Mount Rainier officials expect the solar panels atop city hall to generate around $100,000 for the city over the next year. That’s a big chunk of change for the city, which – due to a stale email address – earned nothing from the solar panels for the better part of a decade. The news was announced at Mount Rainier’s Sept. 2, 2020, City Council meeting by Councilor Bryan Knedler, who spearheaded the effort to get the panels installed in 2011. According to Knedler, the panels generated about $7,000 for the city last month.
College Park City Council voted down a measure that would have seen the city endorse a letter from area elected officials calling on landlords to be lenient with student tenants who may not be returning to campus this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The vote took place during a special voting session held after Council’s regularly-scheduled Aug. 4, 2020, worksession. College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, explaining his support for endorsing the letter, said University of Maryland officials expect about half of their students to attend class remotely this fall. Some students, as reported by The Diamondback and The Baltimore Sun, are now scrambling to cancel their plans to live on or near campus as a result of the pandemic’s impacts on in-person schooling.
City officials are favorably disposed to Taqueria Habanero’s plans to serve alcohol at its College Park location. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant could be approved to serve boozy drinks on Baltimore Avenue by late December 2019.
The restaurant’s application for a Class B Beer Wine and Liquor License was discussed by College Park City Council at its Oct. 22, 2019 worksession. Following a brief discussion, College Park City Council unanimously approved a measure expressing support for the restaurant’s liquor license application, which must be approved by the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners, more commonly known as the Liquor Board. The application goes before the Liquor Board Dec.
College Park is not like other Route 1 municipalities. Despite nominally being the “largest” city in the corridor, by virtue of the part-time presence of college students, it’s civic character and discourse is more influenced by the approximately 10,000 year-round households whose residents call the city home. In other words, and at least from a local politics perspective, College Park is a small town. And like many small suburban blue-state towns, a vocal contingent of small-government, fiscal conservative suburbanists occupy a place in the local discourse disproportionate to their ability meaningfully affect local policy decisions. Of late, their voices are most-often amplified on City Council by Fazlul Kabir, one of two representatives from northern College Park’s District One, a mostly-suburban character neighborhood roughly bound by the Beltway, Route 1 and the CSX railway.
Plans are moving ahead for a proposed redevelopment in downtown Hyattsville across from the EYA Hyattsville Arts District. Pictured above: A birds-eye rendering of the proposed Hyattsville Armory Apartments planned by Urban Investment Partners. Image courtesy City of Hyattsville, Urban Investment Partners. Dubbed the Hyattsville Armory Apartments, the proposal calls for the construction of a 284-unit mixed-use apartment building with 32,000 square feet of retail space on the western edge of Baltimore Avenue between the Hyattsville Armory Crossover Church and Hamilton Street. After spending months acquiring the properties, Washington D.C. firm Urban Investment Partners has filed a detailed site plan and preliminary plan of subdivision for approval with Prince George’s County planning officials.
Development attorneys, telecom representatives, public health activists, food policy wonks and a few municipal officials were among a small group to give their thoughts to county leaders on a proposed overhaul of Prince George’s zoning, land-use and development regulations. The action took place Tuesday, July 11, 2018, during a work session of the Prince George’s County Council in Upper Marlboro, pictured above. The purpose of the work session was to gather public feedback on the proposed zoning re-write. Collectively, these zoning, land-use and development regulations govern what, where and how any land can be used or developed in Prince George’s County. These regulations, commonly referred to as just “zoning” rules, dictate everything from the distance structures must be set back from the road to the process by which development and redevelopment proposals large and small are reviewed, approved or denied.
Mount Rainier city officials are investigating financial irregularities within the Mount Rainier Police Department. At least one aspect of that investigation focuses on a sudden 2017 decline in the city’s parking meter revenue collection rate. Route 1 Reporter produced a report diving into those parking meter funds – they literally are coins – using emails obtained through Maryland’s Public Information Act. You can read those emails below. For the full context, check out our in-depth report on Mount Rainier’s parking meter revenue funds here.
Parking meter revenue collections fell off a cliff in Mount Rainier in 2017 and into 2018. Pictured above: Michael Scott, former chief of police of the Mount Rainier Police Department, at right. Victor Kenworthy, Mount Rainier senior patrol officer and president of the Mount Rainier Fraternal Order of Police, the city’s police union, stands on the left. This sudden drop in parking meter coin collections is one aspect of an internal investigation into the finances of the Mount Rainier Police Department. Email correspondence between Mount Rainier city officials, obtained by Route 1 Reporter, shows just how dramatically the city’s parking meter revenue collections dropped in recent years, as well as steps city officials took to rectify the issue once the anomaly was discovered.
Werrlein Properties is changing tack on a proposed rezoning that would allow an abandoned Hyattsville office building and parking lot to be redeveloped into homes. Pictured above: A rendering of townhomes proposed to be built on a parking lot that’s part of the long-abandoned WSSC offices in Central Hyattsville. Illustration courtesy Werrlein Properties and the City of Hyattsville. Now, the developer is asking Prince George’s County planning officials to rezone both the Hamilton Street office building and its parking lot near Magruder Park as mixed-use-infill, or MUI zoning. Presently, the office building – once home to the headquarters of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission – sits on the upper lot.