Westminster panel to finish proposal list

Pennsylvania Ave. ideas include landlord licenses

September 18, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

After four months of presentations and discussions, a task force formed to revitalize a Westminster neighborhood will be ready to roll out a list of recommendations after its final meeting tonight.

The Lower Pennsylvania Avenue Advisory Task Force Committee will select from among 21 proposals - including a community policing plan and a program requiring landlords to be licensed - to create a list that will be presented next month to the city's Common Council.

The council will consider the recommendations individually starting next month.

The committee is considering a proposal that would allow the city to have an administrative judge whose sole responsibility would be to issue rulings on municipal code violations. The judge would be appointed by the mayor and Common Council.

To deal with public safety issues that are considered a major problem on the avenue, proposals call for forming teams that would unite local agencies to contain crime and rehabilitate offenders. Creating a database of criminal activity in the neighborhood also is a suggestion.

Some of the recommendations are less sweeping, such as installing emergency telephone booths and better streetlights, establishing curfews, and narrowing travel lanes.

Perhaps the most contentious proposal is the one that would require landlords to obtain a license after their buildings have passed annual interior and exterior inspections. City officials who back the idea say it would streamline the code enforcement process and create a contact list of accountable owners.

Committee members said privately that the community policing plan and the establishment of an arrest inventory are strong contenders for city approval.

City officials have acted on ideas discussed during the months of committee meetings, including a bid to obtain low-interest state loans that would be used to encourage homeownership in the neighborhood.

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