UPPER MARLBORO – After the Prince George’s County Planning Board approved the detailed site plan for the proposed regional medical center on June 25, the District Council deferred its decision until a hearing on July 20. Councilman Derrick Leon Davis, who made the motion to delay decision, said, “this is just a routine observation,” The […]
UPPER MARLBORO – After the Prince George’s County Planning Board approved the detailed site plan for the proposed regional medical center on June 25, the District Council deferred its decision until a hearing on July 20.
Councilman Derrick Leon Davis, who made the motion to delay decision, said, “this is just a routine observation,” The council just received the plan on Friday, he said, so the opportunity to thoroughly look through it has not come yet. The 231-bed facility will be located on 26 acres in Largo near the Boulevard and the Capital Centre.
“There’s no such thing as a done deal. What you do, with regard to our responsibility as District Council, is you have to take a look at what the planning board put forward,” Davis said. “And in my district, and across the board, I always try to measure twice and cut once. It’s that simple. I haven’t really had the opportunity to take a deep dive, but I will so that when we measure and we cut we can get rocking and rolling.”
In April, the Prince George’s County Regional Medical Center became one step closer to becoming a reality after the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) docketed the hospital system’s certificate of need (CON) application.
Davis said once the $650 million project is completed, it will have a transformative effect on the Largo area and District 6. The hope is to have a plan, he said, that is consistent with Prince George’s Plan 2035.
“That whole area is going to be transformative for Prince George’s County,” Davis said. “I really think we are on the edge of what will be the transformation of Prince George’s County.”
The Planning Board raised concerns about the connectivity of the shopping center next to the regional medical center according to Henry Zhang, a master planner and member of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) technical staff. The detailed site plan pushed passed by the board includes the medical center as well as a shopping center in the surrounding area, according to Zhang.
Because there is a shopping center so close to the area where the medical center would be built, Zhang said, staff had to ensure that the properties were split correctly.
“This detailed site plan meets the requirements for the preliminary plan of subdivision,” Zhang said. “Even though this DSP covers the entire site, I think the focus of this review is the different ownership. There are crosswalks all over the place. I do believe, in the future, there should be some design to make the central area more integrated, but right now the sidewalk crossing works.”
Fred Schaffer, a planning expert dealing with transportation from the planning department, said the Department of Public Works and Transportation has reviewed the location of the crosswalks between the shopping center and the hospital to evaluate whether a connection could be created to integrate the sections.
“They decided that they really wanted the pedestrian crossings of the spine road to be at the intersections of where the access road comes into the spine road,” Schaffer said. “They didn’t want to introduce uncontrolled crossings but they wanted to have crossings where there were going to be motorized vehicle stoppings. They wanted to minimize conflict.”
According to the detailed site plan, prior to the signature of approval from the District Council, the Type 1 Tree Plan must be revised and approved by qualified professionals who prepared the plan, prior to the issuance of building permits. A type 1 tree plan outlines how to preserve tree life in the area. The bicycle and pedestrian impact statement must be revised for improvements and there must be a third travel lane added along eastbound Arena Drive from Shoppers Way to Capital Center Boulevard.
William Shipp, a managing director of O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, the legal representation for the Regional Medical Center, said planners must also give consideration to connections at either end of the entrances of the spine road separating the two properties is the traffic that will be flowing by.
“That’s done intentionally so that the entrance will be as close to the employee parking as possible as well as close to the metro as possible,” Shipp said. “One of the primary uses of metro is going to be employee use and so we wanted to have that as close to the employee entrance as possible.”
Each of the crosswalks will have a safe haven landing strip in case there needs to be a stop because of traffic, Shipp said. There will also be crosswalks at the first entrance from Arena Drive and a crosswalk coming from the Largo Town Center metro station into the parking lot across the street, he said, which will be the primary employee parking lot. The employee entrance is on the southern end of the building, Shipp said, just north of the metro exit and east of the parking lot.
“There is a dropoff area there (at the entrance) and people are driving in and driving out. We don’t want to encourage people to walk across the dropoff area,” Shipp said. “While we appreciate the comment on this and the intent of the comment, we believe that the crosswalks of those two locations (at the end of the spine road) are safer.”