Virtual Kickoff Meeting Q&A
The following questions/comments were submitted by members of the public via a chat box function in Microsoft Teams Live during the Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Master Plan Virtual Public Kick-Off on June 13, 2020. Responses were prepared by the Commission during or after the live event. All questions/comments and their responses are reported below and organized by topic. Please, click on each tab to see the questions/comments on each topic. If you believe your comment/question is missing, please contact the project team at BVMP@ppd.mncppc.org.
- Land Use
- Economic Prosperity
- Transportation and Mobility
- Natural Environment
- Housing and Neighborhoods
- Community Heritage, Culture, and Design
- Healthy Communities
- Public Facilities
- The Plan Process
1. Is the proposed Mill Branch Shopping Center (Chesney Development) part of the Bowie Local Town Center?
Response: No, the proposed Mill Branch Shopping Center is not considered part of the Bowie Local Town Center.
1. Will this plan include policies that ensure that "growth" in this area is not just relocating resources from inner beltway communities? Leaving blight in those communities. For example, the former site of Landover Mall.
Response: This plan will include policies and strategies to make this area economically competitive with similar locations throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The goal is to encourage investment in our local centers and identify areas for neighborhood reinvestment. In 2020, Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity serves an entirely different market need than older areas of the County near the District of Columbia; these areas are not in direct competition. A thoughtful market analysis will provide insight into the true nature of the market in Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity.
2. Bowie Town Center seems to be dying, what are the plans to rejuvenate that?
Response: During this process, we will be working closely with the owners of Bowie Town Center, one of the focus areas of this plan, to identify a vision for an achievable future for this area and strategies to implement it. It truly is a great opportunity to re-position BTC as a regional destination.
3. “Can we get a nice boutique coffee shop?”
Response: Coffee shops provide a critical "third place" for teleworking, socializing, and civic events. Coffee shops thrive in communities that contain a sufficient number of residents and/or workers to create foot traffic. This plan and its market analysis will assist in identifying locations where opportunities exist to facilitate the type of walkable environments residents and businesses increasingly prefer and may identify strategies for attracting and retaining small businesses. However, the plan cannot recommend specific businesses or ownership types; the real estate market will ultimately determine whether coffee shops are boutiques or chains. Please stay tuned to our website for upcoming reports and documents.
4. How do we address restaurant and new high-end shopping?
Response: The plan will identify areas for future mixed use or commercial development. Through this master plan, the Project Team will identify the conditions that are most favorable for retailers and identify whether and where opportunities exist in the plan area for retailers to succeed. Development will be encouraged, but private investment and property owners will play a role as well.
5. What are the plans to attract businesses to the area? This is needed to improve our tax base.
Response: Attracting businesses is a collaborative effort by various parties, including, but not limited to, the City of Bowie and the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Financial incentives are an increasingly vital tool in attracting businesses to a location in a competitive market; while this plan may recommend examples of incentives, specific incentive programs are offered by a variety of agencies at the federal, state, and local level. Please contact the Prince George's County EDC for more information.
6. “Operation cost for businesses is high which is why business are leaving. What is being done?”
Response: Through this process, we hope to learn more from business owners and investors on their concerns related to doing business in the master plan area. Please contact the project team at BVMP@ppd.mncppc.org with any other questions, or reach out to the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for specific questions related to business operations in the County.
Bicycle / Pedestrian Infrastructure
1. “We would also love to see increased bike paths safely connecting South Bowie to Bowie Town Hall and Allen Pond.” / “I would like the master plan to focus on bicycle paths and sidewalk networks, especially connecting South Bowie to the Bowie Town Center and connecting the South Bowie neighborhoods to the South Bowie Library.”
Response: The master plan will make recommendations to encourage bicycle transit in Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity. Plan recommendations will build upon existing bicycle infrastructure plans, including the City of Bowie's Trails Master Plan and the Prince George’s County trails plan. The Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Master Plan will emphasize connectivity between focus areas, which includes Bowie Town Center, that will strengthen area bicycle infrastructure.
2. Will there be a consideration for more sidewalks throughout the area? Sidewalks are needed in the 20721 area; particularly Lottsford Vista Road.
Response: Yes. The plan will identify sidewalk gaps and make recommendations to complete the sidewalk network. Please let us know if there are gaps in the network in your neighborhood.
3. “Are sidewalks being considered for the disabled?”
Response: The plan will identify gaps in the sidewalk network and recommend construction of new sidewalks as well as improvements to existing sidewalks, all in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please let us know if there are gaps in the network in your neighborhood.
1. “WMATA Metro Rail needs to be extended from New Carrollton to Bowie!” / Are there plans to extend Metro Rail from New Carrollton?
Response: While this plan will emphasize public transit use, WMATA is ultimately responsible for any decisions regarding MetroRail expansion. Prince George's County has 15 Metrorail stations, the most of any suburban jurisdiction. WMATA is unlikely to consider extensions of the system until these stations are fully utilized. Plan 2035 and the County's master plans recommend sufficient transit-oriented development to meet anticipated market demand for the next 25 years and beyond at our existing Metrorail stations. This plan will not contemplate an extension of Metrorail, choosing instead to focus on realistic and achievable ways to increase and improve transit service. For more information on WMATA and their plans, check out their website here.
We hope you will stay involved in this process and continue to share your recommendations in further detail at some of our upcoming events. Please click the "Notify Me" button on our webpage.
2. “Will express public transportation lines be enhanced for the MD 214 corridor?”
Response: This plan will recommend the most effective methods to encourage public transit use, which may include dedicated bus lanes. This plan may recommend dedicated transit lanes for certain roadways in the master plan area, which must be constructed in consultation with the Maryland State Highway Administration, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation, and others. For more information, check out the Metropolitan Council of Governments and Prince George’s County Transit Vision Plan.
