Cafritz Plan Approved 7-2

wholefoods

The District Council approves the Cafritz Plan by a vote of 7-2. College Park Patch reports that despite objections from the the City of College Park and from Councilman Olson to push forward a motion for denial, the vote to approve the zoning change for the Cafritz development was passed 7-2.

The 37-acre plan in Riverdale Park is slated to be the home of the first Whole Foods grocery store in Prince George’s County in addition to 900 units of multi-family housing, a 120-room hotel, and additional office space.

News & Notes: June 2012 Edition


CP Farmers Market Banner

 

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park


General Announcements:

College Park Farmers’ Markets:

Summer is here and all of the City’s farmers markets are now open.  Returning for a second year, the Downtown Farmers Market at City Hall is steadily expanding with new vendors and increased patronage.  The market is open every Sunday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM through November and features Miller Farms as the primary vendor.  Miller Farms offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, while Bill’s Backyard Barbeque serves delicious eats including pulled pork, brisket and salmon. Additional part-time vendors include Heavenly Created Desserts, Honey Glow, and Shearer’s Mountain Veiw Farm.  Live music is now a staple of the market and usually takes place from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.   In the next few weeks look out for new farmers market banners on Route 1 in Downtown that include a unique design we hope everyone will enjoy.

The College Park Farmers Market at Wells Ice Rink/Linson Swimming Pool is open every Saturday from 7:00 AM to Noon through October.  The market’s offerings include local produce, baked goods, flowers, and pottery.

A new option this year is The Farmers Market at Maryland, which is open on Wednesdays from Noon to 4:00 PM outside the UMD Cole Fieldhouse.  Offerings include local produce, baked goods, meat products, and eggs among other items.

College Park Marketing Campaign:

The City is embarking on a marketing campaign that will produce a City logo, slogan, and marketing plan.  The City received proposals from several impressive companies, and eventually selected idfive LLC out of Baltimore to manage the campaign.  As part of their work, idfive will hold several focus groups over the next month or two to conduct research that will help identify the City’s attributes and marketing position.  We anticipate the focus groups will include residents, University of Maryland faculty and staff, residential realtors, business owners, developers, commercial brokers, and University of Maryland students.  If you are in any of these categories and would like to take part in the focus groups please contact Michael Stiefvater in the Economic Development Department for more information.

Shop College Park Website:

The City-run website, Shop College Park, is hosted through a cooperative effort between the City of College Park Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development and local merchants in an effort to market all that College Park has to offer. The website will undergo a redesign and upgrade in the next few months, so if you’d like to offer input on the current site please fill out this brief survey.

Downtown Chess Set:

The City recently purchased an oversized outdoor chess set that is available for check out from the Planning Department, which is located on the lower level of City Hall. There is no charge to borrow the set and it is currently available Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Channel 7 News (WJLA) did a feature on the chess set last month.

Upcoming Events:

College Park Day
College Park Day 2012 will be on Saturday, October 27. If you’re interested in joining the planning committee, email cpdayevents@gmail.com for more information.

Continue reading News & Notes: June 2012 Edition

TOD Plans for College Park, M Square Purple Line stations

Back on April 4th the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission presented the results of their Purple Line community workshop at a public meeting. I attended, and while M-NCPPC’s delay in posting material has delayed this writeup, there’s still quite a bit to talk about. The Prince George’s County Planning Department within M-NCPCC established five Station Planning Areas to address stations areas not covered by another plan of some form.

M Square and College Park station areas, looking West.

Continue reading TOD Plans for College Park, M Square Purple Line stations

College Park Community Foundation Seeking Members

cropped-CP_Metro
Over the past year, a group of College Park residents from around the City have been meeting with the goal of establishing a College Park Community Foundation.  A community foundation is a non-profit organization that raises funds and then distributes them as grants for projects and other non-profit organizations that benefit the community.  It can support projects ranging from food kitchens to arts organizations, funds to revitalize blighted commercial areas to community events.
There are a number of examples of similar projects in the area.  Greenbelt’s Community Foundation was started just a few years ago and has funded or helped fund a food bank, various youth projects, and a museum celebrating the heritage of Greenbelt (see greenbeltfoundation.net).  The Columbia Foundation in Howard County is bigger and has funded hospice programs and supports, services and volunteer programs for people with disabilities, children’s choirs, arts festivals, and scholarships (www.columbiafoundation.org).  Community Foundations can give grants to organizations for their own projects or seek out organizations that are interested in pursuing the goals established by the Foundation itself.
The possibilities for College Park are virtually endless.  A Community Foundation could be used to support public art projects in commercial areas around the City.  It could be used to establish partnerships in adult education with the University, have community clean-ups, work with City kids on public art projects, help underserved populations, or show movies at local parks.  The only limit is the imagination and goals of the people running it.
We invite you to become part of the Steering Committee for the Foundation and help us make this vision a reality.  The Steering Committee will create a plan for the organization, allocate the funds, and ultimately be in charge of raising the funds necessary to support community projects.  Although some people don’t like fundraising, we want to make it easy – we’re looking for people who are willing to do things like help organize chili dinners and other events to raise funds, as well as make commitments to help out the Foundation personally.
The Steering Committee will be having a kick-off on Thursday, May 17, at 6:30 pm at the IHOP on Route 1, at 9680 Baltimore Avenue.  If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Wojahn at 240-988-7763.

