FullSizeRender (2).jpg


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.

June 12, 2019 City Council Meeting Agenda

Dear Neighbors:

Here’s a link to the agenda for the June 12, 2019 City Council meeting:  https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-june-12-2019/. The key agenda item is the Small Cell Tower regulations, on which there will be a presentation and public hearing. There are two voting items, which will be combined into a single Consent Agenda vote: a contract for CHEER to coordinate the Lunch and Learn summer camp, and a contract for M.A.N.U.P. to provide mentoring services. In our work session, we’ll have discussions on the Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan, the donation of property on Kansas Lane to the City; and possibly appointments to resident committees.


Office Hours: I’ll be available to meet with residents to discuss any local matters of interest on Wednesday from Noon - 2:00 PM at Takoma Bevco on Laurel Avenue. No appointments are necessary. If you can’t make it then, feel free to contact me to set up a mutually convenient time.

State Highway Takoma Junction Vision Meeting -- June 10.  As part of its efforts to work with the community to develop an appropriate vision for the Junction intersection, SHA is hosting a second workshop on Monday from 6:00 - 8:30 PM at the Seventh Day Adventist Church Center (6810 Eastern Ave., NW). Due to previously scheduled travel, I’m unable to able to attend the meeting. SHA is sponsoring an online survey on the intersection which you can access via this link: https://takomaparkmd.gov/public-notices/sha-vision-study-help-craft-a-vision-that-supports-mobility-and-accessibility-for-takoma-junction/. The survey deadline is tomorrow.

Montgomery College Math-Science Building Design Charrette -- June 18.  A design charrette focused on the exterior of the Math-Science building will take place on June 18 at 7:00 PM at MC’s Cultural Arts Center, located at 7995 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Crossroads Farmers Market Ward One Day -- June 19. The market is open on Wednesdays from 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM. This will be an excellent chance for Ward One to show its support for the important role the “other” farmers market plays in the Crossroads area. I’ll be there by around 11:30 and I encourage residents to join me for a brief tour, and a chance to sample the market’s offerings and maybe buy lunch.

Parking Permit Renewal. If you have a parking sticker with an expiration of June 2019, you’re required to renew your permit before June 30. Information and applications can be found here: https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/police/permit-area-parking/.

CELL TOWER REGULATIONS:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190612-1-2.pdf


In January the Council approved an ordinance in response to the Federal Communications Commission September ruling that significantly pre-empted local government authority over installation of small cellular towers. We’re moving toward finalizing the regulations to implement and enforce the ordinance. Mark Del Bianco, the attorney who worked closely with City staff in developing the regulations, will make a presentation, after which there will be a public hearing at which residents will have an opportunity to offer their views on the regulations.

Interested residents can also submit comments online through the above links up until June 20. In addition, the Council will have a further discussion of the cell tower regulations at our June 19 meeting, when residents will again be able to offer comments. And of course residents are welcome to send comments directly to me via email. I anticipate staff will make further refinements to the regulations, taking into account Council discussions and community feedback, as we to move toward July 15, when the regulations are set to go into effect.

This area of telecommunications law is complex, and many aspects of the regulations themselves are highly technical, so I’m looking forward to hearing Mr. Del Bianco’s presentation and having a chance to ask questions and get clarifications. One of the key points that often comes up in this kind of situation is to what extent or in what level of detail particular components of an ordinance need to be specifically reflected in the regulations. Some of the areas I’m planning to ask about include having the measurement of radio frequency emissions performed by independent contractors; having clear requirements for telecom companies’ insurance and performance bonds; a public process for any potential tree removals tied to tower installation; how to handle possible conflicts with other construction projects in the City; and community input into decisions relating to the offering of lower fees in exchange for public benefits.

CONSENT AGENDA (I’ll be voting yes)

Lunch and Learn:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190612-3a.pdf

MANUP Mentoring Services:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190612-3b.pdf


Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190612-4-rev.pdf. The Council has been working for some time on the development of the Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan, a process that has been slowed to some extent because of staffing changes. My hope is that we’ll be able to put some more specific details onto the general goals contained in the plan documents and then move toward finalizing it in the near future.

6507 Kansas Lane Property Donation:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190612-5.pdf. The Council will give consideration to whether the City should accept the donation of this property, an option which was provided in the will of the late owner, Takoma Park native and musician Milton Phibbs.

Committee Appointments:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190612-6.pdf.

Please be in touch if you have questions or comments about any of the issues covered in this message.

Peter Kovar

Takoma Park City Council

Ward One



June 19, 2019 City Council Meeting Agenda

June 5, 2019 City Council Meeting Agenda