Traffic / New Roads / Road Improvement
1. The access ramps from MD 214 to US 301 are very dangerous. / Any plans to improve travel/traffic on US 301 and MD 214? / “Traffic volume is increasing in the area covered by this Master plan. Will future Plan revision/development include improvements to transportation routes to keep pace with increased traffic?” / “Will the master plan address any redevelopment or planning of new roads or expansion of existing roadways?” / “Our roads all need expanding. Are there plans to expand them?” / With increase of turning farms into homes, what are the plans to increase road travel, especially US 301?
Response: This plan will examine existing transportation conditions and recommend transportation improvements based on development patterns in the master plan area. This may include recommended roadway improvements, increased public transit, and walking/biking infrastructure improvements to meet current and future demand and alleviate congestion in certain locations in the plan area. In areas where multimodal and alternative transportation facilities will not adequately address congestion, the plan will recommend roadway improvements, which may include expansion.
However, the widening and expansion of roads tends to influence new and existing motorists to choose to drive using the newly widened roads which in turn leads to more traffic, and can eliminate reduction in congestion that the initial widening was supposed to address. This phenomenon, known as induced demand, is well documented in the region and across the Country. In addition, while spot congestion can be alleviated by capacity and operational improvements, generational shifts in residential preferences, work location preferences, and mobility choices may also lead to decreased congestion. This plan seeks to maximize opportunities to create connections between home, work, and other destinations, thereby reducing individual dependency on driving.
While some congestion is inevitable, and in fact indicative of successful places, we will partner with the Maryland State Highway Administration, Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation and other implementation agencies to recommend achievable congestion mitigation strategies, including recommendations to allow more transportation choices in the community.
This plan will also gather and analyze data to confirm dangerous conditions in the plan area's transportation network and recommend strategies to mitigate them. Please let us know if you are aware of (other) transportation hazards within the plan area. Additionally, US 301 is already slated to become a limited access highway in existing long-term plans, which may address the problem ramps.
2. Traffic is a problem on US 301 in Bowie and will only get worse as the area continues to grow. How does the expansion of traffic options fit into the long master plan?
Response: This plan will look at current and projected traffic and recommended solutions to address congestion. While some congestion is inevitable in a successful place, we will partner with the Maryland State Highway Administration, Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation and others to recommend achievable congestion mitigation strategies, including recommendations to allow more transportation choices in the community. Check out Maryland’s Draft Consolidated Transportation Program.
3. With the loss of the airport, is there a consideration to create an exit ramp for US 50? / Are there any plans to increase the number of exits from US 50? There are few exits in Bowie.
Response: Thank you for your question and concern. This is an example of one of many issues that we will explore during the next few months as the master plan is developed. Although the plan will make recommendations for local roadways, which may include specific recommendations for US 50, the Maryland State Highway Administration will be responsible for planning and constructing new exit ramps.
1. Considering Bowie's location in relationship to Joint Base Andrews, is there any consideration to build homes that would attract young military families?
Response: The County recently adopted the Housing Opportunity for All Plan that outlines the County’s need to provide housing at all price points in the County. The plan discusses the role of diverse housing types.
2. “Any plans for new construction homes?”
Response: The Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity master plan area is projected to grow by a net gain of 362 households by 2024, with almost all of this growth stemming from increases in households aged 65 and older. Any new construction recommended in this plan will address these and other projected demographic considerations. Note that there are several thousand already approved dwelling units throughout the plan area that have yet to be constructed. Check out the development activity layer in PGAtlas or the Prince George’s County Planning Department’s On-line Development Activity Monitoring System for the latest development activity.
3. There are many existing homeowners who have not recovered from the early 2000s housing crash. Are we going to decrease new construction to INCREASE housing values?
Response: This plan will recommend development based on current sustainable growth strategies so that supply meets anticipated demand in Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity over the next 25 years.
Recommendations for various levels of housing development must consider their full scope and impact. Artificially constraining housing supply generally has minimal benefits to a large jurisdiction such as Prince George's County and has many negative side-effects, including furthering housing inequality, discouraging employers who may want to locate or invest in a community, eliminating the potential for new retail or public facilities.
4. “Is part of the plan to reduce the construction of homes? We need to focus on attracting large-scale businesses to the community.”
Response: The master plan will cover future recommendations for houses and attracting businesses over the next 25 years. This plan may discover a need to recommend additional new construction to meet demographic demands (such as for seniors and young professionals). The plan may recommend against new construction due to other demographic factors, such as a decreasing population of households with children who largely prefer single-family homes.
5. “Last thing that we need is more housing. We don’t have enough retail, entertainment, or transportation infrastructure to support housing.” / No housing until there is additional entertainment, healthy lifestyle retail, and transportation infrastructure.
Response: Thank you for your comment. We hope you will stay involved in this process and continue to share your recommendations in further detail at some of our upcoming events. Please click the "Notify Me" button on our webpage.
6. What is being done to maintain rural / farming neighborhoods?
Response: This plan will advance the policy of Plan 2035, as amended by the County Council in its approval of the 2017 Resource Conservation Plan, that the Rural and Agricultural Area shall not be reduced. There is sufficient developable land within the Established Communities to support residential demand in Prince George's County for the foreseeable future.
Senior / One-Level Housing
1. Are there any plans for one-level home dwellings in the area? / “Is there a plan to build single family homes with first floor bedroom plans (no stairs)? Townhomes have stairs and are not suitable for those who are disabled or elderly homeowners. Are you considering these types of homes? Are there any townhomes to be considered with elevators, like those in Bethesda and Arlington?” / “Any plans for additional senior communities in the Master plan area?”
Response: We are guided by the Housing and Neighborhoods goal in Plan 2035: Provide a variety of housing options – ranging in price, density, ownership, and type – to attract and retain residents, strengthen neighborhoods, and promote economic prosperity. However, the construction of varying housing types and additional senior housing, and their particulars such as including elevators or being one-level, primarily relies on private developers who are often motivated by market forces and demand. With seniors and young professionals representing increasing shares of Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity's population, demand will likely drive an increase in accessible housing options in the area. The County’s comprehensive housing plan, Housing Opportunity For All, addresses universal design code and aging in place.
2. “What are the senior living plans?”
