GREENBELT – The mayor and city council voted unanimously Monday to send a formal comment letter to the Maryland Department of Planning and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) concerning the possible relocation of the FBI facility to the city. The letter would indicate that Greenbelt city officials have no further issues to include in […]
GREENBELT – The mayor and city council voted unanimously Monday to send a formal comment letter to the Maryland Department of Planning and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) concerning the possible relocation of the FBI facility to the city.
The letter would indicate that Greenbelt city officials have no further issues to include in the environment impact statement and that the council would like inclusion in all upcoming process opportunities.
One of the main parts of the process the council plans to focus on is the environmental impact of the FBI facility.
“A positive is that this project will be very close to Metro,” said Mayor Pro Tem Judith Davis, “which means there will be more opportunities for people to use the Metro, rather than driving.”
Currently, the GSA, the organization responsible for procuring the land for the new FBI facility, drafted an environmental impact statement.
According to the statement, GSA will study “land use, socioeconomics, traffic and transportation, infrastructure, and community services, noise, air quality, natural resources, biological resources, cultural resources and safety, and environmental hazards.”
If Greenbelt wins the bid, developers plan to build the location at a 40-acre asphalt lot with little storm water management, which could cause potential harm to nearby wetlands.
Renard Development Company has agreed to buy 78 acre lots from Metro on which it plans to build the FBI facility as well as a one million square-foot, mixed-use development. Manager Garth Beall said the potential FBI Greenbelt project would be a positive environmental addition to that community.
“Federal facilities have to do everything practical to mitigate storm water controls,” Beall said. “It’s going from a facility that essentially dumps untreated storm water into the stream valley, to something that’s going to contain and treat everything (water).”
Beall said he’s met with representatives from environmental protection groups such as Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Anacostia Watershed Society, Patuxent River Keeper, and all of those groups are encouraged by positive impact that the FBI facility would have on Greenbelt.
Renard plans to build a 3,678-space parking garage for the potential FBI facility, which amounts to roughly one parking space for every three FBI employees. Beall anticipates many FBI employees would take public transportation considering the close proximity of the Greenbelt Metro station to the project.
The FBI has roughly 11,000 employees.
To discourage FBI employees from using Metro parking, Beall said the Greenbelt Metro would institute $14.50 per day non-rider fee.
“I do think it’s very clear that this site is right on top of a Metro station, so the socio-economic benefits … that very important,” said Leta Mach, Greenbelt city councilperson. “That also means the air quality is going to be so much better because you’re not going to be driving and spewing all of those car fumes into the air.”
Along with Greenbelt, Landover and Springfield, Va., are the other two possible locations for the new FBI headquarters. The federal government will choose a site in roughly a year.