UPPER MARLBORO – The first step toward building a new stand-alone restaurant on the southwest point of the Mall at Prince George’s made it past the Prince George’s Planning Board last week.
Plans to build a new restaurant at The Mall at Prince George’s are moving along after the detailed site plan for pad site infrastructure was approved, with conditions, by the board on Nov. 30. The plan before the board was for infastructure only, meaning the developers plan only to prepare the site for future development. No official announcement on possible tenants of the site has been made.
“(They) proposed a free-standing pad site at Prince George’s Plaza for a future restaurant,” said Andrew Bishop with the urban design section of the planning department.
The site plan specifically details creating a freestanding pad site for a future 7,718 square-foot restaurant that will be proposed at a later time.
The planning board unanimously approved the detailed site plan, with staff’s two major recommendations, but the plan itself raised a few questions among the board.
Commissioner William Doerner wondered if the board even had to hear a case on the site because it is being built in a shared location with the mall.
“From our standpoint, from the planning board, do we even have to look at these? Because I thought if there was a development that was less than 10 percent of the gross area of a singular parcel, then they didn’t need to file a (site plan),” he said.
Planning board counsel said that while this is a rule, because this site pad is a standalone and not physically attached to the mall, a plan is necessary.
“I believe the way this particular (transit district develop plan) is drafted, there is an exception if you are part of the main building of an integrated shopping center and you’re adding only 10 percent or less,” said Debra Borden, principal counsel. “But if you’re adding a stand alone pad site, you have to do a (site plan.)”
Borden said the developers chose to submit an infrastructure-only detailed site plan and said the planning board made it clear they would have to submit another plan when they move forward to wanting to construct a building. Meaning, an amendment to the detailed site plan or a new site plan will be required to build the actual restaurant.
Andre Gingles, the attorney representing the developers, said they are well aware they will need to bring forward another site plan before building the new restaurant.
Beyond questions about if the site plan is needed or not, and if another site plan will come before the board, planning board staff had two recommendations for the plan that the board approved.
The first was an overall request to add more information to the plan and its map. This request called for bike parking, clearly labeling all endcap additions, and including the number of parking spaces that will be available.
The second recommendation is for the developer to submit a certificate of landscaping to ensure “the required landscaping on-site has been provided or replaced.”
Gingles said the developer is fine with both recommendations.
The mall also had another case before the planning board on the same day concerning future signs for the new FiveBelow store planned for the mall. One of the three signs for the new building does not meet the standards of the development plan for the area.
The board voted unanimously for an amendment to allow the one non-conforming sign.
With plans for the mall renovations moving forward and underway, Doerner said he is glad to see the development start to fill in its spaces, especially along East West Highway. This new development is the first step, he said, in bringing to life the vision of the Prince George’s Plaza Transit District Development Plan.
“It’s good to kind of start brining these down to the road, because I think that will enable a lot of the development around there and hopefully on the other pads,” he said. “This is exciting.”