Cafritz Development

Tomorrow is the first regular council session of the year. Soon after the council completes the consent agenda items, it will go to work session to discuss two important development issues – Book Exchange and Cafriz development (see details below). After then it will reconvene to the regular session where it will vote on these two issues. We’re also expecting public comments during the discussion of these two agenda items. In anticipation of lengthy discussion, tomorrow night’s session will start at 7pm instead of 8pm.

I will write about my thoughts on Book Exchange development tomorrow, but here is what I’ve so far on Cafritz development.

The Planning Board will be having a hearing this Thursday on Cafritz Development in Riverdale Park, thus the Council will have to take a position on this. That may change if the developer asks for another continuance, which is extremely unlikely.

Though the development is in Riverdale Park, it affects three neighboring cities / towns – College Park, University Park and Hyattsville. All four cities have been meeting with the developer to resolve a few key important issues surrounding this development.

One major issue remains to be resolved is the building of the CSX track on the east side of the development. Everyone agrees this crossing will ease the traffic impact on Route 1. The traffic issue is the main one for residents in College Park. The developer is saying this will be built in the second phase of the development. The cities and towns are still negotiating to sort out the details about the schedule of this development.

There have also been concerns about the zoning tool to be used in this development. The developer has applied for MUTC zoning (Mixed Use Town Center) which would allow them to develop the area with a mix of residential, office complex and shopping center that the current R-55 residential zoning does not allow. Towns are also negotiating the provisions of residents’ input in the process, many think it’s somewhat limited compared to the traditional zoning tools, such as MUI / MXT.

In addition to the CSX track and the MUTC zoning tool, four cities and the developer are also negotiating on the LEED standard (Green building) of the development.

If the negotiations succeed, the Council will most likely consider a taking a position of support with conditions.

Please let me know what you think on this development and how the council should vote.