College Park to tweak animal laws; redesign city seal


Michael Theis/Route 1 Reporter

College Park City Council will redesign the city seal to make it more legible, and to remove an anachronistic cross depicted on the seal’s rendition of the University of Maryland chapel. 

According to City Manager Scott Somers, the city seal redesign was proposed by the architects and designers involved in the construction of a new College Park City Hall, which will feature a large city seal behind the council dais. The designers noted the existing city seal’s hand-drawn design does not translate well into a large format, with irregular lines becoming pronounced. They proposed a new design that straightens the lines on the finer details within the seal. During discussions about this, it was noted that the chapel on the seal has a cross, while the chapel – which has always been non-denominational – does not have a cross. 

“The City Council on numerous occasions has stated its commitment to be a City that is welcoming and open to people of all faiths and backgrounds,” reads a memo from Somers about the seal redesign. “A cross on the chapel in the City Seal could be perceived as the City supporting some religions over other religions”

The matter received little discussion during City Council’s Oct. 6, 2020, worksession. City Council agreed to bring the matter back at its next meeting on the consent agenda, a section of the meeting reserved for a quick approval of non-controversial items. 

Animal law overhaul

College Park City Council is weighing an overhaul of city animal laws. The goal of the project is to update the laws to conform with best practices in animal control policy and align the laws with existing county laws. The measure appears to have broad support on City Council, which discussed it during its Oct. 6, 2020, meeting.

Among the major changes, the law adds fines for animals found at-large, ranging from $50 for a first violation to $250 for a third violation. Not scooping your dog’s poop could result in a $50 animal waste fine for first violators to $250 for those caught three times in a year. 

The proposed overhaul also updates the city definition of nuisance animals, adds a prohibition against tethering dogs outside alone for more than an hour,

The full scope of the proposed overhaul can be found in this week’s City Council packet. 

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