The Prince George’s County Council held a public hearing on the West Hyattsville-Queens Chapel Sector Plan Tuesday.
The plan calls for a reinvigorated transit system including pedestrian and bicycle facilities and new recreational spaces, such as parks. Other components of the plan include overhauling the area’s stormwater management system and promoting economic development with new residential areas and businesses.
Scott Rowe, the project manager of the sector plan and member of the Master Plans and Studies Section Community Planning Division, said the plan addresses numerous critical issues regarding the West Hyattsville Metro station.
He said key issues include the lack of development for nearly 30 years, an aging building inventory, a flood risk stemming from the Northwest branch of the Anacostia River and a lack of housing immediately around the Metro station.
There are short-term, mid-term and long-term components of the plan estimated to be completed in full by 2048.
City of Hyattsville Council President Joseph Solomon said although he supports the measure, he still has some concerns he hopes are addressed.
One concern Solomon raised in the hearing was the increased traffic that could result from new urbanization of the area.
“My community does request that the sector plan recommend additional investments in traffic analysis that will over time direct traffic around the transit zone,” Solomon said. “As we grow more dense … we would like to see traffic pattern changes that move traffic around the transit area instead of through the transit area, as it currently does.”
Solomon also hopes the plan is expanded to address the rise of invasive plant species along the Anacostia River.
He said these plants not only kill trees along the river banks, hurting the beauty of Prince George’s County’s trails, but also cover tree canopies and decrease shelter for Hyattsville’s homeless population.
District 2 resident Melissa Schweisguth commended Solomon’s recommendations and added that safety is of utmost importance for the plan’s additional bike lanes and trail crossings.
“Please make all bike lanes protected,” she said. “We had a pedestrian killed at the corner of Hamilton and Ager [Roads] and we had a bicyclist critically injured on Queens Chapel in an unprotected bike lane.”
Taylor Robey, a city planner representing the city of Hyattsville, also echoed the overarching support for the measure.
“The land use and development style envisioned in this plan is in-line with many of the city of Hyattsville’s action-ready plans and initiatives,” she said.
However, Robey also had additional recommendations for the plan.
She hopes the plan is modified to include increased pedestrian accessibility from neighborhood streets to Nicholas Orem Middle School and funding for invasive plant removal.
The second joint public hearing for the plan is scheduled for April 2023, while the plan approval is scheduled for June 2023.
With the feedback from the community, Rowe said he is hopeful for a rejuvenated West Hyattsville by 2048 that serves as a hub for the greater Prince George’s County area.
“In 2048, West Hyattsville-Queens Chapel [will be] a transit-oriented community where the public realm and mixed-use areas work together to serve as community hubs where people can easily transition between living, working, and playing,” Rowe said.