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District Council Continues Cafritz Proceedings to April 30

The hearing was gaveled to order again on Friday before immediately going into recess.

The Prince George's County District Council resumed its hearing of the Cafritz rezoning application Friday morning before immediately recessing to Monday, April 30 at 10 a.m.

The short-lived meeting followed marked by procedural objections and confusion over the hearing format. Few in the audience were initially aware that the District Council process would be quasi-judicial, meaning it would include sworn testimony, cross-examination, and other evidentiary constraints.

After many members of the public declared that they had not come ready to testify under oath, Chair Andrea Harrison decided to continue the hearing to a later point, giving residents more time to prepare.

Because the council had already advertised Friday as the carryover date for Wednesday's hearing, members were compelled to meet briefly today before going into recess again.

The Cafritz team is seeking to have its 37-acre parcel on the north end of Riverdale Park rezoned 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.

Though the plan , critics charge that the development would pose extreme fiscal, environmental, and traffic pressure on the surrounding communities.

Patch will have full coverage on April 30 when the hearing resumes.

PatchedUp April 13, 2012 at 11:29 PM
A full evidentiary 'quasi-judicial' hearing on the matter by the legislative branch of County government will have a chiling effect on our democracy. Citizens should not have to submit to intimidating "cross-examination" just to make their views known in person to the Council. Shame on the District Council Chairwoman for presiding over such a circus!
ralklem April 14, 2012 at 01:43 AM
This is NOT about nimby-ism. It is about density (+900 residential units with out mitigation to that impact on schools, roads, sewer etc), it is about following the Law (MTUC zoning is for town centers with existing structures in need of rehabilitation which this property has neither qualities), it is about 19,700 additional trips on US1 adjacent to one of the WORST intersection in all of PG County, it is about the developer making promises with no ability to make sure they follow through, it is about community where the developers actions are to divide and conquer, it is about unsupported and rigged studies, it is about appropriate land use and respecting the communities that ALREADY live here, it is about development plans in and around these communities (Plans for UM East Campus that may include a grocery store, redevelopment of the shopping center that currently houses FEDEX where Harris Teeter is interested in putting in a store and retail planned for downtown College Park at the book exchange redevelopment). How much can one area sustain in terms of new development and new growth. Why not support a low-density neighborhood; just what is surrounding the Cafritz property now and current MASTER PLAN zoning calls for? Why abandon the Development MASTER PLAN for the benefit of one family? Why such a hard sell for a Whole Paycheck, a place where Students of UM will in all likelihood could not afford to shop? This proposed zoning change is illegal. It should be stopped.
Don Lynch April 14, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Its not the "citizens" that are at risk. Its giving the citizens a chance to "cross-exam" the lawyers, developers, MNCPPC and Riverdale Park's Mayor and Town Council about the of this high density addition to a quiet historical town.Its democracy at work!
Michael B. Cron April 15, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Well put! I for one do not like the fact that our county officials who do not even live in this area and will be unaffected by the increased gridlock, noise and overcrowding are fighting so hard to approve a project that will adversely affect our neighborhoods under the guise of “sustainable growth". If the Cafritz project is the poster child for “sustainable growth" I will take "sprawl" any day of the week.

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