Response: Other than The Tribute at Melford, there are no other known senior multifamily projects planned to deliver within the Master Plan Area. With the Master Plan Area projected to add 1,745 households aged 65 and older over the next five years (the driving force behind the area’s total projected net gain of 362 households), there is a potential gap in meeting the specific housing needs of aging residents. This plan will likely recommend developments targeted toward seniors, who frequently seek and prefer highly amenitized offerings in walkable communities. This propensity for walkable product in a connected neighborhood is very much in alignment with Plan 2035’s vision.
1. It would be nice to have housing options other than townhomes, condos, or massive single-family homes, like smaller homes for smaller families or singles who don't want to live in close quarters.
Response: The Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Plan is guided by Plan 2035. The Housing and Neighborhoods goal in Plan 2035 is:
Provide a variety of housing options – ranging in price, density, ownership, and type – to attract and retain residents, strengthen neighborhoods, and promote economic prosperity. This Plan will make recommendations based on Plan 2035, demographic trends, community needs, and diverse housing choices as outlined in the County’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy Housing Opportunity for All, which shows a lack of housing choices across the County. However, the construction of additional housing types primarily relies on private developers who are often motivated by market forces and demand.
1. How many homes remain empty in Fairwood? And why build Melford when so many homes remain vacant?
1. Development approvals for individual projects are not contingent on the status or availability of other projects. Melford is approved for construction of new townhouses and multifamily, including senior multifamily per the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision regulations. These types of dwelling units are in demand currently and are anticipated to increase in demand.
2. Fairwood consists of existing, relatively large single-family detached homes. Demand for existing, relatively large single-family detached homes is declining and is expected to continue to decline.
There is currently a significant disparity between housing supply in Prince George's County, both built and approved, and housing demand: in the coming years, projections suggest there will be an increasing senior population and decreasing numbers of households with children.
New construction in the plan area may represent an increased demand for walkable, multifamily and townhouse communities while empty housing units in Fairwood mirror declining demand for single-family housing units. This disparity may also suggest that there is a higher demand for newer houses or housing that is custom-built to a purchaser's preferences and taste. Note that the vacancy rate for the Fairwood Census Designated Place in the 2nd Quarter of 2020 was estimated at 2.9%, or 62 vacant housing units out of 2,145 total.
2. “Will ranchers and/or single-family homes be included in Melford?” / How many homes are being built in Melford, especially when there are many homes that are empty in the Fairwood area?
Response: Melford has an approved Conceptual Site Plan (CSP-06002-01) for up to 2,500 residential units: up to 500 townhomes; 1,000 age-restricted multi-family; and 1,000 multi-family units. Please note, the category of single-family homes includes a variety of styles and typologies, including townhomes. Check out the Prince George’s County Development Activity Monitoring System to learn more about development activity in the county.
3. “What is the timeline to break ground on homes in Melford?”
Response: Please reference the Melford Town Center website to stay updated on the project status.
1. Will you increase the requirement for identifying burial grounds of indigenous communities and enslaved African Americans? With all the former plantations in the area, we know that there are burial grounds.
Response: M-NCPPC is conducting a comprehensive survey of cemeteries and burials throughout the County. The goal of the survey is to identify and document the locations of each historic cemetery and assess their current condition. You can learn more about the effort by visiting the M-NCPPC's Historic Preservation section's website. If you are aware of a cemetery that may not be documented, please fill in the questionnaire located on the same webpage.
1. “Any plan to put telephone wires and such underground?”
Response: The new zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations do not speak to the “plans” for any utilities. The only specific mandates within the new zoning ordinance that requires utilities lines to be placed underground are for Manufactured Home Parks regardless of zone. As for this Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Master Plan, it does not have the authority to mandate underground wires.
Healthy Food Access
1. Please add more (healthy) quality food to-go options in our area. No more of the "junk" to-go places! Our communities deserve better options as we are most affected and targeted by junk fast food places. / Improve grocery stores and add more health stores such as Whole Foods. / “Are there any plans to bring either a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to Bowie? Right now, we are going to these types of healthier grocery stores in other counties, spending our money in other counties.” / “Can we get a Sweet Green and/or Chop't, or some other healthy options?” / Are there plans to offer financial incentives to healthy food restaurants (i.e., Sweet Green, etc.) in order to attract them to our area? / “Will there be a Whole Foods coming to this side of the county?” / What grocery stores will replace the Shoppers Grocery Stores that will be closing in the near future?
Response: A master plan is unable to address the physical conditions of existing grocery and health stores and it cannot recommend or incentivize specific businesses to locate to the plan area. However, this master plan will outline levels of healthy food access across the County and look at the need to address areas of food insecurity. For more information, please see the Draft Existing Conditions Report or check out Prince George’s County’s Food Systems Study.
Attracting businesses is a collaborative effort of various parties, including, but not limited to, the City of Bowie and the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Financial incentives are an increasingly vital tool in attracting businesses to a location in a competitive market; while this plan may recommend examples of incentives, specific incentive programs are offered by a variety of agencies at the federal, state, and local level. Please contact the Prince George's County EDC for more information about the County's efforts to attract grocery stores.
2. “Are there plans to attract vegan restaurants? Also, there are several areas that require sidewalks to foster safe walking such as on Mitchellville between Mount Oak and 301.”
Response: The master plan is unable to recommend or attract a specific business to this location. Attracting businesses is a collaborative effort of various parties, including, but not limited to, the City of Bowie and the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation. The plan will identify sidewalk gaps and make recommendations to complete the sidewalk network. Please let us know if there are gaps in the network in your neighborhood.
3. “I had issues getting in initially. I’m trying to figure out the plans for Old Bowie. Any grocery stores in the plans?”
Response: Currently, Old Town Bowie is outside a 10-minute walkshed but within a 10-minute driveshed to the nearest supermarket. As one of the plan's focus areas, we will examine Old Town Bowie and make appropriate recommendations for levels of healthy food access based on population and density projections.
Parks and Recreation
1. “It would be great if the Jack & Jill Park on Penn Hill Manor would be renovated.” / “What are the plans for Green Branch Park?”
