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District Council Approves Cafritz Rezoning Plan, 7-2

The votes sets the stage for sweeping and long-debated mixed-use development on the north end of Riverdale Park.

By a 7-2 vote, the Prince George's County District Council approved the Cafritz rezoning plan Monday afternoon, setting the stage for a sweeping and long-debated mixed-use development on the north end of Riverdale Park.

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The approval means the 37-acre parcel will be redesignated from single-family detached residential (R-55) to mixed-use town center (M-UTC), easing the way for the construction of more than 900 units of housing, a 35,000-square-foot Whole Foods, a 120-room hotel, and additional office and retail space.

Supporters say the project will spur economic growth and bring a desirable mix of retail and residential development to the area. 

Critics have charged that the plan will impose extreme fiscal, environmental, and traffic pressure on the surrounding communities.

Sonia Dasgupta (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Are you relieved a decision has been made? Do you support the District Council's decision?
Ken Montville July 09, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Hooray and hot diggity! About time.
James Coleman July 09, 2012 at 11:30 PM
It's a good thing for our county and our area if executed properly. We need to keep the strategic pieces in place from the municipalities to make this a great project. We can't sleep at the wheel.
Kirk Marchand July 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I'm very happy with this. I won't have to make special trips to the Whole Foods in Silver Spring for my groceries. My Organc Market and Yes are great, but they don't have the selection. For me (and I'm sure many others) this actually relieves our traffic congestion.
Carol Cron July 10, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I'm not happy about it -- but not surprised about the vote. The council members who voted for it don't have to live here or deal with the outcome. Where are all those new children supposed to go to school? The traffic alone will force me to find new ways to avoid Rt. 1, which will become the same as Campus Drive to the beltway. I couldn't care less about Whole Foods. I've never been to an organic market, and likely never will go.
Pachacutec July 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I agree with you 100 percent. I'm not against change, but I really do think people have no idea how this will impact University Park, Riverdale Park, and surrounding areas. I think they believe they'll still be able to keep our lovely neighborhoods intact as they currently are. Any time I ask people in the know about how the extra traffic, the extra need for public services, etc., is going to be handled, I get a blank look or am accused of being an old fogey against change. I am NOT against change but as you have so rightly noted, the traffic problem is NOT going to get any better. Route 1 is a traffic nightmare in the best of circumstances. I don't care one way or the other about shopping at Whole Foods, but all of those extra housing units will create even more congestion.
Melissa Avery July 10, 2012 at 01:29 PM
The carrot is the possibility of a grocery store of some kind on the land. Though at this point in time if that store Whole Foods of Best Way or Aldis is up for grabs, a red roof inn or something like that, and some shopping like they have at the across from metro at Prince Georges Plaza. We might get a Sprit store and a Chinese caryout. the reality is 995 units of housing, no conclusive traffic midigation, no parking solution, an extremely dangerous CXS crossing, 18000 cars added to an already unbearable RT.1 situation And the end of the already wonderful Riverdale Park Farm Market. I suggest those who are interested in organic shopping try that market out while they still can.
Danny July 10, 2012 at 01:50 PM
what a convincing, well-written argument!
mike arnold July 10, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Agreed Jim, the real work of making this new development part of the community now begins. I believe the Cafritz are up to that level of engagement -- to work with us to make this part of our towns, but we have to hold them to it, consistently, until the last building is built. Its going to be a 5 year long slog, but if we stick with it, it will be well worth the trouble!
Mark Noll July 10, 2012 at 03:55 PM
For those who see additional traffic as the only result of this development, I encourage you to read http://rethinkcollegepark.net/blog/2012/6306/. As a 20-something just beginning my working career in the DC area, I can tell you that I am far more likely to purchase a home in this area now that this development is moving forward. Calvert Hills and University Park already have many beautiful homes. With the convenience of this development, these neighborhoods will become more desirable.
Kristin Awsumb Liu July 10, 2012 at 05:56 PM
^^^Thank you for sharing this perspective - the only thing I'd like to add is Riverdale Park has some beautiful homes, too!
Sal July 10, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Is there an approximate timeline for when this project is expected to start and be completed?
Danny July 10, 2012 at 06:40 PM
while there are still more hurdles to be overcome, the developer would like to break ground in early 2013 and to have the first phase, including whole foods, open by late 2014 or very early 2015.
John Payne July 10, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I am pleased to see that a decision has been made to move forward with this development. I think that for many in the nearby neighborhoods the amount of time we spend in the car getting to quality restaurants and groceries will be reduced. We do need to be vigilant to make sure the CSX bridge is built to provide the link to Metro and the Purple Line.
Janet (Hoff) Ferguson January 20, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Since I lived in Calvert Homes as a child, I'm pretty attached to this property. However, I can see how such valuable land is being wasted and I encourage development even though it breaks my heart. Trains and street cars passing through were part of our lives back then and there were hundreds of small children nearby. CSX can make this work. A grocery store of any kind would be so convenient for a lot of people. The number of housing units is too extreme though--just too many people in too small an area. What about parks and ball fields?? Maybe I'd consider moving back to Riverdale but I suspect this will be a high end development not suitable for retirees:)

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