Please note earlier blog: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Dear local politicians:
I am writing you due to grave concern with proceedings in the Prince George's County Council. I copied you on a letter I wrote to Councilman Davis about two weeks ago, requesting information on an upcoming hearing. Those of us living in or near Stratford Estates development received a notice of a hearing that talks about arguments and "parties" but gives no information regarding the issues or parties. Calls and notes to Councilman Davis's office have produced no results. Those of us who live in or near the development are seriously concerned that we will be going into a hearing without important information--a hearing that affects our own properties to a great degree. I do not know what influence you have with the Council, but I am one of your constituents, and my property(and my concerned neighbors' properties) is in your district, so my neighbors and I would appreciate whatever help you can provide in this matter.
Some history on this matter may be helpful. The Stratford Estates development was initially conceived and approved of as a luxury estate development. After building four such houses, development ceased for a time, and a new developer purchased the property. The new developer's homes were completely different than the original design, much less in keeping with the historic nature of the neighborhood, and greatly devaluing the existing homeowners' properties who had bought into the development with the understanding of the original plan. No one attempted to stop this new development, but one thing of great importance to those living in Stratford Estates and surrounding properties was that the four front lots of the community, deemed to be subject to rules regarding properties near historic homes, be built in keeping with those rules.
A hearing was held by the Historic Preservation Committee, with much input from all concerned individuals. Their recommmendation, which was very moderate, was forwarded to the Planning Board. Another hearing was held, again with a good deal of input, and a decision was made by the Planning Board. The Board decided that the lots indeed fit and should be subject to the Historic guidelines. This decision made good sense, given that it would be hard to find an area more historic than the Old Crain Highway, on which Startford Estates is located. Anyone driving along Old Crain can enjoy many historic properties, the likes of which are rare in Prince George's County in this day.
In January, residents of Stratford Estates, and surrounding properties received a notice that there would be a hearing regarding Stratford Estates development on the 24th of February. Mention was made of parties and arguments, and that Councilman Davis had requested this hearing. But no information was given as to who the parties were, what the issues were, or why Councilman Davis had requested this hearing. Requests for information on this topic, via letters and calls to Councilman Davis's office have been met with no response or information.
My neighbors and I would appreciate you, as our state representative, to look into this matter and let us know what can be done to ensure a fair process takes place. Old Crain Highway is an area any Maryland official should be concerned with as one of the few historic areas left in this area. Also any process that has grave consequences for Maryland homeowners is not one that should be treated lightly, or one shrouded in mystery. Please help to ensure that this important process is a fair one.
Thank you for your time and response.
Bilie Hinnefeld, J.D., Ph. D.
Owner of property bordering on ,surrounded and impacted by Stratford development