Minutes of October 1, 2001
Town of Riverdale Park
Mayor and Council Legislative Session
Call To Order
The legislative session of the Mayor and Council was called to order. Present were Councilmember's Feldberg, Blaschke, Tiberio, Davis, Almirez, and Scott. Also present were Police Chief Evans, and Administrator Prangley.
Pledge Of Allegiance And Moment of Silence
Approval Of Agenda
CM Davis made a motion to approve the agenda with the exception of Item 9a - approval of September 6th, Special Legislation Meeting minutes as noted by Mayor Herman. The motion was seconded by CM Blaschke. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis requested and read aloud letter #6 from Traffic and Safety Signs in Pennsylvania notifying the Town that CSX will be closing the railroad crossing at Queensbury Rd to do upgrades for approximately one week beginning October 8th. Mayor Herman said he'd provide detail in his report but work would not actually begin until approximately a week after the scheduled date.
Town Administrator and Treasurer's Report
Administrator Prangley read aloud the Treasurer's Report .
Mr. Prangley informed everyone that the Town's annual audit is almost complete. The Town submitted CDBG Program 28 with four priorities as the Council had agreed (1st - 44th Ave for $107,000., 2nd - 47th Ave, 3rd - Taylor Rd, 4th - 54th Ave. Details noted in September Legislative Meeting minutes). The last 3 listed will be submitted to PG County Stormwater Management for improvement projects in the coming years. Mr. Prangley said that the 57th Ave and Somerset improvement bid documents are available for review. The pre-bid meeting will be held October 10th at 2:00 pm and the bid opening deadline is October 24th at 2:00pm. Design work for PY 27, Greenway Drive continues. PY 25/26, Neighborhood Conservation Smart Growth for Riverdale Rd is progressing. Some contractor coordination problems between crews are being worked out related to some keeping pace with laying lamp conduit for wiring for the lamps. Appreciation was expressed to residents coping with delays. Mr. Prangley said residents suggestions for addressing problems are welcome. He thanked the police department for their assistance in keeping students moving safely during the construction and for the schools cooperation while work continues. He noted the Council's action to extend RFQ deadlines for the redevelopment project and a structural engineer following the recent national and local tragedies. He explained that public works is getting the proper equipment and gearing up for leaf pick-up and snow removal projects that will soon be underway.
Mr. Prangley noted two legislative action requests discussed at previous meetings. One involved increasing the local share of income tax to the Town. He explained the last formula change for the Municipality share was in the 1970's and that the County keeps 83% of local share while Riverdale Park only gets 17%. The second action regarded personal property taxes paid by domestic and foreign corporations who erroneously report and certify what they owe, then come back 2 or 3 years later asking for refunds after municipalities had budgeted and/or spent the amounts paid in good faith.
CM Tiberio moved that the Treasurer's report be approved subject to audit. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Feldberg asked Mr. Prangley about an agreement with College Park regarding leaves and mulching (the question was not audible on the tape).
Mayor Herman commented on the events of September 11th. He thanked Chief Evans and the police department and the fire department for their dedication and assistance to outside rescue operations and for standing ready to continue to assist as needed. He stated that although employees were notified that they were allowed to leave that day, many chose to remain and serve others.
He said there was a successful exchange of information at a State Department sponsored event between a delegation of Mayors from the Ivory Coast and local Municipality representatives which Riverdale Park participated in.
The Town Center bid package deadline was extended to October 12th for a structural engineer and redevelopment design proposals as approved unanimously by the Council
Paving operations on Kenilworth Ave and EW Highway began today and is expected to be completed in 10 days baring bad weather. Overall the Riverdale Rd project is moving along ahead of schedule even though it may not feel that way at times to residents affected by all the construction - once done the $2M water main replacement and infrastructure improvement project will have been completed in less than 90 days. WSSC work is completed. Three contractors are now working on the infrastructure improvements. The police department is helping with pedestrian traffic. Sidewalk work should be completed in the next 10 days.
A traffic snare will occur during CSX work on the Queensbury Rd crossing improvement. The 7 day delay was requested to avoid simultaneous traffic problems with other construction projects around Town. Out of state workers will begin work on October 15th and have been requested to accelerate schedule to possibly complete work in 2 days instead of 3. Appropriate notifications will be placed around town to reroute traffic and EW Highway will be the main route around town until the work is done.
West Nile Virus is in Riverdale Park and has been verified in 2 different wards. It has already affected some residents. If dead crows are found on your property or around Town, residents are urged to call the health department or the police department.
The Riverdale Park architectural survey is completed. A very substantial portion of Riverdale Park would be suitable for historic designation which would do a lot for bolstering the community.
Queensbury Rd is safe and has been made available to those dropping off and picking up students at school during construction around the school.
A regional house delegation from the state house of delegates will attend a meeting on October 4th at 7pm at the Laurel City Hall to discuss various topics including school issues and the school board.
