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Council Receptive to Downtown Subway

No action taken at meeting on proposal, but signs appear positive for developer.

The owners of a piece of rundown Hyattsville real estate that they want to turn it into a small Subway sandwich restaurant are in a bit of a pickle.

According to Jim Chandler, economic development coordinator for the city of Hyattsville, One requirement mandates that developments have a two-way, 22 foot wide driveway to access rear parking areas. The other requirement mandates that new development frontage take up 80 percent of the front property line. 

But the property owned by Jagjot Khandpur, the Potomac businessman who wants to redevelop what is a vacant building near the intersection of Jefferson Street and Baltimore Avenue, is too small to reasonably meet both requirements.

Khandpur has proposed building a 1,400 square foot Subway franchise at 5516 Baltimore Avenue. His plan includes the 22 foot wide driveway, so he's asking for the city council's support for his request to seek an exemption to the development standard for lot frontage.

Chandler said that Khandpur has investigated purchasing property adjascent to what he already owns to construct a less obstructive driveway, but the price has proven prohibitive. 

Trash would also be dumped and collected in the rear of the proposed restaurant.

According the Chandler, Khandpur is eager to begin work on the property. 

"They have identified a shortage in the market here," said Chandler. "They identified this specific spot in Hyattsville. They have done their market research."

City council members were generally receptive to the idea, with both Councilor Tim Hunt (Ward 3) and Councilor Paula Perry (Ward 4) saying they'd have no problem approving it. 

But the city council did not take any action on the request for support, opting to gather feedback from the public on the proposal. 

Khandpur's proposal still needs to be approved by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission before work can begin.

Corey Somers September 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Vacant buildings up Route 1 have been an eye sore for years. I'm truly hopeful the city council can make exception to any rule and work with the proposal at hand. It is a waste and community disgrace to let these vacant buildings exist (especially for as long as they have).
s September 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Tweek the codes and allow for a structure that better fits the area.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter September 11, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I agree that anything is better than what is currently there, but perhaps we should consider whether we want the 80% frontage OR the 2-way driveway entrance to the parking. I'm not entirely convinced that adding additional parking in this location is going to add to the desired look and feel of the neighborhood. On the other hand, drivers are going to need somewhere to park. If they are going to go with the "Larger Driveway Option" I'd say they should mandate that the building be more than one story, and the building have some sort of stylistic design. Another option would be to let the building cover 100% width of the lot but set the structure at the back of the lot and allow front parking and require planters and other landscaping features. Maybe they should mandate that vehicular access be made from 44th st instead of directly from route 1.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter September 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Also worth noting, in the proposed design they are only providing 5 parking spaces one of which is handicap (worthless to 99% of people). Where are the employees going to park? Maybe, as part of Hyattsville's lovely new downtown, we should consider expediting that public parking that's in the pipeline and skip the onsite parking for Subway.
FiFi Griffin September 11, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Why do we need a another chain restaurant in this area anyway...especially a Subway? I would much prefer a smaller mom/pop deli...it would fit in nicely with the NEW developing downtown. As a new homeowner in this community, I would think we would want to make this part of Hyattsville more eclectic....and Subway does not scream artistic/eclectic at ALL. When I am eating at Bus Boys, I get the impression that many of the diners would appreciate a lovely mom/pop deli and not a Subway. Leave that for another part of Hyattsville....
s September 11, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Good point...
Farmer Joe September 11, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Yes! I could care less what a Subway looks like; it's a Subway (an eyesore no matter what). We should be trying to lure "Taylor's Gourmet" who already has a few locations in the area and offers great deli fare. Obviously if someone wants to put a Subway up that's their business, but if they get no business because Taylor's is taking it, we won't be looking at it for long.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter September 11, 2012 at 05:38 PM
But Subway is a great place for aspiring sandwich artists to start their career! Anyway, subway is one of those places that I'd rather have and not need than need and not have.
Donald James September 11, 2012 at 07:13 PM
A one story, single use building is not the right fit for this location. They should be encouraging mixed use buildings that fit in with the new surroundings. It doesn't have to be a tall building, maybe 2 or 3 stories. Hell...subway could even be the business that utilizes the ground floor retail. But not the only use for the site in this prime location.

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