current info

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Prince George's County - A County Executive can lead

Were I running for County Executive I would offer the following concrete ideas. As County Executive I would immediately begin to address our established communities’ needs to raise the level of wealth and to reduce the concentrations of poverty in some of our elder communities focusing on making good schools, safe neighborhoods, quality health services, recreation, and other quality-of-life amenities (e.g., nearby retail service, employment, and cultural institutions) more available to all residents. I would base the specifics upon seven basic principles:

1. The desirability and benefits of walk-able, compact, mixed-use, mixed-income, racially diverse, livable urban cores and neighborhoods that are characteristic of “21st century” cities; 2. The need to make land use decisions in a way that ensures the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes; 3.The entitlement of all residents to a safe and healthful environment where they live, work, and recreate; 4.The value of encouraging retail businesses and service providers to stay or locate within the urban communities where their customers live; 5. the critical role of accessible local and multijurisdictional transportation alternatives in economic development, in reducing traffic congestion, and in minimizing urban land devoted to surface parking; 6.The need to unlock the value of vacant, abandoned, and/or underutilized property in the developed tier of established communities; 7.The unique character of a community’s historical, cultural, artistic, architectural, and natural resource assets and the need to preserve them.

I would immediately work through the public outreach, personal communication with the County Council and County Delegation as well as the municipalities and NGOs of the county to implement the following ideas:

1. Promote new private investment and reinvestment in the developed and developing tier using: Brownfield development tax credits and a Full-Time employment new hires graduated tax credit
2. Address existing government barriers to developed tier revitalization
3. Discourage state decisions and policies that subsidize and support sprawl
4. Target investments to maintain public infrastructure already in place (Fix-It-First)
5. Allow timely assembly of lands and property needed for urban redevelopment with full and complete input from both the property owners and the neighborhoods involved.
6. Expedite government decisions on the appropriate reuse of environmentally impaired property while protecting human health and the environment
7. Provide for “green infrastructure” as a catalyst to make urban areas more livable and to complement efforts to protect water quality
8. Encourage a wide array of options to provide for affordable housing with reasonable proximity and access to employment opportunities
a. Promote the adaptive reuse of historic buildings in urban cores including a green certification for agricultural tax rates in developed/ing tier
9. Support government collaboration with local neighborhood organizations in the development and evaluation of revitalization efforts

I full understand that these positions as part of my already announced platform are based on the idea that we need a New Way in Prince George’s - not more of the same. I believe that the people of Prince George’s County do not need to follow in the shadow of anyone, but can show the way for a new generation of ideas. Proud in its diversity, Prince George’s County can dare to lead; Prince George’s County can seek solutions from all point of view and take the best for its tomorrow.

And saying this, I realize that the prophets of the few and doom would cast their negative aspersions – the fear of a few would dim the passions of the many, and the torrents of reasons as to why we must follow the tired pathways of the past would cloud the light of change. So we will elect more of the same and complain that nothing ever changes once more.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Land-use, Leadership, Elections, and Prince George's County

My county which is named after the Danish husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain has almost 171 square miles of euphemistically described “undeveloped” land. Because of the proximity to the capital of the United States, a major industry, if not the major industry, in the county, is development and is concerned with “developing” the “undeveloped” land. Developing land in Prince George’s County Maryland is the business of leveling forests, paving farmland, and draining wetlands so that greater numbers of people can find work and housing, as well as shopping and recreation at a lower cost to the developer than would be had if the focus was on re-developing already disturbed and degraded areas.

There are at least three types of property owners in the “undeveloped” area: those whose families have lived and worked the land for several generations, those who bought the land to escape urban living or those who invested to profit speculatively on a near term land sale. The first group looks to work with a developer to develop his property to realize an inheritance and in many cases to find away to escape the hardships of the land for a better quality of life elsewhere. The second group comes from the city having made enough money to sustain the rigors of “country” living, while the third is interested in the maximum immediate value to be gained in a sale.

Because the leading economic force in the county is development there is little impetus to find a more sustainable program for building wealth in the county. As long as there is cheap land why encourage other redevelopment or creative reuse projects which may cost more? This leads to development which tends to move people further away from mass transit, into new communities that need strip malls to provide a platform for basic necessities all of which must be supported by ever increasing infrastructure such as roads, schools, and emergency response facilities and personnel. The initial capital for these infrastructure additions comes from the development project cost calculations. However there is little long term maintenance support built into the initial outlay so on going long term maintenance and upkeep must come from the existing tax base which cannot afford to maintain its own infrastructure let alone new challenges. The social Ponzi scheme works well until the land is exhausted.

The result of this process is that investors and developers instead of asking politicians to create incentive zones for employment and construction in areas already ecologically compromised, instead find ways to allow the design and possible construction of shopping malls in flood plains next to nationally recognized wildlife critical areas adjacent to ill-advised future waste transfer station sites. The speculator who purchases such a property of course wants to recoup and maximize the investment at the expense of the general public using the claim of helping the public. The fact that few would want to shop next to a waste transfer station is not brought up in the hope that the public will not notice.

Adding to the morass of conflicted motives is the idea that clean water, clean air and functioning ecosystems will cause developers to flee because the cost is too great or because buyers may be adverse to a clean environment. I know it is presumptive of me, but were I the county executive, I would be focused on quality of life for those already here. I would be tilting at the wind mill of our school system, and working to create legislation that would encourage renovation through development and revitalization of our transportation hubs. Above all I would focus on bringing jobs to out existing communities rather than building more communities we cannot support. This of course is a platform for election defeat as the only economic development plan for the county would pull out all the stops to label this idea the raving of an unqualified and irresponsible visionary.

The idea that a functioning ecological system is an anathema to development is rooted in practices and cultural expectations of the past. It is not an either or proposition but a question of sustainability for land is not infinite and we are dependent for basic services such as drinking water and waste filtration on these land based systems. We cannot keep building storage facilities and dumps in our communities labeling them opportunities. Since the end of World War 2 the citizens of this county have heard over and over again that quick development of open spaces and warehouse construction will bring wealth. It may have, but where does this wealth live? Development has to be a balance between the immediate needs of investors and the long term health and welfare of the residents left behind. We need to envision incentives that encourage reexamination of our existing infrastructure through private public partnerships in our established areas. We need to find away to pay a fair price to those who want to leave the undeveloped tier while making it clear that here is no more extension of infrastructure support for dense construction into that region. We need to build new libraries and schools in our already existing communities not build more communities in the rural tier so that we have to find funds for new schools there. (we do need to maintain our schools and support in the rural tier none-the-less)

I would propose for our established communities an incentive program for businesses that create at least 25 net new full-time positions and pay a minimum of 150% of federal minimum wage and would allow, in special circumstances, a company to create as few as 10 new full-time positions paying at least 400% of the federal minimum wage. This is the kind of legislation that we should be discussing, not how to do a last minute development end run next to nationally recognized wetlands in the rural tier.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Samuel Dean and Council save a small piece of Prince George's County, Maryland's Rural Tier: Woodland (Crain's Corner) Saved

At a meeting of the Prince George’s County Council on Tuesday September 15 2009, a small section of county history and more importantly the county’s ecosystem was saved for a while more. With all evidence pointing towards a decision to pave over acres of open space in the rural tier, the county council bravely reversed course and voted to save Woodland and parcels destined to become a shopping center called Crain’s Corner.

Now having passed this test, it is time to think about the land and its owners. How can they be compensated while protecting the environment and the history? Preservation is about more than just doing nothing with the land. The property owners have an economic burden incurred in the maintenance and defense of their large parcels against invasive species for example, and no one is expecting them to personally finance a public open space. One idea would be for the county agricultural marketing office to begin working on creative uses for what was once product farmland. Another would be to consider sustainable “green” residences as permitted by current zoning as a show place for what this county could do with 21st century designs sympathetic to the history and the environment of the area.

This said I want to take the public opportunity to thank my Councilman Samuel Dean, as well as others on the council. Mr. Dean, who has a commendable history of listening to communities first, for his work and vote that saved a piece of Prince George’s County for a better day. With his help and his vision to include communities in design and development from the beginning, we can boldly seize the moment and be an example to the rest of Maryland.

Monday, September 07, 2009

New "sure to lose" in Prince George's County political plank

I presented my “sure to lose” political platform (Prince George's County candidate platform guaranteed to lose an election) a few weeks ago. Writing about how to lose an election for county executive in Prince George’s County, besides running as a Republican, I offered up a detailed agenda. On further reflection, I find that I need to add a plank devoted to county health care.

