Prince George’s County residents in District 1 got a peek this week into what will likely become boundary lines for their political district.
According to federal law, redrawing district lines in accordance with U.S. Census data. The nine districts in Prince George’s County must be equal in population and not change more or less than 5 percent in population, according to law.
Councilwoman Mary A. Lehman (D-Dist.1) of Laurel, who held a meeting for residents, said District 1 would likely see the least amount of change because it mostly abuts other jurisdictions such as Howard, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties.
Still, a group of residents from College Park, Laurel, Beltsville, Calverton and Adelphi said they feared certain communities could slip into other districts.
The three-person redistricting committee has released several amended maps, some of which showed communities in Adelphi, Beltsville and College Park going into District 3.
Carolyn Byerly said she wanted to make sure her Adelphi community wasn’t split into two different council districts.
“We are a cohesive neighborhood,” she said. “We’d like to stay intact.”
Karen Coakley, president of the Beltsville Citizens' Association, said she wanted to make sure that the massive Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) stayed within the district.
“Should Beltsville residents request that the BARC stay in District 1 with Beltsville?” she asked.
David Harrington, a former county council member who is apart of the redistricting committee, said that the committee wanted to make sure economic corridors in districts stayed intact.
So far, BARC and neighborhoods in Adelphi will remain in District 1.
The Prince George’s County Council has to approve the plan by Nov. 30 but some uncertainty remains.
District 1, which includes communities in Laurel, College Park, Beltsville, Calverton and Adelphi, grew about 2 percent in population from the latest census data to about 98,000 residents.
“What we heard from the public …We wanted to try to keep census-designated places together,” Lehman said.
Lehman said she is also hoping to pull the Greenbelt Metro station back into District 1. The current map shows it inside District 3, under council member Eric Olson.
Residens wanting to weigh in on the redistricting process can address the council during a public hearing Sept. 27 in Upper Marlboro.