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.
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.