With 80,000 uninsured adult residents who are without adequate preventative medical options putting a strain on the hospital system and a scarcity of primary care physicians making it hard for communities to get care outside of the emergency room, I would include the following “sure way to lose” plank in my platform:

NEW: I shall work to provide the resources necessary to establish ambulatory health and care services. Prince George’s County shall find a way to provide a medical health care safety net. To this end, as county executive, I will expand and strengthen existing safety-net capacity (exploring both private and public options), invest in new health and medical infrastructure, work to increase assistance in the enrollment of entitled citizens into Medicaid programs, and actively pursue regional partnerships. The county cannot continue to grow at the expense of those with lesser economic means.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Prince George's County Political Dream

The current political vision for Prince George’s County is myopic. It looks at and responds to local parochial issues that are extremely important to the few involved. The leadership fails to connect these neighborhood concerns to one another and to the greater good of the County. In a normal setting a part of the solution would be a common plan, but because all issues are dissected and parsed to the lowest common, expedient denominator and defined in terms of the specifics of one spot, the political establishment follows no plan; all decisions are ad hoc and of the moment floating on a political sea of inconsistency. The leadership responds to the financial exegesis and the corresponding, political and economic dynamics that result from making decisions on the fly.

The next County Executive needs to go into the neighborhoods of Accokeek and Bladensburg, Suitland and Laurel, Upper Marlboro and North Brentwood, and directly and repeatedly demonstrate the commonality of the challenges. The idea that the rural tier is spoiled and pampered and so needs more concrete, and, that the established communities are tired and too expensive to redevelop economically must be put to rest. Infrastructure capital must be invested in our established communities. We need to build a world class library in Bladensburg; we need to actually follow the new development plan for New Carrollton and be ready to take advantage of the coming purple line; we do not need to have MXT zoning in the rural tier, but should use it and other zoning tools carefully and with full community participation to design enhanced redevelopment that brings meaningful employment to our existing communities and the county. Building new neighborhoods on open agricultural land when our existing neighborhoods needs so much is done because the profits made are greater in the rural tier, not because it is impossible to enhance what we already have.

We should be aiming our government spending at public safety partnerships with NGO’s and non-profits to provide access to quality of life for the children and citizens of established neighborhoods on a per capita basis. This would ensure that the rural tier is not left out but would focus our attention on the communities in need and perhaps ultimately encourage locating new housing or businesses where the infrastructure is. If you want rural life it comes with non urban amenities; if you want the whole enchilada you choose to live in a city. We should be encouraging through government services new homes and businesses to locate in our redeveloped and reinvigorated high traffic, public transportation accessible communities. Why do we think that creating and supporting new environmentally unsustainable neighborhoods far from public transportation is a good idea when we cannot support what we already have?

And the answer that new development provides a much needed cash flow for today’s government is a short term, myopic self serving reply. This development simply puts the burden of addressing infrastructure expectations of the new communities onto the backs of the county in the future as a whole including the established neighborhood that already are challenged in meeting their own basic needs.

Our Prince George’s County vision of the moment uses a market preference model of profit now thereby avoiding the necessity of addressing long term obligations both financially and ecologically. It is the classic recipe of mounting problems left for another time and another generation. We build infrastructure but have no plan for supply the programmatic funds to operate the structure in the future let alone maintain it. Pot holes and extra curricular activities like music in schools are examples of this short sighted thinking: build the road – build an auditorium, no one to fill the holes - no one to play the music.

In the end, citizens lose faith in the system ever addressing their needs because there are no visionaries willing to take the heat and fight the momentum of the moment. People who are fed up and have the means simply leave; those who dream write blogs. Where is the debate and the outrage? Until they come there will be no change; just the same old same old business as usual.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prince George's Political Leaders have only one vision and it isn't green

Prince George’s County’s current political leadership has only one vision for county growth. Lacking any other idea it believes that pavement is the answer to everything. Attacking those who would preserve open space, the elite want to pave their way towards prosperity. While neighboring counties get ready for week long celebration of agriculture and open spaces, ecology and the environment, Prince George’s Plans to remove more acreage from the rural tier. Instead of addressing the needs and challenges of existing communities, the county’s leaders set out to add demand upon the already stressed county infrastructure adding demand to police and fire, health and education. And who will pay for these costs? The very communities that are already under serviced.

In the name of economic development, Prince George’s County commits future infrastructure resources to the rural tier instead of supporting established communities. In doing so, it also grinds up and destroys the fragile ecosystem services that supply clean air and clean water to the county. And who will pay? The established communities that lie forgotten and ignored. Where do we put our money for new libraries, at the same time that we cannot keep old libraries open the entire day? We look to the newer communities needs and forget the old. The county builds the new libraries because now the new communities rightfully point out that they too are under served and need county wide service that provide quality of life amenities and enhancements.

Some leaders in Prince George’s County feel that property owners in the rural tier who oppose development are doing so for self interest. The political class notes that rural tier property owners have their piece of heaven and don’t want to share. However the leadership’s plan would be then to destroy the very thing they think they are arranging to share. Better to obliterate nature than to allow a few to serve as stewards of our diminishing resources is the new way backwards of Prince George’s County. In partnership with this thinking are some owners who feel that the rest of the county owes them sewer road and water improvements; that the established communities should pay to pave under the rural tier makes no sense but the facts on the ground seem to validate this new Prince George’s County vision for yesterday’s tired future: an upscale Target at every corner; a 7-11 for every neighborhood, and plenty of parking so we can drive more cars.

Prince George’s County’s leaders are proudly looking to the past for ideas as they think they claim to move forward. While the rest of the world begins to address ecosystem services, this county thinks that ecological considerations are someone else’s problem. Instead of reinvigorating established neighborhoods we build new neighborhoods and ask the old one’s to support the enhancements in the name of progress. While some counties celebrate open space and quality of life, Prince George’s County’s leadership plans to pave it under, and then go visit county fairs in other jurisdictions complaining that we can’t have these quality attractions here

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Prince George's County candidate platform guaranteed to lose an election

How to lose an election for county executive in Prince George’s County, besides running as a Republican? Let me offer a sure to lose campaign platform. Let me know if you think this (did I miss anything?) is a sure way to lose an election in Prince George’s County.

1. I pledge to work to increase public participation in the process of government. To this end I will work to create new and novel politically engaged local and neighborhood organizations with a voice at every level of policy and decision making.

NEW: I shall work to provide the resources necessary to establish ambulatory health and care services. Prince George’s County shall find a way to provide a medical health care safety net. To this end, as county executive, I will expand and strengthen existing safety-net capacity (exploring both private and public options), invest in new health and medical infrastructure, work to increase assistance in the enrollment of entitled citizens into Medicaid programs, and actively pursue regional partnerships. The county cannot continue to grow at the expense of those with lesser economic means.

2. I am dedicated to the principle of equal access to societal and environmental resources. I will therefore insist on “…the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” I will enable policies that replenishes the earth; favor an energy efficient economy; and enable citizens to live by supporting and protecting the integrity of our ecosystems and its services.

3. I am determined to create a sustainable economic system that can creates decent jobs with a good standard of living for all people and maintains a healthy ecological balance. Meaningful work with dignity will therefore pay a “living wage” which reflects the true value of a person’s work.

4. I will follow the County General plan in all decision making, and desist from the current policy of ad hoc decision unrelated to or in opposition to the General Plan. Upon election I shall immediately call for a review of the plan by all stakeholders and constituencies.

5. I believe that a core mission of government is to provide security for the community. Public safety and public health are fundamental responsibilities of government. Support for public safety employees will be direct, unequivocal and continuous. At the same time, I will call for people to step up take an active role in making our city safer through community partnerships and through new and existing grass root organizations.

6. I believe that we all have a duty to educate our children. Education is a family matter in partnership with government. As with public safety, I will call for people to step up take an active role in making our city safer through community partnerships and through new and existing grass root organizations. I am committed to closing the learning gap of economic inequality. I consider education to have three equal parts: family including faith based organizations, public schools and libraries. Education is not limited to classrooms and therefore I will support access to outdoors events, recreation, sports and cultural programs that not only provide instruction but enhance quality of life.

7. I shall lead by example and by direction your government agencies towards outputs of excellence. I shall give them the tools to do the best job possible from clean roads without potholes to permits without unnecessary delay. I shall go to the tax payers explaining the project and lay out the costs. We shall seek to reduce or cut programs for which taxpayers are no longer willing to pay, remembering that government has an obligation to protect minorities.

