Meeting Roundup: Cafritz Talks Continue; Pollo Fiesta License OK'd
Meanwhile, a Riverdale Park police sergeant made a dramatic arrest on Christmas Day.
The Riverdale Park Town Council held its monthly legislative session Tuesday evening. Below is a summary of votes and major discussion points from the meeting:
• Mayor Vernon Archer thanked those who participated in the Riverdale Park Holiday Market and Festival of Lights in December.
• The town is continuing to work with neighboring municipalities and the Cafritz development team to reach an agreement "that would allow us to endorse with conditions the Cafritz project," Archer said. "The overwhelming impediment to moving forward with this project is the crossing of the CSX tracks. We are investigating with the county the alternative financing methods … that would allow some of the additional new taxes from the development to be targeted toward construction of the bridge."
• The council is set to approve a final stance on the Cafritz project at its Jan. 9 special meeting.
• Town Administrator Sarah Imhulse reported that the town's year-to-date expenditures stood at $2,305,749.65 versus revenue of $4,906,818.08 (as of Dec. 2011).
• Town offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. There will be normal trash collection on that day, however.
• Representatives from Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission will attend the next three council worksessions (beginning Jan. 30) to discuss and receive feedback on the proposed Purple Line.
• Police Chief David Morris reported that his department was monitoring several maintenance and code enforcement issues at town center and Jey's Auto.
• Morris also said that Sgt. German Garcia "made almost an on-scene arrest" on Christmas Day for a sexual assault that had occurred moments earlier in the 5400 block of Riverdale Road. The suspect was turned over to Prince George's County Police and charged, according to Morris.
• Bates Trucking Company will collect Christmas trees in Riverdale Park each Wednesday through the first week of February, according to Public Works Director Leonard Addison. Trees must be placed curbside by 6 a.m. on the intended day of pickup.
• The next Saturday drop-off of bulk trash will be held Jan. 21.
• Leaf collection ends Jan. 13. From that point on, residents must bag leaves and place them curbside for Wednesday morning pickup. Addison said that residents had done a great job helping the town to collect leaves to date.
• Councilman Alan Thompson (Ward 2) said the Finance Committee held a meeting in Decemeber which included discussion of budget amendments and a revenue shortfall from the town's speeding cameras ("great news from a public safety perspecitve," Thompson said).
• Councilman David Lingua (Ward 3) thanked town staff for their efforts in "decking the halls" and organizing various events during the holiday season.
• Councilman Raymond Rivas (Ward 5) echoed those sentiments, thanking volunteers for their help and calling for continued participation. He singled out Emily Fanning, Jim Coleman, Nova Johns, and the Riverdale Fire Department.
• Councilman Alejandro Silva (Ward 6) thanked Addison for the traffic calming devices the Public Works Department had placed in his neighborhood.
• During the public comment period, resident Joe Kelly told the council that "taking a firm stand on [the Cafritz] development will make this town well known. And no is a possible answer."
• The council approved, 4-0, a request for a class B beer and wine license from Pollo Fiesta (6408 Kenilworth Ave.).
• The council approved, 4-0, a memorandum of understanding with the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation for a Route 1 Corridor Market Study.
• The council approved, 4-0, a request to open formal cable franchise negotiations with Comcast. The measure does not authorize the town to reach a final renewal agreement yet.
• Thompson introduced proposed revisions to the town's new ethics ordinance, which the council will consider at a future meeting. State authorities recommended several technical wording changes after reviewing the language of the ordinance, Thompson said.
• Lingua proposed that the council issue a proclamation at a later date in honor of Stephanie Chapman, who passed away last month at the age of 36 after a six-year battle with cancer. Chapman was a Riverdale Park resident and a teacher at Hyattsville Elementary School.