Sub-urban: Hyattsville grapples with gas station stone’s throw from Metro

Hyattsville City Council voted 10-to-one to recommend county officials impose a slew of conditions on a proposed demolition and redevelopment of the Sunoco gas station next to the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station. The proposal is controversial from a policy perspective. The gas station is located in the heart of zoning area designed to encourage dense, walkable, mixed-use development to surround the Metro station. The entire area is marketed as Hyattsville’s second downtown, and according to city planners – as well as years of City Council policymaking – auto-oriented uses such as gas stations and drive-throughs are not permitted to be built or, for those that already exist, are not allowed to significantly expand. Hyattsville City Council’s vote came after the developer submitted a revised application that dramatically reduced the size of the planned retail and office building for the project.

College Park voters to weigh City Council term changes

College Park voters head to the polls Tuesday to vote for new city council members. But the votes that may have the biggest long-term impact focus less on candidates and more on the city’s government structure. In College Park, voters will consider two questions designed to inform the next City Council will proceed with changes to the city charter to extend Council terms from two years to four, and to weigh the merits of staggered or concurrent terms for City Council. Currently all College Park City Council members are elected to two year terms, with every seat up for election every cycle. The ballot will contain the following language and ballot options:

The Mayor and Council of the City of College Park currently serve two-year terms. They are seeking your input on two questions: 1) Should there be two- or four-year terms?

Is a gas station needed near Prince George’s Plaza Metro?

Hyattsville City Council will consider a controversial proposal to demolish the gas station at Belcrest Road and East-West Highway so that a larger gas station can be built in its place. The proposal is controversial for several reasons. The biggest reason is that the redevelopment project is located smack dab in the center of the Prince George’s Plaza Transit Overlay Zone, a special zoning category designed to create a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood befitting the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station. 

Gas stations, as a result, are not permitted under those zoning rules. However, this gas station, a Sunoco built in 1961, is grandfathered in. An existing gas station, such as the Sunoco, would be allowed to build a small expansion, but generally cannot expand its building fooprint by more than 15 percent.

860-bed, 300-unit student housing planned for Berwyn

We now know a little bit more about developer plans to build a roughly 300-unit mixed-use student-housing apartment building near Baltimore Avenue and Berwyn Road in College Park. The new details are courtesy of an application for a preliminary plan of subdivision, a procedural step where developers ask for county approval to redraw property lines to accommodate their plans. 

A large suburban strip mall is seen from above, at an angle. A sidewalk of street-facing retail, including a Shoe Show store, can be seen across a small two-lane circulator roadway.

Mixed-use Beltway Plaza redevelopment takes next step

The planned redevelopment of Beltway Plaza has taken another step down the road, as the mall’s owners have submitted paperwork to redraw property lines to build 211 townhomes and condominiums, the first of a planned five-phase project that would reshape the old mall into an mixed-use town center with retail, office and residential uses.