Applications and resumes are being accepted for the Director of Public Works position. A job description is posted outside of the town offices. The vetting and interview process will begin in a few weeks.
The Town is also looking for a full-time Code Enforcement Officer. Résumé's should be forwarded to the Police Department.
The Town is also in the process of looking for a Deputy Town Administrator whose primary responsibilities will involve economic development work.
The Mayor encouraged everyone to attend Riverdale Park Day at Riversdale Mansion October 6th from Noon to 5 pm.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, asked if applications for the position of Town Attorney had been received. The Mayor said 6 - 7 firms had expressed interest. He asked when the Deputy Town Administrator position was expected to be filled which and was notified of a 2 -3 week timeframe. Mr. Kiernan and Mayor Herman discussed and disagreed about whether the Director of Public Works position and salary had been eliminated from the budget. He pointed out that the record of deeds still doesn't reflect Riverdale Park as owner of the Town Center. Mr. Prangley said attorney's were looking into a tax obligation that was due to the Town. Mayor Herman said he believed the taxes owed to the Town were part of the settlement process so the Town would technically be forgiving themselves the debt. Mr. Kiernan also asked if the Council had used any of the new borrowing authority yet and was informed that it hadn't. He questioned architectural design standards placed on a curb cut approval from the last meeting arguing the lack of them in another instance closer to the Mayor's residence. He also asked what the Town personnel policy was regarding the exercise of police powers for the officer under indictment. Mayor Herman said when formation of criminal charges began the officer began serving administratively until the matter was resolved.
Marita A. Novicki, 4805 Sheridan Street expressed regret that she didn't know about the delegation from the Ivory Coast as she had served there as a volunteer nurse with The Peace Corps and would have been happy to serve the visitors as a good will ambassador on behalf of the Town.
Ms. Novicki said she and her son moved to Riverdale Park in 2000 and she now worked as a writer and editor at the UM. She wanted to address the issue of discontinuing letters to the editor in the Town Crier and express her opinions now as she would not be in attendance when the discussion came up later in the evening. She appreciated the routine articles and calendars but believed reading the opinions of her neighbors was a valuable resource in government participation and community life. She explained that she'd lived in Takoma Park for 16 years and stated parts of their mission statement/policy. In the year 2000, the Takoma Park Council adopted a clarifying resolution stating that their Mayor and Council do not have the power to edit any part of Takoma Park's newsletter, which confirmed that the newsletter was not only a tool of the Council, but the voice of the people of Takoma Park. Ms. Novicki reminded Mayor Herman and the Council of their role to serve the people of Riverdale Park and not to trample on their basic rights of free speech protected by the 1st amendment of constitution. She said she was pleased with the Spanish page proposed. However, she was disappointed in the draft(s) which allowed the Mayor to appoint the editor of the Town Crier as she believed that created a conflict.
Approval of Minutes
The motion to approve the minutes of the September 4th Regular Legislative meeting was made by CM Tiberio. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously following spelling changes and clarifications
The motion to approve the minutes of the September 24th Special Legislative meeting was made by CM Davis. Seconded by CM Tiberio. CM Tiberio asked if the MOU noted in Item 2 was received. The Mayor noted that the property owner agreed to initial off on the MOU but said he'd follow-up to be sure it was done and asked Mr. Prangley to note that in the minutes. CM Davis asked for verification that she'd abstained from voting on Item 2 (4703 Oliver St) as a family member was involved in the issue. The motion passed unanimously.
The motion to approve the minutes of the September 6th Special Legislative meeting was made by CM Scott. Seconded by CM Davis. The motion passed unanimously.
Suspension of Further Consideration of Six Foot Fence Request at 4906 Riverdale Road (Ward 2)
The Mayor explained that following a six foot fence request at 4906 Riverdale Rd from July, the Council had twice requested the resident be present to answer questions about the fence but she had refused so he suggested the Council suspend further consideration of her request at the present time. CM Davis voiced concern about mitigating circumstances about the property which had been featured in a news article about the number of dogs the resident owned. CM Scott asked if fence requests were ever approved without residents being present. CM Tiberio noted that others had been requested to appear to answer questions about fence requests but they hadn't and yet their fence requests had been approved. He noted that she made a formal request and application as required and suggested a vote to either approve or disapprove her fence request.
CM Blaschke made the motion to approve the six foot fence request at 4906 Riverdale Road. She noted that Ms. Hansen had been requested to attend but each time she had been unable to attend the meetings. The motion was seconded by CM Scott.
CM Scott said Ms. Hansen appealed the judgment by animal control to get some of her animals back and some were returned to her. She said further if the resident's request for a fence is to protect her animals and neighbors and if she agreed to inspections, she had no problem with the request. The Mayor noted that the resident had agreed to inspections at any time with appropriate notification. He'd informed Ms. Hansen that the Council may rescind it's approval if she didn't comply with the inspections as agreed. CM Davis asked if the Town had the agreement in writing and suggested it should be done.
