City Considers Condos Adjacent Campus

The Diamondback reported today about a proposal to construct a 300-unit condominium building adjacent to campus near Hillel and the Business school. The project, which the developer calls “Mosaic at Turtle Creek,” will be marketed towards University faculty and staff and contain no units reserved for graduate students or other workforce housing. Technically, the developer has requested the site be re-zoned to allow for the 6-story development, and the City Council will vote on the issue next Wednesday before it moves to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Prince George‚Äôs County Council for final approval.

The project design includes residential space “wrapped” around a parking garage. While we support wrapped parking if it is absolutely required, we urge the city to re-consider parking requirements for new buildings. By eliminating or reducing parking requirements the city can simultaneously alleviate traffic problems, boost ridership of public transportation, and help develop vibrant local streets. In Ann Arbor, Michigan the city has negotiated special deals in recent years where developers instead contribute towards spaces in municipal garages, which can be utilized more efficiently than private lots. In Ithica, New York, parking requirements were even eliminated for the Collegetown neighborhood for a period in the 1980s.

What does the University’s Master Plan say about the area? The “Southwest District” plan shows the site wedged between a planned campus road and other outlying properties.