Analysis: In UMD golf course debate, open space matters. So what is open space?

In the contentious debate over a proposal to build athletic field facilities on the University of Maryland Golf Course, defenders of the links have settled around two rhetorical framing devices. One is concerned with maintaining the golf course in its present operational state: 18 holes and a driving range with easy access to and from the clubhouse. But another, broader argument is concerned with preserving the golf course as a source of “open space.” This argument is frequently employed by nearby non-golfing residents who oppose redevelopment of the course. This argument is a tool, one that indicates to others why they should value the presence of a golf course in their neighborhood, despite perhaps not golfing themselves.

UMD golf course update: Administrators asked to study alternatives

University of Maryland officials have been instructed to more closely analyze alternatives to a proposal to build new athletic facilities on the campus golf course. This is the result of a closed-door meeting of the University of Maryland’s Facilities Commission, according to College Park city officials. University officials did not respond to multiple requests for more information on the results of the meeting. The decision to study alternatives was made less than a week after College Park City Council demanded such a study in a letter that expressed concern about the proposal, falling short of explicitly opposing it. The move gives some breathing room for those opposed to redevelopment of the golf course.

Concerned, but not yet opposed: UMD Golf Course proposal splits College Park Council

Correction: This article has been updated to correct an error that misattributed votes by Councilors John Rigg and Robert Day.College Park City Council, with Mayor Patrick Wojahn in the tie-breaker role, voted five-to-four to send a letter outlining serious concerns with, but not-yet opposition to, a controversial proposal to build intramural fields on the University of Maryland Golf Course. Minutes earlier, Wojahn cast a similar tie-breaking vote to defeat a motion to send a letter to university officials explicitly in opposition to the proposal. The votes disappointed dozens of city residents in attendance who encouraged City Council to flatly reject the proposal during debate over the issue at its Dec. 11, 2018 meeting. The proposal now heads to the University of Maryland’s Facilities Council, which will consider the proposal at a closed-door meeting scheduled for Dec.

Cars drive along a moderately-congested Greenbelt Road, a six-lane suburban throughway overlooking a green horizon.

With Beltway Plaza redevelopment in play, a new vision for Greenbelt Road emerges

As long-term plans to redevelop Beltway Plaza gain inertia, economic development and planning officials are developing planning and policy strategies to reshape Greenbelt Road to be a more pedestrian, cyclist and transit-friendly corridor. Guiding those actions for now is a report compiled over the summer by the Urban Land Institute, released October 2018. 

“The Greenbelt Road corridor is at a crossroads. Like many suburban commercial areas, it has lost some business to newer, outlying shopping centers and grapples with some disinvestment and traffic congestion,” reads the report. “Many community members express a desire for a greater variety of retail, but there is no singular vision for how the area can attract that.” The full report can be read here.

Biznotes: University View breaks records with sale; Tech firm picks College Park

The University View student apartments in College Park have sold for $235 million, a record-breaking transaction. The property was previously owned by Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC and Rockpoint Group, which acquired the property in 2016 for $114.7 million.Property records for the sale have not yet been processed and the buyer was not disclosed in the announcement. The sale is believed to be the highest-priced single-asset student housing transaction in U.S. history. University View is a 1,570-bed, 507-unit, two-building mixed-use student housing facility with nearly 9,220 feet of retail space. It is located across Paint Branch from the University of Maryland at 8204 Baltimore Ave. in College Park.

Beltway Plaza mall mixed-use redevelopment in the works

UPDATE – Dec. 11, 2018, 5 p.m. – The conceptual site plan for the proposed redevelopment of Beltway Plaza was accepted for review by county planning officials Dec. 10, 2018, kicking off a 70-day review timeline. Proposals to redevelop Beltway Plaza Mall into a mixed-use, open-air neighborhood with homes, offices and retail are moving forward. Renderings of the conceptual redevelopment proposal are embedded below this article. Officials with Quantum Companies, the Bethesda-based company that owns the mall, have submitted paperwork with the Prince George’s County Planning Department seeking approval of redevelopment plans that would allow residences to be built behind the mall along Breezewood Drive.

Council rundown: College Park City Hall takes shape; Term committee created; UMD golf course update

College Park’s City Hall could be replaced by a multifaceted four-story building overlooking a corner plaza at Baltimore Avenue and Knox Road, according to conceptual design details unveiled Tuesday evening. The presentation was conducted by Scott Vieth, principal at Baltimore-based Design Collective, the architectural design contractor hired for the project. It occurred during College Park City Council’s regularly-scheduled Nov. 21, 2018, legislative meeting, and reviewed findings gathered in public feedback sessions. Vieth said residents wanted a city hall that was inviting and which provided multiple ways to approach it.

Council rundown: College Park eyes election overhaul, Beltway plans, Jewish cultural center plans

College Park City Council has reached a broad consensus on the structure of a proposed ad-hoc committee to review a proposed change to the city’s election cycle. All nine of College Park’s City Council seats, including the mayor, are elected every two years. The proposed committee will have one specific task centered around a singular question, according to a draft resolution: solicit public feedback on whether or not College Park elected officials should serve for four years, elected in staggered terms. College Park City Council discussed the composition and appointment process for this committee during a Nov. 13, 2018, worksession at City Hall. Such a change would require the city’s charter to be modified.

Loh’s resignation shocks Prince George’s officials

Wallace Loh’s decision to resign as president of the University of Maryland has angered local elected leaders. They hailed Loh’s work to bridge a gap between the university and the communities that surround it. Loh’s resignation comes as the University of Maryland grapples with several scandals within the school’s athletic department, including the death of athlete Jordan McNair during a football practice and a scathing ESPN report alleging a toxic culture within the school’s football program. “I’m disappointed and upset,” said College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn in an interview. “It’s a real shame.