First look: 284-unit Hyattsville mixed-use building starts review

Plans are moving ahead for a proposed redevelopment in downtown Hyattsville across from the EYA Hyattsville Arts District. Pictured above: A birds-eye rendering of the proposed Hyattsville Armory Apartments planned by Urban Investment Partners. Image courtesy City of Hyattsville, Urban Investment Partners. Dubbed the Hyattsville Armory Apartments, the proposal calls for the construction of a 284-unit mixed-use apartment building with 32,000 square feet of retail space on the western edge of Baltimore Avenue between the Hyattsville Armory Crossover Church and Hamilton Street. After spending months acquiring the properties, Washington D.C. firm Urban Investment Partners has filed a detailed site plan and preliminary plan of subdivision for approval with Prince George’s County planning officials.

Prince George’s Council dives into zoning, development overhaul

Development attorneys, telecom representatives, public health activists, food policy wonks and a few municipal officials were among a small group to give their thoughts to county leaders on a proposed overhaul of Prince George’s zoning, land-use and development regulations. The action took place Tuesday, July 11, 2018, during a work session of the Prince George’s County Council in Upper Marlboro, pictured above. The purpose of the work session was to gather public feedback on the proposed zoning re-write. Collectively, these zoning, land-use and development regulations govern what, where and how any land can be used or developed in Prince George’s County. These regulations, commonly referred to as just “zoning” rules, dictate everything from the distance structures must be set back from the road to the process by which development and redevelopment proposals large and small are reviewed, approved or denied.

Doc Drop: Read the Mt. Rainier parking meter revenue emails

Mount Rainier city officials are investigating financial irregularities within the Mount Rainier Police Department. At least one aspect of that investigation focuses on a sudden 2017 decline in the city’s parking meter revenue collection rate. Route 1 Reporter produced a report diving into those parking meter funds – they literally are coins – using emails obtained through Maryland’s Public Information Act. You can read those emails below. For the full context, check out our in-depth report on Mount Rainier’s parking meter revenue funds here.

Investigators eye big drop in Mt. Rainier meter money

Parking meter revenue collections fell off a cliff in Mount Rainier in 2017 and into 2018. Pictured above: Michael Scott, former chief of police of the Mount Rainier Police Department, at right. Victor Kenworthy, Mount Rainier senior patrol officer and president of the Mount Rainier Fraternal Order of Police, the city’s police union, stands on the left. This sudden drop in parking meter coin collections is one aspect of an internal investigation into the finances of the Mount Rainier Police Department. Email correspondence between Mount Rainier city officials, obtained by Route 1 Reporter, shows just how dramatically the city’s parking meter revenue collections dropped in recent years, as well as steps city officials took to rectify the issue once the anomaly was discovered.

Werrlein changes WSSC rezoning approach

Werrlein Properties is changing tack on a proposed rezoning that would allow an abandoned Hyattsville office building and parking lot to be redeveloped into homes. Pictured above: A rendering of townhomes proposed to be built on a parking lot that’s part of the long-abandoned WSSC offices in Central Hyattsville. Illustration courtesy Werrlein Properties and the City of Hyattsville. Now, the developer is asking Prince George’s County planning officials to rezone both the Hamilton Street office building and its parking lot near Magruder Park as mixed-use-infill, or MUI zoning. Presently, the office building – once home to the headquarters of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission – sits on the upper lot.

Mount Rainier police officer dies

Cody Laughran, a police officer with the Mount Rainier Police Department, died this past weekend. Laughran was 25. According to a statement from the city of Mount Rainier, he died at his home in Columbia Sunday morning. He was not on duty at the time. The cause of death has not been confirmed, the announcement said. Howard County police said Monday there were no suspicious circumstances or indications of foul play in Laughran’s death.

Mt. Rainier Mayor says MRPD allegations not “corroborated”

Mount Rainier Mayor Malinda Miles said allegations relating to investigations of the Mount Rainier Police Department have not been “corroborated” to her satisfaction. Miles issued this statement in the July edition of The Message, Mount Rainier’s municipal newsletter. Released late June 2018, Copies of the newsletter were circulated June 29 on social media by Mount Rainier’s Ward Two Councilor Celina Benitez. Copies of The Message have not been posted to the city’s website since January 2017. The brief 69-word statement reads in full:

“As most are aware, several city officers are under investigation (parking tickets, their handling and reporting; sexual misconduct).

Monday Map: P.G. Council district seat primary results

If you want to make sense of how Prince George’s County Council’s primary election shook out for district seats, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve created a choropleth map, embedded below, that charts out the relative performance of the winners of Prince George’s County Council district seats (but, importantly, not the two at-large County Council races) in each of the county’s voting precincts. Each County Council district seat is shaded along an individual gradient of color indicating how the overall winners performed in each precinct. Darker colors indicate a larger share of the precinct-level vote totals. Clicking within a given precinct reveals an infobox breaking down the election result in that precinct.

College Park commercial rent gap widens

A gap in commercial leasing rates expanded in College Park from 2016 to 2017 as the city’s most-expensive areas saw rates rise while rates the city’s least-expensive areas fell. Pictured Above: A commercial strip in Hollywood. Commercial leasing rates there and in two other College Park neighborhoods dropped in 2017. According to data presented recently to College Park City Council by Ryan Chelton, the city’s economic development coordinator, commercial leasing rates along Baltimore Avenue south of Greenbelt Road – with the exception of the Berwyn neighborhood – rose from 2016 to 2017. In the downtown area, commercial rates rose from $27.78 in 2016 to $28.44 in 2017.