By a 7-2 vote, Hyattsville City Council voted to withhold support of a rezoning needed for a controversial housing development near the city’s University Hills neighborhood. The vote came at Hyattsville June 7, 2021 City Council meeting.
The developers, the Marvin Bloomberg Company, are seeking county approval of a rezoning of the property to allow townhomes to be built on the site, known as the Clay Property. Currently, the 13-acre property is only zoned for single-family detached housing. If approved, the developers hope to build 135 townhome units on the site, with 10 percent of units set aside as affordably-priced housing options.
The plan has been particularly controversial among residents of the University Hills neighborhood, who have raised concerns about historic preservation, deforestation, and plans to connect the development to University Hills by way of a 20-foot-wide pedestrian and bike path. The property is near the site of Hitching Post Hill, a Greek Revival plantation house that in the years after the Civil War was visited by presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland. The Clay Property property itself is also forested, tucked in a corner off of Calverton Drive behind Northwestern High School.
In memos, city staff also echoed concerns about traffic impacts, expressing doubt that available transit options would be able to accommodate new residents. While the site is within the Prince George’s Plaza Transit District Development Plan, the site is roughly one mile, or a 25 minute walk, from the Metro station, which some neighborhood opponents of the plan have said is too far to be realistically transit accessible. The neighborhood is served in part by the R4 bus, which terminates in the nearby Highview Terrace apartment complex to the west.
From here, the plan heads back to the Prince George’s County Planning Board for consideration at its June 24, 2021, meeting.