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 officials say Beltway Plaza plans need work

The next step on the multi-phase redevelopment plans for Beltway Plaza is underway. Bethesda-based mall owner Quantum Cos. is gathering feedback on a still-in-the-works detailed site plan for first phase of the planned six-phase redevelopment. Most-recently, representatives from Quantum Cos. shopped their plans before Greenbelt’s City Council during a Nov.

Reaction: Hyattsville chief resigns for Anne Arundel

Less than two years after being sworn in, Hyattsville’s Police Chief Amal Awad announced she will resign in December to be the chief of police in Anne Arundel County. 

“Leaving Hyattsville is bittersweet,” said Awad during a press conference announcing her appointment to the Anne Arundel County chief’s job. “I’m fervently thankful to the city of Hyattsville for allowing me to serve as their chief of police.”

“Chief Awad has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, depth of knowledge, professionalism, and grace in her service to the City of Hyattsville over the past three years,” said Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, who also recently announced her own resignation, in a statement. “I was only able to work with her for a short time, but she deserves a lot of credit for the direction of the department and I am excited for her and for the opportunities that are coming her way,” said Hyattsville City Councilor Daniel Peabody. “I will very much miss working with her in the city of Hyattsville.”

“During her time as Hyattsville chief, Awad modernized her department, won the respect of her officers and her community and worked through the challenges faced by police departments across the country,” Said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. “She is a peacemaker and a consummate professional.”

Awad was sworn in as Hyattsville’s police chief Dec.

Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth poses for a photo.

Hyattsville Mayor resigns to focus on Our Black Party

Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth will resign from the city’s top seat, ending a nine-year career on City Council and six years as mayor. Hollingsworth announced her resignation in a message posted on Facebook at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 10, 2020. In her message, Hollingsworth thanked her constituents for their support, and said she would be turning her attention to the development of Our Black Party, a new political party she co-founded over the summer focused on improving the lives of African Americans through policymaking at all levels of government. “Unfortunately, I must let go to make room for the work I feel pulled toward,” said Hollingsworth in her message.

Hyattsville wants clarity for brewpubs in new zoning code

Hyattsville officials are pushing for a small change to the county’s new zoning code to clarify rules around microbreweries and other small-scale alcohol production facilities with restaurants. The crux of the matter is the new zoning code section regulating restaurants and bars requires those with “small scale” alcohol production facilities to devote a minimum of either 1,500 square feet or 45 percent of their total square footage – whichever is greater – to the actual serving of food and drinking of drinks. 

Hyattsville city officials want county officials to add language exempting businesses located in “adaptive reuse” buildings or where “the interior layout of the building makes compliance impractical.”

Specifically to Hyattsville, ambiguity in this area of the regulations could affect a number of businesses. Over the past several years, a number of small alcohol producers, including a meadery, a distillery, and several microbreweries, have set up shop in the city, many in buildings that predate these businesses. Potentially, the new regulations could cause permitting issues in the future, though city staff admitted it would require one to interpret the regulations counter to their intent. 

“We certainly have a few restaurants with alcohol uses within the city that are utilizing older buildings. Many of these buildings are close to 100 years old, and they are adaptive re-uses of buildings” said Jim Chandler, Hyattsville’s Economic Development Director, during a discussion of the proposed tweak at Hyattsville’s Nov.

Adelphi neighborhoods to get new master plan

Prince George’s County officials are developing a new master plan to guide development policy near the planned Adelphi Road Purple Line Station in College Park – despite the contractural uncertainty around the transit project. At its Oct. 29, 2020, meeting, Prince George’s County Planning Board approved a measure authorizing planning staff to launch a master planning process for a 163-acre area surrounding the future transit station. The study area is centered on the intersection of Adelphi Road and University Boulevard, and includes parts of Hyattsville, College Park, and unincorporated Adelphi. That area is home to several mid-century suburban tract housing developments.

Metro wants feedback on Prince George’s Plaza name change

Regional transit officials want to know what you think about a potential change to the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station name, along with another proposed name change for the Tysons Corner Metro Station. 

In an Oct. 27, 2020, announcement, Metro officials unveiled a survey to gather public sentiment about the proposed name changes. Prince George’s County and Hyattsville officials have requested Prince George’s Plaza station be renamed to Hyattsville Crossing. Likewise, Fairfax County officials want Tysons Corner to be simply renamed Tysons. 

Route 1 Reporter has previously written about the Prince George’s Plaza name change. In short, Hyattsville economic development officials have since 2017 tried to brand the neighborhood around the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station as Hyattsville Crossing.

Hyattsville’s 2021 election could be all vote-by-mail affair

Hyattsville City Council is considering a suite of legislation, including switching to an all vote-by-mail system, city officials hope will boost turnout in city elections. The proposal is especially topical as voters weigh their polling options amid the pandemic, which has seen several states take steps to expand access to vote-by-mail ballots. But Hyattsville’s exploration of mail-voting systems dates to late 2018. The legislation would revise the city’s charter to move the election day to the second Tuesday in May, it would shrink the timeline for election certification, and would change the process to elect the City Council President and Vice President and would switch the city’s 2021 election to a permanent vote-by-mail system. 

According to city data, from 2013 to 2019, there were an average of 10,300 registered voters in the city. In the most-recent city elections, 1,575, or roughly 15 percent, cast ballots.

Report shows how College Park has changed since 2011

A draft report from the College Park City-University Partnership lays out a 10-year-vision for the college town designed to boost the share of year-round residents in the city, increase transit usage among residents, and recruit new tech firms to College Park’s Discovery District neighborhood, among other goals.  

This is the second long-term planning document of this type to be produced by the City-University Partnership, a nonprofit created in 2011 to boost economic development in College Park and to bridge the town-gown divide by creating a forum for city and university officials to develop common policy goals. 

The report envisions a College Park that, in 2030, “is a growing, thriving, equitable and sustainable community” peppered with start-up companies, walkable neighborhoods, and high-performing local k-12 school options. To achieve this, the report identifies four policy areas for city and university officials to focus on: Housing and development, transportation and mobility, public health and safety, and education. Within each, the report identifies several goals for city and university officials to pursue. 

The full 130-page report can be found in this week’s College Park City Council worksession agenda packet. The report, while focused on setting policy goals for the next 10 years, is notable for an extensive, data-driven exploration of socio-economic changes that have played out over the past decade in College Park. 

Demographically, College Park saw population grow by 7.4 percent between 2011 and 2018, about average compared with other cities.

Opinion: Hyattsville statement on police custody death falls short of transparency

Last week, a suspected bicycle thief died after being arrested by officers from the Hyattsville police department. But the first statement issued by Hyattsville officials on the incident lacked crucial details and showed the city still lacks the candor necessary in a new era of police accountability. The statement released by Hyattsville officials was misleading, if not outright deceptive, in its omission of details on the incident. It read that the suspect, a 29-year-old Mount Rainier man named Edwin Morales, “fell” three times during a brief pursuit with Hyattsville officers. After he was caught and placed in handcuffs, the statement says Hyattsville police called an ambulance to treat Morales for “suspected unknown drug intoxication.” Afterwards, Morales went unresponsive, and the statement says “officers immediately unhandcuffed him and began CPR.”

But, thanks to journalists at WJLA, we know that’s not the entire story.