter egg hunt at the Mansion on April 7th at 11:00am for children 12years old and under.
The Lions Club White Cane Drive will be held April 7 - 9 at Sun Trust Bank (Dumm's Corner) and at the Giant in Beltway Plaza. Please support their efforts to provide eye exams and eye glasses for those in need with your contributions.
Chief Evans gave the public safety report for last month.
CM Davis read the Fire Department report provided by Chief Holzberger In it he reminded residents to change their smoke detector batteries. Also, the Fire Department will provide free smoke detectors to residents who do not have them. A smoke detector is recommended for every sleeping area in a residence. Please stop by the Fire Department if you need them.
Fire Department non-emergency numbers are: 301-883-7700 or 301-927-5718
The Chief reminded everyone to please evacuate a facility in the event of a fire alarm. He warned against endangering yourself by thinking it's simply a false alarm or a test.
CM Davis noted that a younger resident of Ward 4, Ron Davis of Tuckerman Street, had also died recently. Condolences from the Mayor and Council were extended to the family.
Mr. Donaldson noted that residents should keep an eye out for signs of rats during spring clean up and remove any rubbish that would provide space for them.
Tree planting in the Town's right of way will continue this spring. Road repair work on 44th Avenue, 44th Place and Sheridan Street will soon begin. Notices about car relocation will be distributed to the affected areas.
Traffic Study Committee - April 6, 7:00pm at Town Hall
Riversdale Historical Society - May 9, 7:30pm at the Mansion
Preservation Association of Riverdale Park - April 19, 7:30pm
Lee Donaldson gave the Buildings and Grounds report. The Loss Control Manager of the Town's insurance company recently did a safety survey of the town's buildings, parks, fields, etc. A copy of the report will be distributed to all departments when it is received.
CM Gross thanked Mr. Donaldson and Public Works for the trash dumpsters in the west side section of Riverdale Village where the playground equipment was installed.
Lee Donaldson reported on Public Works. Mr. Donaldson noted to CM Herman that Public Works hopes to do the paving for Oglethorpe and Sheridan in Ward 1 in the next 10 days. Work has been delayed because of rain.
As the result of a meeting with WSSC, it believed that some work that is budgeted for may be covered by WSSC. If the main runs down the center of a road, the Town can expect help on the entire road. If the main runs to the left or right of the road, the Town can expect help with possibly half the costs.
Efforts are being made to expedite work on Riverdale Road.
Code Enforcement is catching up on work they're doing.
Help is available to residents fighting rat problems. Please call Public Works if you need assistance. They're also gearing up to fight mosquito problems in the town. It is recommended that residents eliminate anything that holds water where they can breed (ie: piles of leaves)
The Pit Bull on Queensbury Road was picked up that residents complained about. Mr. Donaldson asked that those who call please leave their name and phone number when calling about an issue so he can follow-up to those concerned.
A citizen asked about leaves dumped by the Town across from his property. Mr. Donaldson assured the individual that the site was treated with lime and sprayed as recommended by the EPA so the site would not be a draw for rats or mosquitoes.
CM Scott reported on the Traffic Study Committee. A meeting with the State Highway Committee is pending that will address business/patron concerns about impacts of the Kenilworth Avenue construction.
CM Scott read a prepared statement announcing her intention to run for re- election. In it she stated her hopes and concerns for the Town and her District. CM Scott further expressed concerns about 2 convicted sex offenders living near location of expanded Grade day care facility. She also noted traffic problems with Powhattan Street related to cars turning around in other people's driveways after dropping off or picking up their children.
Public/Private Partnership for Tree Planting
CM Herman asked Rebecca Feldburg to report on tree planting activities. Ms. Feldburg reported that they were still accepting donations. Types of trees for planting were being selected. A County grant for $7K had been applied for, but they did not receive it. Approximately $3K in donations had been received to date. A table with information about the tree plantings will be available at the Farmer's Market.
It was noted that the Town's responsibility ends after the trees are planted. Residents will be responsible for watering, trimming as well as for future damage related to the trees.
Grade Property Special Exception
CM Scott made a motion to reconsider the motion to deny the special exception at 5307 Powhattan Road. CM Donaldson seconded the motion.
CM Scott explained that she had done research and learned that the State of Maryland has not provided for safe zones between child care facilities, schools, playgrounds, or other areas where children congregate, and sex offenders. States such as Illinois, Alabama, Florida, Washington, Kentucky, Texas and Oregon have enacted direct legislation establishing such safe zones.
CM Scott said she contacted State Senators and Delegates about enacting such emergency legislation in Maryland. She recommended reconsidering the special exemption because of the seriousness of the problem, pending response from the State Delegation about the emergency legislation.