Response: Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is responsible for long-range planning and park acquisition and development. Recommendations for improvements are best brought to the attention of the Central Area Park Planner, Joseph “JJ” Arce with the Park Planning and Development Division of DPR. DPR will assess the park and work with you and your community to get a better understanding of the improvements that are needed and desired at the park. Please contact your area park planner at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about other new and ongoing projects, follow the link: http://pgparks.com/259/New-Ongoing-Projects.
2. "With the first elementary and middle school cricket programs in the USA, the first All Girls Cricket League in the USA, the first travel youth cricket league, and start of minor league and major league cricket in 2021, are you planning to build an adult cricket field in Bowie to take advantage of the fastest growing sport in the USA?"
Response: Planning and development of athletic fields falls under the jurisdiction of the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Park Planning and Development Division, also within the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Ideas for additional park facilities are best brought to the attention of the Central Area Park Planner, Joseph “JJ” Arce. DPR will work with you and your community to get a better understanding of what is needed and desired to provide fields that could accommodate cricket in Bowie. The Prince George’s County DPR will also work with the City of Bowie to identify opportunities for locating this within the city limits.
3. I have young children. What are the plans for providing family entertainment in Bowie? And for teenagers and young adults?
Response: The master plan will evaluate the need for County recreational facilities like community centers, recreation centers, parks, and trails.
However, the plan cannot recommend specific businesses or ownership types; the real estate market will ultimately determine if there is a demand for family entertainment businesses. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) provides extensive programming for teens and young adults that can be found here.
Quality of schools
1. “Bowie government should not approve any additional housing plans until they improve the high school.” / “Bowie should not be approved to add any new housing until they improve the quality of the high school.” / What is the plan for bringing school systems to the level of, let's say, Anne Arundel County or other counties that have higher ratings.
Response: Educational facilities fall under the jurisdiction of Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS). Please see the Educational Facilities Master Plan here. PGCPS is responsible for school construction, hiring teachers and staff, and providing other elements that contribute to educational quality. This plan examines existing school capacity, projects future enrollment, and identifies areas that may need facility upgrades or new construction based on these projections. PGCPS may use these recommendations to meet target enrollment parameters to increase educational quality. Prince George’s County applies a school facilities surcharge to new residential developments or redevelopments. Please see the fee structure here.
Further, while the City of Bowie is able to advise plans, they do not have planning and zoning authority and cannot approve or disapprove developments.
2. “We need to push for better schools and new buildings.”
Response: Thank you for your comment. Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS), which constructs school facilities throughout the County, is responsible for maintaining existing schools based on available state and local funding. Information on facilities improvements and construction may be found at https://www.pgcps.org/blueprint/
Capacity and (new) construction
1. A lot of people in our surrounding communities sent their children to private schools due to schools being overcrowded in our local area. Are you all considering this concern and the reason why people are sending their children to private schools? This was not planned during our moving to this area. Now that our children are grown, it affects our grandchildren. Same concern.
Response: We released the Draft Existing Conditions report on September 1st which contains information about school enrollment and capacity. As we answered in the Live Q&A, school planning is a collaborative effort with Prince George's County Public Schools. When looking at projected school enrollments, we are looking at whether or not enrollment will exceed capacity at buildout (approximately 2047). Questions about a) definitions of overcrowding and b) immediate school capacity should be directed to Prince George's County Public Schools; we will share your comments with them.
2. How does zoning impact schools over all? Any plans to construct or modernize schools in D4 given high high-school student-teacher ratios and ongoing high-density housing developments?
Response: Although this plan cannot rezone properties, it does take zoning into account when forecasting residential and employment projections. While some zones encourage higher density residential development that may increase enrollment in the area, the Bowie High School (BHS) attendance area has seen a decline of about 1,500 students between 2010 and 2018. Additionally, BHS currently falls within a target utilization range of 85 to 100 percent. Prince George’s County applies a school facilities surcharge to new residential developments or redevelopments. Please see the fee structure here. Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) is also responsible for using the projections contained in this plan and take actions they deem necessary to address student-teacher ratios. Additional information on the ongoing Prince George's Zoning Rewrite may be found at http://zoningpgc.pgplanning.com/.
3. “Where does construction for new schools fit into the plan elements?”
Response: Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) is responsible for school construction decisions. The Public Facilities chapter, in the plan, examines existing school capacity, projects future enrollment, and identifies areas that may need facility upgrades or new construction based on these projections. PCGCPS may use this data in their Blueprint for PGCPS facilities construction and improvement; additional information may be found at https://www.pgcps.org/blueprint/
4. Can the cancelled Bowie Ice rink site become the new site for a new elementary school? Woodmore and Glen dale schools are the oldest in the area. / “Has anyone considered the use of the abandoned Sears at Bowie Towne Center as a location for a new Bowie High School - repurpose that building and create a vibrancy in that entire area?
Response: Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) is responsible for land acquisition, school siting, and school construction and maintenance informed by population and enrollment projections and recommendations to be contained in this plan. Currently, this enrollment data shows that three elementary schools in the plan area have student populations exceeding their target enrollments; and the majority of high schools in the plan area are either underutilized or at a target capacity. PGCPS's upcoming comprehensive Boundary Study will explore school utilization options and recommend any new school buildings in this study. Last year, PGCPS announced it will invest $25 million to $30 million a year for the next 30 years on school construction and modernization to meet students' needs and meet enrollment demands. More information can be found at https://www.pgcps.org/blueprint/.
5. It seems that there are many students that attend Bowie schools that do not live in the Bowie district. How are we controlling that?
Response: While the master plan may recommend sites for potential future schools based on population projections, Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) is responsible for enrollment. PGCPS expects students to attend the school assigned to their home address. Please visit the Prince George’s County Public Schools Board of Education website.
1. What happened to the school that was forecasted near Safeway in the community of Fairwood/Woodmore back in early 2000? 2. What happened to its funding? 3. Was this project already approved as all were briefed by realtors before buying and moving to this area?"