8. I shall seek partnerships with business to retain or reengineer existing jobs; we shall work to bring new businesses and new opportunities for employment to the County. I shall call for competitive taxing strategies to encourage businesses identified in the General Olan to operate in Prince George’s County. I will enage by all means available the federal and state agencies to choose Prince George’s County as their next building, offices or program.

9. I will continue to support, enhance and enable community involvement with land use decisions seeking new ways for local citizens to be heard and not ignored.

10. My actions and policies will be motivated by long-term goals. I shall move to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or encouraging the recycling of all waste, while developing a sustainable economic system that does not depend on continual expansion. I shall counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new and old technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible and fair to present and future generations who live here now or will live with the results of our actions.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Prince George's County Council invades the rural tier with intense zoning change at last minute

Well at the last moment in the dark shadows of probable big moneyed interest of the council chamber, Prince George's County invaded and invested the rural tier (Woodland - Crain Corner) ignoring its own planning strategies and destroying three centuries of history in the hope that it can continue “mauling/malling” its way to prosperity. While most counties and forward thinking municipalities are trying to preserve ecosystem services, Prince George's County blithely figures that as with all its other problems, it can simply pretend that someone else somewhere will rescue it when the time comes. When the county is paved over and green space is at a premium Prince George's will be known as the parking lot of the Washington metro area devoid of ecosystem services, and wondering why when it could have been the leader it chose to follow tired worn out models long shown to be dysfunctional. Asphalt is not the future, it is the past; the future is building sustainably something the present majority of the Council simply doesn't get. This is the same council that placed a trash waste transfer station one mile from their newly designated MXT use (no where near public transit) site in a rural part of the county and thinks that world class hotels will be lining up to have high rise over-looks with a view of a trash haulers. And worse the transfer station is right next to an environmental critical area of the central Patuxent River of Maryland, but no matter Prince George’s politicians know that water comes from the tap and a clean river is not their problem, nor clean air for that matter. And one mile away they are planning to entice cutting edge office workers to smell the stink of shady planning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Washington Post Delivery is Abysmal

For the last four years I have watched my delivery service of the morning newspaper turn into a lottery wherein I usually lose. I pay; no paper. The morning walk of 1500 feet while good for the body, gets old on the fifth or sixth trip to see if there will be a newspaper that day. You would think that given the stories of newspapers economic woes, that the service would be getting better, bot worse. I however can count on at least three no paper or noon delivery of said paper per month. Of course a late morning newspaper for most of us becomes an evening paper full of yesterday's news. So with nothing left but frustration, I am ending my 35 year love affair with a morning news paper. Sadly I will now get my news from the internet and television in small factoids trimmed to fit a busy mind with no comfort level for detail.

TO: Washington Post Circulation (original written in haste on one of those irritating web site memo fields was loaded with typos)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prince George’s County Legislative/Regulatory Digest: April 11 – April 17, 2009

Prince George’s County Legislative/Regulatory Digest: April 11 – April 17, 2009
Table of Contents
Tuesday, April 14, 2009. 3
County Council 3
● Appointment of the following individuals to the Enterprise Road Corridor. 3
Development Review District Commission for Prince George’s County: 3
● Appointment of the following individuals to the Prince George’s County Adult. 4
Public Guardianship Review Board: 4
Wed., April 15, 2009. 5
1:30 p.m. * Room 2027. 5
2. CR-13-2009 (County Executive) A Resolution adopting a Schedule of Miscellaneous Building. 5
Permit Fees in accordance with the Subtitle 4, the Building Code. 5
10:00 a.m. Room 2027. 5
People’s Zoning Counsel 5
M-NCPPC – Commission Staff Overview.. 5
Planning Board Meeting. 5
Consent Agenda.. 6
5-09041 BEACON HILL, PLAT 1. 8
5-09042 BEACON HILL, PLAT 2. 8
5-09043 BEACON HILL, PLAT 3. 8
5-09044 BEACON HILL, PLAT 4. 8
5-09045 BEACON HILL, PLAT 5. 8
5-09046 BEACON HILL, PLAT 6. 8
5-09047 BEACON HILL, PLAT 7. 8
5-09048 BEACON HILL, PLAT 8. 8
5-09049 BEACON HILL, PLAT 9. 8
5-09050 BEACON HILL, PLAT 10. 8
5-09071 IVY CREEK, PLAT 1. 11
5-09072 IVY CREEK, PLAT 2. 11
5-09073 IVY CREEK, PLAT 3. 11
5-09074 IVY CREEK, PLAT 4. 11
5-09075 IVY CREEK, PLAT 5. 11
5-09076 IVY CREEK, PLAT 6. 11

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

County Council

1:00 p.m. County Council

purpose of temporarily suspending or tolling the validity periods of all approved
applications for Detailed Site Plans and Specific Design Plans that were in a valid
status as of January 1, 2009.
(Favorably reported out of PZED on 4/1/2009 with amendments)
To be introduced by Council Member Dean
purpose of temporarily suspending or tolling the validity periods of all approved
applications for Preliminary Plans of Subdivision that were in a valid status as of
January 1, 2009.
(Favorably reported out of PZED on 4/1/2009 with amendments)
To be introduced by Council Member Dean
County Council 3 April 14, 2009
YEARS 2009-2014.
● Appointment of the following individuals to the Enterprise Road Corridor
Development Review District Commission for Prince George’s County:
Ms. Cynthia E. Alston Appointment/Resident
Term Expiration: 6/30/2010
Replacing: James M. Trent
Mr. Joseph L. Brown Appointment/Resident
Term Expiration: 6/30/2011
Replacing: Mr. George H. Braxton
Mr. Samuel J. Wray Appointment/Resident
Term Expiration: 6/30/2010
Replacing: Michael A. Adekoya
Mr. James A. Warren Appointment/Developer
Term Expiration: 6/30/2011
Replacing: Derek A. McDaniels
Mr. Emmanuel P. Edokobi Reappointment/Landowner
Term Expiration: 6/30/2011
Ms. Artisha R. Polk Reappointment/Landowner
Term Expiration: 6/30/2012
County Council 4 April 14, 2009
Mr. Clifton O. Reynolds Reappointment/Vice Chair/Resident
Term Expiration: 6/30/2010
Mr. Edwin Udenkwo Reappointment/Landowner
Term Expiration: 6/30/2012
Mr. John H. Waller Reappointment/Chair/Resident
Term Expiration: 6/30/2012
(Favorably reported out of PZED on 3/24/2009)
● Appointment of the following individuals to the Prince George’s County Adult
Public Guardianship Review Board:
Ms. Gail F. Farrell Bagaria Appointment/Lawyer
Replacing: Mr. Richard C. Daniels
Term Expiring: 10/31/2010
Dr. Elmer T. Carreno Appointment/Physician
Replacing: Dr. Allison R. Edwards
Term Expiring: 10/31/2009
Mr. Daniel A. George Appointment/Local Commission on Aging
Replacing: Ms. Janet C. Eberhardt
Term Expiring: 10/31/2009
Ms. Patricia V. Sanders Appointment/Disabilities Professional
Replacing: Mr. Rudolph E. Gawlik
Term Expiring: 10/31/2011
Ms. Judith Rose-Wilson
(Withdrawn by County
Appointment/Department of Social Services
Replacing: Ms. Karyn T. Lynch
Term Expiring: 10/31/2009
County Council 5 April 14, 2009
Ms. Carol W. Bergmann Reappointment/Non-Profit Social Services
Term Expiring: 10/31/2011
Ms. Mary Ann Friis Reappointment/Public Health Nurse
Term Expiring: 10/31/2011
Ms. Joyce F. Jones Reappointment/Physical Disability Member
Term Expiring: 10/31/2010
Ms. Joy A. Truby Reappointment/Citizen
Term Expiring: 10/31/2011
(Favorably reported out of HEHS on 4/2/2009)

Wed., April 15, 2009
1:30 p.m. * Room 2027
1. CR-12-2009 (Olson and Turner) An act concerning economic renewal grant funding for the
purpose of expressing a preference that any economic recovery plan funds provided to Prince George’s
County and the State of Maryland be spent by the County and the State on goods and services made or
performed in the United States of America.
2. CR-13-2009 (County Executive) A Resolution adopting a Schedule of Miscellaneous Building
Permit Fees in accordance with the Subtitle 4, the Building Code.

