Find a Better Development Option for Colmar Manor

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Everyone wants a safe, pleasant, welcoming space to call home and to spend time with friends and neighbors. And when we’ve put time, money, and energy into something important, we want it to be successful – to grow – to return on our investment. That is as much true for a renter, a homeowner, or a business.

The 4200 block of Bladensburg Rd has needed development. So much unoccupied space has left it open for misuse. Some residents are frequently found loitering and drinking near the convenience store as well as on the Newark side of the old carwash, sometimes so inebriated or high they cannot walk. They leave trash, and are frequently seen urinating next to the buildings.

Two solutions are on the table: first, the town council is considering a police tower, which would make our town look like a prison, and not at all inviting. Meanwhile, the owner's proposed gas station/carwash/carryout restaurant would be new, but it would not be an improvement, for several reasons.

  1. It would not remove the loiterers - especially if alcohol continues to be sold.
  2. Gas pumps are not healthy, due to the fumes and potential leaks.
  3. Current county code does not permit gas pumps so close to existing homes, and the lot space is too small to simply rearrange them.
  4. It would be just another commercial space, with no welcoming characteristic unique to our community.
  5. We doubt that it is in the owner’s best interest, since it would be competing with several nearby gas stations and restaurants.

Surely there could be something better for all concerned!

Residents of Colmar Manor who would be directly impacted have met and compiled many ideas of improvements for the space. Among the most popular were new housing such as townhomes and affordable housing, and community-enhancing spaces like a coffee shop. Creation of a mixed-use space with businesses on the first floor facing Bladensburg Road seems quite possible. The nearest, and similar in size, is the Studio 3807 Apartments on 38th and Rhode Island Ave. A little further up is the much larger EYA development in Hyattsville which has done very well, with property values continuing to climb. Our Colmar Manor property is now zoned as a Neighborhood Activity Center, and such a development is entirely within the scope of such zoning.

We the undersigned respectfully request that our City and County Council members avoid the police tower and negotiate with the owner and other stakeholders to genuinely and with good faith find a better way to improve and beautify our community, while still creating a profitable addition to the town that everyone can be proud of.

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