Prince George’s County Council approved a resolution Tuesday to formally introduce a new redistricting plan amongst the nine council districts.
Some of the boundary changes, based on population data from the 2020 census, includes shifting Joint Base Andrews from District 8 to District 9, placing the town of Edmonston in District 2 and out of District 5 and moving the city of College Park into District 1 and out of District 3.
“Anytime you go through a redistricting it’s always a difficult situation because nobody wants to change anything. We all understand that as human beings,” said Council member Todd Turner (D-District 4) of Bowie, who voted in favor of the plan. “We are comfortable where we are, but this entire process of redistricting is to be reflective of the changes going on demographically and otherwise within Prince George’s County.”
The other five council members who voted to accept the new plan included Chair Calvin Hawkins II (D-At-Large), Vice Chair Deni Taveras (D-District 2), Derrick Leon Davis (D-District 6), Mel Franklin (D-At-Large) and Sydney Harrison (D-District 9).
Council members Tom Dernoga (D-District 1), Dannielle Glaros (D-District 3), Jolene Ivey (D-District 5) and Monique Anderson-Walker (D-District 8) voted against the new plan.
Ivey and Anderson-Walker said a second alternative wasn’t necessary because of the nearly half-year of work done by the county’s three-member redistricting commission, which approved its recommendations Aug. 30.
In addition, the four council members who voted against the new plan didn’t see it before Thursday’s meeting when the council convened as a committee of the whole. The plan was approved 6-4 to move forward for Tuesday’s session.
Council member Rodney Streeter (D-District 7) wasn’t in attendance for council meetings Thursday and Tuesday.
The commission pushed to keep many of the neighborhoods together and keep the Port Towns area in District 5 that includes Edmonston. The commissioners are the Rev. James Richardson, pastor of Tree of Life Ministries in Clinton, Charlene Dukes, former president at Prince George’s Community College, and David Harrington, president and CEO of the county’s Chamber of Commerce.
Three of the major items from the commission are realigning the more than 6,000 residents in the city of District Heights from District 6 to District 7; shifting nearly 4,100 residents from the Adelphi area from District 1 to District 2; and moving 2,205 residents in Glenn Dale from District 3 to District 4, which would nearly combine all of Glenn Dale.
Other proposed changes within the new redistricting plan:
• Move FedEx Field in Landover into District 6 from District 5.
• Extend part of District 8 boundary east toward Woodyard Road (Route 223) between Clinton and Piscataway currently in District 9.
• A portion of the District 9 boundary would extend north into the Marlboro Village neighborhood along Brown Station Road in Upper Marlboro. The area currently rests in District 6.
The plan incorporates updated 2020 Census data received last month for a process done every decade on changes in population within the county’s nine districts.
The county’s total population increased the fourth-highest in Maryland by 12% from 863,420 to 967,201 between 2010 to 2020.
A public hearing will be held next month to discuss the new plan.
“I urge our residents to continue to reach out to their council members, including the at-large members, on your preferred map. Whichever that is,” Ivey said.
Franklin, the only council member to participate in the 2010 redistricting work, said Tuesday that Joint Base Andrews and Branch Avenue Metro station previously stood in District 9. He can’t remember why it got changed, but “moving that out of District 9, I think was the wrong move.”
He stressed that the council can either vote on a new redistricting map or choose the redistricting commission’s recommendations.
“I just want to reiterate to the public we are not adopting the redistricting plan today,” he said. “Based on the emails I got, people really believe that. That is just far from the case. This is just the start of another public input process.”
Council member Dannielle Glaros (D-District 3) of Riverdale Park expressed a concern, raised by some municipal officials and community leaders, the changes are politically motivated that affect future candidates running for county council in next year’s primary election.
Former Council member Eric Olson of College Park announced his intentions to run for the District 3 seat, which would be vacant because Glaros’ second two-year term will expire in December 2022.
“There is a concerted effort to control how this district functions and who are residents in District 3 have an opportunity to vote on,” she said. “That is deeply disappointing to me as someone who calls these residents my family.”