Hyattsville weighs required ‘mental health’ program for city police

Hyattsville police officers could be required to talk to psychologists once every three months under a proposal to expand mental health services at the department.

Pics: New Hyattsville Middle School designs unveiled

Editor’s note: Route 1 Reporter is a subscriber-supported local news website. In the interest of the public discourse, articles about government policy are available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon. If all goes according to plan, a new Hyattsville Middle School could be open for students by 2023. The new middle school will be located to the north of the existing Hyattsville Middle School, closer to the intersection of Oliver Street and 42nd Avenue, on land that currently hosts the existing school’s athletic fields.

Hyattsville could pay landlords for apartment upgrades

Hyattsville apartment owners could soon get money from the city for making major repairs to their buildings. But the program needs to be approved by Hyattsville City Council. The proposal, called the Multi-Family Improvement Rebate Program, would reimburse property owners for half the cost of upgrades that either increase energy efficiency, remediate environmental toxins, improve air quality and circulator, or increase the realiability of heating and cooling systems. In other words, for every $2 the landlord spends on eligible projects, the city would reimburse $1. However, the total reimbursement would be capped at $50,000 per property. 

The proposal was first discussed by Hyattsville City Council at its Dec. 7, 2020, meeting.

Reaction: Hyattsville chief resigns for Anne Arundel

Less than two years after being sworn in, Hyattsville’s Police Chief Amal Awad announced she will resign in December to be the chief of police in Anne Arundel County. 

“Leaving Hyattsville is bittersweet,” said Awad during a press conference announcing her appointment to the Anne Arundel County chief’s job. “I’m fervently thankful to the city of Hyattsville for allowing me to serve as their chief of police.”

“Chief Awad has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, depth of knowledge, professionalism, and grace in her service to the City of Hyattsville over the past three years,” said Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, who also recently announced her own resignation, in a statement. “I was only able to work with her for a short time, but she deserves a lot of credit for the direction of the department and I am excited for her and for the opportunities that are coming her way,” said Hyattsville City Councilor Daniel Peabody. “I will very much miss working with her in the city of Hyattsville.”

“During her time as Hyattsville chief, Awad modernized her department, won the respect of her officers and her community and worked through the challenges faced by police departments across the country,” Said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. “She is a peacemaker and a consummate professional.”

Awad was sworn in as Hyattsville’s police chief Dec.

Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth poses for a photo.

Hyattsville Mayor resigns to focus on Our Black Party

Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth will resign from the city’s top seat, ending a nine-year career on City Council and six years as mayor. Hollingsworth announced her resignation in a message posted on Facebook at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 10, 2020. In her message, Hollingsworth thanked her constituents for their support, and said she would be turning her attention to the development of Our Black Party, a new political party she co-founded over the summer focused on improving the lives of African Americans through policymaking at all levels of government. “Unfortunately, I must let go to make room for the work I feel pulled toward,” said Hollingsworth in her message.

Hyattsville wants clarity for brewpubs in new zoning code

Hyattsville officials are pushing for a small change to the county’s new zoning code to clarify rules around microbreweries and other small-scale alcohol production facilities with restaurants. The crux of the matter is the new zoning code section regulating restaurants and bars requires those with “small scale” alcohol production facilities to devote a minimum of either 1,500 square feet or 45 percent of their total square footage – whichever is greater – to the actual serving of food and drinking of drinks. 

Hyattsville city officials want county officials to add language exempting businesses located in “adaptive reuse” buildings or where “the interior layout of the building makes compliance impractical.”

Specifically to Hyattsville, ambiguity in this area of the regulations could affect a number of businesses. Over the past several years, a number of small alcohol producers, including a meadery, a distillery, and several microbreweries, have set up shop in the city, many in buildings that predate these businesses. Potentially, the new regulations could cause permitting issues in the future, though city staff admitted it would require one to interpret the regulations counter to their intent. 

“We certainly have a few restaurants with alcohol uses within the city that are utilizing older buildings. Many of these buildings are close to 100 years old, and they are adaptive re-uses of buildings” said Jim Chandler, Hyattsville’s Economic Development Director, during a discussion of the proposed tweak at Hyattsville’s Nov.