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College Park Removed from County’s Draft Priority Investment District List

College Park has recently learned that it is not listed anymore on the County’s draft 2035 development priority list.

Prince George’s County is in the process of updating its General Plan, and has presented a draft of Plan Prince George’s 2035 (available here – www.planpgc2035.com).

The City and the University of Maryland participated in several of the County’s General Plan update presentations and forums. The City initially learned that the Priority Investment Districts, or the PID, Diagnostic Index process, which the County Park and Planning division conducted, found College Park to be in the highest performing category.

The City was hopeful that downtown College Park would be designated as a Priority Investment District. However, the City has recently learned that, instead of being included in PID, College Park has been folded into a larger Primary Employment Areas or PEA that does not recognize the unique potential and opportunities for partnership that College Park has to offer the county.

In last night’s worksession, The Council decided to send a letter to County’s Planning Board to designate College Park as a PID in the first five years following General Plan adoption, in addition to the other PIDs (Prince George’s Plaza, Largo Town Center, and New Carrollton).

The draft letter, which the City will consider sending jointly with the University of Maryland, asks the Planning board to consider a number of potential benefits the City has to offer. They include

(1) Five Purple Line stations are proposed in the College Park area that will join Metrorail, MARC, and several bus providers to provide unparalleled transit opportunities and connectivity.

(2) The College Park/Riverdale Park Transit District Development Plan (TDDP) is in the process of being updated using current best practices to promote a mixed-use environment near the Metro Station and M Square.

(3) A new 270-room conference hotel including ballrooms, meeting rooms and “innovation studios” is planned for the former East Campus site and will be a game changer for College Park.

(4) The city and university, through the College Park City-University Partnership, have adopted a vision for the future of College Park as a sustainable top 20 college town by 2020 that includes diverse businesses from high-tech startups to community retailers, and a range of housing options from single-family residences to high density housing that thrives near livable, walkable commercial centers.

(5) College Park, encompassing the Metro station and town center area along US Route 1, is well suited and positioned to become a regionally competitive complete “Downtown” and an economic generator for Prince George’s County 5. College Park, as a PID, could meet the county’s challenge of providing centers with a balance of jobs and housing as the short term focus in College Park would be to attract additional housing so employees can live near their work. This matches up with market studies that show a demand for multifamily housing consistent with national trends.

(6) College Park offers an unprecedented opportunity to coordinate land use planning and development with a municipality who is ready and able to marry staff and resources towards a common goal.

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