Response: We are partnering with Prince George’s County Public Schools on this plan, and we can forward questions about school construction, and the history of the school site in Fairwood, to them. Please visit the Prince George’s County Public Schools Board of Education website.
When we do a master plan in Prince George’s County, we estimate the potential population growth in that area over the life of the plan. We then use pupil yield factors, which is the number of school-aged children generated per dwelling unit, to determine whether or not sufficient capacity exists within Prince George’s County Public Schools. If projected enrollment exceeds the available school capacity, a master plan may recommend a new site for a future school. School construction decisions are the province of the Board of Education and depend on available funding, available sites, and system-wide capacity. The number of school-aged children in any given community fluctuates over a number of years as students age. Often, a school is recommended for an area at a point in time where enrollment exceeds capacity; by the time funding and land become available, enrollment projections have fallen below capacity and the additional capacity may not be needed at that time.
2. Will you add a requirement that new developments disclose that land set aside for BOE is not expected to host school within 5 years? (no repeat of Fairwood issue)
Response: While the Prince George's County Council must approve this plan in order to take effect, the plan does not have the authority to create County or statutory law. Legislative ideas may be brought to the attention of your Prince George's County Council Member, your State Delegate, or your State Senator.
Concerns about information provided by realtors should be directed to the Prince George’s County Association of Realtors (www.pgcar.com).
1. “Many citizens in the Bowie-Mitchellville area are concerned that the developers have the upper hand in moving the County Council to vote for more development without any impact studies, despite overwhelming opposition by the citizens to all these proposed developments.”
Response: Thank you for your comment. This plan is an opportunity to provide input on how you think Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity should grow, or not grow, over the next 25 years. Please visit our website to sign up for notifications or contact the Project Team at BVMP@ppd.mncppc.org.
Citizens have an opportunity to comment on proposed development applications by testifying at public hearings, (http://www.pgplanning.org/1699/Testify-at-Public-Hearing), becoming a party of record for notification or by contacting our Development Review division with any questions on development applications. All development in Prince George's County outside the City of Laurel is regulated by the County's Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances (Subtitles 24 and 27). The Zoning Ordinance regulates the use of land and determines what can and cannot be built on your, or another person's property. It is important to understand that if a use is permitted in a specific zone by-right, the property owner is legally allowed to construct that use, provided the proposed development meets the requirements of the County Code, including demonstrating adequacy of public facilities such as transportation facilities.
The Prince George's County Planning Board's Process Guidelines for Development Review Applications contains a list of some of the impact studies that are required with certain types of development applications.
2. “No more development in Bowie. Stop over development in Bowie!”
Response: Thank you for your comment. We hope you will stay involved in this process and continue to share your recommendations in further detail at some of our upcoming events. Please click the "Notify Me" button on our webpage.
3. “When will Leeland reopen?”
Response: According to the Department of Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE), Leeland Road is scheduled to reopen around mid-August 2020.
4. Is there a plan to revitalize the Bowie Town Center shopping mall? A lot of stores that were there have left and now there's a vacated Sears building. Also, is there a plan to update the local movie theater to be more in line with modern theaters around the area?
Response: The Bowie Town Center is located in a Comprehensive Design Zone, the Major Activity Center (M-A-C) Zone, that permits a range of residential, retail, and office uses. Bowie Town Center's current zoning approvals, including its Basic Plan of Development, govern the development of this site. This planning effort will explore the revitalization of Bowie Town Center, which is one of the Plan’s four focus areas. The Project Team will work closely with the owners of the Bowie Town Center to determine how the surrounding neighborhood and infrastructure can integrate with and support the revitalization of this key destination. Please look forward to future opportunities to participate.
5. “Is there a preferred type of industrial development for Collington Center?” / “If there is a preferred type of industrial development for Collington Center, what kind of development is it?”
Response: This area is zoned E-I-A (Employment and Institutional Area) intended to focus on employment and institutional uses and services such as medical, manufacturing, office, religious, educational, recreational, and governmental, transportation, logistics, and warehousing.
This plan will identify opportunities to capitalize on the significant opportunity presented by Collington Center to increase employment and the commercial tax base in Prince George’s County.
6. “What sort of retail development for Bowie is envisioned?” / “Is there a preferred type of retail development for Bowie?”
Response: While a master plan can identify goals, policies, and strategies to create and support vibrant retail spaces, and can recommend certain business types to fill demonstrated gaps in the market based on data from the market study, especially where access to food is concerned, a master plan cannot recommend specific businesses. However, it can identify locations that can best support retail.
This plan will explore how to best capitalize on the strengths of the Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity market and how, if possible, barriers to meeting retail demand may be overcome. The principal adage in retail is "retail follows rooftops". Retailers in 2020 and beyond are interested in locating where concentrations of people live.
7. “What is the status of the South Lake development?” / “I haven't heard anything regarding South Lake and the anticipated commercial and retail amenities. Will this pose competition to Bowie Town Center? Can you speak to this?”
Response: The South Lake Development of 562 townhouses, 345 single-family detached units, and 128 two-family attached units was approved by the Planning Board (DSP-19023; Resolution 2020-38) on April 23, 2020. Please reference the South Lake website to stay updated on the project status.
South Lake has an approved Conceptual Site Plan (CSP-02004) for over one million square feet of retail, office/employment, and hotel/clubhouse spaces. Bowie Town Center is approved for over one million square feet of retail or offices. The two locations may compete for individual retailers, or may attract different retailers. The plan will evaluate the impact of potential development at these two focus areas on surrounding retail properties.
8. What is the planned usage of the land at the intersection of US 301 & Leeland Road?
Response: The properties north of Leeland Road are within the area covered by this Master Plan and are zoned E-I-A (Employment and Institutional Area) intended to focus on employment and institutional uses and services such as medical, manufacturing, office, religious, educational, recreational, governmental, transportation, logistics, and warehousing. Although directly outside of the planning area, the properties south of Leeland Road are zoned C-S-C (Commercial Shopping Center) intended to focus on retail and service commercial activities generally located within shopping center facilities.
