Metro to sell West Hyattsville land to developer

WMATA is likely to approve a deal with Gilbane Development Co. and The Hogan Development Group LLC to expand the developers of the neighboring Riverfront at West Hyattsville project, according to Metro documents. 

Gilbane has been working for more than a year to re-grade and prepare for development at the Riverfront at West Hyattsville on the 18.5 acres it already owns. The project plans to have 183 townhomes and 9,000 square feet of retail space. So far, only the townhome portions of the project have already been approved by county officials. 

The proposal before Metro’s board, to be considered at its Dec. 12, 2019, meeting, would sell a 5.3 acre wedge of land to the southeast of the Gilbane property and the West Hyattsville Metro Station.

Hyattsville Council might weigh in on statewide energy proposal

Hyattville City Councilor Danny Schaible wants Hyattsville to throw its weight behind a proposed state law that would allow cities and other jurisdictions to negotiate for electricity service on behalf of their residents. The law is called the Community Choice Aggregation Act. It was introduced in Maryland’s legislature in 2019 by District 20 Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, but did not make it out of committee. A similar bill is expected to be introduced during the 2020 legislative session. If passed, the law would allow cities and counties to create a “community choice aggregator” to negotiate with electricity generators over the type of energy purchased by their community.

Hyattsville might axe free Shuttle-UM passes

Hyattsville City Council appears split on the future of a $6,000 program that lets Hyattsville residents ride the University of Maryland’s bus system for free. During discussion at its Dec. 2, 2019, council meeting of a budget measure that would fund the program for another year, some Hyattsville City Council members questioned the cost, noting only about 150 people applied for passes in 2018. 

“While I certainly understand that there are folks who are riding this, I think for me it really comes down to whether or not this is a good use of taxpayer money “For the few folks who do make use of it,” said Councilor Carianna Suiter during deliberations. “Or whether there is a better way we could use those…dollars to invest in ways that would affect more members of our community.” Two years ago, Hyattsville had a similar debate about the program.

Hyattsville’s longest-serving mayor dies at 75

Thomas Bass, mayor of Hyattsville for a record 16 years from 1979 to 1995, has died at age 75, according to a family obituary released this week. Before serving as mayor, Bass also served as a City Councilor from 1972 through 1979, and held many titles in local political and civic groups. He was a longtime member and president of a mens-only club of Prince George’s County Democratic Party bigwigs that only opened its doors to women in 2001. In 1982, Bass unsucessfully ran for County Council. Born in Cradock, Virginia in 1943 to parents Louis and Mary Bass, the younger Bass went on to be a 1962 graduate of Northwestern High School.

Update: Werrlein’s Magruder Pointe plans get court date

It will be at least until February before the future of the former WSSC headquarters in Hyattsville is known. Developer Werrlein Properties Inc., has plans to build a mix of townhomes and detached homes on the property. But the project, dubbed Magruder Pointe and which received county approval for its conceptual plans earlier this year, has been tied up in the courts as both the city of Hyattsville and a group of nearby residents have turned to the courts to overturn that approval. In a procedural step, Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge John Davey combined the two cases into one in a ruling issued Nov. 4, 2019.

Sub-urban: Hyattsville grapples with gas station stone’s throw from Metro

Hyattsville City Council voted 10-to-one to recommend county officials impose a slew of conditions on a proposed demolition and redevelopment of the Sunoco gas station next to the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station. The proposal is controversial from a policy perspective. The gas station is located in the heart of zoning area designed to encourage dense, walkable, mixed-use development to surround the Metro station. The entire area is marketed as Hyattsville’s second downtown, and according to city planners – as well as years of City Council policymaking – auto-oriented uses such as gas stations and drive-throughs are not permitted to be built or, for those that already exist, are not allowed to significantly expand. Hyattsville City Council’s vote came after the developer submitted a revised application that dramatically reduced the size of the planned retail and office building for the project.

Is a gas station needed near Prince George’s Plaza Metro?

Hyattsville City Council will consider a controversial proposal to demolish the gas station at Belcrest Road and East-West Highway so that a larger gas station can be built in its place. The proposal is controversial for several reasons. The biggest reason is that the redevelopment project is located smack dab in the center of the Prince George’s Plaza Transit Overlay Zone, a special zoning category designed to create a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood befitting the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station. 

Gas stations, as a result, are not permitted under those zoning rules. However, this gas station, a Sunoco built in 1961, is grandfathered in. An existing gas station, such as the Sunoco, would be allowed to build a small expansion, but generally cannot expand its building fooprint by more than 15 percent.

Hyattsville eyes 2020 Census

By Amelia Jarecke, contributing writer

Hyattsville is ramping up its efforts to get its residents counted on the 2020 Census. A key focus of the Hyattsville Complete Count Committee, formed earlier this month by the Hyattsville City Council, is to educate residents about the new electronic response option in the 2020 Census. Hyattsville is the latest Route 1 corridor city to launch a Complete Count committee. College Park and Mount Rainier have also taken similar steps. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found 84 percent of U.S. adults intend to participate in the Census.

Development notes: Three major Route 1 projects moving through pipeline

A trio of major real-estate development projects – two in Hyattsville and one in Greenbelt – are making their way through Prince George’s County’s development review process. For starters, developers have submitted detailed site plans for approval by Prince George’s County planning authorities for a 350-unit multifamily building near the Greenbelt Metro and the intersection of Cherrywood Lane and Edmonston Road. Route 1 Reporter first wrote about this project back in July, when the developers were seeking approval of their preliminary plan of subdivision, a procedural step where property lines are redrawn or consolidated to accommodate new development. The preliminary plan was approved by planning officials last week. For developer NRP Group LLC, a new face in the D.C. development scene, the project is only its second in region. NRP Group LLC is a large Cleveland-based developer, property management and real estate investment company with a large portfolio.