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Melford Village Concept Plans Include 2,500 Residential Units

A substantial retail and office component are also included in the proposed mixed-use community.

And early concept drawing for Melford Village.|Courtesy St. John's Property
And early concept drawing for Melford Village.|Courtesy St. John's Property
Ready for some new neighbors? 

A mixed-use development, featuring 2,500 residential units and well as thousands of square feet of office and retail space could be headed to the Melford office park, if the city approves plans submitted by the developer in mid-December. 

Based on the financial analysis performed by the city staff, the proposed mixed-use development would net the city $1,591,756 in new tax revenue per year at full build out.

Back in March, the Bowie City Council voted 6-0-1 to approve an amendment to the covenants on the Melford property that would allow developers to propose residential units on the property. Councilman Dennis Brady (at-large) voted "present" on the amendment. Currently, the roughly 90-acre property, located at routes 50 and 301, is home to hundreds of thousands of feet of mostly office space.

The amendment also increased the city's zoning authority over the property, requiring the developers—St. John's Property Inc.—to submit all plans for the city council's approval before submitting them to the Prince George's County Planning Board. 

"Because of the covenants, we have the last word, we are in the drivers seat," Bowie City Planning Director Joe Meinert said in an interview. 

The covenants also require that at least 20 percent of any residential build be reserved for senior-restricted housing, meaning at least 500 new units of senior housing will be added under the current proposal. 

Overall, Meinert said there were no surprises in the submitted plans for Melford Village, as named by developers. Meinert said the plans were similar to what was shown to council in March, but more refined. 

"It's a real helpful iteration of what they’ve shown us previously," Meinert said. "They are adding the necessary development standards, photographs and working drawings showing how things will work on the site."

The submitted concept plans call for 2,500 residential units, 260,000 square feet of office space, and 100,000 square feet of retails space, to include a small grocery store and service retail, a traffic design plan and a tree conservation plan, along with the conceptual site plan and the Melford Village Design Guidelines. All of the documents can be viewed on the city's website. 

The city is holding a stakeholders meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15. St. John's will present their proposed development and residents will have the opportunity to ask questions about the design. 

There could be several next steps following the stakeholder meeting, but eventually St. John's will submit its plans to the city planning department and the Bowie Advisory Planning Board for review. City staff and the advisory board will each make recommendations to council. 

The council will also review the plans and decide to support them at the county level with our without conditions, or even suggesting substantive changes to the documents. 

St. John's will presenting at the Jan. 15 meeting. 

More on Melford: 

SFBMoore January 08, 2014 at 07:16 AM
I think this project is a good addition to the City of Bowie. I'm pleased to see that the plan is very similar to the original concept plan and we haven't been hit with any surprises. However, at earlier meetings I expressed concern, and I still have a concern, about the fact that there is only one entrance/exit for traffic. I read the traffic study and didn't get much out of it. This seems not only dangerous to me, but also impractical. It does not look like there is any consideration given to the possibility that a second traffic entrance/exit might be needed in the future. This seems foolish from a deep down gut sensibility. Do we have to wait until there is a tragedy because of blocked traffic to realize the need for more access?
Lucinda Larson Callaway January 08, 2014 at 09:47 AM
I think it's a terrible plan. We know St. John is not in the residential business & they will sell the lot to a builder that is in the residential business. We don't need any more housing in Bowie (except maybe more senior housing) what we need is more businesses to provide jobs for Bowie residents.
Alphadog January 08, 2014 at 01:01 PM
Bowie does NOT mneed more shopping. We could use revitalization of some of the existing shopping centers. I am ok with more senoir housing. This development will bring more congestion and crime to Bowie. I hope the council votes NO!
Wm D. H. January 16, 2014 at 03:05 PM
Really what does it matter what anyone thinks.... ? Whatever the deep pockets can either afford to bribe their way into, or simply buy out-right is whats going to happen. Just remember the powers that be broke it off slowly at first by naming the development first. Hit em small first, slow change up the size of intrusion....WHAM the big one is in and its too late.
SFBMoore January 19, 2014 at 09:10 AM
Change happens. Cities grow. It is necessary. But it is not necessary to create the potential for a disaster with one entrance/exit to this property! I would not feel safe living there knowing that there is only one road in and out! These developers need to add a second entrance/exit. They have plenty of land, what is preventing them from making it safe for those who live/work/shop at Melford?
Linda M Bailey April 08, 2014 at 08:38 PM
The only way they should add any more housing to Bowie is along with another high school. We have an entirely too much overcrowding at the high school now as it is. And imagine the traffic that will be on Belair! We do not need this project.

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