10:00 a.m. Room 2027
People’s Zoning Counsel
M-NCPPC – Commission Staff Overview

Thurs., April 16, 2009 LINK TO AGENDA
Planning Board MeetingFirst Floor County Council Hearing RoomCounty Administration Building14741 Gov. Oden Bowie DriveUpper Marlboro, MD 20772
Item Number
Agenda Item
Board Action(Resolutions will be posted as they are finalized.)
Commissioners' Items
Draft Minutes of PGCPB Meeting--None
Legislative Work Session:
Executive Session
Parks and Recreation Items (Inquiries call 301-699-2582)
Consent Agenda
(Item Numbers 4A-4H) All items listed under the Consent Agenda have been distributed to each member of the Planning Board for review, are considered to be routine, and will be acted upon by one motion. There will be no discussion of these items as it has been indicated that there is no opposition to the staff's findings or recommendation. If discussion is desired, or if there is opposition to the recommendation, that item will be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered separately. NOTE: IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE APPLICANT AND OTHER PERSONS OF RECORD TO BE PREPARED TO DISCUSS ON THIS SAME DATE ANY ITEM THAT IS REMOVED FROM THE CONSENT AGENDA FOR SEPARATE CONSIDERATION.


Zoning Section Items (Inquiries call 301-952-3530)
Countywide Planning Division (Inquiries call 301-952-3650)
Subdivision Section Items (Inquiries call 301-952-3530)
5-09041 BEACON HILL, PLAT 1 6 Lots (15.88 acres)
5-09042 BEACON HILL, PLAT 2 6 Lots (14.47 acres)
5-09043 BEACON HILL, PLAT 3 5 Lots (12.68 acres)
5-09044 BEACON HILL, PLAT 4 5 Lots (10.95 acres)
5-09045 BEACON HILL, PLAT 5 6 Lots (11.63 acres)
5-09046 BEACON HILL, PLAT 6 2 Lots (11.32 acres)
5-09047 BEACON HILL, PLAT 7 4 Lots (13.81 acres)
5-09048 BEACON HILL, PLAT 8 6 Lots (17.00 acres)
5-09049 BEACON HILL, PLAT 9 3 Lots (9.78 acres)
5-09050 BEACON HILL, PLAT 10 2 Lots (9.16 acres)
Council District: 09 Tier: Rural.R-A Zone, 4-05074 and DSP-08028Located on the south side of William Beanes Road, northwest side of Crain Highway, opposite intersection with Gold Yarrow Lane. (PA 82A)Calvert, LLC, ApplicantBen Dyer Associates, Inc., Engineer
Action must be taken on or before 5/22/09.
5-09052 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 1 9 Lots and 1 Parcel (24.52 acres)
5-09053 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 2 8 Lots (13.76 acres)
5-09054 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 3 9 Lots and 1 Parcel (23.26 acres)
5-09055 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 4 10 Lots (19.27 acres)
5-09056 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 5 7 Lots (13.36 acres)
5-09057 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 6 7 Lots (14.77 acres)
5-09058 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 7 5 Lots (13.36 acres)
5-09059 WOLFE FARM, PHASE ONE, PLAT 8 4 Parcels (40.19 acres)
Council District: 09 Tier: Developing.R-A Zone, 4-04099 and Limited DSP-08028Located on the southeast side of Thrift Road, south of Tippett Road. (PA 81B)Wolfe Partners, LLC, ApplicantDewberry, Engineer
Action must be taken on or before 4/22/09.
5-09060 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 1 10 Lots and 1 Parcel (17.78 acres)
5-09061 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 2 15 Lots (18.50 acres)
5-09062 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 3 20 Lots and 1Parcel (22.33 acres)
5-09063 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 4 10 Lots and 2 Parcels (15.06 acres)
5-09064 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 5 12 Lots and 3 Parcels (25.05 acres)
5-09065 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 6 26 Lots (22.34 acres)
5-09066 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 7 8 Lots and 2 Parcels (13.65 acres)
5-09067 WOLFE FARM, PHASE TWO, PLAT 8 1 Parcel (33.14 acres)
Council District: 09 Tier: Developing.R-A Zone, 4-04099 and Limited DSP-08028Located on the north side of Thrift Road, south of Tippett Road. (PA 81B)Wolfe Partners, LLC, ApplicantDewberry, Engineer
Action must be taken on or before 4/22/09.
5-09071 IVY CREEK, PLAT 16 Lots and 1 Parcel, R-R Zone (3.20 acres)
5-09072 IVY CREEK, PLAT 29 Lots and 2 Parcels, R-R Zone (4.88 acres)
5-09073 IVY CREEK, PLAT 31 Lot and 1 Parcel, R-R Zone (8.80 acres)
5-09074 IVY CREEK, PLAT 42 Parcels, R-R Zone (1.84 acres)
5-09075 IVY CREEK, PLAT 56 Lots and 1 Parcel, R-R Zone (3.16 acres)
5-09076 IVY CREEK, PLAT 64 Lots and 2 Parcels, R-R Zone (2.37 acres)
Council District: 04 Tier: DevelopingR-R Zone, 4-05105Located northwest quadrant of Annapolis Road and Glenn Dale Boulevard (PA 70)Glen Dale Holding Company, LLC, ApplicantTech Group, Inc., Engineer
Action must be taken on or before 5/7/09.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Prince George's County Strip Mall in the Rural Tier; links to posting so far

· Historic Sites in and near Woodland Historic District -Crain Corner
· Prince George's County Considers the Destruction of History
· Developing Prince George's; a letter to the Council
· The Sucker's Bet; Destruction of the Prince George's Rural Tier
· When the strip mall comes to Crain Corner, what wi...
· Prince George, Pirates, and the US Constitution
· Prince George's County defines smart growth by shr...
· Prince George's County struggles with environmenta...
· Another strip mall is coming to the rural tier
· Prince George's County strip mall versus the Patux...
· Prince George’s County Legislative/Regulatory Dige...
· Prince George's County seeks to rezone a Strip Mal...
· Prince George's County and the Dynamics of Rural R...
· The Rural Tier & Development in Prince George's Co...
· Prince George's County to decide the fate of PG79-63 - a Potential Historic District Prince George's County's Commitment to the Rural L...
· Prince George's County and Development Axioms
· Prince George's County Considers a Strip Mall in the Rural Tier
· Prince George's County's 19th century land use plan
· Green is the color of the Prince George's County RuralTier
· Prince George's County & the Crain Corner Strip Mall
· Does Prince George's County have a Plan - that means anything?
· Prince George's County will consider another strip mall
· Endangered Species of the Western Branch of the Patuxent River
· Upper Marlboro development to feature a hotel with trash site over look
· Prince George's County proudly decides:A waste transfer station in the county seat
· Upper Marlboro's New Development Center Piece

When the strip mall comes to Crain Corner, what will we lose?

What does the area of Upper Marlboro and Marlboro Meadows in Prince George’s County, Maryland have today, that when the strip mall comes will be lost forever. It has land that has been surveyed and is eligible for the National Historic Register, open space that keeps the Patuxent River and the residents healthy, a community of upscale executive housing with opportunity to build more large 3 acre home sites, and a reasonably low levels of crime providing neighborhoods with a quality of life suitable for all ages.

What will the strip mall give us? No more historic district; pollution, trash and stress on the environment; an influx of transient visitors; lower property values for the residential sites and thus lower tax income for all of Prince George's County; more traffic; more crime potential; a substantive end to a potential executive housing community with its attendant tax base; and a general overall reduction in the quality of life for those who live in Marlboro Meadows or the Woodland historic area along Old Crain Highway, an historic state highway that will also be lost.

If we were to actually follow the already established general plan or the sector plan, we would retain these positive attributes; if we override the community, we shall have none of it and everyone will lose.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Prince George, Pirates, and the US Constitution

When it comes to pirates, I wonder why the United States does not enact Letters of Marque and Reprisal. Article I, Section 8, paragraph 11 of the U.S. Constitution? This authority in the Constitution enables Congress to “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water." It seems to me that this would give our “private” security firms something to do. They could escort our ships through the waters and when attacked respond legally to the threat. Fred E. Foldvary writes that “[t]he risk would then be concentrated on those who chose to engage in the reprisal. This empowers private citizens to protect themselves and other Americans.”

