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A tough translation of the Metro station legalese


June 28, 2001

County Councilman Thomas R. Hendershot (D-Dist. 3) of New Carrollton is sponsoring an amendment to the still-to-be-adopted Greenbelt Metro Area Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment that will guide development on and around the Greenbelt Metro Station.

The Hendershot amendment reads, "Regardless of its date, a Conceptual Site Plan (CSP), Detailed Site Plan (DSP), or preliminary plan of subdivision filed with the Planning Board for Metro Planned Community uses pursuant to CB-47-2000 is not subject to the Development District Standards in the Section Plan and Sectional Map Amendment."

I had some trouble understanding the dry legalese of Hendershot's amendment and its seemingly innocuous wording. Perhaps others are having the same trouble. After some effort, I think I have succeeded in translating it into simple language that all can understand.

My interpretation: The purpose of this amendment is to inform the many citizens of College Park, Berwyn Heights and Greenbelt who participated in the several-years-long process of developing the Greenbelt Metro Area Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment, that your efforts are, sadly, for naught. In plain words, get lost we neither want your plan nor your continuing involvement in any way in guiding this mega-development. We realize that it will profoundly affect, in a negative way, the quality of life you've worked so hard over the years to achieve and maintain. But, we're saying to you, get back, lie down and let Metroland LLC roll over you with their development plans that they, and we, deem good for you.

Now, you citizens may have examined the Conceptual Site Plan and Preliminary Plan of Subdivision that Metroland filed with the planning board and have come to the conclusion that the developer has demonstrated:

* a huge disregard for preserving the environmental envelope of wetlands and floodplain forest;

* an ineptness in properly analyzing the traffic mess that will be created in your neighborhoods by this development, and;

* a surprising incompetence in the economic analysis of the project.

Not to worry. Trust us. The developer needs no guidance or Development District Standards that you might think are good for your communities. They know what they're doing, and yours is not to reason why.

End of interpretation. My questions to Mr. Hendershot: Have I got it wrong?

And, why is it in your constituents' best interest to pass this amendment?

Lowell Owens, Greenbelt

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