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Ignoring Residents, Council Moves to Study Extending Hollywood Road

[mappress mapid=”183″] In last night’s Council meeting, the City Council voted 4-4 on the motion to relieve the developer from their escrow obligation to develop and finance an extension of Hollywood Rd west of Route 1. Council members Mitchel, Dennis, Day and Kabir supported the motion, while Council members Wojahn, Brennan, Hew and Stullich opposed it. Mayor Fellows broke the tie by voting against it.

After the motion failed, the Council passed another motion authorizing staff to develop a scope of work on a feasibility study to build the proposed extension Road. Council members Mitchel, Dennis, Day and Kabir opposed the motion, while Council members Wojahn, Brennan, Hew and Stullich supported it. Mayor fellows broke the tie by voting in support of it.

I personally want to thank all the residents who either wrote to us or came out to the meeting and testified on the motion. I truly appreciate your time and valuable comments.

Recently, I met with a number of Autoville residents on the proposed site and found huge opposition from them. About 40 residents and local business owners came to the Council meeting. Those who testified spoke exclusively in support of the motion. Previously, the Council received a petition with 430+ signatures supporting the motion. The North College Park Civic Association (NCPCA) also voted (15-1) in support of a similar motion.

Residents are afraid that if the Hollywood Rd is extended to the west of Route 1, it may make it possible to connect Autoville Dr. with the extended Hollywood Rd one day (please see the map above), causing a large cut through / bypass traffic from Cherry Hill Rd to Route 1 through their neighborhood.

In addition to the fear that the residents have about a future connector road, they’re also concerned about taking properties from the businesses there, most likely though eminent domain. I met a business owner, who lives in the neighborhood and is opposed to selling the property through eminent domain. I am not sure how we can build the road without forcibly taking the property.

The issue of building an extension would have been a lot easier if we were to deal with an abandoned , run-down property that everyone hates to see. Instead what we have here is an issue of potentially negatively impacting a collection of College Park businesses who are serving many College Park residents and bringing customers from outside of the City. This is all we want as part of the campaign that we have been running to make College Park a vibrant place to live and do business with. It appears that there is no way we can build the road without forcibly taking the property from them (most likely through eminent domain). I think we’d like to be sensitive to the fact that we don’t hurt our local businesses negatively.

That said, I don’t think any of colleagues on the Council is against Route 1 development in north College Park. We’re working with the SHA to have contiguous side walks on Route 1, so that our families and children can safely walk on Route 1 and go to the businesses here. Also, the City has been working with grant money to improve interiors and exteriors of these businesses. As options to develop Route 1 in south side of Greenbelt Rd. runs out, we can only hope to see a better business landscape in north College Park. In the end, I think the supply and demand and free market economy will dictate the change in our business landscape. Let’s hope we’ll not need to exercise forceful government intrusion to make that change happen.

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3 Comments to “Ignoring Residents, Council Moves to Study Extending Hollywood Road”

  1. By Stasia, August 13, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

    Three hip-hip-hoorays for Councilmembers Mitchel, Kabir, Dennis, and Day for listening to the residents, businesses, and church members and voting to support Councilmember Mitchel’s motion! It is disgraceful that Councilmembers Hew and Wojahn who are assigned to District 1 and 4 did not listen to their constituents – what are they there for IF not to represent the voice of their constituents. I could understand a split vote if residents and businesses came forward in support of the feasibility study, BUT that did not happen. And it was very interesting that Councilmember Stullich who has emphasized the importance of supporting independently owned businesses in the past, turned her back this time and voted against them. What gives Councilmembers Hew, Wojahn, and Stullich?

  2. By Diana, August 16, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

    It was a sad day here in College Park this past Tuesday when certain members of the Council as well as our Mayor let residents, a local church and business owners know loud and clear they did not matter at all when a decision was made to vote in support of the Hollywood Road extension feasibility study.
    As mentioned here by Councilmember Kabir, many residents spoke out against this study, business owners spoke out against this study, a local Pastor whose church will be affected spoke out against this study and the property owner spoke out against this study. Sadly all of these testimonies fell on deaf ears.
    Was I surprised at the vote? No, I was not. Our Council and Mayor have proved over and over the residents do not have a say in what happens in College Park. It is all about the almighty $$ as well as what the University of Maryland might want. President Loh and students have more of a say in what happens in College Park than long standing residents and local owned businesses.
    What saddened me even more was that newly elected Councilmember Hew could chose not to listen the the pleas from his neighbors and other residents he represents. He has now set an example of how he will serve his residents for the next 2 years and sadly it isn’t good.
    I sure hope residents of College Park will remember things like this when the next election comes around. It is time to take back our City with our votes — this seems to be the ONLY voice we have so come on people, get out and vote and be heard. Let’s get rid of those who only see “their” vision and NEVER listen to residents.

  3. By Sam, August 21, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

    I am a hollywood resident sympathetic to concerns of Autoville Dr. becoming a cut through.

    Would it be possible for the developer to pay for better bicycle access to the paint branch trail instead? Hollywood road is the main access point to the trail from my neighborhood and current access is inadequately and dangerously paved. I don’t think the road needs to have motor vehicle access.

    Another barrier is the traffic light at the intersection of Hollywood and Rt 1. It currently only gives a green light to Hollywood road if it detects a car and bicycles do not trip the sensor.