Appeal of Ramsburg Farm approval set for Oct. 23rd

Concerned residents living in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain and served by Urbana’s Roderick Road have filed an Appeal of Administrative Decision with the Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals to stop or limit the impact of proposed 57 homes on well and septic on the Ramsburg Farm by the Matan development group.

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History:

The large farm off of Roderick Road, which had been in the Agricultural Preservation Program was rezoned in 2012 during the Comprehensive Planning Review following repeated attempts over the years. Many residents in the area became aware of the planned development only after septic percolation tests were being performed. An attempt by local residents to stop the Preliminary Site Plan Approval was thwarted at the July 30th Planning Commission meeting by a 4-1-1 vote with little discussion despite impassioned pleas by many local residents.

Concerns:

This subdivision, considered major by county standards, will be developed on well and septic in an area of the county designated as not having any future planned water and sewer service. This is contrary to smart growth goals and puts the health and welfare of residents at risk if wells and septic fields begin to fail. Large numbers of septic fields as well as lengthy roads with no storm water management put local water quality at risk.

Roderick Road is a designated local road, whose terminus beyond the proposed subdivision is a one lane dirt road that is inadequate for emergency vehicles. This single entry and exit puts resident’s life safety at risk should Roderick Road be blocked by accidents, downed trees or power lines, snow, etc.

The proposed internal subdivision roads exceed county standards by more than twice the allowed length. This compounds the life safety issue of Roderick Road and puts future residents of this subdivision at risk. Furthermore, there is no fire pond consideration in the absence of fire hydrants.

Consideration is given in the staff report for dead-end roads to terminate without cul-de-sac to allow access to adjacent agriculturally zoned properties for future development. This concept is premature, does not allow adequate turn-around for emergency vehicles, and is contrary to smart growth.

The Appeal:

Residents intend to argue that the Planning Commission’s decision should be over-turned because it failed to acknowledge that in order for Roderick Road to meet the life safety requirements of over 225 homes, it needs to have adequate emergency vehicle access from both directions instead of one direction. Also, given the issues of Roderick Road, internal subdivision roads should be held to current county standards of a maximum of 1800 feet.

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Your Voice:

Concerned individuals will have 4 minutes to voice any opinions regarding this subdivision at the October 23rd meeting and local residents will welcome all input regarding this development. Many residents believe that this major subdivision reflects many of the county-wide concerns of major developers exerting financial and political pressure to pursue development in ill-advised areas of the county. Please come to the meeting to support these neighbors.

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Frederick News Post, Letter to the Editor
Bad development
Friday, August 8, 2014
by Aiice Alpert

Envision Frederick County
Help stop the development of the Ramsburg farm!
July 27, 2014
by Nancy Izant

Frederick News Post
Commission delays hearing on Ramsburg property development plan
Thursday, May 15, 2014