Stop the Proposed Magruder Pointe Redevelopment NOW!
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Werrlein Properties is under contract to purchase the seven-acre WSSC Headquarters tract (4017 Hamilton St.), demolish the existing buildings, and build a high-density residential subdivision called “Magruder Pointe.” Although this project has been pushed forward with alarming speed, it is not too late to stop it. This project requires the support of the Hyattsville City Council and Prince George’s County Council and Planning Department to proceed. Please sign our petition, and join Save Our Sustainable Hyattsville in opposing this plan because it:
- Constructs High-Density Development within 100-year Floodplain: Prince George’s County Floodplain Regulations state that “All areas within the County floodplain shall be dedicated to public use, or for use as a park, or as a floodplain or conservation easement.” However, the developers are seeking approval to drastically upzone this area from Open Space to high density residential, exposing future homeowners to catastrophic loss when the next big flood strikes in a time of rapid changing climate and increasingly extreme weather events. The developer’s plans to “remove” the floodplain issue with regrading and storm water management is a technocrat solution to get around the regulations.
- Contradicts Previous Decisions by City Council: In October of 2004, the City Council unanimously passed a decision to only consider approving proposals for the WSSC site that upheld Open Space zoning for the parking lot parcel. As proposed, the development of this parcel would site tall town houses looming over the Magruder playground, and eliminate this informal community space that is essential for civic events such as the Zombie Run, Carnival, Cyclo-Cross Race, and City Anniversary Parade. In fact, the current proposal shows their development cutting into existing open space and amenities of Magruder Park, including the tennis courts and playground.
- Loss of a Significant Historic Resource and Community Character: The project involves demolition of the WSSC HQ, a remarkably intact Art Deco and mid-century modern grouping of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This regionally rare, mid-century modern complex is structurally sound, and retains a high degree of architectural integrity and has excellent potential for adaptive reuse. Historic buildings give our “Arts District” community unique character and sustainable development options. Adaptive reuse projects are the greenest development option as they reuse materials and their embodied energy and divert waste from landfills. Imagine Hyattsville with generic development instead of Franklin’s, the Armory, the Post Office, Lustine Showroom, Vigilante Coffee, and its many historic homes.
- Eliminates the Best Potential Future Site to Rebuild Hyattsville Elementary: Currently enrolled at 140% capacity, Hyattsville Elementary School exhibits obsolete systems, inadequate play space, and significant deficiencies in the cafeteria, library, and restroom facilities. The school is ranked highly in the County’s Capital Improvement Program, and is strongly considered for a $41 million rebuild to start in 2021. The Magruder Point Development would further overcrowd the school and would eliminate the last possible spot for a future neighborhood elementary school rebuild in a central, park-side location that would provide maximum community synergy.
- The Developer is Simply in Over Their Head: Werrlein Properties has previously built or renovated individual homes on single lots. They have never approached anything as complicated as the 82 homes (16 single-family and 66 townhouses) proposed at Magruder Pointe. Perhaps to rectify this, they have brought on Karl Granzow, an experienced project manager who is also a convicted felon with a decade-long history of bribery and extortion of elected officials. This open space is simply too valuable of an asset to trust to an inexperienced developer and a project manager with a history of corruption.
- We Can Do Better! Hyattsville deserves better than this proposal. Allowing this development to happen now, before any community deliberation can occur on what the use of the property should be, would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the City Council and Mayor of Hyattsville. Hyattsville is a highly desirable location for developers and we can afford to be selective with what we will accept. The development of our city's largest remaining parcel next to our largest park must enhance and not detract from our community’s potential.
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