The Prince George's County Planning Board has reversed itself and approved a proposal by Kingdon Gould Jr., developer of the massive Konterra project near Laurel, to build an employment park adjacent to Konterra.
The Planning Board had rejected the proposed Muirkirk Road Employment Park in May, saying roads near the 136-acre project would be unable to handle the additional traffic it would generate.
But last week, the Planning Board unanimously approved the development, planned to include warehouses, office buildings and a motel on a site bounded by Rte. 1, Ritz Way and Virginia Manor Road, after Gould agreed to pay to upgrade two nearby intersections.
Many residents near the development were not impressed with concessions made by Gould. "This is a shabby, dirty deal," said Walter H. Maloney Jr., an attorney and longtime opponent of the Konterra project who attended last week's meeting. He said the additional turn lanes planned at the intersections will not alleviate traffic problems, and "it is just another example of developer toadyism on the part of the Planning Board. It doesn't seem like the ballgame is ever over until the developer wins."
The county Economic Development Corp., which has designated the proposed employment park as a priority project, sent a letter to the Planning Board last week warning that rejecting the proposal would be "counterproductive" and would send the development community "mixed signals" that could jeopardize future projects in the county.
Konterra, a 1,458-acre minicity that will straddle I-95 near Laurel, is planned to include residential, commercial and office buildings to be built over 30 years.