CM Blaschke agreed to amend the earlier motion to say that approval of the fence is dependent upon acceptance of regular inspections at the request of the Town upon appropriate notification. The Mayor noted that the approval itself would specify the conditions agreed upon.
CM Blaschke asked if questions the Council had hoped to ask of the resident still needed to be asked and if there were still discussion needed about that. There was no further Council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor agreed to work with Mr. Prangley on the permit wording to include conditions the Council agreed to pertaining to the fence.
Town Acceptance of Streets and Sidewalks in Madison Hill (Ward 2)
CM Blaschke made the motion that the Town of Riverdale Park accept the streets and sidewalks of Madison Hill. She noted the extended discussions about the issue and acknowledged that the Town has been maintaining the streets there already. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
CM Scott said she had a letter from Public Works discussion some of the issues with the streets sidewalks curbs curb pans and aprons in Madison Hill and asked if the contractor would fix the problems found. The Mayor noted the bond had been released by the County before the Homeowners Association had taken possession/ownership without the contractor fixing problems in the development. He said because of that the homeowners are the only ones who can now fix the problems if the Town doesn't take possession of them and suggested the Town just fix the problems under future Town improvements.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
Adoption of Guidelines for the Publication of Town Crier
Mayor Herman reviewed that guidelines for publication of the Town Crier had been discussed at several different meetings starting with legislation introduced 9 months ago, but it had since had gone through several different versions. He explained that time was spent at the last work session discussing and revising the guidelines and that CM Davis had prepared two alternate procedures - one with letters to the editor included, one excluding letters to the editor.
CM Davis asked the Council's indulgence, as she was unable to make a motion because she had two separate documents to discuss and was not sure which to introduce without the Council's comment. Residents met with councilmember's on July 17th to discuss a set of guidelines they wished to propose in response to guidelines put forth by the Council. Guidelines couldn't be agreed to, as some councilmember's wanted to continue letters to the editor while the majority didn't because of the headaches, and no proposal was forthcoming. CM Davis said she'd been instructed to marry both documents and the bevy of emails received on the matter to develop guidelines (not legislation) for the Town Crier. Since that time and until this morning she'd received no input from anyone about changing the legislation to include letters to the editor, so she attempted to take comments from residents, recalled comments about earlier legislation months ago, and then came up with guidelines that reflected the residents and Council's concerns in both views. She apologized that the documents were not available until 6pm this evening for dissemination. She noted that she was unsure if she was to read them or introduce the one she believed they should vote on. The Mayor said she had the floor, so it was up to her.
CM Davis made the motion to approve the guidelines of Town Crier Standard Operating Procedures II (which include letters to the editor). CM Scott seconded the motion. The Mayor said they would entertain any discussion on either set of guidelines because the only difference was whether letters to the editor were included or not.
CM Davis spoke about what was in the guidelines and read the new section added since last week's discussion. She noted that the document begins with discussion about what the Town Crier is, frequency of publication, offensive material and defines what is offensive (including electioneering), duties of editors, other staff (including editor, town administrator, and copy editor), style guides, required content, how to discuss events (elections, Riverdale Park Day), periodic content (ward reports, administrative reports), statistical table or summary of crime reports, fire prevention tips and community programs from Fire Department, guidelines for trash and garbage removal, budget updates and other financial reports. She continued that other content may be included as space permits, including accomplishments, obituaries, town history, and other items of unique interest to Riverdale Park. The document also includes guidelines on letters to the editor section, photographs, production of newsletter including schedule, design and layout, electronic posting, translation, electioneering, and changes to the guidelines.
The Council adjusted the publication schedule as follows: December/January, February, March, April, May, June, July/August, September, October and November.
The new material added related to letters to the editor. Calls, letters, and emails from residents had been received, and CM Davis mentioned a few. Based on their comments, CM Davis came up with a text that she read aloud.
Mayor Herman said he absolutely supported the proposed document as presently drafted and acknowledged his support for continuing letters to the editor. The item he found unique in the proposed guideline was the restriction on receipt of letters to the editor for publication within 90 days of an election, saying he believed it may eliminate past problems with claims of electioneering and censorship at election times.
CM Tiberio said he would vote against approval of the proposed guidelines. He said every other year there are only seven editions a year that would accept letter to the editor because it precluded three editions prior to elections and then the July and August editions were combined and that only one page was provided for it anyway. He believed residents had ample opportunity to voice their opinions at Council meetings and in other local newspapers. He believed the Town Crier was established for the sole purpose of informing residents of what's happening. He voiced opposition to space being provided to the Mayor or Councilmember's as it gave representatives a place to blow their own horns. He reiterated his belief that opinions should be made publicly at meetings, where time and opportunity were provided for the voicing of opinions.
CM Davis asked if she could adjust the guideline wording he was concerned about to alleviate his concerns. CM Tiberio said no.
