Author Archives: mmhrfm

US 1 Corridor Sector Plan News

US 1 sign

Why Are We Doing This?
If, like me, you were curious as to the rationale for the sector plan update, here’s the short version. The City of College Park requested that M-NCPPC revisit the sector plan to better address development concerns such as architectural guidelines, building height and other issues. To quote the project site:

Unanticipated development pressure in the area and an inadequate transportation system has resulted in conditions at odds with the recommendations and design standards of the current plan.

Updated Boundaries
On September 17 at a community meeting in College Park, M-NCPPC planner and project manager Chad Williams announced revised boundaries for the update to the US 1 Corridor Sector Plan. The new boundaries will stop at Guilford Road, the southern edge of College Park, and will not include the Cafritz property, portions of University Park or Riverdale Park. In response to opposition from the University Park Town Council and other county officials, this area was dropped from the plan. The northern boundaries of the proposal remain unchanged and have expanded beyond the 2002 sector plan.

Understanding the Process
You maybe be wondering: what’s the process and how does the community fit in? The US 1 Corridor Sector Plan will follow an 18-month planning cycle. The College Park community meeting was part of the pre-planning phase, presumably to hear initial public comment.

So what’s next? Next week, there’s the Planning Board initiation to formally begin the project. In two months, December 5-10 (location TBD), there will be a series of open design meetings (called a charrette) where community members can make specific recommendations. This is our best opportunity to express specific ideas and concerns about development along US 1.

Next summer, there will be public hearings on the first draft of the plan and the following spring (2010) the proposal will go before the county council for approval. The project web site has more information on the process and schedule.

And The Next Meeting is…
On Thursday, October 2 in Upper Marlboro, the Planning Board will initiate the US 1 Corridor Sector Plan. What is this, you ask, and is it important for the community to attend? This is a regular meeting of the Planning Board and the Sector Plan will be one of many issues discussed. Can the public comment on the proposal to the full planning board? Yes. If you would like to speak, please contact the Planning Board at 301-952-3560 to ensure adequate time is added to the agenda.

This excerpt from the RFP for this project summarizes the public outreach plan; hopefully a more complete plan will be available after the project’s formal initiation. The full RFP appears here, skip to page 10 for the meat of the request.–Michelle H.

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Filed under Events, Public Input, Route 1 Corridor, Route 1 Sector Plan

Schools, Overcrowding & the Capital Improvement Plan

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An earlier blog entry asked where the kids would attend school if a family moved into one of the new developments in our area. Let’s take a look. On the EYA web site, I found a townhouse in the Hyattsville Arts District which has completed construction and is available to move in today. OK, I can’t afford this townhouse, but if I did purchase it my children would attend an elementary school which is at 117% capacity, a middle school at %132 and a high school at 122%.

Hmmmm…I decided to try looking for another location to buy or rent. But it turns out there are other overcrowded elementary schools in our area. If I decide to buy a condo at the University Town Center, my children would attend a more crowded elementary school.

The truth is, in the Route 1 corridor, there are more children than seats in elementary, middle and high schools. New development will likely increase the number of children attending. Continue reading

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Filed under Growth, Route 1 Corridor, Schools

Where Were the Brownies?

I attended the presentation of the proposed Landy developmentcrumbs.jpg last Tuesday. And while there were no brownies or slick promotional pieces like at the Cafritz meetings, a fair bit of information was imparted to the community members.

New designs for the buildings took center stage at the meeting. Slated to house 1216 apartments, they will feature many large windows, bay windows, private balconies and rooftop areas complete with recreational facilities and trees. This will be a gated community with its own on-site parking and security. Also part of the plan is a parking garage with more than 2431 spaces.

Community concern focused on smart growth and environmental issues: storm water management during and after construction, traffic congestion and school overcrowding. In addition, questions were asked about light pollution, stream health, green spaces and vegetation. These topics were raised repeatedly by residents of Hyattsville, University Park and College Park.

I felt only the storm water management issues were adequately answered, with detailed information on buffer zones, drainage areas and a sediment pond. It sounded well thought out, but I am in no position to evaluate the soundness of their plans.

Traffic concerns were brushed aside with assurances that the location’s proximity to the Metro will minimize the traffic impact. When asked directly if the developer would consider a shuttle to and from the Metro, the response indicated that transportation of this sort is better left to municipalities. Concerns over offering two parking spaces per unit were dismissed as if this is not a negotiable point. The developer intends this to be a luxury project and that, apparently, requires two cars per unit. Continue reading

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Filed under College Park, Developers, Events, Hyattsville, Infrastructure, Landy Property, Traffic, University Park

Doughnuts & the 1st Cafritz Community Input Meeting

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I attended the Cafritz development community input meeting last Saturday and wanted to post an overview for other community members.

Jane and Calvin Cafritz, two members of the Cafritz family, opened with a welcome. The team members running the workshop portion were friendly and appeared interested to hear public comments. As an added bonus, doughnuts, coffee and lunch were served.

The format is described by the Cafritz development group as a workshop and, therefore, the meeting portion ran no more than fifteen minutes. During this time, the development team presented a short history of the property and an overview of the team’s values. These values included: linking the adjacent communities, creating a high quality retail area, developing a pedestrian friendly community, incorporating arts facilities, enhancing open spaces and providing a choice of diverse housing.

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Filed under Cafritz Property, Calvert Hills, College Park, Developers, Public Input, Riverdale Park, University Park