Frequently asked questions
What is the current status of the project?
The Prince George’s Planning Board recommended approval of the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision, Secondary Amendments and the Detailed Site Plan after a series of hearings in May 2013.
Has the Project been "Approved"?
The Prince George’s County County Council, sitting as the District Council, approved the rezoning of the property to the M-U-TC zone on July 9, 2012. This followed the Prince George’s County Planning Board’s recommendation to rezone the property on February 2, 2012.
The Prince George’s County Planning Board has also recommended approval of a Detailed Site Plan and Preliminary Plan of Subdivision for the project. Before construction can commence, however, further action must be taken by the Prince George’s County Council, sitting as the District Council.
Wouldn't it be better to build with the existing zoning?
The Team believes that the surrounding community will benefit from the addition of currently unavailable types of housing and new convenience retail within walking distance. The County and State have invested millions of dollars in transportation infrastructure around the site. The development of the site as a mixed use higher density site is in keeping with the October 2002 County General plan and smart growth principles. Building more of the same low density housing which surrounds the site will simply force residents into their cars for shopping and force residents to move away when their housing needs change. Single family development will require grading of all of the site in order to maximize the yield on the land's value. Finally, single family detached housing will in all likelihood produce greater demands on schools than the proposal with its large percentage of seniors housing, apartments and townhouses.
Does the owner plan to achieve a rezoning, then sell?
The Cafritz family has owned this property since 1954. There has been much interest in it over the years, but the family has retained it. They are committed to being good neighbors and intend to remain even better neighbors once the project is completed.
Is the Cafritz Team in a hurry?
The Team has been showing plans for the property in public meetings since 2006. These plans have always shown a mixed use town center with residential, retail and commercial uses. Early proposed densities were as high as 2000 units and a much larger Whole Foods Market. In the latest proposals, the market is reduced in size, and the number of housing units is now set at 995. The owners have been attempting to move their plan forward for 7 years and are understandably eager to get to the next stage of development.
Has the Cafritz Team been responsive to Community Feedback?
Although plans for the Project have always shown a mixed use town center with residential, retail and commercial uses, earlier iterations of the Project proposed significantly higher densities with as many as 2000 housing units and a much larger Whole Foods Market. In the latest proposals, the market is reduced in size, and the number of housing units is now set at 995. Further, the owners and their team have met extensively and worked closely with the community over the past 6 months to address and resolve manifold community concerns. Among the outcomes of this collaboration is the owners agreement to build -- in a public private partnership with Prince George’s County -- a vehicular and pedestrian bridge over the CSX railroad tracks that runs along the eastern boundary of the Project.
Will the fiscal impact of the project be a problem for the Communities?
In addition to the $6.4 million the project will contribute to the schools, the project will pay $2.3 million in Public Safety fees. The project will create 1883 full time equivalent jobs during its construction, and 439 full-time equivalent permanent jobs when completed. The project is expected to produce over $11 million in annual tax revenue of which $4.5 million is expected to go to the County and the City and Towns. Experience has shown that in communities near a Whole Foods Market, property values tend to rise 5-7%.
Will the project produce "44% more" traffic on Route 1?
Automobile traffic in the Washington Region continues to increase, as we all know. But alternative mobility is increasing at the same time. The project will be served by 7 forms of transportation other than cars, 3 of which run on dedicated or semi-dedicated rights of way: Metro, MARC and the Purple Line. The other four forms are buses of various sorts which will provide better service as passengers move from the cars to more efficient ways of getting around. And the project is accessible by foot and bicycle from all directions including east of the CSX tracks over which a bridge is to be built. Peak hour trips generated by the project will be capped at 548 in the morning and 902 in the afternoon.
Will the Schools be choked with new students from the Cafritz Property?
The project will contribute more than $8.25 million in school surcharge fees before any housing is built. A new elementary school in Hyattsville is scheduled to open in August 2013, adding 792 seats for students in the Area. And the mix of housing proposed has been shown to produce fewer school age children than does the existing R55 zoning.