And you wondered how I am going to tie this posting to Prince George’s County?
Certainly Prince George, son of Frederick III of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain, Lord High Admiral of England, and name-sake of Prince George’s County, would have found this a reasonable response to the violent seizure of men and ships.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Prince George's County defines smart growth by shrinking the size of its open spaces

While other communities find a common vision making use of historic districts and clean up past environmental y damaged areas to reinvigorate their established , Prince George’s County at times takes the build and move on approach to development. Given the high cost to reinvest in already developed sections of the county, and given the “cheap” cost of open space, the county action plan is to build more and more by encroaching on the county’s general plan for a rural tier and preserved open space. The rubric for this action is, I want mine while the getting is good; the future is someone else’s problem.

The county should be strengthening municipal and established community finances in both the developed and developing tier per the county’s own plan by encouraging tax-generating commercial development in already environmentally ravaged areas. Prince George’s County should be encouraging the redevelopment and construction of “green” projects in these areas to meet the needs of over-looked residents, bringing jobs and retail infrastructure support. Development without a plan can “…drive disinvestment, reduce competitiveness, and degrade the environment.” A visionary county knows that new growth in the right place “… improves the economy and environment of existing communities.” Development in the 21st century mist reply on forward thinking ideas such as building “… places people want to live in for what they are, rather than for what they are not.” [1]

Building and developing in the right place is not using up every square acre of open space because it is cheaper today than redeveloping our established areas. “Smart growth uses the term “open space” broadly to mean natural areas both in and surrounding localities that provide important community space, habitat for plants and animals, recreational opportunities, farm and ranch land (working lands), places of natural beauty and critical environmental areas (e.g. wetlands). Open space preservation supports smart growth goals by bolstering local economies, preserving critical environmental areas, improving our communities quality of life, and guiding new growth into existing communities.” While there is a trend to preserve open space for the benefits this brings to everyone, Prince George’s County will be considering adding as an attractive feature yet another strip mall heading 180 degrees against prevailing upscale development efforts. According to the Sustainable Communities Network (SCN) “[t]here is growing political will (except evidently in Prince George's County) to save the "open spaces" that Americans treasure. Voters in 2000 overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to fund open space protection efforts. The reasons for such support are varied and attributable to the benefits associated with open space protection. Protection of open space provides many fiscal benefits, including increasing local property value (thereby increasing property tax bases), providing tourism dollars, and decreases local tax increases (due to the savings of reducing the construction of new infrastructure). Management of the quality and supply of open space also ensures that prime farm and ranch lands are available, prevents flood damage, and provides a less expensive and natural alternative for providing clean drinking water. The availability of open space also provides significant environmental quality and health benefits. Open space protects animal and plant habitat, places of natural beauty, and working lands by removing the development pressure and redirecting new growth to existing communities. Additionally, preservation of open space benefits the environment by combating air pollution, attenuating noise, controlling wind, providing erosion control, and moderating temperatures. Open space also protects surface and ground water resources by filtering trash, debris, and chemical pollutants before they enter a water system.”[2]

Why are we in Prince George’s County even thinking about reducing the size of the rural tier to build a strip mall in the Woodland Historic area of Upper Marlboro? Is it not bad enough that we bravely and cleverly decided to bring all of the county trash to a site 1.2 mile from a major tributary of the Patuxent River, and right next to nationally recognized critical habitats? Why are we still enamored with the failing development models of the last century? Where is the forward thinking county which would be a leader, not a follower? When will we begin taking care of our established communities, and reinvesting where the people are?

[1] Sustainable Communities Network (SCN);

[2] Sustainable Communities Network (SCN);

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Prince George's County struggles with environmental stewardship

Prince George’s County Maryland is struggling with the concept of environmental stewardship. Some in the county think that other jurisdictions should pay for environmental costs incurred by the county’s flexible definition of open space and limited development - better know as the rural tier. Because open space is less costly than developed space the county deciders are seemingly bent upon reducing the amount of rural open space. The logic seems to be that while the rest of the world is concerned about climate change and water resources, Prince George’s County will continue along without concern for these matters until it has exhausted is precious supply of undeveloped open space. At that point in time, those who made a quick profit can let those who remain pay the price for mitigating the environmental damage.

Prince George’s County, Maryland will consider soon yet another strip mall of some 40 acres (perhaps up to 120 acres, but that will come small step for development at a time) in the rural tier. 40 acres of open space grabs 40 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air every year. [1] Assuming about 1 pound of carbon for every mile driven, the development of the Crain Corner project will remove 80,000 miles of carbon savings or sequestration from the atmosphere. And in addition to being on the wrong side of climate change the county gets the opportunity to impact negatively the quality of the near by Patuxent River through run-off and ecosystem damage as well as to destroy a potential historic district. This one two three punch will be called progress for there surely is a need for one more strip mall - even though there is land across the street already zoned commercial. But in which direction goeth our county? For as the world goes one way, Prince George’s is determined to go in the opposite direction; against the environment full speed ahead, warnings be damned.

[1] Pine plantations in the Southeast can accumulate almost 100 metric tons of carbon per acre after 90 years, or roughly one metric ton of carbon per acre per year (Birdsey 1996).

Statistical information for those who would not see:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Another strip mall is coming to the rural tier

The strip mall (Crain Corner) is coming to the rural tier in Woodland, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Few will mourn the environmental loss because the environment is free and infinite and has no value until it is no more. We seek out unique places for their differences and local specialties and then to accommodate our sense of want we build chain stores which destroy the very reason we came in the first place. How much open space should we preserve? New York had to secure almost 2000 acres (Drinking water for New York City comes from reservoirs in a nearly 2,000-acre watershed located in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Ulster, Sullivan, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties. Together, these reservoirs provide about 1.4 billion gallons of drinking water per day.) in upstate New York to secure drinking water, but here in Prince George’s County being far mores savvy environmentally we know that water comes from the tap and is infinite and always there. We have no good reason to protect a river for a few fols to enjoy, so let’s build parking lots and retail stores.

Prince George’s County drew a line and said no more urban development past this line, but lines are political so the county is thinking about redrawing the rural tier demarcation so that a few property owners can make some money, and the rest of us shall simply pay more taxes for any clean up of the environment that happens to come along later. This is the money now idea that got the country into its current economic morass and is the problem that is getting the world into the environmental sink-hole. The building of the mall is couched in terms of why we can’t get some of what you have, but the result is to destroy the we have and give the new residents a damaged and dysfunctional ecosystem. The issue is sometimes cast in the light of the old ethnic majority versus the new, as if the new majority does not care about environmental issues, but rather is inclined to pave everything over. I think this wrong and slightly insulting.

Most people I know would never pay to live next to a strip mall; some might pay to live in a rural area, others to live in an urban area with green space, but so far I so not see any real estate advertising “house next to trash containers behind strip mall…good quality of life location.” If yet another strip mall for Prince George’s residents is a mandatory necessity, then let us build the mall next to the residents in need in areas planned for development; let us not carve up more open space that is finite and irreplaceable, and say how wonderfully we are developing our county. Let us rather have the visio9n to contain our sprawl and redevelop areas with in the planned development zones, areas where the ecosystems are already destroyed. Let us fix up neighborhoods and bring retail to them if they want it or green spaces if they need them, let us not pave over the rural tier of Prince George’s County

Monday, April 06, 2009

Prince George's County strip mall versus the Patuxent River Policy Plan

To think we can build a commercial strip mall in the rural tier of Prince George’s County, Maryland close to the Patuxent River in Upper Marlboro and do no harm flies in the face of reason. The point of the rural tier is to protect the ecosystem of the river. Urbanization is not free, and carries a heavy environmental cost that impacts everyone, those who live in the rural tier and those who live in the rest of the county. We all will pay the price down the road.
Urbanization affects the water cycle that every resident of Prince George’s County depend upon. When a parking lot for the strip mall is built, rain water will carry “… nutrients, pesticides, heavy metals, sediment, and other pollutants that it washes from lawns, roads, and other surfaces. In urbanizing areas, the result of the altered hydrology and the greater pollutant loads is physical and biological degradation of the receiving ecosystems, including streams (Paul and Meyer 2001) and wetlands (Ehrenfeld 2000). The degree of degradation is correlated with the amount of impervious cover in the watershed (Schueler 2003). Even cover values of 10 percent or less have been associated with changes in stream fauna in some areas.”[1]

What is the recommendation for land near a major tributary, but to minimize the extent of paved surfaces because impervious cover and altered hydrology are so closely linked? In terstingly enough there is a Patuxent river Policy Plan that states in a report from 1997 that we should “[c]ontinue to restore, improve, and protect the habitat function of aquatic and terrestrial living resources; [c]oncentrate new development in and around existing developed areas and population centers while protecting rural lands and the associated agricultural economy; [e]nhance the environmental quality and community design in new and existing communities; [d]evelop a sense of stewardship for the Patuxent River and its watershed through increased public education and participation programs.”[2]

Where is a strip mall in this plan? Will our deciders follow their own plan or will they look the other way and move to the river’s edge with pavement and concrete and retail stores? Where is the line?