9. The empty lot at the corners of MD 193 & MD 450 – any plans to build there?
Response: The northwest property is zoned R-R (Rural Residential) which permits one-half-acre residential lots. This property has an approved detailed site plan for single family detached housing (Ivy Creek; DSP-06049).
The northeast property is zoned C-O (Commercial Office), a zone that permits predominantly non-retail commercial development, such as business, professional and medical offices, or related administrative services. This property has an approved Detailed Site Plan (DSP-08033-01) for the construction of medical and general office building.
The Southeast property is zoned R-E (Residential-Estate), which permits large-lot estate lots approximately one acre or larger.
10. Is this the only treatment of development regarding south Bowie (MD 214 + US 301) or will be in future?
Response: This Master Plan will provide a vision for the future of Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity to be implemented over the next 25 years. Included in that vision will be goals, policies, and strategies to determine how and where the plan area develops over that time frame.
Prince George's County has 38 active area master and sector plans covering the entire County, many of which will require updating over the next 25 years.
11. “Was a vote taken to build Kaiser in Fairwood?”
Response: Yes, the Kaiser Permanente Bowie Medical Office Building (5404 Hilmeade Road) was approved by the Prince George's County Planning Board on March 8, 2019. Check out the Board Meeting here.
12. Will Bowie, Upper Marlboro, and other municipalities with towns consider developing them out in the vein of Alexandria but with a plan for parking? The Towns of Bowie and Upper Marlboro are underutilized.
Response: This plan will analyze existing conditions related to transportation and mobility infrastructure, vacant properties, economically depressed areas, overabundance or lack of housing, parking, green/open spaces, etc. An analysis of these conditions, combined with public and stakeholder input, will guide recommendations for the type of future development that makes sense for this area.
13. “Why can't Old Town Bowie be a destination spot for Bowie State students? It seems to be a perfect location for establishments that would serve that population.”
Response: Thank you for your question and recommendation. These are the kinds of ideas and feedback we need from community members like you. During this process, we will be working closely with residents and business owners to identify a vision for an achievable future for this area. A better connection with the University could re-position Old Town Bowie as a destination. We hope you will continue to participate in the plan process and share your ideas with us - if you haven't already, please check out our website to stay informed: https://www.mncppc.org/3390/Bowie-Mitchellville-Master-Plan
Church Road / Ice Rink
1. Please concentrate on underdeveloped areas in Bowie and STOP over development around Church Rd!
Response: Thank you for your comment. We hope you will stay involved in this process and continue to share your recommendations in further detail at some of our upcoming events. Please click the "Notify Me" button on our webpage.
2. “What is the status on the land usage for the Freeway airport and the new skating rink?” / “Ice Rink plan was killed? How do we move forward with a plan that is fair to the Church Rd community?”
Response: While no specific development has been proposed, the Planning Department approved a Natural Resource Inventory NRI-029-2020 for "Residential Development" of Freeway Airport in March 2020. An NRI is required as a prerequisite for a development application. The property is zoned Residential-Agricultural (R-A) and a range of residential uses are permitted by right on the property.
For more information about the City's property at 4151 Church Road, please contact the City of Bowie at 301-262-6200.
3. “I live off of Church Road in Fairview Manor. This area is being overdeveloped with houses and there is too much congestion on this two lane road. It is my understanding that the airport will be turned into yet another housing development with townhomes. What can be done to stop this overdevelopment and have natural settings of plants, trees, etc. as Church Road is not designed to have this much congestion? I am losing my oasis over here!”
Response: All property can be developed provided the development application complies with the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, and applicable ordinances and regulations such as Woodland Conservation, Road Ordinance, Stormwater Management Ordinance, and Adequate Public Facilities. (http://www.mncppc.org/422/Transportation-Planning)
The 2006 Approved Bowie and Vicinity Master Plan and the 2009 Approved Countywide Master Plan of Transportation designate Church Road as a collector roadway and both recommend capacity enhancements. As a collector road, the proposed master plan right-of-way width is ninety feet with four vehicle travel lanes as well as a shared-lane facility for bicyclists. As each new development occurs, it may be required to dedicate property for the appropriate amount of right-of-way and construct improvements to help support the traffic generated by the development so that vehicular traffic doesn’t exceed a specified level of service. These developer improvements must be supplemented by a County road improvement project to ensure the entire length of Church Road can facilitate anticipated levels of traffic.
Much of the property along Church Road has already been approved for development or is zoned for future residential development. This plan will evaluate undeveloped properties that do not have development approvals to determine if development at currently recommended or permitted densities is in the best interest of Prince George's County.
4. Traffic is also a major concern for Church Road.
Response: Thank you for your comment. We are currently examining traffic patterns on major roads throughout the plan area, including Church Road, and will make recommendations for future improvements in the Transportation section of the plan. Rehabilitation of Church Road between Woodmore Road and MD 214 (Central Avenue) is included in the County CIP, but not funded and construction has yet to begin. Improvements will include intersection improvements, local realignment of the roadway as well as the addition of shoulders and roadside drainage where necessary.
1.How much control do the developers have in this effort?
Response: Thank you for your comment. Part of any successful plan process includes engaging with residents and community members, but also consulting with a broad range of stakeholders, which often includes developers. As a party with an interest in this area, their input is another piece of the puzzle; however, the development of a community plan and vision involves all residents and community members.
2. Does it matter what we say, or are these plans already in stone and this is a waste of time? And this is an effort just to allow the DC residents a place to come when they move them from DC.
Response: Thank you for your comment and concern. The goal in updating this master plan is to evaluate where the past master plan succeeded and identify challenges and opportunities going forward. The new master plan will develop a framework for the next 25 years for the community and that is where we want to hear the community’s concerns. The County needs to plan for all new and existing residents using Plan 2035, our General Plan, as a framework along with the various functional master plans.
