ADDITIONAL BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: City and county rescind ‘Stop Work’ orders on WSSC demolition
By LINDSAY MYERS — This is a developing story.
Update at 4:55pm: Norma Rivera, the attorney representing Werrlein Properties has submitted the following comment on the stop-work orders:
“My client, Werrlein Properties, has been made aware that officials of the city had contacted the county’s permit and inspection office and offered what turned out to be misinformation in that there was no demolition permit and the building was historic. The county then placed a temporary hold on the demolition permit. Neither is true. The county has now lifted the stop-work order and the building demolition will continue.
My client is of the opinion this action by the city is a clear attempt to harass and intimidate Werrlein Properties as the Judicial Review process moves through the court system which they initiated.”
Update at 2:55pm: The city and county have removed both stop-work orders.
Jim Chandler, the city’s director of Community and Economic Development said, “Our understanding is that the permit had been expired, but the county’s website had not reflected that status … between yesterday and this morning [the county] reviewed the case file and determined that inspections from the county had been taking place and so the permit was considered active by the county.”
The city and county released stop-work orders as a precaution while the county reviewed the status of the permit. Werrlein Properties has not been issued a new permit, as the county has determined the original permit was never violated.
Prince George’s County and the City of Hyattsville have issued stop-work orders on the demolition of the WSSC building at 4017 Hamilton Street for “working without a permit.” The WSSC building is the location of the contentious Magruder Pointe development, currently under demolition and construction by Werrlein Properties.
On Thursday July 18, 2019, local residents Greg Smith and Daniel Muth of Save Our Sustainable (SOS) Hyattsville submitted a formal letter of complaint to Melinda M. Bolling, the director of Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Investigation and Enforcement requesting the stop-work orders. They charged Werrlein Properties with a “flagrant violation of county law” and the illegal demolition of an historic building as documented by National Register of Historic Places and the Maryland Inventory of Historic Places, though the site is not officially registered in either inventory.
According to records obtained by Smith and Muth on July 15 through the Maryland Public Information Act, the county issued Werrlein Properties a raze permit on March 1, 2018 for six months. The permit was not renewed on September 1, 2018. The language of the permit reads as follows:
“This permit is void six (6) months from the date issued if construction has not started, has been discontinued or been suspended unless otherwise indicated.”
Smith and Muth have asked the county to “deny any new or renewed permits related to this demolition or to Magruder Pointe” until the construction of Magruder Pointe has been resolved in the Circuit Court of Maryland, where it has been challenged in two separate cases.
Jonathan Werrlein has declined to comment on the stop-work order.
Read the full text of the complaint here:
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This is a developing story.