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Council to Review Planning Board’s Comments on Greenbelt Sector Plan

At tonight’s worksession, the City Council will discuss the comments approved by the Prince George’s County Planning Board (M-NCPPC) on Greenbelt Sector Plan.

The M-NCPPC approved a resolution adopting the Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Corridor Sector Plan and endorsing the Sectional Map Amendment (the Plan) for transmittal to the District Council for final approval. The resolution contains over 100 substantive changes to the Plan and a list of technical changes. The District Council will hold a worksession within the next two months prior to taking action on the plan. The District Council may approve, amend or disapprove the plan. If the plan is amended to include material not addressed in the record, an additional joint public hearing with the Planning Board must be held.

Unfortunately, while the planning board addressed some concerns expressed by north College Park residents, a number of key concerns remained unresolved.

The maximum building height in the North Core shall be limited to 12 stories without exception. The Planning Board did not change the Plan.  The City opposes allowing 20-story buildings to be constructed in the North Core under any circumstances because of the negative impact on the North College Park community. Whether the market will support additional height is not a relevant consideration. Limiting a major employer’s lot coverage to 25% will only serve to drive the height of buildings up unnecessarily.

Also, it is not clear whether parking garages need to comply with the building height standards and how close they may be located to the train tracks. The Planning Board did not revise the Plan although staff recommended that adding a new standard would be appropriate.

Additionally, the Planning Board did not change the Plan retaining the approved design for the 1-95/1-495 Greenbelt Metro Access Improvement Project. From their comments, it is not clear why the Plan is deviating from the existing planned location and design of the beltway ramps. This project has been approved by the State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Federal Highway Administration and can enter the Final Design phase if funding is identified. It is not known if SHA supports this recommendation.

M-NCPPC staff also commented that they do not support or advocate the realignment of Narragansett Run except in noting that some temporary changes to the waterway may be necessary during the construction of the Greenbelt Station Parkway bridge. The Planning Board made the following changes to the Plan.

At tonight’s Council meeting, we’ll review the Planning Board’s response to the City’s testimony and send a letter to the District Council requesting action on the items where the Planning Board did not support the City’s recommendations.

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