The project team has begun the process of information gathering and preparing an existing conditions analysis. Most importantly with a public participation program that includes many opportunities for engagement with community members and other local stakeholders. This is an important part of the process where the community can not only provide input and their rich local knowledge, but also help create a vision for the area that will guide the process and the plan. We strive to ground our plans in evidence-based research so they offer feasible solutions balanced with community desires and needs, all while reinforcing the goals of Plan 2035.
3. “Please discuss the funding/financing options for these development goals/plans. Debt financing, bonds, grants, user fees?”
Response: Thank you for your question. Considerable resources exist to assist property owners, developers, and public agencies with funding and financing for infrastructure or development projects. This is a 25-year vision plan and a key component will be the identification of lead agencies on implementation strategies. In the past, when discussions of specific funding/financing strategies have been included in a plan, they quickly become outdated, as different funding sources and options change over time. This plan will identify the type of public and private development that will be needed to achieve the plan's vision.
4. “Will there be an equity impact study and statement?”
Response: Please contact us at BVMP@ppd.mncppc.org; we'd love to speak with you further about this idea
5. “Where does equity fall into your plan?”
Response: Hopefully, everywhere. The Planning Department continues to explore how to incorporate equity into our daily activities. One source of guidance is the American Planning Association’s Planning for Equity Policy Guide, which describes ways in which communities can work together to increase equity.
The Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Master Plan is guided by the County’s General Plan, Plan 2035, which emphasizes equity. Please check out Plan 2035 here. Also, the County’s comprehensive housing strategy, Housing Opportunity For All, addresses equity.
6. “Will there be a new residential building moratorium until the vicinity master plan is complete?”
Response: The County Council has not authorized a moratorium on new residential development.
7. Will there be a requirement that new developers list/advertise in the city in accordance with county boundaries - not inaccurate postal codes of their own creation?
Response: With regard to how developers advertise their projects, the government is limited in its ability to regulate how they choose to describe their projects. Advertising a project based upon its proximity to an area with strong market cache is a standard practice. In addition, the United States Postal Service (USPS) often recognizes multiple place names within a specific ZIP Code. For more information about the ZIP Codes in your area, visit Look Up a ZIP Code on the USPS website.
Informational mailings associated with development applications and advertisement of new developments to the general public are beyond the scope of this master plan process; for questions associated with required informational mailings for development applications, contact the Planning Department at 301-952-3208/3195 or PPD-InfoCounter@ppd.mncppc.org.
8. “Why does it take two years to publish a plan?”
Response: The development of a master or sector plan typically takes two years, because of the extensive public engagement process, conducting community meetings, preparing existing conditions reports, and then taking the staff draft out to the community to obtain the community input on proposed goals, policies and strategies.
Part 13 of the County Zoning Ordinance prescribes a very detailed process for adopting and approving a master plan that includes periods for public review and comment, public hearings, and sufficient time for the Planning Board and County Council, sitting as the District Council, to thoroughly review an extensive policy document. The legislative approval process may take up to 13 months.
This project's timeline has been further impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting delays to the Countywide Map Amendment to implement the County's 2018 Zoning Ordinance.
9. “Entered late due to unfamiliarity with your system, but I did not see a transit plan on the map, nor did I see any industrial/technical area to provide jobs, training, income for the future residents of this area.”
Response: Transit will be addressed extensively in the plan with transit, road, and pedestrian infrastructure elements. Additionally, the plan may encourage industrial growth in appropriate areas, such as the Collington Trade Zone, to ensure a strong industrial base in the plan area. The County has a separate Transit Vision Plan here.
Zoning Rewrite / Countywide Map Amendment
1. Will the zoning rewrite impact community policing or police precinct assignment for D4 residents?
Response: No. Those decisions will be made by the Prince George's County Police Department.
2. "- Is there a community outreach plan that will keep the community engaged throughout the zoning rewrite process? Where can we find this plan?
- Will the zoning rewrite impact community policing or police precinct assignment for District 4 residents?
- How much is the county spending to complete the zoning rewrite project?
- How will zoning rewrite impact school zoning assignments in District 4?"
Response: You ask a lot of great questions; please contact us at BVMP@ppd.mncppc.org; we'd love to speak with you further. Please also visit our webpage and click the "Notify Me" button.
The Countywide Map Amendment portion of the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite project was initiated in July 2019. Notice of the Initiation was sent to all residents in the County in September 2019. The Initiation of the project included plans for comprehensive community outreach to take place throughout 2019 and 2020. This includes a project webpage zoningpgc.pgplanning.com, meetings with civic association and local municipalities, and three regional education sessions held in November 2019. The public participation process will culminate in a Joint Public Hearing. Due to the State's and County's response to COVID-19, the Joint Public Hearing scheduled for March 2020 was postponed. The County Council will reschedule the hearing and continue with the process.
The new Zoning Ordinance does not affect police operations or precinct assignments or school attendance zones.
For more information or questions related to the new zoning ordinance, please visit the project webpage.
3. “How much is the County spending to complete the zoning rewrite?" How much will the zoning rewrite cost taxpayers?
Response: The County Council approved the new Zoning Ordinance in 2018. That project was a separate project from the Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Master Plan. At the direction of the County Council, the Planning Department prepared a Proposed Countywide Map Amendment to implement the new Ordinance. For specific questions regarding the Countywide Map Amendment, contact the project team at 301-952-4944.
4. We purchased our home in the R-A and R-E zoning. Does Bowie, Parks and Planning consider those who have already purchased their homes away from the congested and crowed areas? Are these investments grandfathered in the current zoning if already developed and part of an established homeowner’s association?
Response: A master plan reviews development patterns, land use, and intensity within the entire land area within its boundaries. A master plan does not implement zoning regulations, but it may recommend zoning changes. Though master plans review every area within a plan, it rarely recommends a dramatic change within established neighborhoods.
That being said, your question might be referring to the countywide zoning rewrite. In that case, we can inform you that the most common change to single-family residential zones is the name of the zone. Most requirements of these zones, and the uses that are allowed, will remain the same as current laws. The primary differences between the existing and proposed zones are the names, such as the R-A zone converting to the AR zone and the R-E zone converting to the RE zone. Both zones are for large-lot single-family detached housing, and that will not change under the new zoning ordinance. Also, uses that are legally permitted under the existing zoning ordinance will be grandfathered into the new ordinance and allowed to remain by-right.