CM Feldberg asked CM Davis if electioneering is not allowed why they had omitted letters to the editor within 90 days of an election. CM Davis explained concerns voiced by the Council regarding the difference between letters to the editor during an election and of letters of support for a particular candidate at other times of year. The concern was about promoting people instead of issues. CM Feldberg asked why they're saying certain types of letters won't be allowed within 90 days of an election when the same type of letter supposedly wasn't allowed at all. The Mayor tried to clarify how a particular letter might be interpreted one time of year vs. another.
CM Scott voiced her support for the guidelines and belief that the Council should adopt them. She expressed appreciation for CM Tiberio's comments but noted that they can make changes or adjustments because they were only guidelines not legislation.
CM Blaschke said she is personally against letters to the editor being included in the Town Crier but because she has received so much feedback from constituents, she will vote to approve the proposed guidelines including them.
Sarah Wayland, 4711 Sheridan Street, expressed appreciation to CM Davis for adding the wording to include letters to the editor. She suggested a friendly amendment to the sentence "no letters to the editor shall be accepted for publication within 90 calendar days of a regularly scheduled election.....". She asked that the word "of" be amended to "prior to" as she felt "of" was ambiguous. CM Davis asked if the word "before" would be acceptable. Ms. Wayland agreed.
CM Tiberio noted there were different types of elections - scheduled, special, etc. CM Davis pointed out that they don't always know when elections will be held, such as when councilmember's vacate their seats.
CM Tiberio noted that the process of the Mayor appointing an editor "with the Council's approval" is included in the document, it is not where it indicates that he can appoint a replacement if the editor resigns. CM Davis said she will amend the document to include "with the Council's approval" following the Mayor appointing a replacement editor if the editor resigns.
Bruce Wernek, 4606 Queensbury Rd, reminded everyone that the Town Crier belonged to the residents, who are paying for it with their taxes. He feels the citizens should be heard and not shuffled under the rug for administrative reasons. He feels they can address electioneering problems and not suspend letters to the editor for 90 days by not naming particular individuals or their positions. He doesn't believe in the 90-day suspension because people should be allowed to voice their opinions but agrees that electioneering shouldn't be allowed.
The Mayor asked Mr. Wernek about ways the forum could still be used (as is done in larger political commercials during elections) and clarified their intent to get politics out of the process. Mr. Wernek said he would rather have 90 days of censorship rather than 90 days of no letters to the editor and suggested choosing one letter over another during that time and gave examples.
Mr. Wernek also suggested that Mr. Prangley and the Chief be given name plates where they sit during meetings.
The Mayor asked the Council's pleasure about whether or not to make modifications to the document or just vote on it. He asked for a review of changes to the document. CM Davis noted a change - pg 1 under the Editor Discussion, second line from the last, "if the editor resigns from the position the Mayor may appoint a replacement at the same or differing compensation with the approval of the Council". The Mayor asked CM Scott if she would consider that a friendly amendment to the original motion she seconded, and she agreed.
The other change was on pg 5, second bullet item, first line, "no letters to the editor shall be accepted for publication within 90 calendar days before a regularly scheduled election for Mayor and Council of Riverdale Park". CM Scott said she also considered that a friendly amendment to the original motion she seconded.
The Council voted to adopt policy guidelines for publication of the Town Crier - Standard Operating Procedures II. The vote was 5 affirmative, 1 opposed - CM Tiberio voted in opposition.
Recess 9:19 - 9:24
Establishing a Spanish Page for Town Crier
The Mayor noted that in the guidelines just adopted (pg 7) there was mention of printing information in another language. During Town Crier cost discussions it was determined that printing an entire edition in Spanish was cost prohibitive to the current budget. The motion was made by CM Scott to add a Spanish translation page. The motion was seconded by CM Almirez.
CM Davis asked what type of information was envisioned for translating to one page. The Mayor said fairly broad discretion would be given to whoever would be translating to encapsulate as much information as possible that would be helpful to those reading it. CM Davis believed that Council actions and election information and such types of information would need to be translated, because it affected everyone.
CM Davis said "required" information would include a summary of all council actions, all legislation and charter changes, Mayor's report, upcoming meetings and events in the calendar, elections. and contact information. The Mayor asked if it were more appropriate for the editor to decide the matter.
CM Davis said the things that legally need to be published are council actions and legislative charter changes. Whatever there's room for should also be added. She suggested that the calendar be printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other side. The Mayor asked if the original maker of the motion considered the suggestions a friendly amendment, and CM Scott agreed.
CM Davis made the motion to amend the previous motion to require translation of all council actions taken at regular and special legislative meetings and all legislation and charter changes and the calendar. The motion was seconded by CM Scott. There was no further council discussion or public comment on the amendment.
The motion passed unanimously.
