A photo, taken from the center lane of the Baltimore Avenue-slash-Route 1 corridor looking directly south from the intersection of Oglethorpe Street and Baltimore Avenue, shows an urban vista. The green hills of Bladensburg are in the far distance, set against a cloudy evening sky and above a ribbon of roadway. Nearer to the photographer, an urban streetscape reveals row-houses and mid-rise commercial buildings south of Madison Street set against tree-lined sidewalks. Light traffic is seen on the roadway.

Hyattsville weighs affordable housing programs

Lacking a county-wide program to incentivize affordable-housing development, Hyattsville might create its own using about the only tools it has: municipal property tax breaks and dedicated city funding. 

Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth is sponsoring two measures before City Council that address affordable housing. The most-notable is a measure directing city staff and attorneys to craft municipal legislation offering property tax credits to developers who pledge to build or preserve long-term affordably-priced housing units. The other would create a city fund, fueled by developer impact fees, a portion of which would be dedicated to “affordable housing” in some yet-to-be defined manner. 

The measures were discussed at Hyattsville City Council’s April 1 meeting. If they eventually become law – and this City Council seems broadly receptive to the idea – Hyattsville would be in pioneering territory. No similar program in Prince George’s County exists – though one once did.

Hyattsville voters have choices in next election

For the first time in several election cycles, Hyattsville has a full slate of competitive races. The registration period for the 2019 Hyattsville City Council elections closed this past Friday with competitive races in all five wards and for the Mayor’s seat. Even before any ballots are cast, there are a few certainties. For one, voters in Wards Two, Three and Four will bring new blood to the dais, as the incumbents facing re-election in those wards this year declined to run again. West Hyattsville resident Angela Kenny registered to run against incumbent Mayor Candace Hollingsworth for the city’s top job, filing her paperwork late Friday.

New faces join Hyattsville races

In Hyattsville, two new candidates have registered to run for City Council over the past week. One Ben Simasek has thrown his hat in for Ward Three, creating a race with fellow hopeful Matthew Fraterman. Meanwhile, incumbent Ward Five Councilor Joseph Solomon filed to hold onto his seat. Who is Ben Simasek? Simasek has lived in Hyattsville since 2015 with his spouse Claudia.