5. “Why are the current and new zoning plans for Old Bowie Town Center serving as an obstacle, if the intent is to attract business to the area?”
Response: Staff believes this comment pertains to Old Town Bowie and not Bowie Town Center. A master plan (such as the Bowie-Mitchellville and Vicinity Master Plan) does not implement zoning regulations. However, it may recommend new zoning to be implemented through a future Sectional Map Amendment (SMA). The current zoning within Old Town Bowie was applied by the 2006 Bowie and Vicinity Sectional Map Amendment (SMA) to implement the land use recommendations of the 2006 master plan. The 2006 SMA included the application of a development district overlay zone, which focused on allowable land uses and requirements regarding urban design. Development district overlay zones vary wildly throughout the County, are process-intensive, and contain point-in-time land use and design requirements that do not reflect current market realities. Unfortunately, the development district overlay zone for Old Town Bowie has proven ineffective over time, as have many other overlay zones. Accordingly, they were eliminated in the 2018 adopted Zoning Ordinance. The pending Countywide Map Amendment that will apply the zones of the new Zoning Ordinance will officially remove the development district overlay zone and rezone all properties to the new zones that are closest in density and purpose as the current zones. The zoning rewrite has been carefully crafted to improve the County’s development process to make it easier for businesses to locate in Prince George’s County. For more information about the specific zoning recommendations for Old Town Bowie within the proposed Countywide Map Amendment, see the Decision Matrix Report for Old Town Bowie.
1. Why does M-NCPPC get such a large chunk of property taxes? What exactly do you do
Response: The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is a bi-county agency set up under state law in 1927 to acquire, develop, maintain, and administer a regional system of parks and to prepare and administer a General Plan for the physical development of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. A full description of the Commission’s budget and duties and responsibilities can be found at http://www.mncppc.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/614
2. Does the County Council understand how high property taxes affect debt-to-income ratios and people's ability to qualify for homes?
Response: M-NCPPC encourages residents to reach out to the Councilmember in their district to discuss property tax considerations.
3. Property Taxes! We are not competitive, and all you’re going to do is raise them, even more, to make us less competitive.
Response: Thank you for your comment. M-NCPPC encourages residents to reach out to the Councilmember in their district to discuss property tax considerations.
1. How will text amendments that promote growth in areas that deviate from Plan 2035 be limited? / No more text amendments.
Response: Thank you for attending our virtual kick-off meeting and providing comments. The State of Maryland vests legislative authority in the Prince George's County Council. The legislative process is beyond the scope of this master plan. We encourage you to reach out to your Council representative to share your opinion on this matter.
Engagement / Communicatio
1. “Can you provide the link to your website so that I can request notifications please?”
Response: Sure, you can visit our website at https://www.mncppc.org/3390/Bowie-Mitchellville-Master-Plan
2. “How can we submit ideas to the team?”
Response: Should you have any questions, comments, ideas, concerns or compliments on this project, please contact the Project Team at BVMP@ppd.mncppc.org (preferred) or call 301-952-3756 as we would be more than happy to assist you.
3. “Please continue to offer virtual meeting sessions for the long term to allow more residents to participate. Thanks!”
Response: We plan on continuing virtual meetings in the future.
4. If you want to reach people who do not normally engage in planning meetings, you may want to host virtual Planning 101 sessions so people can be informed as to what goes into planning.
Response: Thank you for your suggestion. People can also reserve a time to speak with a member of the project team to obtain more information, by signing up for our “Virtual Office Hours”. This is a unique opportunity for stakeholders to engage one-on-one with staff, as well as be able to ask specific questions about the plan. Staff will have maps and informational material available to share with stakeholders. Another great resource to learn more about planning is the Citizens Handbook.
5. “Will ALL stakeholder comments/recommendations be made available electronically to the public?”
Response: The comments and questions received during this virtual kick-off meeting will be shared online. We will do the same for future similar events. We maintain an open and transparent process; however, there may be instances where privacy or confidentiality concerns of participants arise and we may share a summary or redacted information out of respect for those participants.
1. “What is the Bowie/Mitchellville plan for increasing footprint of cyber/IT company developments that can also help donate to schools/community for employment pipeline and county contributions?”
Response: This plan is the process by which we can identify locations for new businesses; how they contribute to the County is a broader discussion beyond the scope of this master plan. Please reach out to the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for specific questions related to various business operations in the County.
2. “What was the plan that the Council member mentioned?”
Response: Plan 2035 is the County's comprehensive plan for growth and preservation. You can learn more about Plan 2035 at http://www.planpgc2035.org/
3. “Where did the survey percentages come from -- shouldn't they have totaled 100%?”
Response: The percentages come from the number of people who answered the survey. Yes, the percentages must total 100 percent.
4. “There is a cell phone dead zone on 450 by the Highbridge neighborhood (around Lidl grocery store). Can anything be done about that?”
Response Please contact your provider to discuss cell phone coverage. This is something that the land use master plan won’t address. The County’s Office of Community Relations maybe has additional information.
5. Will parts of Upper Marlboro (Cameron Grove) be absorbed into The Town of Bowie?
Response: Municipal annexation is not generally contemplated through a master plan; please contact the City of Bowie (301-262-6200) to discuss any future plans for annexation they may have.
6. Will the M-NCPPC be holding a virtual event just like this one for Laurel, MD & its vicinity? If so, please share when. Thank you.
Response: The City of Laurel does not fall under the purview of the M-NCPPC. For more information on planning in Laurel, please visit their website here: https://www.cityoflaurel.org/ecd
7. What improvements do you see in line for Woodmore Town Center since the JC Penny's stores will be closing?
Response: Woodmore Town Center is outside the area of this plan. For questions or concerns about shopping centers and retail, please reach out to the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
8. “What is the deadline for the Census?”
Response: For more information on the census, please check out https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3233/2020-Census and https://my2020census.gov/