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Cafritz Agrees to Continuance

Cafritz Development

Under pressure from Riverdale Park, College Park and University Park, the Cafritz developers have agreed to continuance: More here on the Riverdale Park Patch.

This came in less than 24 hours after Riverdale Park Mayor Vernon Archer set an ultimatum to the developers on this continuance request. Please see his email below:

Friends and neighbors,

I write today to provide some information about the Cafritz project application that many of you have been following closely. 

First let me remind you that tomorrow evening the council will meet at 8 PM to take a position on the project. By that I mean we will send a letter stating our views to the MNCPPC planning board that is scheduled to review the project on Thursday afternoon. 

I wish I could write and tell you precisely what the outcome will be, but I cannot. I would like to share the following information with you to consider.

Yesterday, I contacted the attorney representing the Cafritz project and told him that there were too many outstanding issues for me to recommend to my council that it support the project with the well-publicized conditions (you can review this as Letter from Town Council to Planning Board (Draft #3)11-18-11on the town website).  I told him that I want his client to join us in asking for a continuance—that is a postponing of the review before the planning board—on Monday.  This will allow us to continue to work on settling the issues that are not adequately settled, and hopefully reach a point that we can all agree on.  I told him if Cafritz will not join us in requesting a continuance that I will recommend to the council that they reject the proposed rezoning that will allow the project—simply put if they will not go along with a continuance to settle outstanding issues, I will ask the council to vote NO on the project.

I would like to point out that both University Park and College Park have already asked for such a continuance and I understand Hyattsville will send such a request in tomorrow too. 

What drove me to take this stance is plain and simple traffic management.  I have said repeatedly that I would love to see a quality project go forward that DOES NOT RUN OVER RIVERDALE PARK AND THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITY, but I am not comfortable that we have adequate conditions to protect those of us who live here and love our town. 

The major stumbling block is the need for a crossing (presumably a bridge) of the CSX tracks to the east that will allow for a new way in and out of the project. All the towns concerned, as well as our state legislative delegation, and the representatives I have spoken to from the County Executive’s office, have all made clear that such a bridge is an absolute necessity for this project to work—that is to make sure the project does not  “run over our community”.  Despite assurances from the Cafritz team that a crossing will be forth coming, I am convinced that as things stand right now we cannot be assured that a crossing will be forthcoming in anything like a reasonable amount of time so as to defuse the new traffic burdens the project will place on the town. 

I remain committed to working with the applicant and any interested stakeholders to solving outstanding issues, but as of now the decision lies with the Cafritz team to either provide more time and work out the outstanding differences or we, Riverdale Park, need to vote NO on this project.

Best wishes to all,

Vern

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