The Council voted on the amended motion. The amended motion passed unanimously. There was no council discussion.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Road, explained that in previous years the Council had considered printing the Town Crier in Braille for blind residents following the Americans With Disabilities Act. The decision was made not to print in Braille, however, if a request was made, someone would be sent out to read it to them. Mr. Kiernan asked how many requests the Town had received for a Spanish translation and explained that in his building there were many other languages besides Spanish represented. He said one could be an equal opportunity discriminator and be within the law by printing it only in English. He warned that the Council should be prepared to make it available in any other language requested especially when you consider code enforcement issues, and there is no requirement for a homeowner in this town to be a US citizen. Mr. Kiernan said printing the election material is moot because only US citizens can vote and an English proficiency exam is part of the INS citizenship exam. He reiterated that the Town is opening itself up as there are many whose first language is not English or Spanish.
The Mayor noted that many municipalities print a Spanish page. According to the census track data, Riverdale Park has the largest population with Hispanic ancestry than any other municipality in PG County.
The Council voted on the main motion. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor asked if CM Almirez might know one of his constituents who would volunteer to translate. CM Almirez said he would be willing to do it himself.
Street Parking Legislation to expand distance between parked vehicles and driveways into commercial properties (Legislative Committee)
CM Blaschke read Resolution 2001-OR-2, Chapter 64-10 of the ordinance code of Riverdale Park amending Section 64-1, Definitions is amended by adding the following definition "parking lot", any parking space or facility that is attached to a retail commercial center, multiple family dwelling facility, apartment house or apartment complex unit that contains greater than 3 parking spaces. Section 64 -10 parking limitations is amended by adding the following subsection "(P) within 25 feet of parking lot entrances and exits". CM Davis seconded the motion.
CM Tiberio asked how it affected Queensbury Road around the school. The Mayor said it seems to be included in the broad definition but the Council can deal with the uniqueness of a particular location if it is deemed not suitable. CM Davis noted that some of the problems will be alleviated when road construction is completed. CM Tiberio doesn't believe the school is included in the definition. CM Blaschke said they can amend the wording. The Mayor explained if the Council doesn't want to include the school in the legislation it doesn't need to be changed but if they want it to be included it should be addressed. Members agreed it was acceptable as stated.
Karen Howard, 5006 Nicholson asked if the Town was going to sign the streets and mark the curbs yellow so everyone understands the no parking limitation and was told they would be.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Danka asked the Mayor to announce that volunteers are still needed to videotape the meetings. Anyone interested should contact the Town Hall. CM Davis said this was a great opportunity for young people and students interested in related careers.
Changing Meeting Times from 8:00pm to 7:30pm
CM Davis made the motion that the Council change the meeting times from 8:00pm to 7:30pm for the legislative meetings and work sessions. CM Feldberg seconded the motion.
CM Scott asked about the objective of the proposed change. CM Davis said several Councilmember's have to leave meetings early because of early-morning work commitments and there was concern that accommodations be made. CM Scott said she was one whose alarm goes off at 4:30am and a half hour earlier meeting won't make a difference for her. She'd suggested that the legislative meetings and work sessions be split into two meetings each, because there were so many issues to address and felt more sessions instead of longer ones that start a half hour earlier would better serve the residents even. She noted complaints about the length of the meetings where people have to turn off the meetings to go to bed because they run so late.
CM Blaschke asked how many would be broadcast and how changing from two to four meetings would affects videographers and the personnel shortage currently experienced. CM Tiberio said he advocated televising work sessions for years since he believed some of the most important work is done at work sessions. He was told they didn't have the people to handle the video equipment. He noted that for many years there were only two meetings a month where all business was handled and there was no separate work session meetings. CM Davis recalled that work sessions began earlier in the early 90s. Her thoughts on moving the meeting back a half hour would allow the pro-forma matters (the first 7 - 8 items - correspondence summary, mayors report, etc) to be addressed with the most important issues to residents being raised immediately at 8pm. CM Tiberio noted that when individuals run for office they understand meeting times. He also noted that the meetings tend to be stretched out longer than they may need to be because of all the talking that goes on.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Road, reiterated his comments at last month's meeting about people who run for office and know the time requirements of the job. He noted that 8pm is prime time and some have trouble getting there before 8pm. He disagreed with CM Davis' recollection about earlier meeting times noting it must have been prior to 1991 and not during the 8 years he served.
CM Feldberg noted that some people run for office to make changes, and this is one she hopes to make.
CM Davis said she was only trying to assist members who had to leave early and reiterated that it's easier for her to arrive at 8pm than 7:30pm.
Sarah Wayland, 4711 Sheridan Street, reminded members that Roberts Rules of Order addressed the number of times that individuals may speak to the same question per day - section 42 - "Unless the assembly has a special rule providing otherwise, no member may speak more than twice to the same question on the same day." She suggested that as an alternative to keep meetings shorter.
The motion was voted on verbally. CM Tiberio asked for a roll call. The motion passed 4 -2. CM Feldberg, Blaschke, Davis and Almirez voted yes. CM Scott and Tiberio voted in opposition.