A New Era for Biking in College Park

bikeshareIf you happen to be a College Park resident and a fan of biking, then the developments in the past few weeks have been cause for celebration.  First, we had the announcement from Prince George’s county about their ground breaking legislation for improved pedestrian and cyclist connections in new developments.  Then, to kick off Bike Month on May 1st, Governor O’Malley announced that College Park and the University of Maryland were awarded a state grant to establish a bike sharing program.

Efforts to bring bike sharing to College Park have long been in the works, and there have already been several failed attempts in the past few years, including a few associated with the federal stimulus (TIGER & TIGER II), and another one with the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant program.  So this victory has been hard fought and now that the state grant has been won, the city can move on and focus its efforts on designing and building a bike share program.

Important details about the proposed bike share program can be found in this Patch article.  The proposed College Park/UMD bike sharing program will be part of the Capital Bikeshare network.  Originally started in DC & Arlington less than two years ago (Sept. 2010), Capital Bikeshare has experienced explosive growth , with over 18,000 members and one million rides in its first year of operation. Later this year, Capital Bikeshare will expand into Alexandria and Rockville.  The city of Arlington has put together a fascinating report about its program, showing that 55% of CaBi trips would have been replaced by non-active transportation modes without bike sharing.

Continue reading A New Era for Biking in College Park

Greenbelt Sector Plan: Preferred Alternatives

On April 19, the last public outreach meeting was held for the Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Corridor Sector Plan, which laid out a more detailed vision for the plan area. What follows are some of the highlights of this vision. A draft of the sector plan is expected to be released in July, and a joint public hearing will occur in September (tentatively set for September 18, 2012).

Land Use
Greenbelt Sector Plan Zones
Land use is to be organized in part by dividing the plan area into two zones: Greenbelt Metropolitan Center (which includes Capital Office Park, Franklin Park, and Greenbelt Station’s north core) and MD 193 Corridor (which includes Greenway Center, Belle Point and University Square, Beltway Plaza, and Greenbelt Station’s south core). The goal is to enhance connectivity within each zone and promote development that complements the other areas of the zone.

Two different land use approaches for Greenbelt Station’s north core will be proposed. It would call for either a comprehensive, transit-oriented mixed use community or a major employer (such as a GSA tenant like the FBI) with some potential for associated mixed-use development. For a more detailed description of each scenario, see our post on the North Core Concepts and Design meeting.

Continue reading Greenbelt Sector Plan: Preferred Alternatives

County Passes Groundbreaking Bill for Cyclist and Pedestrian Access

Time to count one for the bike/ped community. In a 9-0 vote, the County Council passed a bill that will require the Planning Board to take into account the surrounding areas access to pedestrian and bikeway facilities when evaluating new development. In planning terms, the bill is an adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO) for sidewalks and bikeways.
Route 1 in CP

 

For years bike/ped access was barely an afterthought when a new development submits its plans to the county as the focus has always been on traffic impacts and automobile access. For instance, a development projected to increase car trips at a nearby intersection may be required to add turn lanes and reconfigure the traffic signal, but would only be required to build sidewalks immediately next to the development.

This ordinance will give the Planning Board the tools they need to require developers to make off-site pedestrian and bike improvements when a development proposal is projected to increase such trips. For these improvements, developers must now build bike and pedestrian facilities in the nearby public right-of-way approaching the site to the “maximum extent possible” (up to a specified maximum cost depending on the size of the project).

County Council Vice Chairman Eric Olson (D-College Park) and council member Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) sponsored the bill which is expected to be signed by  County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D).

“When new development occurs, developers can now be required to invest in off-site improvements for walking and biking, rather than just cars.  As we seek to create healthier, more walkable mixed-use communities, this is an important step forward.” – Eric Olson

Greg Billing of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association called the county’s approach “a very simple solution.”

“If you can only get to a development by car, the development loses out,” he said.

In Prince George’s, most of the affected developers would be in what is known as the developed tier, inside the Beltway and relatively close to the county’s Metro stations. – The Washington Post

Bill sponsors believe the scope of the bill is unprecedented nationally. It may become a model for improving non-motorized transportation. Read the bill HERE. The press release is below the break.

