Bowie residents have raised concerns that a residential and retail development along Crain Highway could further clog up that highway and could be unsafe for motorists turning left across the congested highway.
McLean-based The Rappaport Companies has requested rezoning its 19-acre property at the intersection of Crain Highway and Pointer Ridge Drive, titled Amber Ridge, from commercial shopping center to mixed used development. This would allow the developer to build 320 apartment units along with retail property instead of the formerly proposed 200,000 square foot shopping center, according to the rezoning proposal.
Some residents are opposed to this project unless the developer places a stop light at the intersection of Crain Highway and Amber Ridge or the developer scales back the density of the housing.
The stop light is a key concern for some residents and Bowie City Council members as they say outgoing traffic attempting to travel north would have to make a dangerous left turn across traffic or clog up the intersection of Crain Highway and Pointer Ridge Drive as they attempt U-turns.
Rosario Ideo, who lives near the property, said that cramming in 320 apartment units would create more traffic from families entering and leaving the property during peak traffic hours. Ideo said he supports the property’s development, but not at that many apartment units.
“I’m not too happy with the number of apartments going in,” Ideo said. “Without that traffic light ... it is far too big.”
The Bowie City Council’s initial motion on April 7 to approve the project failed by a 4-3 vote and the project was sent to the Prince George’s County Planning Board on April 24 without a recommendation from the council.
City Councilman Todd Turner requested the project be reconsidered during Monday’s council meeting, where Bowie’s council voted to recommend the project 5-1 with a request to place a stop light at the intersection of Crain Highway and the Amber Ridge development.
Rappaport officials say that changing the property from a shopping center development to mixed use would decrease the anticipated traffic impact by 40 percent and wouldn’t warrant a traffic signal.
Resident Denise Tyler testified before the council that she supported the current proposal for the Amber Ridge project.
“We are looking at revitalization and economic development,” Tyler said. “It will bring in new jobs to the community.”
Turner, who voted against the project, said he requested the council reconsider the April 7 recommendation so that concerns and support for the project would be on the record. The project now goes to the county’s Zoning Hearing Examiner, who can approve or deny the rezoning request on May 22.
Turner said he didn’t support changing from a commercial shopping center to a mixed use development because he said it is an opportunity for the city to get a concentrated commercial space on the south side of the city.
“My concern is I don’t think we should lose this one commercial space,” Turner said. “It is one of the few opportunities on the southern side of the city ... where we could have some commercial use.”