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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.

June 22, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

Dear Neighbors:

Here is the agenda for the June 22, 2016 Takoma Park City Council meeting: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/2016-06-22-council-agenda-rev2.pdf

In addition to the final vote on an ordinance to extend the Owner Occupied Group House Registration Program, we will have votes on several City contracts, plus a discussion on Takoma Park’s legislative recommendations to the Maryland Municipal League. Links to more details on each of these items appear below.

In last week’s Council meeting, there were two agenda items relating to parking. First, the Council unanimously passed an ordinance eliminating the Area B parking permit program (which has allowed a small number of residents from areas outside Ward One to park in several streets in North Takoma in order to have access to the Metro). 

Based on comments I have heard from a number of residents about the negative impact of the Area B program on their home streets in North Takoma, I have been working for the elimination of this program. I am pleased that my Council colleagues agreed it was an outdated measure that should be ended. We did approve an amendment I offered which would allow Area B permit holders to park in the Takoma Junction lot if the loss of the permit would otherwise be a hardship (they would have to apply on an individual basis to receive this exception).

On parking more broadly, we heard from Sabra, Wang and Associates, the transportation consulting firm which recently completed a study on parking issues near the Old Town commercial district (the study looked primarily at Ward One, with a limited focus on Ward Three areas close to Laurel Avenue). 

While the presentation included recommendations for changes to existing parking policies, I want to stress that the study is part of a larger, comprehensive review of parking throughout the City. No decisions have been made yet about potential changes, and there will be an opportunity for public comment on the study in the fall (and I may organize an additional public meeting prior to that).  

Meanwhile, I’m interested in receiving feedback from residents about the study and the recommendations. So, I encourage residents to check out Sabra-Wang’s interactive maps (https://tkpk.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=389d98bea0194fc5831045a736eca9a6), and the study itself (https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/initiatives/project-directory/HCD-20160615-parking-presentation-to-city-council.pdf), which includes their recommendations. Please let me know what you think.

Owner Occupied Group House Registration Program https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160622-1.pdf

This is a simple extension of the program to prevent it from expiring, and I will be voting in favor of the extension. I expect the Council to look more closely at the City’s policies on Owner Occupied Group Homes when we take a deeper look at the range of issues relating to affordable housing.

The following four contracts are all based on earlier budget decisions by the Council, and I plan to vote in favor of each of them. I don’t believe there are any controversies related to any of them.

Independence Day Committee Contract:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160622-2a.pdf

Folk Festival Committee Contract:   https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160622-2b.pdf

Permeable Pavement Contract:    https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160622-2c.pdf

MANUP Contract:   https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160622-2d.pdf

MML Legislative Discussion:   https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160622-3.pdf

The Maryland Municipal League plays a key role in helping cities and towns around the State have a stronger voice with the State legislature. Our municipal government has an ongoing relationship with MML, and each year the City Council recommends three legislative initiatives that we would like the organization to include on its priority list for work with State legislators.

We currently have five ideas under consideration, which are listed in the link. I am supportive of including on our list the first two items:  legislation calling for better coordination between the State Highway Administration and utilities; and taking action to address tax duplication. I have not reached a conclusion as to the others. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on these (and potentially other) priorities. It will be very helpful to have feedback from as many residents as possible as part of our decision-making process.

As always, please feel free to be in touch with questions or comments about any of this week’s agenda items.

Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council

June 15, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

June 8, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda