Historic District Nears Final Approval

Sigma Chi Frat HouseWith College Park’s Old Town Historic District nearing final approval with county officials, the first public controversy regarding a property in the district has emerged.

Historic District Hearing AnnouncementWe had previously reported that the Old Town Historic District faced an additional hearing with the Prince George’s County Zoning Hearing Examiner’s (ZHE) Office. In response to complaints from some landlords and others who object to the district, the ZHE had already ordered the city to re-post signs announcing the creation of the district in the Old Town neighborhood. After months of delay, we recently received this notice announcing the hearing will be held on Thursday, April 19th in the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro.

The Diamondback reported that the long vacated (and burned) Sigma Chi fraternity wants to demolish their building, located at 4600 Norwich Road. The fraternity argues the structure is damaged and doesn’t fit modern student’s needs. Meanwhile, preservationists like District 3 Councilperson Stephanie Stullich argue the 1930s colonial revival structure contributes to the character of the neighborhood and can be salvaged. The county’s Historic Preservation Commission generally only permits demolitions in rare cases, but does not regulate the interior design of structures. The HPC will hear the case on April 17th at 7:00 p.m., during their April meeting where two other applications for work permits in College Park will considered, both for fences.

Once the district is approved the city will be forming a local advisory committee, so property owners interested in having feedback in the process should stay tuned.

> Library: Old Town Historic District
> View a map of the properties included in the district

2 thoughts on “Historic District Nears Final Approval”

  1. I have been spearheading the effort to demolish this property for nearly 2 years now. The rules have been changed throughout the process. our goal is simple to rebuild a new fraternity house in keeping with the area — but providing the modern saftey and access required for safely housing students.

    With the privately owned fraternities and sororities all becoming very old and in need of major repairs we feel it is only fair to those organizations that have so much a part of the character of College Park for the nearly 70 years that they be allowed to rebuild homes — in keeping with the area that have the modern safety features that protect the students from the devestating fires that are becoming so common in other areas today.

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