Frequently asked questions
What is the current status of the project?
We are currently addressing comments that we have received from the county staff and the community and are moving expeditiously to re-file our Preliminary Plan of Subdivision (PPS) application for the project.
Has the Project been "Approved"?
The Project is still in the primary phase of the Prince George’s County approval processes, the zoning phase. This is because in order for the project to move forward, the property must be rezoned.
On February 2, 2012, the Prince George's County Planning Board voted unanimously (4-0) to recommend that the property be rezoned. The Board acts in an advisory capacity to the Prince George's County Council (sitting as the District Council) with respect to planning and zoning matters in the County; however, it is the Council that is the legislative body that is vested with the ultimate authority to approve the rezoning of the Property. The Council is set to hold a hearing and take vote on this issue on April 11, 2012.
It is important to note that, even though during this zoning phase of the Project approval processes, public health, safety and welfare impacts of the Project are acknowledged, these impacts will be much more thoroughly studied and fully vetted throughout the later phases of the Project approval processes, should the property be rezoned. Further, in the event that the property is rezoned and during later phases of the approval processes the Project is found to be inadequate or defective with respect to its public health, safety, and welfare impacts, the Project will not be allowed to move forward until any such inadequacies or deficiencies are remedied.
Wouldn't it be better to build with the existing zoning?
The Team believes that the surrounding community will benefit from the addition of currently unavailable types of housing and new convenience retail within walking distance. The County and State have invested millions of dollars in transportation infrastructure around the site. The development of the site as a mixed use higher density site is in keeping with the October 2002 County General plan and smart growth principles. Building more of the same low density housing which surrounds the site will simply force residents into their cars for shopping and force residents to move away when their housing needs change. Single family development will require grading of all of the site in order to maximize the yield on the land's value. Finally, single family detached housing will in all likelihood produce greater demands on schools than the proposal with its large percentage of seniors housing, apartments and townhouses.
Does the owner plan to achieve a rezoning, then sell?
The Cafritz family has owned this property since 1954. There has been much interest in it over the years, but the family has retained it. They are committed to being good neighbors and intend to remain even better neighbors once the project is completed.
Is the Cafritz Team in a hurry?
The Team has been showing plans for the property in public meetings since 2006. These plans have always shown a mixed use town center with residential, retail and commercial uses. Early proposed densities were as high as 2000 units and a much larger Whole Foods Market. In the latest proposals, the market is reduced in size, and the number of housing units is now set at 995. The owners have been attempting to move their plan forward for 7 years and are understandably eager to get to the next stage of development.
Has the Cafritz Team been responsive to Community Feedback?
Although plans for the Project have always shown a mixed use town center with residential, retail and commercial uses, earlier iterations of the Project proposed significantly higher densities with as many as 2000 housing units and a much larger Whole Foods Market. In the latest proposals, the market is reduced in size, and the number of housing units is now set at 995. Further, the owners and their team have met extensively and worked closely with the community over the past 6 months to address and resolve manifold community concerns. Among the outcomes of this collaboration is the owners agreement to build -- in a public private partnership with Prince George’s County -- a vehicular and pedestrian bridge over the CSX railroad tracks that runs along the eastern boundary of the Project.
Will the fiscal impact of the project be a problem for the Communities?
In addition to the $6.4 million the project will contribute to the schools, the project will pay $2.3 million in Public Safety fees. The project will create 1883 full time equivalent jobs during its construction, and 439 full-time equivalent permanent jobs when completed. The project is expected to produce over $11 million in annual tax revenue of which $4.5 million is expected to go to the County and the City and Towns. Experience has shown that in communities near a Whole Foods Market, property values tend to rise 5-7%.
Will the project produce "44% more" traffic on Route 1?
Automobile traffic in the Washington Region continues to increase, as we all know. But alternative mobility is increasing at the same time. The project will be served by 7 forms of transportation other than cars, 3 of which run on dedicated or semi-dedicated rights of way: Metro, MARC and the Purple Line. The other four forms are buses of various sorts which will provide better service as passengers move from the cars to more efficient ways of getting around. And the project is accessible by foot and bicycle from all directions including east of the CSX tracks over which a bridge is to be built. Peak hour trips generated by the project will be capped at 548 in the morning and 902 in the afternoon.
Will the Schools be choked with new students from the Cafritz Property?
The project will contribute more than $8.25 million in school surcharge fees before any housing is built. A new elementary school in Hyattsville is scheduled to open in August 2013, adding 792 seats for students in the Area. And the mix of housing proposed has been shown to produce fewer school age children than does the existing R55 zoning.