[1]Susan W. Vince and Martha C. Monroe. Forest Management in the Interface: Water Management. This document FOR 181, is one of the Forest Management in the Interface series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Services, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. This fact sheet was first published in 2006 as part of Changing Roles: Wildland-Urban Interface Professional Development Program. It was reviewed and revised for EDIS in July 2008. Visit the EDIS Web Site at < >

[2] Patucent Policy plan < >

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Prince George’s County Legislative/Regulatory Digest: April 4 – April 10, 2009

Prince George’s County Legislative/Regulatory Digest: April 4 – April 10, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

County Council
10:00 p.m. County Council

the purpose of amending provisions of the Code relating to regular taxicab rates and
the emergency fuel cost surcharge.
(Introduced by Council Members Olson, Harrison, Dean, Campos and Dernoga on
3/17/2009; favorably reported out of PSFM on 3/4/2009 with amendments)

PROPERTY TAX CREDIT for the purpose of amending the tax credit for real
property for residential homeowners who utilize solar energy conservation devises.
(Introduced by Council Members Olson, Dernoga, Campos, Turner and Harrison on
3/17/2009; favorably reported out of PSFM on 3/4/2009)

purpose of amending the provisions of the County Code prohibiting the sale, offer or
distribution of cigar and cigar products intended for or designed for the use in
ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish
oil into the human body to minors and in quantities fewer than packages of five.
(Introduced by Council Members Dean, Harrison, Bland and Knotts on 3/17/2009;
discharged from HEHS Committee on 3/17/2009)

SENIOR APARTMENTS for the purpose of approving a $1.3 million HOME Loan
for the Victory Crest Senior Apartments project and amending the Prince George’s
County “Annual Action Plan: FY 2006” and “Annual Action Plan: FY 2009” to
include project and project funding.
(Introduced by Council Member Campos on 2/10/2009; favorably reported out of
THE on 3/26/2009 with amendments)

Thurs., April 9, 2009 LINK TO AGENDA

PGCPB NO. 08-178(A) – 4-08022 – QUINCY MANOR


5-09027 DISTEL SUBDIVISION 12 Lots (3.74 acres)
5-09028 DISTEL SUBDIVISION 6 Lots and 1 Parcel (4.74 acres)
Council District: 09 Tier: Developed. R-80 Zone, 4-05103 Fee-in-lieu Located on the south end of Donna Street and Karen Street, west of Suitland Road. (PA 76A)Foster Communities of Maryland, Inc., Applicant Greenhorne and O’Mara, Inc., Engineer
Action must be taken on or before 4/17/09. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: APPROVAL(NORDAN)

V-09002 SANDY SPRING ESTATES, SECTION 7 Petition to Vacate part of Old Sandy Spring Road (Maps)Council District: 01 Municipality: None.Tier: Developing.Located in the northeast quadrant of Old Sandy Spring Road and Misty Pine Road. (PA 60)R-R Zone (.36 acre)Sandy Spring Estates, LLC, ApplicantRifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver, LLC, Attorney

Landover Gateway Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment
Approve resolution to adopt the Landover Gateway Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment (SMA) Council District: 05
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: APPROVAL of staff recommendations and the resolution to adopt the Landover Gateway Sector Plan and endorse SMA for transmittal to the District Council(OSEI)

Three (3) reservations will expire on June 30, 2009 at various locations. They consist of the following:
Two (2) for Branch Avenue/Surratts Road Interchange One (1) for the US 301 Upgrade
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: APPROVAL to submit affidavits to the owners of the properties for consent to continue certain reservations for additional periods of time as noted in the staff Memorandum dated April 9, 2009(FOSTER)

Preliminary Countywide Master Plan of Transportation – Planning Board Worksession
Planning Board review of the digest of testimony from the February 3, 2009 Joint Public Hearing and staff responses to testimony, and proposed changes to the Preliminary Countywide Master Plan of Transportation, pursuant to Section 27-645(a).
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: APPROVAL of the proposed changes to the Preliminary Countywide Master Plan of Transportation(FOSTER)

CSP-08002 ARIEL’S HAIR SALON Council District: 03 Municipality: Hyattsville.Tier: Developed.Located on the southern side of Ager Road, approximately 90 feet east of its intersection with Jamestown Road. (PA 68)M-X-T and T-D-O Zones (0.02 acre) Zulma S. Romero, ApplicantRequest: Waiver of the application fee.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Prince George's County seeks to rezone a Strip Mall into the Rural Tier

Very soon the wise men and women of Prince George’s County will decide whether to “adjust” their general and master plans by dropping a strip mall into the rural tier along the east side of US301. The concept of extending the strip malls of Charles County comes to mind as there is a tendency to ,add more and more malls until they exist side by side, wall to wall mall. A trip through Waldorf is a possible vision of the historic district of Woodland just east of Upper Marlboro, Maryland. And with the plethora of parking lots and shopping centers anchored by “upscale” stores such as Target, residents can expect an increase in traffic which in turn will mean more time in the car.[1]

The development vision which sees little or no value in open space or historic districts will rezone Crain Corner into a power center anchored by one or two big national chain boxes, just as some areas are trying to figure out what to do with these large stores when the retailer moves on. Julia Christensen writes that “[a]merica is becoming a container landscape of big boxes connected by highways. When a big box store upsizes to an even bigger box "supercenter" down the road, it leaves behind more than the vacant shell of a retail operation; it leaves behind a changed landscape that can't be changed back. Acres of land have been paved around it. Highway exits lead to it; local roads end at it. With thousands of empty big box stores spread across America, these sites have become a dominant feature of the American landscape.”[2]

The uniqueness of the Woodland and Upper Marlboro area will be subsumed by “…perhaps a grocery store, bookstores, pet supply shops, electronics retailers, or a variety of other retail establishments and fast food or chain restaurants.”[3] Prince George’s County will lose the identity of place and become homogenized by the sameness of macadam and concrete. “With the rise of the big box store, a strip mall is now more likely to have uniform architecture, where all buildings have a central theme or resemble each other, making them more aesthetically pleasing” , and thereby removinga the eye sore complaint at the expense of losing the uniqueness that was Woodland.[4]

[2] MIT Press Web site:
[4] Idem

Friday, April 03, 2009

Prince George's County and the Dynamics of Rural Rier Development

Washington Business Journal reported nearly five years ago that “[a]s developers continue snapping up large swaths of farmland near Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County officials are calling for a comprehensive plan before the piecemeal projects get out of hand. "I want to look at that entire area and say, 'This is how we should build this area out,'" says Samuel Dean, chairman of the Prince George's County Council. "All of these development applications are coming in separately. That doesn't do anything for us, to have it built in a hodgepodge manner. "[1]
When it comes to eastern Upper Marlboro’s historic Woodlands area, one can hope that Mr. Dean will continue to follow his own words. Because the hodge-podge of small pieces is coming before him soon, we can hope that he might put the brakes on the rezoning of Crain Corner for a strip mall in the rural tier. Of course Councilman Dean is clear that his preference is to build on, out and over the open space as if it were a blank canvas of no value except when developed and paved over. But he is consistently opposed to overriding and overlooking local community involvement and desires. There is hope, then, that he is hearing and listening to the residents of Woodland and Marlboro Meadows and will not run rough shod over their concerns.

Developers look at open space because it is cheaper then redevelopment costs in established communities. This dynamic leads to the pattern of suburban development where most of the wealthy people settled in rural parts of the region, leading to mall developers and employers wanting to locate there, leading to more highways there, destroying the reason the people moved there in the first place. The wealth then leaves moving further out to restart the process again. In the mean time, developers and investors are loath to redevelop in our established communities because the return is not so great as plowing under a field and planting it with asphalt.

