UPPER MARLBORO — The plans for the city of Hyattsville’s new Department of Public Works (DPW) facility have jumped through one more hoop after the Prince George’s County Planning Board approved the conservation plan for the site.
The board held a hearing and vote on the conservation plan at its Feb. 22 meeting where the board members voted unanimously to approve the plan with conditions. More than 15 conditions were added on to the plan.
“The applicant is proposing to rehabilitate the existing DPW maintenance facility and office building, construct a new 14,000 square foot DPW maintenance building and resurface the existing parking lot,” said Taslima Alam, the staff reviewer for the conservation plan.
Plans for a new public works building at 4633 Arundel Place have been in the works since 2009, and the building on site has not been updated since the 1970s. The current facility the department works out of consists of two conjoined buildings with less than 6,000 square feet of space.
The building houses a 30-person staff with only one locker room and pipes that do not meet the needs of the facility.
“Our office is somewhat cramped. We can get stuff done. We have bathrooms that kind of don’t flush really well because we don’t have a full-sized waterline, because when this was constructed – this site has been here for 60 or 70 years,” said Lesley Riddle, the head of the department, at the new facility’s groundbreaking in August 2017.
The new building will be made of metal and will be pre-engineered offsite. It not only will meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards but will also give the department working facilities to house its administrative offices, which runs the solid waste removal, street maintenance, park maintenance and more, and have four service bays. The bays will give department mechanics space to work on the many vehicles public works runs as well as other city vehicles, including those used by the police department.
“This project is one that’s easy to go under the radar. It’s not as forward facing as the municipal building or the police department, but this facility is home to the people and the equipment that, quite literally, keep all of us running every single day,” said Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth in August.
The department is in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area (CBCA) and slopes in a way that it drains directly into the Anacostia River, which is why a conservation plan is such a necessity. The plan the planning board approved includes a stormwater management structure and two storm drain outfalls.
The city did ask for variance of a requirement dictated by the fact that the site is in the CBCA, which was approved by the board.
“The goal of placing the outfall at the toe of the slope, and within the buffer, is to reduce the potential for long-term erosion, sediment transport and with deposition within the Anacostia River,” the staff report reads. “Granting the variance is in harmony and within the general spirit and intent of the applicable laws within the CBCA.”
The 16 amendments, or recommendations, approved with the plan are considerably clerical. They ask for clarification in identifying parcels, notes on the purpose of the application and the total gross floor area, inclusion in the notes about the property residing in the CBCA and adjacent to a historic site.
Other recommendations included replaced proposed ornamental trees with native evergreens, having the plan signed by the property owner and making sure the city executes records from a Chesapeake Bay Conservation and Planting Agreement that will be reviewed by the county.
The county health department also made several requests about noise levels, pollution, dust and oil control on the development.
“During demolition/construction of this project, no dust should be allowed to cross over property lines and impact adjacent properties,” the department’s notes read. “The applicant should assure that all sources of air pollution have been registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment, Air, and Radiation Management Administration. Such sources include gasoline underground storage tanks, paint spraying operations and degreasing tanks.”
Now that the conservation plan has been approved, the city can continue work on the project. Since the building will be pre-constructed, Riddle said the main waiting time for the new facilities is in the permitting and paperwork stages.
Once the city has full approval to move forward, a foundation for the building will be placed. After the foundation is down, the building could be up and running in a little more than three months, Riddle said.
“It’s amazing that (the city is) willing to invest in us, which means a ton to me and my staff. Home will become better,” she said.