Landy’s Pros & Cons

Tonight the Hyattsville and University Park councilslandy-pic.jpg discuss the Landy Property, 1100-1300 units to be built on Belcrest Road behind Northwestern High School, and tomorrow Hyattsville hosts a public meeting for the same project. Citizens and council members will be operating without benefit of the M-NCPPC’s staff report or recommendations, which strikes us as more than a little backward. It would seem that
Public Input> Staff Report> Municipal Review> Planning Board Action
would be a more logical sequence of events than the current planning process.

While this project received preliminary approval in 2001, the plans have been subject to considerable revision and controversy. There are couple pluses to the project.

  • Decent design
  • On-site environmental mitigation
  • Upscale development

However, there are a host of negatives.

  • Too many units—whether it is 1100 or 1300 apartment units, though spacious and upscale, are still apartments. Hyattsville would prefer condos, but that’s probably not realistic given the housing market. Let’s at least get one tower designated for condos upfront and work towards converting the entire development.
  • A tremendous impact on area schools that are already overcrowded—the 2001 staff report’s predictions are based on erroneous school capacity numbers. There appears to be no movement by PGCPS to provide the additional seats we need for students of all ages.
  • Too tall for the neighborhood—while one commenter has made the point that the site’s topography will make 16 stories seem like less, the unit count is too high given other conditions. Reduce the height.
  • Too many parking spaces—this site falls within the Prince George’s Plaza Transit District Development Plan. Residents should be encouraged to use the Metro, providing 2 parking spaces per unit will not accomplish this and will make Belcrest a parking lot at 8 am on weekdays.
  • Providing a shuttle will encourage Metro use and pedestrian improvements must be a given.
  • Public safety issues—Hyattsville’s Planning Committee recommends approval of this project be contingent on annexation. But do they have the infrastructure in place to cover a development of this size?

Because the Prince George’s Center Plaza Towers East property is part of the same parcel, our understanding is that developer Marvin Blumberg is not subject to the public safety impact fee. Ten percent of the parcel is already developed, so it is grandfathered in. School impact fees will be paid—but where will they be used?

Take a look at the map and the adjacent green spaces that buffer several area streams. This project cries out for a green roof and sustainable development practices. If you agree, speak with your council member, attend your council meeting tonight and make time for the public meeting at St. Mark’s tomorrow.

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8 Comments

Filed under Developers, Events, Hyattsville, Infrastructure, Landy Property, Public Input

8 responses to “Landy’s Pros & Cons

  1. Asad Sayeed

    Why condos, exactly?

  2. To be frank, I think there will shortly be a glut of condos in the Route 1 corridor. Owners will not be able to resell and units will become rentals by default (as is currently the case in DC). However, I would expect condo owners to be somewhat more invested in the community–if only out of financial self-interest. But a mixed use development of apartments might prove attractive enough to negate some of these concerns.

  3. Asad Sayeed

    I see what you mean considering the growth at the PG Plaza alone. I think that mixed development has a lot of overall merits, though. A mix of low-cost, medium-affordable, and upscale housing helps avoid creation of enormous poverty-ghettos that are a serious problem around here, in case there was anyone who hadn’t noticed.

  4. But Asad, that’s now “The Mall at Prince George’s” :)

  5. We should demand the inclusion of retail on the first floor. With so many apartments, there have to be some services for the residents. Otherwise traffic will be horrendous.

    Besides, this parcel is between the metro and the library. It should provide infrastructure such as retail to connect the two destinations rather than creating a housing ghetto that is in the way of everything.

    Having said that I am principally in favor of a big housing development if it becomes more sensitive to traffic considerations (as you said much less parking plus a little retail). Right now, we are lightyears away from a responsible proposal.

    I encourage the planning staff and our elected officials to exercise their oversight forcefully.

  6. It’s a secure and gated community to be built in phases. I agree that mixed use would be preferable but doubt that the development could support retail if the security remains in place.

  7. PGCist

    Speaking of the Hyattsville library, has anyone noticed that parking spaces are getting hard to come by? Is PGCMLS working on a solution a la Bethesda
    ?

    There really doesn’t seem to be any real enforcement by PGPD or the City of Hyattsville. Some mornings, I see “badged” (read: Gov’t ID badges) drivers walking from their cars in the library lot to the office park. Or, parking in front of the metrobus stop on Adelphi.

  8. Asad Sayeed

    But Asad, that’s now “The Mall at Prince George’s”

    Well, yes. I’m only saying that I don’t think it should be weighted too far in one direction, as it tends to be in other up-and-coming areas around here, and pushing for all luxury condos in the Landy project looks sort of like risking this.

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