Glenn Dale Citizens Association
Meeting Minutes—March 16, 2005
Prepared By Jim Titus, Secretary
Summary: After spending about 45 minutes on the usual variety of issues, we discussed the proposed sectional map amendments to the master plan for East Glenn Dale. Most of the discussion focused on the new proposal to save the golf course. Councilman Peters arrived at 8:35 and listened to the discussion until 9:05PM. He then took the floor and explained his perspective on a variety of issues for 25 minutes, and then took questions and engaged in dialogue until 10:20, after which the Association deliberated on the position that we will take at the public hearing March 21. Between 10:45 and 11 PM, the 24 members who remained unanimously endorsed the association’s position:
The meeting started at 7:45 PM with all officers present.
Secretary’s Report: Minutes Approved.
Treasurer’s Report 1498.63 + 18 + interest = 1516.78
Kirk of Eastgate says: Damon’s is still planning to build at Eastgate. They will start in May and hope to be open by football season. Other pads will be built without tenants.
Henry: Staybridge will have to go back to get a revision of their preliminary plan because they are "way over" the square footage allowed on that property. They will need to put a "conceptual plan" in before the county can act.
Daisy Station Preliminary Plan: One more driveway on Bell Station and two on Daisy Lane. Four lots about 20,000 square feet. The big tree will be cut. The builder is Marco Homes. Houses to sell for $750,000. We did submit a letter, pointing out that homes need to be back farther from the road—but the problem was that this would get in the way of the trees. The footprint in the diagrams needs to more accurately show decks, etc.
Zoglio. MD-193 and MD-450, NW corner. Last time they applied, they failed to post properly. So he has not reapplied. Proposal is 21 single-family houses with access to MD-193. Hearing was continued until April 6. That is preliminary plan 4-05105.
The main sensitivity is that this is next to Marietta Mansion.
Beltway Widening: Jim Titus summarized the Beltway widening issue as presented at the SHA hearing last week. SHA is about to embark on a study of the intercounty transitway, aka "PurpleLine". They are considering various levels of grade-separation for both light rail and rapid bus transit. Needless to say, the bus will not be very rapid or get much use unless there is a lot of grade separation. State officials say there is plenty of political support—they will look into the possibility of building the line from New Carrollton to Silver Spring while MoCo argues about whether to build the line to Bethesda.
More controversial is Beltway widening. VA plans to add two lanes, which will both be toll lanes. But MD-SHA does not think they have room for two lanes, so they are looking at adding one lane in each direction and either (a) making that one lane a toll lane, or (b) making two lanes toll. The latter is controversial because it takes away available free lanes—and people are suspicious that SHA would set toll rates so as to maximize revenues and maintain congestion, rather than set toll rates to minimize congestion. (For example, suppose the traffic is light enough that if everyone was spread out in 5 lanes there would be not jam. Therefore, zero is the correct toll for minimizing congestion. But if SHA wants to make money, it will institute a toll, leading people to move to the free lanes and creating a jam. People will only be willing to pay for the toll lanes if there is congestion on the free lanes, so a profit-maximizing SHA would create congestion in these circumstances. SHA will have little support until they solve this problem.)
SHA had not thought about providing bike lanes along the beltway, even though it is covered by federal guidelines. They do believe that they would add a pedestrian walkway along the new bridge over the Potomac, connecting parks on either side, as a concession to National Park Service, which owns the lands.
BG&E Tree Trimming along WB&A. The pecan trees were lost. They will be replanted. (Send comments to Michael Fowler of BG&E at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Emergency Preparedness. Tony: No Commitment for next meeting, but Tony thinks that they will come and give the talk. They are emphasizing family preparedness, but not we are not clear on whether they are going to talk about what the county is doing. Send questions in advance to email@example.com so PG staff will be prepared.
Glenn Dale Hospital Update: No update but recapping: County has been soliciting expressions of interest—and it got 4. But General Counsel of M-NCPPC wants to first re-negotiate the deal with DC on the profits from sale. Henry was unclear about what the terms of the "excess profits" provision is. So that has stopped things in its tracks.
East Glenn Dale Sector Plan:
There will be a Public Hearing March 21 at 6PM at the Council Heading Room in Upper Marlboro on the amendment to the sector plan. These are significant amendments, on which the public had no real opportunity to comment.
Henry recapped the proposed amendments as summarized in the invitation to the public hearing.
The idea is protect part of the golf course by allowing higher density on part of the course and possibly the Kyle property. But it is unclear whether Kyle would have individual villas or not. Adding 4-story buildings is very different from what we have now in Glenn Dale, Henry said.
