Update: Proposal to legalize chickens in Hyattsville delayed

Hyattsville City Council has delayed consideration of the measure. The measure was removed from the agenda late into City Council’s Feb. 18, 2020, meeting. The meeting was approaching midnight, and the measure’s sponsor pulled it from the agenda for the sake of time. The proposal is expected to come back before City Council at its next meeting.

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.

Greenbelt blesses Beltway Plaza redux, with conditions

Editor’s note: See correction below story. After two hours of deliberations, Greenbelt City Council voted to support preliminary plans for the first-phase of a proposed redevelopment of Beltway Plaza, but with a hefty list of conditions. The five-to-two vote, with Mayor Colin Byrd and Councilor Rodney Roberts against, came at Greenbelt’s Feb. 10, 2020, City Council meeting. Noteable among the 20 conditions are items requiring the developers to set aside 25,000 square feet for recreation space, and a requirement that at least 15 percent of the total residential units be available for ownership, rather than just rentals.

Flier hints at College Park Southern Gateway’s future

Thanks to reader Stuart Adams for flagging this one: The developers behind the ambitious Southern Gateway Project in College Park are circulating leasing materials that provide new details about the planned development, and hint at how the project is being marketed to potential tenants. Among the newest details are renderings showing the amount of anchor and secondary retail space available with the project, which comes from Bozzuto development. Included in the plans are a potential 20,160 square foot space for a “health club” and 14,660 square feet available for a “specialty grocer,” though it must be emphasized those are merely conceptual suggestions. But – and this is the exciting part – according to project’s Loopnet listing, only nine of the smaller retail spaces are available for lease, indicating that the larger anchor spaces have been leased out already. Route 1 Reporter has reached out to the developers after hours for comment and will update this story if more is learned. The marketing materials lean heavily into the area’s demographic profile, noting that 20,620 residents with an average annual household income of $108,710 and an average daytime population of 18,640.

Update: Beltway Plaza Planning Board decision delayed

The Prince George’s County Planning Board delayed until Feb. 20, 2020, consideration of preliminary plans for Beltway Plaza’s proposed redevelopment. The vote to delay occurred at the Planning Board’s Feb. 6, 2020, meeting. The delay was sought by the mall’s owners to give time for the city of Greenbelt to weigh in on the matter, which it is expected to do at its Feb.

Transparency? Hyattsville refuses to talk tasers with Route 1 Reporter

Last year, Leonard Shand was killed in a hail of gunfire by police in Hyattsville after a 30-minute walking standoff. That day, before the shooting, police tried unsuccessfully to tase Shand three times. That aspect of the events leading up to Shand’s death led Route 1 Reporter to file a Public Information Act request with city officials seeking documents quantifying and detailing all taser misfires between January 2010 and December 2018. Earlier this week, after paying $480 in fees (thank you subscribers), Hyattsville officials turned over dozens of pages of use-of-force reports and technical reports filed by city police officers. 

Now, Hyattsville officials say they decline to speak with Route 1 Reporter about the contents of those documents. That should be troubling for government transparency advocates and police reform activists looking for the city to make good on its “commitment to transparency”. 

Already, Hyattsville city officials have been selective with their disclosures about the incident in a cynical attempt to manage public relations.

Hyattsville gets $339,500 for Call-A-Bus program

Hyattsville has received a $339,500 grant to boost its accessible transportation options. The grant is from the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board for the Enhanced Mobility Grants Program. With the funds, Hyattsville officials plan to expand its curb-to-curb and shared-ride transportation by buying new wheelchair accessible buses and tweaking existing agreements with Route 1 Corridor Villages for residents of Hyattsville and neighboring communities. The initiative is a part of the City’s three-year Age-Friendly Action Plan, designed to make Hyattsville a more livable community for seniors and people with disabilities. The Age-Friendly Action Plan was adopted by Hyattsville Council in January 2019.

Prince George’s new fire chief breaks glass ceiling

Prince George’s County’s 13th fire chief is Tiffany Green, the first woman to hold the position. Green was sworn in Tuesday at a ceremony in Upper Marlboro, fetted by county officials including County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. 

Green is a 21-year veteran of the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department. She succeeds Benjamin Barksdale, who retired in 2019. 

“When I started in this department in 1999, the concept of a female fire chief was unheard of,” said Green during remarks after her swearing in. “I am noroed to be your fire chief. I have sat where you are.