A Maryland appeals court issued a decision Feb. 23 in a dispute over Suffrage Point (formerly Magruder Pointe), the development going up next to Driskell Park.

Werrlein construction2
Suffrage Point construction ongoing near Driskell Park
Photo credit: Kit Slack

The City of Hyattsville and a group of citizens sued the county and the developer, Werrlein WSSC, LLC, in 2019. After losing in circuit court in 2020, they appealed.

The appeals court upheld the decision of the county council, sitting as the district council, to rezone the former parking lot next to the park, designating the area as residential rather than open space.

However, the court directed the district council to reconsider how many dwellings per acre it had permitted on the property. The court noted that when calculating the number of houses per acre, the district court used the entire acreage of the property. Instead, when calculating the number of allowed houses, or townhouses, per acre, the county must use a net acreage, first subtracting alleys, streets and land within the 100-year flood plain from the total acreage. 

According to the court, the applicable zoning regulation allows a maximum of 6.7 houses per net acre. The court said the county may also allow townhouses in the zone, and set a maximum number of townhouses per net acre. 

In a March 3 email, a City of Hyattsville spokesperson noted that “the City is aware of the ruling and reviewing its options. At the moment, there are no specific plans for action.”

A lawyer for Werrlein Properties wrote in a March 4 email, “We are pleased with the Court of Special Appeals’ opinion largely affirming the District Council’s decision. … We are working to address the one technical issue where the court requested clarification.”

According to the developer’s website, three of the houses already being built are under contract.