Mary recapped the Jemal development. The proposal is to get rid of two office buildings and replace them with 102 double decker townhouse condos, plus 14 townhouses. Along Northern Avenue, proposal was to put 74 single family homes built on small lots. Make it pedestrian friendly like Kentlands.
So question: Do we like industrial or mixture of offices and residence.
Greentech 1 and 2 will be temporary school, and torn down for condos.
Overall, she said, development trends mean that this area will either be industrial or mixed office-residential. Mary and others on her committee prefer the mixed concept over the pure industrial park, and have been working in that direction. "Residential 70% age restricted, 30% assisted living"
Douglas Peters arrived at 8:35, entering discretely through the back of the room; most members did not notice him. The discussion continued with him sitting in the back.
Question: Is this something we want? In this case, at least we know what the parameters are. Fundamental question: Is this what we want?
Someone said: We have another unspecified increase in density.
Henry: The biggest problem I have is that in the golf course situation, the specifics are not spelled out. We don’t have the framework. The Golf Course could have 206 homes and the open space is lost.
John: Basically, we are getting 390 homes with 2 people, while we would otherwise have 260 homes with 4 people on average, so the density is probably not all that different. Henry: And people over 55 do not drive, right?
John: That is not my point at all. My point is that the total number of people will be less—and the adults will probably drive less. People without children do not need to drive their children to school, or the park, …
Jim: They should be riding a bike ;-) . John’s point is that this may not be an increase in density at all—and don’t forget all the downzoning which also decreases the likely population increase. But John, how about total square feet. How do we know these condos won’t all be larger than my house? Will they be limited to 1- and 2-bedroom.
John. I don’t know about your house, but the area where they are allowed to build would prevent condos from being too large.
Question: What is the impact of too much age-restricted property. The beneficiary of covenants will be Glenn Dale.
Other thoughts: What about the other properties being down-zoned? Why are we doing this downzone. Henry said he didn’t know, with a smile.
Jim pointed out the obvious, which is that this is a way of keeping overall density down so that the density could come to the golf course—and that perhaps down-zoning would be nice on our side to stop the infill development we are seeking on our wide of Glenn Dale Road.
9:05 PM Doug Peters began to speak.
Police Station scheduled adjacent to Glenn Dale Firehouse. He needs support for funds for police station. Funds never available. He needs support at hearings in May and letters to Council chairman. Completion of Daisy Lane, Aquatic Center slide repaired.
Fairwood got in under the public safety surcharge fee. In the developing or rural tier they would now pay $6000/home. But Fairwood got in before that—Peters got them to put in $300,000 for the pumpers.
Regarding the sectional map amendment. Peters lives in Northridge. This is part of his every day travels. With the Church and traffic generated, and homes coming in every where—all of that was processed before his time. His opinion was that we have too much density, and the same kind of homes. MNCPPC says we have a deficit of senior housing. People would like to turn homes over to kids and then stay in the area. Westchester Park: Condos are all seniors. A lot of people say that there is just not enough. So: If we have to have senior housing, it is good to not put pressure on schools, and also to increase some diversity.
Also: Sectional map amendment should have been done 7 years ago. It has been 13 years since the map amendment was done. He had some extra money after Bowie Plan for another plan, and so put it into East Glenn Dale. "Yes there is some downzoning." He met with Holy Trinity, which has RR, downzoning to O/S. They were fine with the down zone. The church was R/R and they agreed to downzone. Mr. Keagle owns land in front of Prospect Hill and MD-193: Zoned RR. He is prepared to sell it as appraised value as open space. Peters had open space funding—and that land was sold to MNCPC. A piece is by Reid Temple—they were happy to keep trees (as long as trees are not on their property)..
Covenants are there to save the golf course. The way that the housing is clustered saves land. He has a comparison of the density: Overall, this saves 100 acres of open space, plus no additional load on the schools. Shields putting no homes for 30 years, according to the covenants (O/S would allow 1 per 5 acre). (Note: the covenants actually say in perpetuity.)
On the Jemal property. She urged Mary to negotiate with Jemal, bring down density. This is how it should work, people affected doing the negotiation.
Eastgate: Still has potential. If you add some density, then you have a mixed use area and more customers. That will get you the better stores and restaurants.
Hospital. MNCPPC owns property. Recap on the request for information. Four firms came in. Property bought for $3 million. Now worth 4 million, needs a few million in cleanup. Anyone who buys needs to look at the zoning. Peters is committed to keeping the 160 acres that the law says will be open space, as open space. But the 60 acre CCRC is not something he supports—he does not know what it means, precisely. Developers who buy will want to rezone. Fire Department also against CCRC. Please define "Critical (sic) Care Retirement Community" so Council can put it in the code. He also supports saving the buildings. But he is concerned about it sitting there, and the possibility of major environmental issues being there.