Continue reading County Passes Groundbreaking Bill for Cyclist and Pedestrian Access

News & Notes: April 2012 Edition

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park.

College Park Earth Day

Upcoming Events:

College Park Earth Day Project & Music Festival
A two-day event featuring a volunteer opportunity, live music, a film, and festival is taking place on April 21 and 22. The volunteer opportunity is on Saturday, April 21 at the Cherry Hill Road Community Park, while the remaining events will be held at Duvall Field. For more information, visit their website.

Maryland Day
An excellent opportunity to explore the University of Maryland Campus with over 450 free activities and events, including live performances, educational seminars, and climbing walls. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found here.

College Park Day
Save the Date !  College Park Day 2012 will be on Saturday, October 27. If you’re interested in joining the planning committee, email cpdayevent at gmail.com for more information.

General Announcements:

College Park Farmers’ Markets:
The City Hall Farmers’ Market is now open on Sunday mornings, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features returning farmer Miller Farms, delicious eats from Bill’s Backyard Barbeque, and several other vendors. More information about the City Hall Farmers’ Market can be found here.

The College Park Farmers’ Market at Wells Ice Rink/Linson Swimming Poll is currently closed for the season but will return on Saturdays in May.

College Park Community Library:
The College Park Community Library is now open in one of the basement rooms at the College Park Church of the Nazarene, at 9704 Rhode Island Ave. in Hollywood. At this point, the library has collected over 5,000 books and continues to expand through donations. If anyone is interested in volunteering or donate books please contact cpcomlibary at gmail.com. More information about the library can be found on their blog.

April 2012 Business Activity

New Businesses:

ChiDogO’s (Varisty apartments, ground floor retail)
Owner is a Chicago native and UMD graduate.  Serves “Chicago style fare” (Vienna Beef Dogs, Italian Beef sandwiches, etc)
– Blue Tech Cleaners (corner of Rhode Island Ave & Edgewood Rd)
– Six Star Dry Cleaning (Rt, 1, south of Edgewood Rd – replaces Fast Cash Leasing)

Business Closings:

Austin Grill Express (Varsity apartments, ground floor retail)
We hardly knew ye … open & shut down in less than three four months ! Covered by Patch
– Pebbles Wellness (Rt. 1, south of Berwyn Rd)
– Fast Cash Leasing (Rt, 1, south of Edgewood Rd)

Coming Soon:

Downtown:

– Big Play Sports Grill
Now expected to open in the next few weeks (late April) at the former location of Vito’s Pizzeria.  Operated by a UMD graduate; will be strongly focused on the campus sports scene with memorabilia from former standout athletes on the walls.

– District Dumplings
Scheduled to open in May/June time frame.  Will offer a menu mostly devoted to the Asian delicacy.

Note that these two are both going into Terrapin Station, which has seen a lot of
business turnover over the years.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill
Lease signed: former location of California Tortilla on Rt. 1.  East coast chain, Mexican grill that uses fresh, organic ingredients, and has vegetarian, low carb & low fat options.  There’s already locations in DC, Clarendon & Pentagon City.

– Terrapin Turf
Lease signed: former location of Santa Fe Cafe, still in the process of obtaining a liquor license.  The operator ran Saloun earlier, a bar featuring jazz, blues, and soul music, in Georgetown for many years until it closed in late 2011.  Live music along the lines of Saloun is expected to continue at Terrapin Turf.  Previously covered in Patch and the Diamondback.

More info about several of these businesses can be found in this Diamondback article.

Lower Midtown:

Three additional businesses are listed as “Coming Soon” and will be ground level retail in the Varsity apartments.

The Frame Mender
Expected to open later this month. Offering over 35 years of eyeglass repair experience; moving from their current Berwyn Heights location.  They also have two other locations in Rockville and downtown DC.

– Yo Love Frozen Yogurt
Expected to open later this month.

Roti Mediterranean Grill
Expected to open in August.  Fast casual chain, offering Mediterranean fare.

Going into Campus Village:
– Pho D’Lite:
Now expected to open in May, a new venture from the owners of Hanami Japanese Restaurant.  Described as “a unique Asian fusion concept that provides healthy options focused on Vietnamese soup and Southeast Asian delicacies”.

Sharing the same location as Rita’s Italian Ice (8900 Baltimore Ave):
– Newaabsaab Kabobs:
Expected opening in August.

Hollywood:
Two new businesses with signed leases — no announced opening dates yet.

– Johnny’s Carry Out:
Going into Hollywood Shopping Center (by MOM’s & REI).

– Pollo a La Brasa:
Going into Hollywood Square (9925 Rhode Island Ave).  Sounds very promising, especially if they could offer anything approaching the awesomeness over at Sardi’s in Beltsville.

Uptown:
– Chipotle:
New location expected to open in the April/May time frame.  This is just north of the Beltway & Rt. 1 interchange by the Buffalo Wild Wings & Potbelly, in the strip of businesses next to the IKEA.

