Here’s a link to the agenda for the June 6, 2018 City Council Meeting: https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-june-6-2018/. Please note first that there is a location change: as we have several times in the past couple of years, the Council will be meeting at the New Hampshire Avenue Recreation Center instead of in the Community Center. In addition – prior to the Council meeting -- there will be a brief reception with light refreshments starting at 7:00 PM, in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month, which will also be recognized in a proclamation presented by the Mayor. The reception will offer an opportunity for residents to mingle informally with neighbors, Councilmembers and City staff.
The official meeting, beginning at 7:30 PM, will include, in addition to the Immigrant Heritage Month proclamation, a second proclamation on Gun Violence Prevention Month. We’ll have a work session on the report from our State Legislative Advocate, and then vote on several appointments to the Nuclear Free Committee and the Commemoration Commission. Finally, there will be a work session on a proposed property transfer between the former John Nevins Andrews School and Spring Park.
Update on Takoma Junction. I would note that the Council isn’t scheduled to take formal action on the Takoma Junction Development at this week’s meeting. And next week the Council is not meeting, as Councilmembers and City staff will be attending the annual Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City. At our June 20 meeting, we are tentatively scheduled to discuss findings of the Junction traffic studies, but there are no Junction-related votes currently scheduled for either the June 20 or June 27 Council meetings. I plan to send out a separate more detailed message discussing where we are on the project, including my current thinking about potential next steps. Meanwhile, I’ll be available this week to discuss the Junction or any other issue at the following times (no appointments are necessary): Wednesday, June 6, 2:00 – 4:00 PM at Takoma Bevco; Thursday, June 7, 7:30 – 9:00 PM in the Community Center (specific room TBA); Friday, June 8, Noon – 2:00 PM at Takoma Bevco.
Updates from May 23 Council Meeting. During the Council Comment period in the May 23 meeting, I raised a couple of issues I thought residents might be interested in knowing about. First, several residents had mentioned their concern about the open coal trains that traverse through the City (which has come up previously). I asked the City Manager to look into this issue, so we can determine whether there are any steps we can take to address the matter. Secondly, the impact of the increasing deer population continues to be something I hear about from residents. I asked the City Manager to see if we can set up a presentation similar to the one we had last year from a State expert on ideas for mitigating deer impact in the City. I’m hopeful we’ll have more information on both issues soon.
State Legislative Advocate’s Report: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180606-1.pdf. We’ll receive a report on this year’s State legislative session from Alice Wilkerson, who works with Public Policy Partners, the lobbying firm that represents the City in Annapolis.
Appointments to City Committees: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180606-2A.pdf.
I’ll be voting in favor of the proposed appointments to the Nuclear Free Committee and the Commemoration Commission. With regard to the latter, I’d like to point out that there are several vacancies on the Commission, even with the approval of the appointments we’ll be voting on. So, I encourage any residents interested in Takoma Park’s history and steps we may wish to take to honor those who have played key roles in our community over the years to consider applying for membership. You can read about the Commission’s purpose and responsibilities here: https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/boards-commissions-and-committees/commemoration-commission/.
Former John Nevins Andrews property transfer: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180606-3.pdf. As part of the work being done around the pending sale of the JNA property to Centronia, a child care organization, it was discovered that parcels of land approximately equal in size (owned by the School and the City) have been used for many years by the other owner (the School using City property for its parking area, and the City using JNA land for Spring Park). City staff have proposed a property swap to accurately reflect the true ownership of the parcels in question. I look forward to hearing more about whether the transfer would affect access to either site, including what it could mean for traffic in the neighborhood when the Centronia purchase goes forward.
As always, feel free to be in touch with any questions or comments about the agenda items outlined in this message.
Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council, Ward One