Mayor Herman said effective at the October 29th work session the meeting will begin at 7:30pm. CM Davis asked that it be posted on the website and published in the upcoming Town Crier. The Mayor agreed that CM Scott raised an important point that the Council may need to consider how many meetings a month should be held if meetings consistently run long.
Approval of Recreation Board Appointments (Wards 1, 5, 6 and others)
CM Tiberio said he'd suggested Ms. DeGroat at an earlier meeting and she'd called to say that no one had contacted her yet. The Mayor suggested that members have interested residents come to Riverdale Park Day and meet with Ms. Toscano there.
Committee and Ward Reports
CM Feldberg commended the builder of the new house at 4703 Oliver Street who met with the Mayor and Council to discuss changes that would benefit the neighborhood. In response to the concern about drainage problems, the builder agreed to plant more trees. He agreed to increase the porch width and changed from a double to a single driveway to keep the look in line with nearby residences.
The tree planting program is active. 30 trees are on the list to be planted in front and side yards around Town. Approximately 20 are left if anyone had a suggested planting location.
CM Blaschke commended Chief Evans and officers for their contributions to community safety. She and Officer Phelps attended the Neighborhood Watch kick off meeting on September 20th which she said was poorly attended. Last Wednesday Officer Phelps and she attended a meeting about break in's in the Madison Hills community. Officer Phelps stressed use of alarms and burglar alarms which he recommended use of while at home during the day. She said the Police Department is available to come out and check resident's properties while they're away on vacation. Residents should call 301-927-4343 with questions instead of 911 in non-emergency situations. Neighbors need to be diligent and alert to what's going on around them. She encouraged residents to drive safely and come to full stop at stop signs.
CM Tiberio spoke about dead crows found in Riverdale Park (one in his driveway and one on a neighbor's property) -the first two have been confirmed as carrying the West Nile Virus. Residents must be careful.
He said there were some problems with Riverdale Road construction that may be creating future problems. One of the two new turning lanes onto Kenilworth Ave appears narrower. 49th onto Riverdale Rd east is also a problem because of the island hook into the road puts the driver into the left hand turning lane. There may also be a problem in front of school with turning at Taylor.
The Finance Meeting will be held October 10th 7:30pm
CM Tiberio noted the October 15th Maryland Municipal League Conference in College Park. He discussed the two pieces of legislation being proposed that were mentioned earlier and at previous meetings. He reiterated that they will take up the legislation with legislators even if MML doesn't support them.
CM Davis extended thoughts and prayers to the family of Lori Dice, who is in the hospital recovering from a heart attack over the weekend.
She received a more comprehensive street repair list from WSSC:
Tuckerman St: From today until October 12th main line valves in and around construction areas will be shut down to recharge main lines not under construction and relay water mains for all of Tuckerman.
45th place north of Sheridan Street connecting to Tuckerman St: Working on from October 15th to the 19th .
46th Ave north of Sheridan Street: From October 22nd to the 25th connecting storm sewer channel to Tuckerman Street.
From October 26th - 29th - chlorinating and flushing new water mains.
From October 30th to November 15th - hook up existing copper services to the new mains.
CM Davis reported that work began on her house, and they're temporarily relocated. Call Town Hall at 301-927-6381 if you need to reach her during the day, and they will get a message to her or you can call her at 301-367-9238 in the evenings.
CSX work will close the Queensbury Road crossing.
CM Davis said she's finalizing a tree planting list complete with phone numbers to replace the one turned in but lost in the election transition.
Economic Development Committee
CM Davis reported that the events of September 11th have changed economic development expectations and some types of businesses they were hoping to draw to the new Town Center may not be willing to risk the cash right now. They're looking closely into information in an article in the National Trust that may be helpful. CM Davis noted that she will be attending a National Trust conference in November (at her own expense) that may also be helpful regarding the Main Street situation.
Taylor Wells, a local interior design business in Town Center, was featured in last Wednesday's home section
The Preservation Association of Riverdale Park will be meeting October 4th at 7:30pm to discuss the new historic district and Riverdale Park day event.
The Riverdale Park Architectural Survey from MNCPPC's history division is completed. Two districts were proposed for historic designation. The first is West Riverdale Park from 44th Place encompassing the hospital to 43rd Street, South of EW Highway to the Hyattsville line. The second is both neighborhoods of Ward 4 going through Taylor Rd and North and South of the Highway along with other neighborhoods in Wards 1,2, and 3.
CM Davis and the Council discussed and agreed to meet October 22nd at 7:30pm to begin community dialog and discuss the process of applying for national district status. Though we qualify for it, we need to decide as a community if we're going to do it. The meeting will cover discussion of survey and what historic district designation will mean in terms of rules and benefits.
She reminded residents that the award winning history of the Town, The Riverdale Story: From Mansion to Municipality, will be on sale at Riverdale Park Day for $10.
The first meeting of the committee to set up a Town history archive will be held October 17th at 8:00pm.
October 16th at 7:00pm is the next Neighborhood Watch Meeting.