CM Donaldson expressed support for the proposal noting that the Grade's attorney could request a continuance of their hearing before the zoning hearing examiner.
CM Tiberio stated that he believed that nothing was different than before. They were aware of the traffic problems, and the sex offender has lived at his residence, 50 feet from a day care center, for 13 years. He expressed disbelief that the special legislation would be put through so quickly and called the traffic issue a "straw man". He said he would vote against CM Scott's reconsideration proposal.
CM Herman noted that one of the pedophiles uses a wheelchair and didn't believe he was a threat.
CM Davis asked CM Scott whether the Grades, or their attorney, were notified of her new proposal, then expressed serious concern that they were not.
Mr. Joseph of 47th Avenue expressed concern about individuals trying to control the lives of others. He asked if anyone had even attempted to speak to the two pedophiles. He reiterated that they'd lived there for years and that one of them lived in a building with children living in it.
CM Scott noted that the last conviction of one of the pedophiles was in 1996 and that the State of Maryland still considered him dangerous.
CM Donaldson expressed her belief that the Council had a responsibility to do what they could to help protect citizens.
Simon Plogg of Ravenswood Road agreed with CM Donaldson that there was a responsibility to protect citizens. He expressed concern about setting a precedent for allowing residential development for commercial use.
Phil Bailey of Somerset Road voiced concern that the parents of the children in the day care centers may not be aware that there are convicted pedophiles living nearby. He suggested relocating the Grade facility to commercially zoned property instead of a residential area. Once the property was used for commercial use he believed there was little chance it would revert back to strictly residential. Mr. Bailey noted that on the surface, reversing or delaying the Council's past decision may seem unfair to the Grade family, but it may not be a bad thing for the Town. He also voiced his concern that the Council had a responsibility to protect its citizens.
Jack Bond of Cleveland Avenue said facilities like these or day care group homes need to be in commercial areas not residential.
CM Scott restated her motion: CM Scott made a motion for reconsideration of the denial of the motion.
Two were in favor: CM's Scott and Donaldson. Four were opposed: CM's Herman, Tiberio, Davis and Gross. The motion failed.
CM Scott said she didn't believe CM Scott's pursual of the need for safe zone legislation was unreasonable, but asked if the Council should be asking the state to pursue an issue that could harm the business of day care centers in town.
Mayor Ferguson noted that CM Scott did what she believed needed to be done, not only as a Councilmember, but as a citizen.
Kenilworth Avenue Reconfiguration
CM Davis noted that it was the time of year for requests to be submitted to the MNCPPC for municipal aid consideration in their budget. The Town would be asking MNCPPC for aid in reconfiguring the businesses, including facades and parking areas on Kenilworth Avenue. She noted that they provided assistance in the Town Center, and historic district reviews.
CM Gross made a motion to send the letter as proposed. CM Donaldson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis suggested borrowing wording from previous letters sent.
CM Donaldson asked about zoning and town permits for the beauty shop/day care facility on East West Highway. She voiced objection to the sign on the street advertising the home businesses. Mr. Donaldson noted that the Town was processing violations of the day care business at the residence.
CM Tiberio asked having a study done for a street on Riverside Drive from Nicholson to Taylor Rd.
Mr. Thompson of Sheridan Street asked for a microphone replacement.
Mr. Kiernan discussed the tree planting resolution the Council had passed and voiced concerns that individuals were acting outside of the original intent of the resolution. He also challenged information from CM Herman's February 22nd interview with the Gazette on US Route 1 development. He further noted to CM Herman, responses of a Town survey and it's relationship to Boys and Girls Club membership.
Dave Sutton of the Riverdale Park Fire Department thanked the Council for approving their lease. He clarified that the offer of free smoke alarms did not apply to apartment dwellers since the landlord is responsible for providing them to their tenants. Mr. Sutton said the rumor he'd heard around town about the Fire Department getting rid of their ambulance was false. He expressed intense concern about a rumor he'd heard about a false rumor he'd heard that the Riverdale Park Fire Department would be endorsing any Council candidate. He reiterated that they would not do such a thing and was upset that anyone would use such a method to affect the people's votes.
Jack Blade of Ward 4 stated that the day care center situation under discussion will "bite us on the butt".
Jack Bond agreed with Mr. Blade's comments and thinks the Town is opening a can of worms to allow this. More situations like this will develop. Eventually residents will get mad and move.
Motion to adjourn made by CM Davis. Motion seconded by CM Scott. The motion passed unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30pm
Minutes prepared from videotape by Mary Paradiso
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