All of this takes place as everyone agrees to blindly assume that the destruction of ecosystems and their services is someone else’s problem and cost, or in this county’s case, no one’s cost because it all is free, just call in the bulldozers. Ask your self, how many SUV’s can we have on the roads because the green space of the rural tier absorbs the carbon? The answer is in the tens of thousands.

[1] Washington Business Journal, 20-Dec-2004;

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Rural Tier & Development in Prince George's County

John Peter,
This entire subject of the Rural Tier has been an extremely hard topic for me to get my arms around as there are some very different and opposing views on this topic. Cool heads must prevail on this important topic as we do not get a second chance to do it over. '

I constantly hear from those who are living out in the Rural Tier that they do not want anything or anyone encroaching on the beauty of this area and to let them be to enjoy its serenity and beauty. I can agree 100% with what they are saying because I to want to preserve it for generations to come so they can see the beauty of the wildlife and nature found in the Rural Tier. Plus, where else do we have any resemblance of farming so close to the Nation's Capitol.

However, the playing field was not level when the opportunity to purchase and own a piece of "Heaven" in the Rural Tier was occurring many years ago when it was and still is owned by primarily White Prince George's County residents. To say you cannot move into this area now that you have the money to do so is somewhat of a problem and that is exactly what we are saying if we tell a new generation of Minorities that you cannot build your home in this area and secure your piece of "Heaven." Yes, their lifestyle is different from those who have lived on the land for sometime only because they were unfairly kept out of this area and do not hold the same sentimental value.

They want to see infrastructure and necessities within a reasonable proximity to where they can now own their piece of "Heaven." The Rural Tier is not just for those families who own the property now to be able to continue to pass it on from generation to generation enjoying the beauty and serenity and possibly farming while others who want to cannot. We cannot continue to let a small segment of society enjoy the fruits of the land at the expense of another segment who must continually experience overcrowding, no open space and green areas, poor air quality, and high crime rate.

We must compromise and carefully select those areas within the Rural Tier that truly have an environmental impact or historical significance worth preserving so as to not give the impression to our residents of Prince George's County that one's home area is more important than another and the lifestyle of those living in that area must be kept at a better level than those living in another. Yes, we are Prince Georgians and we have a unique and distinctive heritage and a bright future for all. We have some tough decisions in front of us and I know we are up to the challenge.

Henry C. Turner, Jr.
Commission for Veterans

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Prince George's County's Commitment to the Rural Legacy Program is spotlighted by rezoning of land east of US 301in the rural tier

As the date for deciding the fate of Woodland draws near, the environmental impact weighs heavy on those who would stay after the rezoning takes place and the bulldozers alter forever the ecosystem of the Patuxent Rive around Upper Marlboro. The proposal is to site a strip mall in the middle of at least three of the planned green areas for central Prince George’s County. The county’s current General Plan calls for the staging of the development of recreational facilities to be proportional to population growth in specific areas. Future needs for parkland were anticipated (in 1982 and 1992) for the northern, central, and southern portions of the county. The open space goals, established by the General Plan, are redefined by each Area Master Plan where achievable and measurable growth objectives are established. The county is an active participant in the state’s Rural Legacy Program[1], though active may be an ironic appellation if the re=zoning ofr Crain Corner goes through..

Collington Branch is a component of the Patuxent River watershed that originates near Bowie, runs southerly and connects to the Western Branch tributary in Upper Marlboro, which continues into the Patuxent River. The Collington Branch is also planned for a proposed multi-use trail that will connect Bowie with Upper Marlboro. The county owns much of the corridor and plans to fill in any gaps through acquisition and the development process. The Prince George’s County Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group recommended this trail as the number seven trail/bikeway priority in the county.

Patuxent Regional Greenway (Ecological Greenway)The Patuxent Regional Greenway is a partially established regional greenway that includes seven jurisdictions extending from central Maryland through southern Maryland. The Patuxent River serves as the spine for the greenway which runs through Howard, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties. DNR currently owns about 15,000 acres along the Patuxent River and isworking with local officials to extend protection along the mainstem. In Prince George’s County the Patuxent River forms the northern and eastern county boundaries. Public properties under the management of DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, M-NCPPC and WSSC make a substantial contribution to the Patuxent Regional Greenway. These lands provide many opportunities for nature study and outdoor recreation. Prince George’s County has adopted land-use and development regulations for the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area and the Patuxent River Primary Management Area to channel development away from sensitive areas in the Patuxent corridor. Public acquisition of the Patuxent Regional Greenway will continue, and these policies will provide a mechanism for protecting water quality and riparian resources on non-public lands.

The Western Branch is a stream valley greenway that originates near Glenarden and connects into the Patuxent River south of Upper Marlboro. Major tributaries of the Western Branch are Bald Hill and Folly and Lottsford branches. Connections will occur with Collington Branch, Southwest Branch, and the Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail corridor. M-NCPPC owns sections in all of these corridors. The Western Branch Greenway is second in size only to the Patuxent Greenway in Prince George’s County. The corridor is under continuing acquisition and will have the longest trail system of any Patuxent tributary in the county.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clear Choices in Prince George's County: Strip Mall or...?

Gazette staff and HPC Commissioner Thompson,

I hope the Gazette editorial page and Greg Holzheimer give coverage to the issue that Commissioner Thompson has kicked into the public arena with his blogsite editorial “PG 79-63 A Potential Historic District for Upper Marlboro.” It merits wider discussion, and the Gazette provides an excellent forum.

There’s a very clear choice facing Upper Marlboro residents. And Thompson points out that the decision is not between doing nothing or developing another commercial strip akin to Alexandria’s nightmarish Rt. 1 corridor. Upper Marlboro could seek historic district designation.

Colonial Williamsburg, for example, is a model for Upper Marlboro. Their planning decisions demonstrate how massive new commercial, housing and other development can enhance and be inspired by a designated historic district. Thompson boldly points out that some prominent locals who oppose historic district designation have privately stated their intention to rezone their land, then “sell and get out of town.” John Peter makes a highly controversial point – it reminds me of chap who shouts out the obvious point in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” And Thompson’s shout should make good newsprint. He’s sadly correct when he challenges the genuineness of tears being shed by some local preservationists who nonetheless intend to destroy the treasures in their stewardship. They must be reminded of their moral obligation to save the archeological and architectural gems left to us by earlier residents of this County.

I don’t know why this point needs to me be made, but it does: Although it’s the “Upper Marlboro way,” the fact that some of these historic properties were built by ancestors of the current owners doesn’t legitimize their decisions to build strip malls atop them. It makes their decisions more embarrassing.

A balanced solution: Upper Marlboro residents must discern a middle ground between the obligations to one’s community, and a crass interpretation of one’s individual property rights. A balance can be found. Establishing a historic district with it’s Local Advisory Committee (LAC) in greater Upper Marlboro could provide those communities with a review board that ensures future new growth is not just a “quality dollar maker” for the developer, but also a quality, aesthetic addition that enhances your tremendous historic heritage.

Any editorial, and the article by Greg, might put Upper Marlboro’s historic district proposal in context. There are a number of other County areas that are aggressively trying to designate themselves as historic districts. This is the latest wrinkle in the campaign by our Historic Preservation Commission and the rapidly emerging preservation constituency to improve the County’s long-term future. Prince George’s can become the Washington region’s “preferred living environment” among its neighboring jurisdictions. But not by building more schlock like Fairfax County’s Route 1 corridor.

Dave Turner

Monday, March 30, 2009

Prince George's County to decide the fate of PG79-63 - a Potential Historic District

Prince George’s County will soon decide whether to permanently destroy a possible historic district. The inclusion of a shopping mall in the district will adversely and permanently alter the character of the northern part of the proposed Woodland district of eastern Upper Marlboro. As some people are at this time considering designating Upper Marlboro itself as an historic district, commercial development is looking to put an end to one already in place. But, the residents of Old Crain Highway decided not to apply for historic status because it would hamper individual efforts to ultimately negate the history of place. The desire of some residents is based upon a personal market strategy which is to sell the land at maximum return and eventually leave the county while those who stay will have to deal with the changes in traffic, crime, and pollution. Designation of an area as a historic district will not directly affect property values, unlike inclusion of a strip mall in a rural historic setting. Because Local Historic District properties are protected from insensitive development, owners may be more inclined to make improvements to their properties, and this may increase the value of all property in a given district. [1]

This is the issue here in Crain Corner; some will make money at the expense of the rest, rather than all raising the aggregate value together through common purpose. National and statewide economic studies show that historic district designation first stabilizes property values, and then slowly values begin to rise. In most cases properties in local historic districts appreciate at rates greater than: (a) the local market as a whole, and (b) similar neighborhoods that are not designated. This is akin to the principal behind subdivision covenants, which are put in place by a homeowners association to ensure quality improvements and to enhance property owners’ investments (though private covenants are often more restrictive than public ordinances). A historic district that is aesthetically cohesive and well promoted can be a community's most important attraction. The retention of historic areas as a way to attract tourist dollars makes good economic sense. The protection of local historic districts can also enhance business recruitment potential. Companies continually re-locate to communities that offer their workers a higher quality of life, which is greatly enhanced by successful local preservation programs and stable historic districts.

