A proposal by the Prince George's County Planning Board for a 200-acre industrial park in the north-central park of the county has drawn opposition from residents in the surrounding communities of Seabrook, Glenwood Park and Glenn Dale.
Several civic association leaders from the communities have voiced their objections to the plan, under which land in the previously residential area would be rezoned for development as an industrial park.
The rezoning, known in planners' jargon as a sectional map amendment, already has won approval from the county planning board and is now being considered by the County Council, which is expected to make the final decision next month.
The map amendment covers planning area 70, which includes 13.1 square miles and has as its major boundaries the Capitol Beltway, Maryland Rte. 50, and Good Luck and Hillmeade roads.
Except for the proposed industrial park, the plan has drawn little opposition from area residents, who view it as protection against strip commercial development and other unregulated growth.
Thus far, the planning board and the County Council have approved 10 sectional map amendments for Prince George's, rezoning approximatley 65 percent of the county in an effort to update previous zoning plans.
The Glenn Dale-Seabrook rezoning plan calls for several new or expanded commercial and recreational centers, further development of an existing industrial park at the intersection of Rte. 50 and George Plamer Highway, and development of a new 200-acre industrial park between the communities of Seabrook and Glenwood Park.
While the other proposals have drawn little public attention, the proposed industrial park has sparked some controversy. Area civic association leaders say that they will oppose industrial zoning for the land unless the developers agree to provide sufficient buffers, such as trees and open space, between the proposed park and adjacent residential communities.
"We think it's premature to rezone the land until interfacing considerations are adequately taken into account," said Dr. Donald Hei, president of the Seabrook Civic Association. "No one is opposed to a development that would add to the county tax base and provide more jobs, but we also want to make sure that that develoment doesn't blight the adjacent communities."
According to Hei, residents of Seabrook and other nearby communities hope to convince the owners ot the land to provide adequate environmental buffers between the park area and residential communities.
"Property values in Glenwood could be adversely affected by the new park," said Lemuel Dowdy, a spokesman for the Glenwood Park Civic Association.
Dowdy said that up to now, no agreement between the residents and land developers has been reached on the size and nature of the buffer and the association will take no official stand on the sectional map amendment proposal until negotiations are completed.
"I think that many of the people in this area would like for that land to be residential, but if it has to go industrial, our association would like some kind of a convenant on a buffer," he said.
"While I think the (county) council values our counsel on this kind of matter, I hope we can agree to some kind of convenant with the owners (of the land)," added Hei. "That way, we'd not only have a commitment from the county to protect our community, but we'd have some kind of a commitment from the people responsible for developing the land."