May 20 2013: Public Hearing on Housing Code, Safe Grow, and More

The May 20, 2013 city-council meeting will include several items of interest to Ward 1 residents. I’ll highlight two: A public hearing on city housing-code revisions and council discussion of Safe Grow Zone proposal next steps.

Safe Grow is a residents’ initiative that seeks to address health threat from pesticide use. The council packet includes the rewritten version of the earlier draft ordinance. I led the rewrite, working with proponents Catherine Cummings and Julie Taddeo and Councilmember Tim Male. In response to earlier public feedback, it puts education first. It is simplified, per a suggestion of the public works director’s, targeting only lawns (although within a framework that allows for adjustments). It includes additional rationale, emphasizing the Precautionary Principle, which justifies steps to avoid potential risk. Please see the included Declaration of Policy.

The city clerk has included, among the materials to be distributed at the council meeting, a number of comments and petition pages received recently. Unfortunately that material doesn’t seem to be available online. Please do send your comment for the record to Based on public comment and council discussion, the council will decide, at the May 20 meeting, whether/how to proceed with Safe Grow.

The meeting will feature, starting at approximately 8 pm, a public hearing on Amendments to Takoma Park Code, Chapter 6, Housing. The housing-code rewrite, initiated and conducted by staff working with Assistant City Attorney Ken Sigman, aims to “clarify confusing or vague language, standardize references and terminology, address issues that have arisen since the Code was last revisited in 2003, to reflect current inspection and licensing practices, and to comply with changing State legislation.” It also includes provisions I introduced, to provide for electoral-candidate access to multi-unit apartment buildings and to require landlords to distribute a city-provided electoral and civic information packet to new residents.

Lastly, the meeting will also include second-reading votes, enacting fiscal year 2014 tax rates and the FY14 city budget.

As always, please contact me if you have questions or concerns, 301-873-8225.

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