Community activists in College Park, Maryland, are fighting to protect undeveloped woods next to the University of Maryland.
The University of Maryland Purple Line station is under construction near Guilford Woods, about 15 acres of trees with a stream and wildlife.
The Adelphi Road Sector Plan calls for changes in zoning and area land use including the deforestation of Guilford Woods to make way for homes, apartments and condominiums around the station.
“We’re going to fight until we have to stand at the trees and wait for the bulldozers to come and knock them over,” said Helena Kaiser of the Save Guilford Woods Coalition.
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The plan was discussed during a Prince George’s County Council meeting Tuesday night. The presentation promised a walkable transit-oriented community filled with desirable amenities and business. But one state delegate, environmentalists, and University Maryland students and professors spoke in opposition.
“I am opposed to the recommended up-zoning of the Guilford Woods property,” said Del. Mary Lehman (D-District 21).
“The good news is we have time to do these properly and really integrate community input,” College Park City Council member Stuart Adams said.
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Many residents thought they saved the woods in the fall when the University of Maryland paused a plan for a private developer to build private town homes and new graduate housing on a portion of the woods the university owns. They were disappointed to see those same plans were supported in the larger sector plan. They'd like the county to protect the woods and build on a UMD parking area or somewhere else.
“Developments need to be done sustainably; they need to be done intelligently; and they need to be in real, true consultation with the communities,” Kaiser said.
The final decision on the plan is expected in June. There could be some major changes made to the plan by then.
“We need the Purple Line, but what gets built around that station really has to be changed,” Kaiser said.