With practically no discussion, the Hyattsville City Council took no action on a measure which would have given conditional support to a rezoning proposal before the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission which could set the stage for the redevelopment of the Kiplinger property at 3401 East-West Highway from its current use as commercial and warehouse space into a mixed-use, transit oriented complex.
After the measure was read aloud by Council President Matt McKnight (Ward 3), it failed to be seconded by any member of the city council. Without that, the measure could not be voted on, and the city council moved on to other business.
After the meeting, Council Vice-President David Hiles (Ward 2) said that the city council's lack of input at this stage shouldn't impact the city's ability to influence the project further down the road.
"I think that at this stage in the process, park and planning isn't expecting a lot of detailed response from municipalities," said Hiles in an interview after the meeting. "There's a whole bunch of detailed stuff, where this isn't the stage of development where we're supposed to do this."
That "detailed stuff" refers to the list of conditions which were drawn up in the measure seeking the city council's approval for the rezoning. Hyattsville's elected leaders and some members of the public, at the city council last meeting, raised concerns about a number of aspects about how the proposed development would eventually take shape.
But many of those concerns, argued Hiles, like the size of the building, and where the retail and commercial spaces would be located, would better be addressed at a later stage of the development, and not in a rezoning application.
"A whole lot of people had a whole lot of things to say that are basically irrelevant at this stage, and the mayor was basically just saying I'll take dictation and list all those things you just said," said Hiles. "Once it was all written down, people were not interested."
Conceptual site plans submitted to planning officials with the rezoning request by property owner Kiplinger Washington Editors envision an 870 unit multi-family building with a parking garage and 34,000 square feet of commercial space at the the west corner of the property.
The rezoning application for the property has already been submitted to the M-NCPPC's Prince George's County Planning Board and is slated to be considered at the board's Feb. 28 meeting.
"We're looking forward to continue working with the city, and we'll come back when we have the next phase," said William Shipp, attorney for the Kiplinger property owners. "Right now this is just a concept plan to address the idea of zoning, and get you an idea of what the layout can be, and at the next phase there will be a real design, with a real unit count, and that's when a lot of these issues can be addressed."