CM Almirez reported that he has received complaints about the safety problems walking along Riverdale Rd
He has received questions about parking regulations from constituents. Mayor Herman said the law is not effective until markings and striping is done.. The Town will be doing it themselves.
Chief Evans added to what CM Blaschke said earlier about being alert . A Longfellow resident arrived at home not long after a burglary had occurred but because neighbors were alert and gave police a description of the suspects and vehicle they drove the police were able to apprehend the suspects within the hour and recover the stolen property. Detective Haley responded to a call from a Bladensburg Pawn Shop where he found the two suspects and the vehicle unloading the stolen property. It turned out that the vehicle was also stolen.
A pedestrian was hit and killed by a bus on the 5500 block Kenilworth Avenue on Saturday night. The Chief emphasized the need for pedestrians to use designated crosswalks, especially in heavy traffic areas of Ward 5 & 6.
He read the September crime report.
The 2nd quarterly Community Police Forum is scheduled for November 6th at 7:30pm. Residents are encouraged to attend and ask questions or raise concerns they wish to discuss.
Following the events of September 11th one of their dispatchers who is an MP in the Air Force reserves was mobilized and is now working security indefinitely at the Port of Baltimore. One officer is on stand by for deployment as a member of the US Army Reserve, light infantry unit. Another dispatcher is on maternity leave so the department experiencing some difficulty.
The department provided escort support for equipment going to the Pentagon after the September 11th disaster. They were on stand by to provide security assistance but in the end weren't involved as the perimeter was moved to federal property.
After the tornado came through the UM one of Riverdale's officer's was provided traffic assistance as their department was stretched to the limit. Another officer, an official with the fire department, responded from home and helped at the Home Depot.
Fire Department Report
Dave Sutton said their was no official report this month. Their firemen and equipment will be at Riverdale Park Day October 6th. He offered warnings to residents about checking their heating, portable heaters, and fire places before starting them up with colder temperatures coming.
Ward 6 Report
CM Scott apologized for her absence at the last meeting due to an illness.
She thanked Mr. Prangley and Chief Evans for addressing the problem of children walking in Riverdale Road due to construction which had torn up the sidewalks. They had workers fill in one area so the children had a place to walk.
She encouraged constituents to continue to have patience with construction around Town and noted their home driveway is also blocked due to the work being done.
CM Scott visited NY a month after the Trade Towers tragedy and explained they're only about 1/10th of the way through removing the debris. She encouraged resident to do what they can by donating money, giving blood or participating in a fundraising effort. The process to get both NY and the Pentagon back together will be a very long process. Don't let time cause us to forget those in need.
CM Scott asked that the Town do whatever necessary to help prevent the spread of W. Nile Virus to its residents, especially if County doesn't do anything. A dead crow was found on her property as well. Mayor Herman said they do need to discuss what can be done. CM Blaschke spoke to PG County Mosquito Control expert, Jeanine Dorothy who said colder weather will decrease exposure. She advised municipalities to plan what to do at this time next year or it will be too late. Also, the problem may start earlier next year since the virus has already reached our region. The mosquito spraying program is no longer in effect. Other spraying is available but it's at Municipality expense. Ms. Dorothy is available to attend meetings to address questions and concerns. She will provide other W. Nile Virus training during the early winter months. CM Davis noted a giant mosquito method used by the military on islands infested with mosquitoes.
Mayor Herman asked CM Blaschke to ask Ms. Dorothy if she would be available to attend the next legislative meeting (or work session if unavailable for legislative meeting) to address citizens concerns about mosquitoes and the spread of W. Nile Virus.
Mayor Herman asked the Council if they were interested in displaying flag banners around Town. He explained that by law, traditional American flags must be taken down at sunset each evening or illuminated so flag banners are often used as an alternative. The decorative poles that will be put on will be used for other items in the future. They cost $40 - $45 each for banners - with assembly for pole will cost a little more and they're 3 _ ft long by 1 _ wide. Price breaks start at quantities of 33 so (33) flag banners with pole and freight would cost $3,564, (20) would cost $2,540. Another style flag banner would cost $2,700 for (30) or $1,868 for (20). The Mayor said he believes it's an economic development issue as well as a patriotic gesture and noted there is some unallocated money in the economic development budget that could be used for the purchase.
CM Scott made the motion to purchase (30) flag banners for $2,700 including fixtures and whatever else was necessary to post them within Town. CM Blaschke seconded the motion.
CM Davis said at the risk of seeming an unpatriotic Ebenezer Scrooge, given the Town's fiscal situation she respectfully disagreed with the purchase for the interior of the Town. She noted that banners like these are usually used in high-traffic locations to announce a business district, and they belong on roads like EW Highway or Route 1. They also generally come with corporate identity information, and that isn't needed for the interior of Riverdale Park. She said she believed the citizens are patriotic and don't need the banners to announce to themselves what they are. She recommended the Town purchase flags for the citizens to buy for hanging outside of their homes or in their yards instead.
