The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Prince George’s County Planning Board unanimously approved the Detailed Site Plan (DSP) submitted by Sacred Heart Home to build a new 44-unit facility for the long-term care of the elderly on their current site in Hyattsville.
Sacred Heart Home facility is located on a large swath of forested land at 5808 Queen’s Chapel Road. Built in 1926, the facility is now used as a nursing home with the capacity to care for up to 100 residents. The property also contains a convent and priest’s quarters.
Sacred HeartThe proposed site plan for the property calls for raising and rebuilding of both the convent and the nursing home. The convent will increase in size, however the site plan proposes reducing the number of beds in the nursing home to 44, thereby reducing the square footage of the facility. The convent will remain in roughly the same location, while the nursing home will be relocated on the site. The project will occur in three phases: Phase I: demolition and rebuilding of the convent; Phase 2: building of the new nursing facility; Phase III: demolition of the existing nursing facility and construction of a breezeway connecting the convent to the new nursing home. The intent of the phasing is to keep the facility in operation throughout the process of construction.

The DSP was approved with some conditions that were agreed upon between M-NCPPC planning staff and the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, who operate the home.
The City of Hyattsville mayor and council, which submitted a letter to the Planning Board in March that endorsed the DSP without conditions, submitted a second letter this month after neighbors presented a petition with a list of concerns about the plans. The second letter also endorsed the DSP but acknowledged concerns expressed by about 100 neighbors of the property.
Several individuals on each side spoke at the hearing May 10. Speakers on both sides acknowledged the high quality of care provided by the Sisters and the need for a new facility to replace the 92-year-old building currently housing the residents. However, some neighbors cited concerns about loss of tree canopy, storm-water management problems, loss of privacy and increase of noise by siting the new building close to the residential neighborhood. Opponents asked that the new building be located closer to Queens Chapel Road and farther away from the adjacent homes. Larry Taub, the land-use attorney representing Sacred Heart Home, indicated in response that the building cannot be moved because the existing building’s heating plant, which must remain in operation until the new facility is finished, is in the way.
Some changes in the plan were made prior to the hearing and some additional changes will be made in the upcoming permitting process. For example, the two-tiered retaining wall along the 36th Avenue side of the property will become a three-tiered terrace in order to soften the view from neighbors’ backyards. Also, an engineer from Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) told the board that his agency would require that additional stormwater management facilities be installed on the property to mitigate storm runoff problems that currently afflict the surrounding neighborhood.