The Prince George's County Council approved the Largo-Lottsford Master Plan this week, making it the official land use policy of the county for that area.
The council, which will use the master plan as a guide in evaluating proposed zoning changes in the area, has been wrangling over the density, commercial and road management proposals for months.
Hearings and work sessions with council staff workers and Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission planners have been heavily attended by land-owners and developers who have watched the proceedings carefully for any changes the council may make that will affect their properties.
The new plan reflects the change in attitude of county planners since 1969. Environmental concerns, traffic flow, lower growth patterns and a shift from industrial to commerciasl uses influenced the council to create ribbons of open space between areas of high development and to spread out the three major employment areas over the whole section.
The next step in the planning process would be for the council to approve a "special map amendment" for the area, which would become the ultimate zoning authority for the property. Council planner Warren Kahle said he expects approval on a completed plan by next April.
The council said it is aiming for a "more open, suburban image we consider desirable" for the area and lowered population densities from a top level of 101,000 suggested by the master plan to 62,000 in the revised approved version.
The plan calls for a "Town Center" located behind the Capital Centre, with major employment areas and high-rise apartments surrounding it. The land-use densities drop off more sharply after the Town Center and move to single family and then estate developments.
The master plan originated in the late 1960s when construction was booming in the county and projections for massive growth led corporations like Northampton and Maryland Community Developers Enterprises to buy up high chunks of land in the Largo area. Subsequently, a decline in growth coupled with a sewer moratorium slowed down the development.
In other action, the council approved the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission budget for the next fiscal year. The budget, which also must be approved by the Montgomery County Council, calls for a continuation of the 20 per cent summer surcharge on water consumption and adds a new service charge on meters.
The surcharge, which the WSSC said is a conservation incentive, caused three members to reject the budget.
"They said last year would be the last one for a surcharge," said council member Frank P. Casula.
"It is not a question of surcharge versus no surcharge," said council member Parris N. Glendening. "Is it a device for conservation, or just a device to gain added revenue? I think the latter."