City council votes in favor of new ward boundary map
The Hyattsville City Council has voted to move forward with a new map of the boundaries of the city’s five wards, following the population data from the latest census.
While the redistricting commission proposed two maps for the city council to choose from on Nov. 7, the council rejected both maps and requested the redistricting commission make a number of changes to the ward boundaries.
The redistricting commission provided two additional new maps for the council to consider on Nov. 21, and it was one of those maps that the council chose, voting 6-4 in favor of the second new map, called Council Requests B.
The choice of maps was controversial, as the redistricting commission recommended the Growth Conscious map, which was designed to keep ward sizes more equal over the coming decade as known development projects in the city are completed. Andrew Sayer, the chair of the redistricting commission, also noted that the public had had far more opportunity to comment on the Growth Conscious map, which had already undergone several revisions.
Councilmember Sam Denes (Ward 1) criticized the city council for what he saw as having injected politics and gerrymandering into the redistricting process. “The Council Requests map represents elected officials choosing their voters, rather than the voters choosing their elected officials,” he said.
Joseph Solomon (Ward 5), who moved that the council select the Council Requests B map, responded that although the councilmembers brought the requests to the table, they were passing on feedback they had received from residents of their wards.
The map passed by a narrow margin, with Solomon, Joanne Wasczcak (Ward 1), Emily Strab (Ward 2), Edouard Haba (Ward 4), Rommel Sandino (Ward 5), and Mayor Robert Croslin voting in favor. Denes, Danny Schaible (Ward 2), Jimmy McClellan (Ward 3) and Daniel Peabody (Ward 4) voted against. Ben Simasek (Ward 3) was absent.
After the vote, Croslin expressed his gratitude to the redistricting commission for their work.
The newly accepted boundaries must be approved by a charter amendment resolution. There will be a public hearing on Dec. 19, ahead of that night’s city council meeting during which the resolution will likely be passed.