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Welcome to my blog, which features frequent updates on local Takoma Park issues, including City Council meeting agendas, plus occasional commentary on national news and politics.

October 3, 2018 City Council Meeting Agenda

Dear Neighbors:

Here’s a link to the October 3, 2018 City Council meeting agenda:  https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-october-3-2018/

Before the public meeting at 7:30 PM, the Council will be meeting in a closed session to discuss the City Manager’s evaluation. Then we’ll start the public meeting with two proclamations (on Energy Efficiency Day and Indigenous Peoples Day), followed by a public hearing on the City’s Community Development Block Grant funding; a presentation on LED streetlights from the International Dark Sky Association; and a staff report on the City’s energy efficiency programs.  After those presentations, the Council will take votes on the Hilltop Road traffic calming plan; the Lee Avenue affordable housing Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement; and a contract for purchase of Adobe software licenses. We’ll close with work session discussions on proposals from the Commemoration Commission, and on the housing components of our Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan.

Important Announcements:

The next Montgomery College Math-Science Building Design Charrette will take place tomorrow (October 2) from 7:00 - 9:30 PM at MC’s Cultural Arts Center (7995 Georgia Avenue).  http://mcblogs.montgomerycollege.edu/tpss-math-science-building/design-charrette-architectural-and-systems-concepts/

Coffee with a Cop -- your chance to talk informally with members of the Takoma Park Police Department:  Wednesday, October 3, from 8:00 - 10:30 AM at Spring Mill Bakery.

The annual Takoma Park Street Festival is happening this Sunday, October 7 from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM on Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park and Carroll Street, NW in Takoma DC.  http://www.mainstreettakoma.org/featured-events/takoma-park-festival/

CDBG Public Hearing:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20181003-1.pdf. The City is expected to receive some $91,000 in federal CDBG funding this year from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Under HUD rules the funds can only be used for projects or initiatives that benefit lower income individuals or areas. The Council previously decided to limit our use of CDBG funds to capital projects. While $91,000 is a relatively modest amount, it’s a sum that can have a significant impact locally. The Council will be deciding in the coming weeks how to make use of these funds, taking into account any ideas that may be put forward by members of the community. So I encourage residents who have thoughts on how best to utilize this money to participate in the public hearing.

Dark Skies Presentation:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20181003-2.pdf.  The City is continuing to consider how to implement the conversion to LED technology for our streetlights. Switching to LED will reduce energy use and save money, as well as minimizing upward light emissions if proper shielding is used. A key outstanding question is what range of brightness and color of light would be appropriate for Takoma Park as a whole, or perhaps for different areas within the City. Test LED streetlights have been set up on Erie, Hickory and Oswego Avenues. The “color” level of these lights is 3000 Kelvin. Working with Pepco, the City is installing on those same streets some alternative lights, including 2700 Kelvin lights (which are generally seen as less while or blue), and lights with several different wattage levels. This will enable residents and City officials to better compare lighting options. Tonight’s presentation from Dark Sky Director Jim Dougherty should offer some useful technical information and thoughts on best practices and LED efforts that have been undertaken elsewhere. Meanwhile, there will be a tour with Pepco to view the lights on Monday, October 8 at 7:30 PM (details on where to meet, etc. will be provided later).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Efficiency Programs  -- Background Information Temporarily Unavailable.

Hilltop Road Traffic Calming:   https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20181003-4.pdf  This is the final vote on this measure. I’ll be voting in favor of the plan.

Lee Avenue PILOT Agreement:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20181003-5.pdf.  Another final vote, and again I’m voting yes.

Adobe licenses:   https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20181003-6.pdf.  I’ll be voting for this purchase.

Commemoration Commission:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20181003-7.pdf.  The Council met recently with the Commemoration Commission to hear from Commission members about their ideas on potential re-naming of streets that are named for Civil War generals, and several other municipal commemoration issues, including how best to memorialize the recreation space on Ritchie Avenue that was taken from the local African-American community in order to build the Public Works facility. We’ll be talking about how to move forward on these ideas.

Housing Strategic Plan:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20181003-7.pdf. Developing a coordinated strategy aimed at promoting and preserving affordable housing options in the City is a top concern for me, and one of the key areas that has been identified as a priority by the Council. This discussion will focus on the housing recommendations contained in the broader Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan put forward by our outside consultant last year.

As always, please feel free to be in touch with questions or comments about any of the matters contained in this message.

Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council, Ward One

240-319-6281; www.councilmemberkovar.com

City Council Action -- Week of October 8, 2018

City Council Agendas for September 24 & 26, 2018