June 9, 2017
Now that the Fiscal Year 2018 County Budget has been approved, the Council is back to an intense focus on legislation and oversight.
On Tuesday, two bills I have been working on passed
. Both deal with significant Quality of Life issues experienced in District 3 and across the County. CB-30-2017 gives our police department and other agencies the tools they need to shut down large, ticketed pop-up clubs and restaurants operating in single family homes. NBC4 covered this legislation here. CB-33-2017 better defines a home occupation to ensure that in residential neighborhoods, the home is the primary residence of the business owner, among other things.
These are just two bills of several that I am moving forward to address Quality of Life concerns raised by constituents. Other bills which will be heard in committee soon will address noise from commercial businesses next to residential neighborhoods and the need to ensure abandoned or broken down vehicles are tagged and towed more quickly. From every corner of my district, I hear concerns about trash cans left on the curb for several days and piles of bags overflowing beyond the County-distributed cans. This situation does not meet our shared goal for clean and safe communities. I am also working on legislation to implement standards -- and fines -- to mirror the regulations most of our municipalities have to regulate when cans can be put out, when they must be removed, and fines for noncompliance.
Over the years, much of our strongest legislation has come from questions and concerns raised by residents. Please don't hesitate to reach out to share your questions or concerns.
On Thursday, the Public Safety & Fiscal Management Committee voted favorably to move forward another bill I proposed. This one requires healthy options in all County-owned vending machines. If passed by the full Council, this legislation will codify what our procurement department is already implementing. Last month, the M-NCPPC also passed a resolution requiring healthy options in vending machines on their parks and recreation properties in both Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.
Federal requirements currently impose even more stringent guidelines on all public school property.
Council also approved resolutions sponsored by Council Member Turner to support two additional Food Truck Hubs in District 4, one in Bowie and another in Greenbelt. I anticipate those hub coordinators will complete their applications and be approved soon. Getting high-quality trucks licensed in the County and establishing Food Truck Hubs has been much slower than anticipated, but I'm hopeful this summer we will see increased vending at hubs to provide additional food options to our residents and new opportunities for our entrepreneurs. Thanks to the stronger enforcement mechanisms established through the package of Food Truck Hub legislation, our Revenue Authority staff are actively ticketing, fining, and where necessary, taking to court, food trucks that are either not licensed or are vending outside of a hub. If you see a food truck vending illegally please report it online to County Click. There are three "Food Truck" options under the Service Category drop down menu. You can also call 311 during the workday. The original Food Truck Hub legislation dramatically strengthened enforcement and fines for illegal trucks and I am counting on you to report nuisance trucks when you see them.
I am also working to bring high-quality retail to Prince George's County. For the past year, I've served on the planning committee for the creation of a retail strategic plan. On Tuesday, the
Prince George's County Planning Department briefed the Council on the final report of this plan, titled Prince George's County Competitive Retail Market Strategic Action Plan. This plan
outlines key measures, policies, programs, and financial incentives the County can undertake to leverage areas of opportunity, strengthen and diversify the County's local and regional retail base, attract and retain desired high-quality retail, and address the incidence of marginal, at risk, or failing retail centers. The Strategic Action Plan includes six major strategic actions, with 26 sub-actions, that are all based on key areas of opportunity. You can view the plan online
and watch the Council briefing here.
If you live in the neighborhoods of Riverdale Heights, Riverdale Hills, Crestwood, Templeton Knolls, Eastpines, Beacon Heights or in the eastern portion of the Town of Riverdale Park, I encourage you to share your thoughts on the
Preliminary East Riverdale and Beacon Heights Sector Plan
by speaking at the public hearing on Tuesday, June 20, or submitting testimony to the Clerk of the County Council. Details for how to do so are on the right.
This plan evaluates, prioritizes, and makes recommendations to revitalize the neighborhoods mentioned above and focuses on improvements in many areas including land use; housing & neighborhoods; economic prosperity; community heritage, culture & design; transportation & mobility; healthy communities; the natural environment; and, public facilities. You can view the documents related to this planning process on the Prince George's County Planning Department
I join with the constituents who have reached out to me in my deep concern
that a female engineer in the County was paid less than her male colleagues. I share the County Executive's commitment to ensuring that all employees are compensated equally for their work and that resources are made available to repair our compensation system.
I share news and updates daily on social media. If you are active on social media, too, please engage with me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.
As always, don't hesitate to reach out to me or a member of my staff if we can assist you in any way.
Together Strengthening our Community,
P.S. If you live in District 3, I hope you received my annual print newsletter in the mail in April. If you didn't receive one or would like to read it again, you can read it online.