City Council says “no” to Book Exchange redevelopment

The College Park City Council voted unanimously against the revised Book Exchange site plan at Tuesday evening’s meeting, stating it did not meet the Route 1 Sector Plan requirements. The proposal will be presented at the county level Thursday.

“I am happy with the outcome,” said local resident Jim McFadden. “No citizen testifying hasn’t seen the problem with this project.” McFadden is one of the many local residents who attended the meeting to voice opposition to the revised plan.

The city council wants the architect to revise the site plans so it is in keeping with the character of old town College Park; provides safe pedestrian walkways and a store front access from Route 1; and address the storm drain issue.

“The proper next step will be with the county council and hopefully folks at the county will listen to our recommendations,” District 2 Councilman Monroe Dennis said.

Despite issues with the plan, both council members and residents recognize the need and importance of offering students off-campus housing.

District 1 Councilman Fazlul Kabir said, “I would like to see a plan go through because it is an ideal location.”

Students, however, are not as focused on the lack of off campus housing options as they are with the pricing of those housing options.

“I don’t think we need more off campus housing options, but we need cheaper ones,” said sophomore biochemistry major Grace Wo. “All of the off campus housing options are so expensive, especially the closer ones.”

Although many local residents are concerned with the clashing of this addition to the historic community of College Park, students are far less concern.

“The character of the city basically means what the city needs and since we’re pretty much a college town, it’s going to be what students here need,” Wo said.