The Mayor noted that the price would increase by $1,200 to add the Town's logo to the banners.
CM Tiberio said his concern about the purchase not a patriotic one as he along with everyone else wished to voice their patriotic support in whatever ways they can. His concerns about the purchase were due to the Town's fiscal problems.
The Mayor added that no one would question anyone's patriotism when objecting to the purchase out of fiscal concerns for the Town.
There was no public comment.
The Mayor called a vote. The motion failed. He suggested that the Council revisit the matter again following the finance committee meeting if funds are available.
The Mayor asked public works dept for utilization of the back area once used for code enforcement operation (now under police dept ) for the new Deputy Administrator once hired. He explained office space options involving different glass options for the small space to open it up. Doing the work in house they can get a 4 x 8 pane glass space for $600. or 4 x 4 glass clear glass for $360. Free used furniture from the warehouse will be used. The work can be done in house within 2 weeks without taking from necessary maintenance support.
The Mayor explained that the Mayor's office will be converted to an office that all of the M&C can use. The ventilation problems are dealt with by not building all the way to ceiling - there's an intake vent on one side of the space and an outflow vent on other side with no more than 6 inches of gap for privacy during conversations. A big window design is more attractive and makes space look larger if decided on. The computer with internet access can stay where it is or be moved. CM Feldberg asked about a computer for the new employee. The Mayor said a laptop is available for immediate use but they'll price one for future purchase. Mr. Prangley is looking into enhancing internet capability to connect computer stations. Another suggested option was the plexi used in police department which could lower the price even more.
CM Feldberg made the motion to choose the large window with ventilation on top and to expense up to $600 for the work. CM Scott seconded the motion. CM Davis confirmed that the design would meet federal guidelines for minimal office space and ventilation noting a current employee's office as stifling. The Mayor said OSHA standards are met.
There was not public comment.
The motion passed unanimously.
Ron Caywood. 5417 Powhatan Rd, said he's interested in advertising in Town Crier but was told advertising was increasing from $25. to $40 a month. He didn't hear that issue covered during Town Crier discussions. Mayor Herman said it was in the guidelines that they'd passed earlier in the evening and read aloud the guideline section pertaining to advertising costs found on page 6 - council would set at beginning of each year publication rates to keep up with inflation costs - to 3 column from 2 column print style. Advertising rate: $40 for a regular size ad, $75 for quarter page, $125 for half page, $225 for full page. He said they also covered during Council discussions at last Thursday's meeting.
Mr. Caywood expressed concern about the conflict between the Town's expressed interest in drawing businesses to Riverdale Park and of how businesses are cutting back because of changes in the economy. He suggested lowering the cost to make doing business here more attractive beginning with advertising costs.
On another note Mr. Caywood expressed disapproval of charging senior citizens and/or those in need with fixed incomes for items such as trash bags. He said he doesn't feel that business sense applied to some decisions that have been made from what he'd heard. Referring to the approved funding for a Spanish page in the Town Crier he didn't understand the stated interest in helping those in need when not all residents spoke only English or Spanish.
Sarah Wayland, 4711 Sheridan Street, asked when paving/street work would be completed on Kenilworth Ave. The Mayor said paving and striping operations should be complete in the next 10 days.
Dave Shade, 500 Taylor Rd, said a dead crow was found on his property and asked that the Town do something about the mosquitoes. He also explained a traffic problem with the left hand turn lane and adjacent straight lane at Kenilworth Ave and Riverdale Rd noting that people are going over median to get to left hand turn lane. With all the confusion he couldn't get over when he needed to. He believes the problem developed when the curb was moved out. The Mayor said he and the Chief noted it seemed to create more of a bottleneck than before and asked Mr. Prangley if the Engineer could redesign the area before work was completed. The Mayor and Mr. Prangley discussed the island issue and concrete work as well as asphalt and overlays (going north). The Mayor said the plan is to overlay only the section where the seem is broken.
Mr. Shade informed the Chief that the traffic calming machine worked until they took it away when auto speeds picked up again.
CM Blaschke commented that the best way for residents to control mosquitoes was to reduce standing water in their yards. Others noted there was a swamp area behind where Mr. Shades and his neighbors lived. CM Tiberio said Mr. Shades had just added a beautiful deck that the family couldn't enjoy because of the W. Nile Virus threat.
Motion to adjourn was made by CM Scott. All agreed.
Meeting adjourned at 11:08pm
Minutes prepared from videotape.
Dates To Remember
October 6 - Riverdale Park Day, Mansion Grounds, Noon to 5:00 p.m.
October 9 - Madison Hill Homeowners Meeting, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
October 15 - CSX Closure of Queensbury Road Crossing for up to three days beginning at 7:00 a.m.
October 16 - Neighborhood Watch Meeting, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
October 17 - History Center Committee Meeting, Town Hall, 8:00 p.m.
October 29,- Council Work session, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays - Farmer's Market, Town Center, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
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