Many residents in Accokeek, MD want to keep their community “open,green and rural.” That’s why the Moyaone Association of homeowners voted recently to oppose a mixed use development that includes a Wal-Mart supercenter. The Moyaone Reserve community argues that the area already has excess commercial capacity up and down Route 210, with empty retail space in almost every shopping plaza north of Accokeek. A big box store will only worsen a bad traffic problem at the corner of Routes 228 and 210, where the developer wants to drop the Wal-Mart. In a state where the Governor has made much of “smart growth” pronouncements, local residents cite the Wal-Mart plan as a prime example of “dumb growth”.”At a time when awareness of the harmful efects of sprawl are becoming widespread,” the Association says, “it is essential to continue our fight to keep our corner of Prince George’s County open, green and rural.” The County’s Development Review Committee is already actively at work with the developer looking at mitigation measures like berms and architectural details — but many homeowners don’t want to concede the need for the store in the first place. The land in question is zoned “MXT”, which stands for mixed used/transportation, and the project includes 107 housing units, including a gated community. It would be difficult, however, for the developer to explain how a huge windowless Wal-Mart box would meet the purposes of the MXT zone, which include: promoting orderly development; conserving the value of land and buildings; enhancing the economic status of the county; encouraging land uses which blend together harmoniously; creating a distinctive visual character; increasing pedestrian-oriented activities. The Wal-Mart project scores a 0 by these criteria, and actually creates the opposite impact in most criteria. And who in an upscale gated community is going to want to have a Wal-Mart as a nightlight? They will have to keep the gates locked to keep homeowners from leaving the development.
Wal-Mart has apparently not yet submitted its plans for local permitting yet, but neighbors are gearing up for a difficult battle. For further information, contact Margaret Schmid at [email protected]