College Park backs booze for Taqueria Habanero

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.

Analysis: ‘Water Wall’ debate shows power & powerlessness of College Park’s fiscal conservatives

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.

First look: 284-unit Hyattsville mixed-use building starts review

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.

Prince George’s Council dives into zoning, development overhaul

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.

Doc Drop: Read the Mt. Rainier parking meter revenue emails

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.

Investigators eye big drop in Mt. Rainier meter money

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 changes WSSC rezoning approach

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.

Mount Rainier police officer dies

Cody Laughran, a police officer with the Mount Rainier Police Department, died this past weekend. Laughran was 25. According to a statement from the city of Mount Rainier, he died at his home in Columbia Sunday morning. He was not on duty at the time. The cause of death has not been confirmed, the announcement said. Howard County police said Monday there were no suspicious circumstances or indications of foul play in Laughran’s death.

Mt. Rainier Mayor says MRPD allegations not “corroborated”

Mount Rainier Mayor Malinda Miles said allegations relating to investigations of the Mount Rainier Police Department have not been “corroborated” to her satisfaction. Miles issued this statement in the July edition of The Message, Mount Rainier’s municipal newsletter. Released late June 2018, Copies of the newsletter were circulated June 29 on social media by Mount Rainier’s Ward Two Councilor Celina Benitez. Copies of The Message have not been posted to the city’s website since January 2017. The brief 69-word statement reads in full:

“As most are aware, several city officers are under investigation (parking tickets, their handling and reporting; sexual misconduct).