By Kelly Livingston
On Oct. 17, the Prince George’s County Planning Department held a first bilingual virtual community meeting for a new sector plan to guide future development near the West Hyattsville Metro station.
Prince George’s County Council approved the initiation of planning Oct. 13. The plan “is anticipated to focus on. . .redevelopment,” as well as “infill development of vacant land,” and “multimodal access to the West Hyattsville and Prince George’s Plaza Metro Stations,” according to a document posted on the M-NPCC website.
The plan area includes the West Hyattsville Metro station, the Queens Chapel Town Center and the Queens Chillum Shopping Center, an area bordered to the north by the Mall at Prince George’s and by the District to the south.
Most of the area lies within a flood plain. Robert Gilbane Jr., vice president of Gilbane Development Company cited this as a challenge for the Riverfront at West Hyattsville Metro project, in a video interview with Hyattsville Community & Economic Development Director Jim Chandler. “I think that the biggest issue that we’ve faced, … was the 100-year flood plain and stormwater management.”
The county planning commission interviewed Gilbane Development Company in the earliest stages of the sector plan development, according to engineering consultants from AECOM who spoke at the meeting. The commission also interviewed several other developers, property owners, the cities of Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, the Town of Brentwood, and members of the county council.
AECOM stated that the interviews revealed that West Hyattsville has “no sense of place” or that it has multiple identities.
Some residents taking part in the community kickoff disagreed with that notion.
Residents also expressed concerns about what the plan would mean for housing affordability in the area and how it might impact local businesses.
“We’ve heard from a lot of people about the fact that they like the small businesses, they like the feel and character of West Hyattsville,” Hyson said. “We don’t want to. . .take away from that. We simply want to make sure that we provide as many opportunities. . .as possible.”
The West Hyattsville-Queens Chapel Sector Plan will replace the Transit District Development Plan established by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) in 2006.
According to Deputy Project Manager Kendra Hyson, who co-hosted the launch on Oct. 17, the planning department is updating the 2006 plan for the area due to changed zoning ordinances, evolving economic conditions and new county planning guidelines.
During the kickoff, the sector plan team underscored that they are seeking community input for the plan set to be completed in June 2023. Anyone wishing to provide feedback can reach the planning commission through the M-NCPPC website (www.mncppc.org/4931/West-Hyattsville-Queens-Chapel-Sector-Pl).