Contentious zoning process paused in Prince George’s Co.

The Prince George’s County Council is slowing down a controversial plan that would re-zone parts of the Bowie and Mitchellville area in Maryland.

Council chairman Calvin Hawkins said a joint public hearing set for next week will be rescheduled.

The most contentious parts of the rezoning plan focus on the area around Bowie’s Freeway Airport.

The owners of the Maryland airport hope to sell the land to developers, who want to build hundreds of new townhomes on the site. Residents who live by the airport say nearby Church Road wouldn’t be able to handle the increased traffic a proposed development would bring.

Residents have also been raising concerns about some of the zoning decisions made in the new plan, and argued the process was being deliberately rushed.

County Councilman Tom Dernoga sent a letter Monday to several of his colleagues and other county lawyers warning that the process was flawed and the council was leaving itself open to a lawsuit it probably wouldn’t win.

Emails showed some in the county wanted the hearing to be scheduled by next week in order to have the plan approved by the end of October. So far, no date is on the books.

It’s unlikely that the plan will be approved before six new members are sworn in, with some vowing to make changes to the plan.

The full statement from Hawkins is below:

“The Prince George’s County Council has directed the County’s Planning Board and staff to proceed with rescheduling the Tuesday, September 27th Public Hearing on the Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Sectional Map Amendment (Bowie SMA), and to continue collecting written comments and testimony as the Bowie SMA process moves forward. The participation of our residents in Council processes is essential to our community’s progress.

This action allows for additional review and provides an additional opportunity to discuss future growth in and around this area of the County.

The Council, sitting as the District Council on land-use matters, appreciates the active engagement of our residents and other stakeholders, including the recent correspondence from the City of Bowie, requesting more time for additional public comment and analysis in consideration of the goals of the Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Master Plan adopted this April.

We look forward to the future completion of the Bowie SMA process.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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