By MARISA JOHNSON — For shame that Douglas Development Corporation and Werrlein Properties should try to capitalize on the economic value of Hyattsville’s reputation, when that value was built by the hard work of this community.
The proposal set forth by Werrlein is absurd: 82 homes, mostly townhouses, packed into 7 acres. Werrlein plans to demolish the WSSC building, regrade, build on a floodplain and encroach upon our park access. This is an example of a complete non-starter that defies common sense. The elements of the development that are subject to city and county review should not be approved.
Eighty-two new families residing here is unthinkable in this lot which is zoned for only 28 to 70 homes. Where will their kids go to school? Hyattsville Elementary School is already overflowing. Where will we celebrate the city’s anniversary or attend theatre in the park, the Zombie Run or the cyclocross race? Without the open space of the current parking lot (which originally belonged to the city, and to which the public has had access for decades) our park use will be severely limited by this plan.
Werrlein has tapped Karl Granzow, a convicted felon with a decade-long history of bribery and extortion of elected officials, to lead this project. Our council should not allow its reputation to be tarnished by association with this developer. Hyattsville residents, let your councilmembers know they will not win your votes if they fail us in this regard. The future of Hyattsville is too precious for us to give the developer a multimillion dollar windfall at our expense.
Any plan put forth must account for the need for a new elementary school; continued access to Magruder Park, including adequate parking; the creation of an environmentally sustainable floodplain; infrastructure improvement; and historic preservation and/or adaptive reuse.
Marisa Johnson is a resident of Hyattsville and member of Save Our Sustainable Hyattsville.