The Prince George's County Council, following the wishes of a number of Columbia Park residents, this week approved residential zoning for the Prince George's Country Club property.
Council chairman William B. Amonett told other members to "fish or cut bait" on a resolution to amend the zoning and reject industrial uses for the property. And fish they did. Within two minutes after the amendment adjusts the zoning so that all of the club property is zoned for quarter acre lots with single family residences.
Country club attorney Paul Zanecki, who fought for industrial zoning on the property in order to give the club "a rair purchase price," said he thought the residential zoning was "capricious and arbitrary. You can use any zone for a park. I think this case is so plain, it just stands out."
The Model Neighborhood Area Sectional Map Amendment set the "orderly land use planning and stage development" for an area bounded by the District line, John Hanson Highway, the Beltway and Central Avenue. The country club, which is in this area, has come under much discussion in work sessions and hearings because of its potential use as a park.
Residents of Columbia Park and Kent Village have been complaining for years that they are paying a park tax but have no park facilities. "We don't have anywhere for our children to play," said one mother at a public hearing two weeks ago on the amendments.
The country club, which has a club-house, swimming pool and tennis courts, in addition to the 18-hole golf course, could provide the answer, according to many residents. And, until recently, the county was negotiating with the country club for purchase of the club land. But the question of zoning for the property, plus a reticence on the part of the county to come up with the $3.6 million the club is asking for the property, stalled the talks.
Council member Parris N. Glendening, while voting for the zoning change, added, "It would put one heck of a lot of people there. It think a lot of people (council members) are thinking about ways of getting a park and open space in there."
Zanecki said the country club may take the county to court over the rezoning. "The next step is for me to go before the Board of Directors (of the club). It is quite possible they'll tell me to do nothing more."