[1] Frequently Asked Questions about Local Historic Districts

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Prince George’s County Legislative/Regulatory Digest: March 30 – April 3, 2009

Prince George’s County Legislative/Regulatory Digest: March 30 – April 3, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

County Council
LINK TO FULL COUNTY COUNCIL AGENDA two agenda together at this link scroll down

1:00 p.m. County Council Agenda Briefing (Room 2027)
1:30 p.m. Call to Order (Council Hearing Room)

CB-13-2009 – AN ACT CONCERNING THE BUILDING CODE for the purposeof amending the Prince George’s County Building ordinance, adopting certain amendments to the 2006 Edition of the International Building Code, International Mechanical code, International Energy Conservation Code, and International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, and amending certain Sections to include modifications as it relates to building standards.
The Chairperson (by request – County Executive); referral to PZED

CR-13- 2009 - A RESOLUTION CONCERNING SCHEDULE OF MISCELLANEOUS BUILDING PERMIT FEES for the purposed of adopting a schedule of miscellaneous building permit fees under the Building Code. The Chairperson (by request – County Executive); referral to PSFM

(a) Letter to Samuel J. Parker, Jr. concurring with the Planning Board’s request for a three-month extension to prepare the Preliminary Subregion 4 Master Plan and Sectional Map Amendment. The Chairperson (by request – Planning Board)

7:00 p.m. Joint Public Hearing – (Council Hearing Room)

Subregion 5 Preliminary Master Plan and Proposed SMA:

“The Joint Public Hearing for the Preliminary Subregion 5 Master Plan and Proposed SMA will be held on Tuesday, March 31st at 7:00 p.m. (doors will open at 6:00 p.m.) in the Council hearing Room on the First Floor of the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro, MD. This is an opportunity for all interested persons to express their views concerning the preliminary master plan and proposed sectional map amendment.

The Prince George's County Planning Department is preparing a master plan and sectional map amendment for the Subregion 5 area. The goal of this project is to update the 1993 master plan for the Subregion to further the policy recommendations of the 2002 General Plan

A master plan is a written report, approved by the District Council, which establishes how the county would like the land in the project area to develop in the future. It establishes recommendations that guide the county officials in making decisions on the use of land within the project boundary.

A sectional map amendment (SMA) amends the county’s official zoning map to implement the recommendations in an approved master plan.”

Wed., April 1, 2009

PZED Committee Meeting (Room 2027) 10:00 a.m.

CB-7-2009 (Dean) - An Ordinance concerning Validity Periods for Detailed Site Plans and
Specific Design Plans for the purpose of temporarily suspending or tolling the validity periods of all approved applications for Detailed Site Plans and Specific Design Plans that are currently in a
valid status.

2. CB-8-2009 (Dean) - A Subdivision Bill concerning validity periods for Preliminary Plans of
Subdivision for the purpose of temporarily suspending or tolling the validity periods of all approved applications for Preliminary Plans of Subdivision that are currently in a valid status.

Board of Appeals
V-7-09 Roger & Helen Wirin - Request for a variance of 2 feet side street line setback for an accessory building to validate an existing craft cabana and obtain a building permit to construct a deck and screened room at 14711 Cambridge Drive, Upper Marlboro.

V-8-09 Camark Land Company, LLC - Request for a variance of 223 feet setback from an existing ball field and playground to construct a facility for the incidental retail of gasoline at a vehicle repair and service station at 12300 Old Baltimore Pike, Beltsville.

V-123-08 Family Auto Auctions, LLC - An appeal from the determination of the Zoning Inspector to issue Violation Notice No. Z-886-9-09, dated December 11, 2008, citing Petitioner for use of the property not in conformance with the use and occupancy permit and/or accompanying plan and use of a building, structure and land for vehicle sales and/or public auction without a use and occupancy permit, on I-1 (Light Industrial) zoned property at 12405 Crain Highway, Brandywine.

V-3-09 4004 Branch Avenue, LLC - An appeal requesting an extension of the grace period for the correction or cessation of Zoning Violation Notice No. CPZ-0365, dated December 15, 2008, issued by the City of College Park, Department of Public Services, citing Petitioner with violation of Prince George's County Code Sections 27 551(a)(1)&(2) (Parking lots are for the sole purpose of accommodating the passenger vehicles of persons associated with the use which requires the parking lot. Parking and loading areas and their access driveways shall not be used for any other purpose), requiring Petitioner to reserve the parking lot for the purpose of accommodating
the passenger vehicles of those persons associated with the use and cease all other uses of the parking lot, on M-U-I (Mixed-Use Infill) zoned property at 9031 Baltimore Avenue, College Park.

Thurs., April 2, 2009
HEHS Committee Meeting (Room 2027) – 10:00 a.m. Agenda not posted as of March 29th 9:00 am
Planning Board Meeting April 2, 2009First Floor County Council Hearing Room
Administrative/Parks and Recreation Items 8:30 a.m.-
Development Review Items 10:00 a.m.-‘ ‘
5-09051 PRINCE GEORGE’S BUSINESS CENTER Council District: 05 Tier: Developed.1 Lot, I-1 and I-2 Zones (7.89 acres) 4-07070Located on the east side of Claybrook Road, north side of Sheriff Road. (PA 72)American Resources Management Group Limited Partnership, Applicant
Landover Gateway Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment Work session to Review Digest Testimony and Resolution to Adopt the Landover Gateway Sector Plan and SMA Council District: 05
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: APPROVAL of staff recommendations on testimony analysis and the resolution to adopt the Landover Gateway Sector Plan and endorse SMA for transmittal to the District Council (OSEI)
SDP-0802 BOWIE CITY HALL (Maps)(TCPII/006/09)Council District: 04 Municipality: Bowie.Tier: Developing.Located directly south of the intersection of Evergreen Parkway and Excalibur Road. (PA 71B)M-A-C Zone (6.17 acres) (12/3/08)City of Bowie, ApplicantRequest: Bowie City Hall/Police Station.
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: • SDP-0802 – APPROVAL with conditions • TCPII/006/09 – APPROVAL with conditions
DSP-01037/01 PRINCE GEORGE’S MUSLIM ASSOCIATION PROPERTY (Maps)(AC-08021) Council District: 03 Municipality: None.Tier: Developing.Located northwest of the intersection of Lanham Severn Road and Main Street. (PA 70)R-55 Zone (5.46 acres) (4/24/08)Prince George’s Muslim Association, Inc., ApplicantRequest: 375 Square-Foot Addition to existing Mosque and Private School.
70-day limit has been waived.
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: • DSP-01037/01 – APPROVAL with conditions • AC-08021 - APPROVAL
DSP-08067 THE SHOPS AT QUEENS CHILLUM (Maps)Council District: 02 Municipality: None.Tier: Developed.Located in the southwest corner of the intersection of Queens Chapel Road and Chillum Road. (PA 68)M-X-T Zone (6.05 acres) (2/4/09)Chillum Center, LLC, ApplicantRequest: Amending the Table of Uses for West Hyattsville TDDP.
Action must be taken on or before 4/15/09.
CSP-08005 THE SHOPS AT QUEENS CHILLUM (Maps)Council District: 02 Municipality: None.Tier: Developed.Located in the southwest corner of the intersection of Queens Chapel Road and Chillum Road. (PA 68)M-X-T Zone (6.05 acres) (2/4/09)Chillum Center LLC, ApplicantRequest: Amending the Table of Uses for West Hyattsville TDDP.
Action must be taken on or before 4/9/09.
05070 GREEN HILLS Council District: 08 Municipality: None.Tier: Developing.Located on the west side of Lumar Drive and approximately 1,500 feet south of Allentown Road. (PA 76B)9 Lots, R-E Zone(9.94 acres) (3/16/09)Krause Design and Construction, Applicant
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: APPROVAL of a one-year extension