The following is a letter from Idlewild Drive resident William B. Smith in objection to Hilltop Plaza construction in his neighborhood. It is printed unedited and in full.
On behalf of my family and many residents in my neighborhood, I would like to voice our strong objection to the planned construction of 50 residential units in the back parking lot at Hilltop Plaza, which sits on the corner of Annapolis Road and Race Track Road. In addition to the inappropriateness of the zoning request, it would exacerbate serious safety issues in that area.
The Bowie City Council did not approve this request (Zoning Map Amendment A10016 CSC and RR Zones to MXT Zone) at their March 5th 2012 meeting, but it is being brought back again to the Council’s April 16th, 2012 meeting. The request itself – to rezone to a MXT Zone – has no merit in that Hilltop is not designed to be a Transit Oriented Development/Mixed Use Development. In fact, there is no mass transit or desire for mass transit to run through the Hilltop area – it would add to the already dangerous transportation safety concerns that exist in that area. I am also highly concerned that once the city supports an MXT zoning change the developer will have the ability to change to developing apartments on the site. We should all recall that the Harmony project by the Bowie Town Center changed after the City supported a change in zoning. I would think the City would have learned a lesson that developers ask for MXT zoning and have many more development options that the City can not stop.
Second, the additional residential units to such a compressed area would add even more significant traffic and safety concerns. There has already been a fatality just yards down from Hilltop Plaza on Race Track Road due to the difficult traffic patterns in that area and there are dozens of accidents each year due to the difficulty getting into and out of Hilltop Plaza. I am a statistic of these accidents, as last August a driver ran into the side of my vehicle when she tried to turn into Bank of America while I simply was driving straight up Race Track Road to the light. My two young daughters (ages 2 and 6 at the time) were in the car with me and my greatest concern was for their safety.
While I understand the economic interest of the to encourage development within the City limits, this is not an appropriate place for such a project and is DANGEROUS to anyone living or driving through that area.