Greenbelt Sector Plan: Conceptual Alternatives Workshop

Yesterday, a workshop was held for the Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Corridor Sector Plan, which covered land use scenarios for several areas of the sector plan, known as “focus areas.” Three time frames (short-term, medium-term, and long-term) were used to describe when these scenarios could be realized. Short-term is meant to be 1 to 6 years, medium-term is 7 to 15 years, and long-term is 15 to 30 years.
Greenbelt Sector Plan Focus Areas

Focus Area 1: Greenway Center

This area has poor connectivity with a sea of parking and limited entrance points that hinders transit and walkability. The sector plan will call for a reduction in the parking lots through enhancing existing environmental amenities and incorporating new public/open spaces. The project team proposed filling in the parking area with a modest amount of retail and housing over the long-term (market constraints would likely prevent this from occurring sooner). Introducing residential units would allow activity to be maintained outside of working hours and thus provide support for more retail. It is assumed that there will be a lack of funds needed to support the demolition and replacement of the current buildings. But with the gradual infill of new development, a grid pattern would still be created that would bring connectivity and a new sense of place to the area.

Focus Area 2: Capital Office Park, Golden Triangle, Belle Point, and University Square

With the presence of the Beltway and Kenilworth Avenue, this area is divided into three pods that are fairly isolated from the rest of the sector plan area. This separation is unfortunate because it promotes auto traffic and acts as a resistance to mixed-use development opportunities and general connectivity. Thus, office parks exist where a variety of businesses and dwelling units could have been brought together. Building better sidewalks and adding a designated bike path along Greenbelt Road can help alleviate some of this isolation, but the interchanges and grade separation of the Beltway and Kenilworth Avenue would be very difficult and costly to overcome. The plan supports modest retail/office infill in the office parks, as well as improving the Lakecrest Drive and American Legion intersection by University Square. But overall, it supports retaining existing uses.

Focus Area 3: Greenbelt station’s North Core and South Core

As discussed in last week’s meeting, the north core could see either mixed-use development or a major employer by the Greenbelt station. If a major employer moves in, it may induce contractors to locate in the Greenway Center, Capital Office Park, or Golden Triangle. If the employer was GSA, it would probably not bring many employees to the south core. The plan could call for building a trail along Indian Creek, which would act as an extension of Indian Creek trail and run adjacent to the north and south core. A pedestrian path could be built over Indian Creek that would connect Breezewood Drive to the south core. Because of the sensitive nature of Indian Creek, it would probably not be a road. However, a road is proposed to connect the north and south core, and a shuttle system could run between them. A pedestrian bridge is also proposed, bringing another connection with Hollywood, although the location for it has not been confirmed (it was suggested that it could be located near Huron Street, between the north and south core). For the south core, it is likely that the southern portion would be multi-family residential and the northern portion would be townhouses. Potentially, this could be built in the short-term. In total, about 1,000 dwelling units and 115,000 square feet of retail and/or office space are proposed for the south core.

Focus Area 4: Franklin Park, Beltway Plaza, and MD 193 Corridor

With the lack of obstacles such as a creek or a highway, this area probably has the most potential in the sector plan area to become a walkable and well-connected place. Beltway Plaza could see its rear parking lot filled in with multi-family housing in the short to medium-term. Beltway Plaza itself could redevelop over the long-term, with the existing mall being replaced with smaller, mixed-use development. This would create a town center atmosphere with a more grid-like pattern that would provide at least one direct connection from Greenbelt Road to the rear of the plaza. If a major employer moved into Greenbelt Station’s north core, it could bring a greater incentive to redevelop this area, but it would also bring more traffic. Overall, we would like to see a general grid pattern take over this area, with stronger pedestrian connections linking Berwyn Heights, Beltway Plaza, Springhill Lake, and Greenbelt Middle School more closely together.

Other Issues

There was a general consensus to relocate the fire station to near the MD-193/BW Parkway interchange, which would reduce response times. There was also support for replacing surface parking with structured parking throughout the sector plan area, but the project team noted that the cost was too high to justify the demand for the short-term. Finally, a suggestion was made to shift transit stops from the periphery to the center of the focus areas to encourage more pedestrians.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, April 19, at 6:30pm at Springhill Lake Elementary School. It will be a workshop that will present and discuss the preferred alternative for the future of the sector plan area.

College Park Development Update – March

The Development Update is a bi-monthly newsletter prepared by the City of College Park Planning, Community and Economic Development Department covering development activity in the City. This edition features updates on the City’s Community Legacy application, Domain at College Park, and East Campus. If you have any questions or would like to subscribe, please feel free to contact Michael Stiefvater at (240) 487-3543 or mstiefvater@collegeparkmd.gov.