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Takoma Park corrects boundaries at former Adventist School

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — As the Potomac Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church prepares to sell the former John Nevins Andrews School property, the Takoma Park City Council discovered discrepancies in the boundaries surrounding the parcel.

The former school building, located at 117 Elm Avenue, occupies a 123,425-square foot property adjacent to the City-owned Spring Park. Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, City Manager Suzanne Ludlow explained, the City discovered that a 11,296-square foot portion, consisting of two separate tracts of the former school’s parking lot, was located on City-owned land.

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Takoma Park mayor stays committed to racial equity

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — After residents voiced concerns about the potential impact of a proposed development in Takoma Park on the City’s minority community, Mayor Kate Stewart said she is still committed to racial equity as the City Council weighs the issue.

Introduced in April 2017 and sponsored by Council member Jarrett Smith (Ward 5), the Racial Equity Lens establishes that the Council consider the impact each project or resolution would have on minority groups in the city by including a Racial Equity Impact Statement on all agenda items discussed by the Council.

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Takoma Problems Persist

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Tensions between residents and the Takoma Park City Council remain high as the project to redevelop a city-owned parking lot adjacent to the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op enters its fifth year.

“Our county and the world is already affected enough by our cars and our carbon footprint, without trucks adding to it all,” said 13-year-old Ward 2 resident Elizabeth Comfort-Cohen during the City Council's weekly meeting Wednesday. Comfort-Cohen, who goes by the Co-op on her commute to school, expressed concern the proposed Takoma Junction Redevelopment project could have on pedestrians and cyclists. “All I’m asking, council members, is that you think long and hard about the effect this project can make on the community and not just the government.”

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Takoma Park moves forward with tax plan

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The Takoma Park City Council voted unanimously to move forward with a resolution that would exempt 100 percent of inventory from the personal property tax.

The move would create a gap in funding that will have to be met another way. A couple ideas were put into the fray on how to make up the difference.

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Takoma Park votes to condemn gun violence

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City council voted to condemn acts of gun violence and to support the planned March 24 national “March for Our Lives” demonstration in a 6-1 vote, Wednesday evening.

“As a council … I felt like we really needed to support our young people and wanted a lot of the voices we’re hearing standing up,” said Council member Kacy Kostiuk (Ward 3), who sponsored the resolution.

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Facing staff shortages, Takoma Park discusses upcoming budget

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Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — With the upcoming budget season, some of Takoma Park’s department managers asserted at a priorities meeting on March 1 that current staff shortages limit the ability of municipal departments to carry out the objectives laid out by the City Council.

“Our workload exceeds our staff capacity by an amazing amount,” said Sarah Anne Daines, the city’s Housing and Community Development director. “There’s a lot of commitment in terms of staff, time and energy in making those efforts come to reality.”

As the City Council discussed its budget priorities for the 2018-19 fiscal year, several other department managers said they run programs with limited staff.

“We have a small city staff that does a great deal and their commitment to carrying out the Council’s priorities has been terrific,” Mayor Kate Stewart said. “With a small staff, it’s important to recognize the need to possibly add more staff.”

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Takoma Park considers abolishing inventory tax

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The inventory tax could be abolished in Takoma Park to make the south county municipality a more attractive place for businesses.

“We have found, over the years, that we have a real hodgepodge of businesses paying this tax including the city has received tax from entities right outside the line but have a mailing address that says Takoma Park,” said City Manager Suzanne Ludlow. “We have a number of businesses in Takoma Park that have never paid or probably aren’t paying the right amount.”

Alternatively known as the personal property tax, it requires businesses in the city to pay a certain amount based on the full value of their physical assets including goods and furnishings.

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Takoma Park votes to allow outdoor dining

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Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council will vote Wednesday to approve an ordinance that will permit restaurants to establish outdoor seating areas on public sidewalks.

The proposed ordinance – which seven of the eight Council members supported during the first of two required votes last week – establishes a process by which restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and community kitchens can apply for permits that will allow them to set up outdoor dining areas on publicly-owned sidewalks within the city.

“I think this would be a great benefit to the community and to businesses to allow this,” said Council member Kacy Kostiuk (Ward 3) while speaking during the Council’s Jan. 24 work session. “I was really excited by some of the ideas and recommendations that were in this related to doing some kind of innovative things like closing streets to offer opportunities for more of a plaza feel.”

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Takoma Park nonprofit promotes healthy eating and organic enterprise

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With a $20,000 grant from the City of Takoma Park, the Crossroads Community Network aims to expand healthy food access for the city’s residents.

“This year we were up yet another 19.6 percent in sales … it shows our growth and sustainability as we become less dependent on federal nutrition benefits sales for our success which was the case in earlier years,” said Michelle Dudely, the Farmers Market and Healthy Eating manager of the organization, while giving an update on their progress to the City Council Wednesday evening.

“I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate … you bring together not only healthy eating classes but also recognize and embrace the cultural diversity that exists in the crossroads area and bring it to life,” said Council member Talisha Searcy (Ward 6).

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Takoma Park considers amending charter on appointments and hiring

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council is considering amending its charter to change how Council members interact with the city manager during the hiring and appointment process.

“We wanted to make sure that after we went through our process for the police chief that we revisited the language in our charter regarding how the Council may provide input to hiring decisions by the city manager,” Mayor Kate Stewart said during the meeting. 

The proposed changes would allow the city manager to consult the City Council on candidates’ qualifications during the hiring process. The City Council or individual Council members would also be allowed to provide limited input. A variation of the amendment would also require the city manager to outline the requested input in writing.

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