UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (CBSDC) — Prince George’s County could soon have its first Whole Foods Market, but it won’t be without a battle.
On Monday, the county council voted to approve the rezoning of a patch of wooded land off of Route 1 near Riverdale Park in Upper Marlboro that would be developed into a mixed use town center.
However, the project is still on shaky grounds despite the 7-2 vote in favor of moving forward with the rezoning.
“It’s an approval, but there’s whole number of conditions attached to that,” said council member Eric Olson.
The biggest issue is that it goes against the zoning’s master plan. Others say the area would only have limited transportation access. As many as 19,000 vehicles could be drawn to the developed area.
For others, the issue is an environmental one. Conservationists say the plan doesn’t preserve the area around the site which is roughly 90 percent woods.
Project developer Jane Cafritz contends the benefits of the project will outweigh any negatives. The development would bring much needed jobs to Prince George’s County.
Cafritz must still get approval of the plan before moving forward with development. Some residents are already gearing up for a court battle.
“We have a petition begging the council to support a change to comprehensive residential designs and for Whole Foods to go into that if it had right kind of density and other social benefit,” said one area resident.
Council member Olson also believes the project is destined for a date in the legal system.
The proposed development would also include residential homes, a hotel and other high-end retail stores in addition to Whole Foods.