Prince George's County has struggled to meet its own goals for development over the last decade, as builders have shied away from the D.C. border in favor of expansive suburbs east of the Capital Beltway, experts say.
About 79 percent of the county's growth from 2002 to 2010 occurred in an area county planners call the developing tier, which includes cities and towns outside the Beltway.
Only 18 percent of growth occurred in the dense, old neighborhoods between the Beltway and the District. The other 3 percent has occurred in rural areas on the county's outskirts.
The latest data from the Prince George's County Planning Department shows officials are falling short of their 25-year goals, set in 2002, that at least 33 percent of the county's growth would occur in areas in need of redevelopment, as well as around the county's 15 Metro stations.
Developers have had a simpler and, in some cases, cheaper path to building in the eastern portions of Prince George's where the remaining farmland and open space are still available, according to Derick Berlage, chief of countywide planning for the county's planning department.
"For a developer it's often more difficult logistically to build in a developed area compared to somewhere that you have essentially a blank slate," Berlage said.
One issue is the county's much-lamented permitting process, which can be faster for developers looking to build on scattered, untouched sites, according to Cheryl Cort, policy director at the Coalition for Smarter Growth.