One other issue: Palumbo Bell Station Center. CM, commercial miscellaneous. Palumbo wanted to put in a Wallgreens. We wanted it rezoned for Wallgreens and a restaurant.
Henry: The self-destruction of Palumbo may have slowed this down. Problem: CM has nasty uses. We don’t think he’ll put these ugly things there, so there is no reason to suggest that may happen. If he has a decent proposal, we will work with him on that.
The councilman then took questions
Q: What about Post Office
A: That is still planned.
Duval Addition: $19 million. Turf farm residents will send their kids to Duval. This is tough, because Duval has a bad rap compared to Bowie and Roosevelt. The new addition may help.
I have had a lot of battles. I downzoned the area by DAV/Gun Club (MD-197 and WB&A Trail). People would have to drive up WB&A Trail. Jesuit property by MD-450 and US 301. Big fight on that property. Jesuits want to upzone and put homes there, but he downzoned. Also downzoned race track.
The only way to slow this runaway development is to downzone. Sectional map amendments are the way to do this. The green space by RR tracks is Employment Industrial Area. Do you like the looks of that strip west of MD-193? Peters downzoned to O/S. But he does not want it to be like the other side. Police reports suggest that the greatest crime increase is along all those businesses. One house on 5 acres if fine with him.
Q: What about a library?
A: Floating library zone. Library is permitted in any zone. We need to look at the other libraries, see where you need one. That is doable. A possibility. We just need to keep pushing these things.
Q: I commend you on housing for old folks. What can move the CCRC forward at the hospital?
A: Next step is West Glenn Dale Plan. We will have a new council member, and then we can look at that plan. It will cost $150,000.
Q: Don’t these age-restricted housing development in East Glenn Dale undermine the CCRC proposed for Glenn Dale Hospital.
A. No. CCRC is for older people. They may be complementary.
Q: Glenn Dale is losing its character and becoming more like Bowie. What can we do to stop that?
A. There may be nothing we can do to stop it. Fairwood Turf Farm is being petitioned to become part of Bowie. The carrot that Bowie has is to offer police. But not if substation is built.
Q: Why is Eastgate having these problems?
A: The apartments nearby.
Mary: It isn’t next to apartments—they need a sidewalk to get there.
Henry: No one who owns Eastgate ever has the drive. We count on Doug to get these things going.
Q: What about this re-negotiation of Hospital
A: DC gets 100% of the profits over a certain amount. PG wants to get at least some of the money, and hence it is reasonable to get more equitable terms. I don’t know how long it will take to renegotiate. We need to get these officials out to Glenn Dale to explain to us what they are doing.
Q. It is frustrating to have to take a position on the East Glenn Dale proposal to rezone property, not going to happen there. Can we get more specifics?
A. We could put more details in there. We need to work out whether it will be 300 homes in one place and 90 in another.
Q: We are more comfortable with Jemal proposal because a lot of details have been worked out. But we don’t have any of the assurances in the text that we have with Jemal. How do we avoid being put in that situation when we don’t have the information.
A: If someone will come forward, I will support that process just as I did with Mary. I will support covenant, 18-hole course, and 390 units. But how we divide it, 3-story v 4-story are the things we need to do. We need to come up with text. Put bullets on what we want, and put it into the text.
Q: Mary spent months. We have days.
A: But in this case units and other parameters are fixed.
Q: Can you put the number into the text? Questions on distribution?
A. We can do that—I need some text. The golf course is a big part of Glenn Dale. More residents will help with course membership, and adding a community facility...
Q: Is the golf course open to other members of the community
John: Always has been.
Peters: We put no-smoking through (applause). We put in public safety. We need goals on net increase in police force, not hiring. Building will not happen if we don’t have enough cops and firefighters. That will get builder interest aligned with public safety.
A: People in rural tier are split between preservationists and those who want to sell.
Q: What can we do between now and Tuesday?
A: I’ll put the 390 units into the text. Whatever I can do I will. There will be other opportunities.
Mary: Can you facilitate a meeting?
A: We have plenty of leverage: water and sewer, for example. The risk of delay is an incentive to cooperate. R-18C means these will be for-sale units, not rental.
Now: Do we take a position on any of this?
John: I would be happy with the 206 in the plan. This is not my plan. Remember, if you negotiate too much, I’ll be going for as much as I can get. Next time I’ll cookie-cutter it. I am not willing to negotiate any longer.
(We did not discuss whether these covenants apply only to the current golf course or also apply to the land that will have the new holes.)
We had a straw Poll: Unanimous to support this proposal with conditions.
The conditions we discussed were:
Limit to 4 stories
Definition of age restriction: 55 years of age.
Unanimous by show of hands.
Adjourned at 11:02 PM.