College Park Mayor Wojahn gets 2 more years; Incumbents sweep; 4-year terms fall short

Incumbents – with one exception – swept the day in College Park’s City Council races. Topping the ballot was Mayor Patrick Wojahn, who won a third two-year term at the center of the dais with 1,532 votes, or 78 percent of the 1,964 votes cast. His nearest rival, Nikesha S. Pancho took 13.7 percent of the ballot, or 268 votes, while Lazlarliani Maslawma earned only 164 votes, or 8.3 percent of the ballot. Maslawma stirred controversy on the campaign for homophobic remarks criticizing Wojahn and District Two Councilor P.J. Brennan, who are both gay. Wojahn, after the results were announced, thanked the voters of College Park for their support. 

“I am excited; I am humbled; I am pleased that the residents of College Park have given me another two years to be their mayor,” said Wojahn.

College Park Metro Marriott would have 165 rooms, 8,000 sq. ft. of retail

New details of a planned Marriott Hotel near College Park’s Metro station have come into light as the project seeks county approval for its preliminary plan of subdivision, a procedural step where property lines are redrawn to accommodate  new development. 

Prior documents have revealed the broad size of the project – 126,000 square-feet – planned for a triangular-shaped 2.1-acre parcel bound by Campus Drive, Corporal Frank Scott Drive and Lehigh Road practically across the street from the College Park-University of Maryland Metro Station. The latest filings, to be discussed by College Park City Council at its Nov. 6, 2019, worksession, reveal the hotelier, through Republic Properties Corp. and its holding company New Hotel LLC, plans to build a 165-unit hotel with 8,000 square feet of retail space. 

College Park City Staff recommend City Council issue a letter of support to the Prince George’s Planning Board with some conditions, including improvements to area sidewalks, and the installation of a bus shelter at 50th Avenue and Campus Drive. 

Additional documents on file with county planning officials reveal the footprint of the planned hotel, which will form a kind of boomerang shape with most of the building massed along Campus Drive, north of River Road. The documents also show the developer plans to build a new road through the property, extending River Road across Campus Drive to Lehigh Road. 

A (very pixelated, apologies) diagram showing the proposed footprint of a planned Marriott Hotel developers hope to build near the College Park Metro Station.

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?

College Park backs booze for Taqueria Habanero

City officials are favorably disposed to Taqueria Habanero’s plans to serve alcohol at its College Park location. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant could be approved to serve boozy drinks on Baltimore Avenue by late December 2019. 

The restaurant’s application for a Class B Beer Wine and Liquor License was discussed by College Park City Council at its Oct. 22, 2019 worksession. Following a brief discussion, College Park City Council unanimously approved a measure expressing support for the restaurant’s liquor license application, which must be approved by the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners, more commonly known as the Liquor Board. The application goes before the Liquor Board Dec.

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. 

The documents reveal new details such as a breakdown of unit-types and the project retail square footage planned for the site. According to the documents, the developers plan to build 296 residential units and 1,080 square feet of retail space into the project. Plans call for 41 studio units, 24 one-bedroom units, 65 two-bedroom units, and 166 four-bed units. If you’re counting beds, that’s roughly 860 student-housing beds planned for Baltimore Avenue in midtown College Park. 

Route 1 Reporter first wrote about this development in March.

Analysis: ‘Water Wall’ debate shows power & powerlessness of College Park’s fiscal conservatives

College Park is not like other Route 1 municipalities. Despite nominally being the “largest” city in the corridor, by virtue of the part-time presence of college students, it’s civic character and discourse is more influenced by the approximately 10,000 year-round households whose residents call the city home. In other words, and at least from a local politics perspective, College Park is a small town. And like many small suburban blue-state towns, a vocal contingent of small-government, fiscal conservative suburbanists occupy a place in the local discourse disproportionate to their ability meaningfully affect local policy decisions. Of late, their voices are most-often amplified on City Council by Fazlul Kabir, one of two representatives from northern College Park’s District One, a mostly-suburban character neighborhood roughly bound by the Beltway, Route 1 and the CSX railway.