As you very likely know, the Landy Property would be a luxury development in a fenced, gated community with security on 34 acres off of Belcrest Rd. between Northwestern High School and Toledo Terrace. Originally approved in 2001, the plan has undergone a number of revisions. The revamped plans required a lot of work and are moving in the right direction, that is worthy of note. However, our area has grown significantly in the last 6 years and the Landy project’s improvements have not kept pace with an evolving community and its needs or concerns.
The latest iteration is hard to nail down as 3-bedroom units come and go (see below) and the unit number wavers between 1216 and 1262. What is clear is that the project is not consistent with the transit oriented development that our area needs. In addition, the Landy’s massive scale would cast a long shadow, metaphorically and literally. Shadow-wise, the M-NCPPC planning file has not been updated since the original 2001 plan. But even that less bulky building would have thrown a substantial shadow. The current proposal’s two buildings with 7-story base and 16-story towers would shadow Northwestern High School all of the year and the University Hills neighborhood a good bit of the year.
Construction would be done in phases and could take 8 years depending on market conditions. The M-NCPPC staff report recommends approval with conditions. Issues and impacts of concern to immediate neighbors and area residents include: Continue reading
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. Continue reading
University Hills is a quiet neighborhood bordered by Adelphi Road, University Blvd., Northwestern High School and the University Hills Park and Duck Pond, a popular destination for both locals and people from as far away as the District. Our children attend University Park Elementary School, a mere mile away. A few minutes’ drive gets us to the Prince George’s Plaza Metro–as well as the amenities of daily life, such as a grocery store, a Target and a modest shopping mall. The library is actually within walking distance, but if one is loaded down with books, there is free and plentiful parking.
The Landy Property development threatens to change all of this. Yes, the school will still be there. The Metro and the stores–even more of them in fact–will still be there. And the library will still be walking distance from our homes. However…
With the overcrowding at the elementary school resulting from Landy, our children will likely be reassigned to far away Paint Branch Elementary School, a school to which we have no community connection. This move has been previously proposed, but Paint Branch promises to be a good 45 minute or hour long bus ride away in rotten Route 1 traffic. (And it will only get worse).
Could the mile and a half drive to the Metro Station become a thirty minute trip? Since the Landy Property developers have coyly ducked the suggestion of adding a Metro shuttle to their development, and because they have allotted two parking spaces per unit (amounting to an astonishing 2,400 cars), you can bet that traffic snarls will overwhelm intersections. Think of the potential back-ups at East-West Highway and Adelphi/Queens Chapel and the various Adelphi, Belcrest and Toledo intersections. Which brings us to pedestrian safety… Continue reading
I attended the presentation of the proposed Landy development 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
Tonight the Hyattsville and University Park councils 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. Continue reading
The Landy property is located behind the Mall at Prince George’s and along Belcrest Road. The proposed multi-family development will have 1100-1,341 apartments and 2,669 parking spaces in several towers, including a 16-story building. Approval from the neighboring Hyattsville is contingent upon annexing this property to Hyattsville.
Sarcasm Alert. We are curious. The original Landy Property staff report was completed in 2001. Years pass, babies are born, they begin kindergarten, then first grade, University Town Center’s retail nears completion and finally, developer Marvin Blumberg returns to his Landy project. He puts together plans, no one is thrilled, but things are moving. Then it is placed on the Planning Board’s agenda for May 10, 2007 and he requests a continuance. No biggie, it has been years in the works.
Summer approaches, school’s ending, those first graders have lost their front teeth and families head out of town for a vacation. Then–whoops–we are on the fast track again. Blumberg just met with the University Hills Civic Association (those folks are not happy), but plans another meeting for June 19 (this time it is public). Why? Oh, the M-NCPPC Staff Report is due June 27 and if he’s lucky, things will fall into place, and he will have an approval July 12 from the Planning Board. Umm…you don’t think he’d pull a fast one while you are at the beach, do you?
You do? Well, then write or call your council person today. Mark the meeting at St. Mark’s on your calendar and plan to attend, tell your friends and neighbors. Live nearby and not looking forward to a 16-story tower and 2600 more cars in your neighborhood? Then file as a Person of Record (regarding DSP-99048/01), it takes about five minutes max. Mr. Parker of the Planning Board cares about Prince Georgians, he’d like to hear from you.
Take a look at the proposed 1100-1300 unit Landy Property development (yes, that’s right–over 1100 units). Multiply that by 1.5 or 1.75 cars per unit…
It is located northwest of the intersection of Belcrest and Toledo Roads. Click the image above for a pdf with images of the detailed site plan, clearly many families are expected as tenants. While the Hyattsville Council has met recently with the developer, Marvin Blumberg, this project is pretty far along. A revised Park & Planning staff report is due June 27, with the Planning Board Hearing set hot on its heels–July 12 (watch our Events page & calendar for details). Please express your opinion of the development to your city and county council members and to the Planning Board.
UPDATE: Courtesy of Stuart Eisenberg, Hyattsville Planning Committee, At-Large Member, as per the Minutes of the April 3, 2007 Meeting of the Hyattsville Planning Committee:
The Planning Committee motion recommends support with conditions: 1) Inclusion of annexation into City of Hyattsville as a condition of support. 2) Recommends the mandatory development requirements be followed. 3) Request that the developer propose a traffic mitigation program that: a) Reduces parking spaces or b) That provides a shuttle for future residents to access Metro. 4) Request the further reduction of the use of EFIS (ed. 5/31) materials. 5) Request inclusion of an Arts component in the development. 6) Encourage the developer to a speedy conversion to condominiums. 7) Developer should be subject to an offset school impact mechanism.
It seems that there has been movement on some points. Continue reading