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Council to Discuss Greenbelt Station Plan Amendments

Greenbelt north and south core development areas

Greenbelt north and south core development areas

In tonight’s worksession, the City Council will discuss the proposed amendments to Greenbelt Station development.

The development is located just east of north College Park, on the other side of train track. The conceptual site plan covers both the north and south cores of Greenbelt Station, which are now owned by different entities.

This is an application to amend the Conceptual Site Plan for Greenbelt Station that was originally approved in 2001, reconsidered and approved by the Planning Board with conditions in 2005, revised and approved with conditions by the Planning Board and District Council in 2006, and finally reconsidered and approved by the Planning Board in 2012 with 63 conditions. The subject amendments involve requests

  • to eliminate two conditions on retail and office spaces
  • realign trails,
  • remove the pedestrian overpass and
  • realign the north/south connector road.

The Planning Board hearing will be held on January 30, 2014. The county technical staff report is not yet available. The entire site is within the City of Greenbelt municipal limits.

The initial amendment was submitted by the owner of the south core, NVR MS Cavalier Greenbelt LLC (Woodlawn Development) who purchased the entire south core from Sun Trust Bank after the property was foreclosed. This included two requests described in a Statement of Justification dated August 30,2013.

The first request is to remove Condition No. 1.c.1.i., which requires the construction of two condominiums that contain commercial retail/office space on the first floor. The applicant’s analysis indicates that these units are not feasible and the City of Greenbelt agrees.

The second request is to remove Condition No. 1.c.1.ii., which requires that a minimum of 80,000 square feet of commercial retail/office be constructed prior to the issuance of residential building permits in excess of 785 dwelling units and that this minimum may be reduced to 60,000 square feet upon demonstration that the space has not been determined to be commercially feasible. An economic analysis report submitted by the applicant finds that the proposed neighborhood will not have sufficient critical mass to support any appreciable amount of commercial/retail space on its own.

Instead, the applicant proposes a new condition that reads as follows, “the applicant shall designate an area for potential retail on a .5 acre site adjacent to the central park, west of Greenbelt Station Parkway, for the south core. However, if prior to the issuance of the 450th building permit, the retail is not economically feasible (demonstrated by executed sales or leasing agreement), the .5 acre area can convert to public parkland.” The City of Greenbelt supports this revision.

A third request involves the realignment of the stream valley trail in the south core to the east side of Indian Creek due to topographical restrictions that make the original alignment infeasible. The City of Greenbelt agrees with this general shift but is examining additional revisions that may be desirable. On December 19, 2013, a supplemental Statement of Justification was submitted by the applicant requesting that the requirement in Condition 43 for a pedestrian overpass connecting the south core to the City of College Park be eliminated. Condition 43 states that the general location of the pedestrian overpass on the west side of the railroad shall be between Huron Street and the College Park Public Works facility and that both the Cities of College Park and Greenbelt shall review and approve the location and design of the overpass. The City of Greenbelt supports the elimination of this requirement and the City of College Park has debated this issue for many years. In 2012, when the city renegotiated the Declaration of Covenants and Development Agreement for the south core, this requirement was not included due to recognition of the difficulty of locating and constructing such a facility and the lack of consensus in the North College Park area supporting it.

On December 20, 2013, a supplemental Statement of Justification was submitted by the attorney representing the owners of the north core. This statement supports the amendments for the south core and requests a change to the alignment of the connector road (Greenbelt Station Parkway) in the north core in order to accommodate the requirements of the General Services Administration in their solicitation for a new location for the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The alignment is proposed to shift from the east along the Indian Creek environmental preservation area to the center of the site and will not result in any additional environmental disturbances. This road will include pedestrian and bicycle facilities but in the interim, the south core developer will construct a hiker/biker trail along the ridge alignment to the west in order to provide a connection between the south core and the metro station. The City of Greenbelt supports the realignment of the north/south connector road.

Staff is recommending to support the requested amendments to Conditions 1.c.1. and 1.c.ii. as well as the requested realignment of the north/south connector road. Further discussion is needed with the City Council and the City of Greenbelt regarding proposed changes to the trails and pedestrian overpass.

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