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Competition close as Takoma Park elects new City Council

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK – Voters in Takoma Park elected a new City Council on a rainy Tuesday evening selecting from eleven candidates to elect a mayor and six Council members.

In the City’s most competitive race, Ward 2 candidate Cindy Dyballa prevailed against two other candidates after two rounds of voting.

“I’m impressed with the turnout, I think it’s fabulous that more people are coming out to vote in local elections,” Dyballa said shortly after being declared the winner.

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Takoma Park votes to move junction concept plan forward

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TAKOMA PARK – In a meeting lasting until 1:30 a.m., the Takoma Park City Council voted to approve the concept plan Wednesday evening and continue the process to redevelop Takoma Junction.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the concept plan and move forward in the redevelopment process with Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), the contractor chosen for the project. Council member Tim Male (Ward 2) cast the sole dissenting vote.

“I’m trying to send a signal that there’s things that they need to pay attention to so that when we get to the site plan stage, we’re actually in the right place as opposed to going in the wrong direction,” Male said.

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Takoma Park candidates talk issues at city election forum

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TAKOMA PARK – Candidates in the 2017 Takoma Park city election explained their views, priorities (and goals for the city) to voters in a forum Monday night at the City’s Community Center.

The forum included incumbents and challengers from all six of the city’s wards as well as Mayor Kate Stewart. City-based publication Takoma Voice hosted the forum.

Takoma Radio host and Takoma Voice editor Eric Bond gave each of the candidates approximately 15 minutes to respond to his questions. Candidates running for the same ward seat were given simultaneous time on the stage.

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Takoma Park residents speak out on junction development

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK – In a meeting lasting into the early morning hours of Oct. 12, the Takoma Park City Council heard comments from residents on the proposed Takoma Junction development project.

“It’s always nice to hear members of the community come out and voice their opinion,” Mayor Kate Stewart said after the conclusion of the meeting. “Later in the work session, I think a lot of the same themes came up regarding wanting more public space, more community space, concerns about the overall massing of the building.”

The proposed project, located at the junction of Carroll, Ethan Allen, and Grant avenues, would redevelop a city-owned parking lot flanked by the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Food Co-op and Healy Surgeons. The Takoma Auto Clinic, located on the lot, is slated to relocate should redevelopment plans move forward.

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Takoma Park mulls allowing alcohol sales on sidewalks

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK – The Takoma Park City Council debated Wednesday to allow dining retailers to serve and sell alcohol outdoors on sidewalks belonging to the city.

“There’s an interest in restaurants being able to have sidewalk cafés to be able to serve alcoholic beverages,” said Takoma Park City Manager Suzanne Ludlow. “A sidewalk café would be, by definition, in the public right of way which means it’s in the city’s control.”

Currently, no city laws specifically regulate outdoor alcohol sales and the application process to allow such sales is handled by the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control.

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Takoma Park considers pesticide ban expansion

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK – The Takoma Park City Council discussed amending its pesticide ban Wednesday evening.

The discussion revolved around chemicals containing neonicotinoids, a component of many pesticides that research shows are harmful beyond target and can damage surrounding plants.

The proposed amendment would add neonicotinoids to the City’s current list of banned pesticides. The ban, which is known as the Safe Grow Ordinance, came into effect banning the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides in the city.

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Takoma Park votes to change bicycle laws

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK – The City Council voted to amend the City’s bike laws allowing the City manager to permit bicycle riding in specially designated areas Sept. 27.

“Where we landed, in giving the city manager the authority to look at those places that make sense to have bikes on sidewalks and designate them but not do it as a blanket across the city is good policy for right now,” said Takoma Park mayor Kate Stewart.

The ordinance passed unanimously and preserved the citywide ban of riding a bicycle on sidewalks but will it give the City manager, currently Suzanne Ludlow, the discretion to designate areas where riding on the sidewalk is safer than riding in the street.

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Takoma Park City Council debates bikes on sidewalks

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TAKOMA PARK – The Takoma Park City Council discussed amending the city’s laws to allow bicyclists to ride on sidewalks Wednesday.

“I’m not a bicyclist myself, but there’s a few things I understand, bicycling in a city or urban area, is understood to be inherently dangerous,” said Council member Fred Schultz (Ward 6). “But when you’re walking, walking is not supposed to be a dangerous endeavor,” he added.

The city’s current laws do not allow the riding bicycles on sidewalks within the city limits but the law remains unenforced. Earlier this year, the council decided to explore a proposal to change the city’s laws to grant bicyclists the same privileges afforded to pedestrians when using sidewalks.

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While searching for new chief, Takoma Park sets goals for police department

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK – The Takoma Park City Council voted on a resolution to lay out goals and priorities July 26 for its law enforcement agency while searching for a new police chief.

“I think the resolution is great, and I love the emphasis that it places on community policing and greater engaging with the public,” said Council member Peter Kovar (Ward 1).

The resolution outlines 12 priorities the police department is expected to follow. Priorities include upholding citizen rights, commitment to transparency, ensuring accountability, and community outreach.

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Takoma Park City Council experiences difficulties with youth-mentoring nonprofit

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK – Over two straight meetings, members of the Takoma Park City Council discussed the difficulties they experienced when attempting to contact one of their nonprofit partners.

The organization in question, Making a New United People, had an agreement with the City Council to help young adults find summer employment.

The agreement, which Council member Fred Schultz (Ward 6) described as a "handshake agreement," involved the organization to assist 20 young adults in getting hired at a Taco Bell restaurant located near New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park. The agreement was not related to any other contracts the organization has with the city.

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