At Monday’s University Park town council meeting, Developer Marvin Blumberg, his attorney and landscape architect presented their most recent plans for the 34-acre Landy Property at Belcrest Road behind Northwestern HS. This is one big elephant.
A previous post provides a solid project description, but new, expanded or clearer information provided at the meeting is covered below. Please note that the Landy Staff Report (issued July 3) is now available for fun holiday reading and this uses a different number of units than mentioned in this recent meeting. Blumberg requested a continuance from the Planning Board, it is possible that 7/26 will be the new hearing date.
- Upon completion 1262 one and two bedroom luxury apartments (presenters were unclear about any 3 bedroom units, county regs. would require these to be condo units) with 2000 bedrooms.
- To ensure luxury, Mr. Blumberg’s most used descriptor, the entire property is to be fenced (no more than five feet high) and gated at three access points. The main access would be on Belcrest Rd. with another one onto Northwest Drive and a third, tradespersons only, access onto Dean Drive.
- Mr. Blumberg does not think this development will attract folks with children. To further allay concerns about school overcrowding, he consented to set aside one third of the units for students and folks 55 and older.
- The visual impact of Landy Project’s seven 16 story glass, steel and reinforced concrete towers will be huge, especially from Adelphi Rd. The Landy towers are about the same height as the University Town Center student suites, on Belcrest Road across from Target. To get a sense of size and scope of the Landy towers try to visualize seven UTCs in close proximity!
Most University Park council members’ questions covered school overcrowding concerns which Mr. Blumberg’s attorney assured us was an issue they have heard and sympathize with, but really they have very limited means to do anything about. At completion the Landy development will have paid Prince George’s County close to $8 million in impact fees. Sadly, now those fees simply go into the County’s general funds. We should question our elected officials as to why these funds can’t be earmarked for this area.
This project has no environmental sensibility aside from addressing water runoff issues and creating a minimum green barrier along its northern border. When asked whether this project was following any of the standards set by the US Green Building Council (LEED) in their design, Tim Madden, Mr. Blumberg’s architect said, no, that in buildings of this size attempting to go for a LEED certification is not feasible.
Mr. Blumberg said several times that he has an existing plan, approved by Prince George’s County in 2001, to construct a similar size structure in this location–that is, he admitted, a monstrosity. He says he hasn’t built that design because after it was approved the County challenged him to improve the design. But Mr. Blumberg followed up by saying that if the community does not approve of his new plan, he would be forced to build the previously approved one (though he currently rejects it). I appreciate his attempts to improve the project, but would like our community to be a respected participant in this process. While recognizing the rationale for higher density in our area, I hope we can resolve the problems the Landy Project creates, resulting in smart growth for all.–Sandy E.