Updated July 3, 2014 at 9:10pm
BY REBECCA BENNETT — Chick-fil-A has requested that the Prince George’s District Council amend the list of allowed uses for the transit zone around Prince George’s Plaza Metro to allow a drive-through in the Mall at Prince George’s parking lot.
The area around Prince George’s Plaza Metro station has been designated a Transit District Overlay Zone. The take-away from this is that the development in this area should cater to pedestrians. The Prince George’s County Planning Board and the City of Hyattsville both came to the conclusion that a drive-through of any sort does not meet the criteria of catering to pedestrians. The reality of the situation is that the planning board and the City of Hyattsville only make recommendations. The County Council, acting as the District Council, makes the final decision.
Documents on the county website show a hearing was held before the planning board in October, which recommended the drive-through be cut from the site plan. It then went to the District Council on April 14.
Before oral arguments could be heard by the council, representatives of Chick-fil-A brought up the concern that residents of District 2 who supported the drive-through did not know of the issue in time to become involved during planning board proceedings. Chick-fil-A said approximately a dozen people in favor of the drive-through showed up at the April 14 hearing to voice that support.
Video of the meeting shows that District 2 councilmember Will Campos supported the issue being sent back to the planning board. He said he wanted the matter of the drive-through given more consideration. Before any discussion on the matter continued, the council voted to send the request back to the planning board to allow for additional public comment.
The Gazette.net spoke with the attorney representing Chick-Fil-A, Daniel Lynch III of McNamee & Hosea Law Firm in Greenbelt:
…he could not say if the fast-food chain would proceed without the drive-through.
“My direction has been to move forward with the application for amending the Table of Uses as-is,” Lynch said.
Lynch said no expert has testified a drive-through would add traffic to the area.
All of this comes in the middle of a request for a proposed McDonald’s to include a drive-through just across the street in the Home Depot parking lot. Documentation shows the District Council approved this request, and Hyattsville city councilman Patrick Paschall says the City of Hyattsville went on to appeal the decision. According to Paschall, the City’s lawyer has given oral arguments in front of a judge and is awaiting a decision in this case.
Paschall began an online petition in response to these developments in the Chick-fil-A request. When asked for comment, Paschall said:
The City of Hyattsville is a diverse, thriving city made up of residents who wants pedestrian friendly, transit – oriented development. In just one day the petition to oppose the drive-thru garnered over 150 signatures, which tells me that the residents of Hyattsville and neighboring communities are overwhelmingly opposed to a drive-thru restaurant that will add 14,000 cars per month to an already congested road. This proposal is inconsistent with County zoning restrictions as well as Hyattsville’s character as a walkable, sustainable community
According to Paschall, a planning board hearing is tentatively set for July 17 at 10am. He encourages District 2 residents to attend to voice their support or opposition for the drive-through. According to the board’s website, “Onsite speaker registration for the Board’s weekly meetings is available the day of the hearing.” Most planning board meetings are held:
County Administration Building
First Floor County Council Hearing Room
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
The Hyattsville councilman said it’s his understanding residents have to go on record at the planning board hearing in order to testify in front of the District Council on this issue.
District 2 councilmember Campos has also been contacted for comment.
Hyattsville Life & Times will continue to follow this story. Check back for updates.