Frederick aldermen press developer on school overcrowding

Questioning gets heated over annexation that would add 300 homes to the city
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/31/2013
A plan to build 300 homes on nearly 49 acres of annexed farmland ran into tough questioning Wednesday from the Frederick Board of Aldermen which raised concerns about who would pay for possible school overcrowding. The developer, Christopher’s Crossing LLC, is asking the five aldermen for permission to build no more than 300 single-family homes and townhouses on land known as the Bargtis/Lasick-Rallas properties, located near Walter Martz and Christopher’s Crossing roads, west of U.S. 15. If the annexation is approved, construction would start in 2015. Developers first unveiled their plans to the mayor and aldermen at a Feb. 27 workshop, and were asked to come back for further discussions on the development’s impact on schools and roads in the area.

City Limits

The Frederick Citizen
Jack Lynch
07/31/2012
Looking ahead towards the upcoming City of Frederick Comprehensive Planning process, and looking back over the last two previous Comp Plans, yields a few insights into various theories and outcomes from our public process that suggest alternatives to continued municipal growth. Rather than a growth, no-growth argument and its corresponding fallacy of economic benefit, we would achieve better results and improve citizen’s lives by following a model of ”benefit area” as our thinking. To try to summarize this concept of benefit area, let’s consider the current model, which assumes that a physical and economic growth model improves the quality of life.

Frederick aldermen begin discussions on Crum and Keller properties,

Both properties could mean 2, 050 new homes on 555 acres of farmland
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
07/17/2012
The mayor and the Frederick Board of Aldermen this week will begin reviewing plans that, if approved, could mean the construction of 2,050 homes on 555.43 acres of annexed farmland north of the city.

County officials beginning growth plans with Brunswick

Frederick News Post
Nicholas C. Stern
07/12/2012
County officials interested in aligning the county's growth plans with changes to municipal master plans will begin the process with Brunswick. In a public hearing today, county commissioners will discuss updating the county's principal planning document to coincide with Brunswick's stated planning goals over the next two decades and beyond. That alignment would be dubbed the 2012 Brunswick Community Plan Amendment. Adopted by the Brunswick mayor and council in November, the city's plan reflects projected growth of about 500 acres, according to Bruce Dell, Brunswick's planning and zoning administrator. About 75 percent of the growth is planned for the east side of the city, with the remainder to the west.

Annexation passes to mayor, aldermen with approval

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
07/12/2012
There is no legal reason to keep 500 acres from being annexed by the city this year, Frederick planning commissioners concluded Wednesday.

City planners' misplaced priorities

Frederick News Post
Janice Wiles
05/23/2013
The planning commissioners should first and foremost be discussing costs -- costs of new roads, schools, fire station, water, sewer -- and how to pay for what could add up to billions of dollars if done adequately. Costs that have yet to be calculated for either this parcel or the 282-acre Crum parcel annexed three years ago. Yet the planning commission is already discussing home placement and sidewalk layout!

City planners’ misplaced priorities

Frederick News Post
Janice Wiles
05/23/2013
The planning commissioners should first and foremost be discussing costs -- costs of new roads, schools, fire station, water, sewer -- and how to pay for what could add up to billions of dollars if done adequately. Costs that have yet to be calculated for either this parcel or the 282-acre Crum parcel annexed three years ago. Yet the planning commission is already discussing home placement and sidewalk layout!

City needs more details on Crum annexation

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
05/15/2012
The Frederick city planning commissioners agreed unanimously Monday that they want more details about Crum Farm Land LLC's request to annex an additional 250 acres before they make a recommendation to the mayor and Board of Aldermen. The proposed annexation cannot change the 2009 terms of Crum Farm Land's 285-acre annexation of adjoining property, but it does open the door for new negotiations concerning the additional land, staff said. For the conservation group Friends of Frederick County, the original Crum annexation and its conditions do not adequately address the impact the annexation will have on schools and roads. The proposal, for 1,200 houses and 1.3 million square feet of nonresidential development, includes a 15-acre school site, a 22-acre park and improvements to Willowbrook Road.

Annexation facts

Frederick News Post
Janice Wiles
03/18/2012
In Sunday's (March 4) letter regarding the Crum and Thatcher annexations and development the author says, "I feel if built as advertised it should help traffic and give added tax base to both the city and the county." I don't know what advertising the author refers to, but wish to provide some facts to the story -- so that citizens know the truth about Frederick city's northern development that might not be as transparent as the advertising.

Frederick city annexation would not increase number of homes

Project would increase tax revenue, developers say
Gazette
Katherine Heerbrandt
02/03/2012
The developer of 285 acres of farmland in northern Frederick is seeking another 250 acres from the city, according to land use attorney Bruce Dean. However, the developer of Crumland Farm does not intend to increase the number of houses or commercial space it originally planned. In 2009, the city annexed 235 acres of the Crumland Farm property along U.S. Route 15, which is projected for as much as 1,200 homes and 1.3 million square feet of commercial space. Plans have not changed, but the additional acreage decreases the number of homes per acre from 9.2 to 4.5, and increases the percentage of open space from 26 percent to 30 percent. The new annexation request increases the number of single-family detached houses and townhomes and decreases the number of multi-family homes. The original plan called for 300 single-family homes, 150 townhomes, and 750 multi-family homes, while the combined annexation plan calls for 700 single-family homes, 300 townhomes and 200 multi-family homes.

Annexed farmland clear for developing

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
01/27/2012
The City of Frederick is about to gain some acres. For more than a year, two large farms just north of the city have been approved for annexation, but the city and previous county officials disagreed on zoning so developers were told they would have to wait five years. The Board of County Commissioners voted Thursday to end that mandatory waiting period and allow the developers to proceed immediately. The two farms -- known as the Crum and Thatcher properties -- total nearly 400 acres. Both are north of the city limits along U.S. 15. Frederick Mayor Randy McClement was at Thursday's meeting and called the commissioners' decision a positive one for the city. "We need the growth area," McClement said.

Judge to revisit Frederick annexations

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
11/23/2010
Frederick's 2009 annexation of 436 acres continues to play out in the courts since an injunction was filed earlier this year by Friends of Frederick County. Friends filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that two annexations under the last city administration failed to comply with state law. City Attorney Saundra Nickols said Monday she had not seen the latest motion, but the city would certainly not agree the annexation was illegal. In September 2009, the city voted to annex 285 acres of the Crum Farm at U.S. 15 and Willowdale Drive, and 110 acres bounded by Biggs Ford Road, the Monocacy River and U.S. 15 known as the Thatcher Farm. In each of those annexations, Friends of Frederick County's motion claims that the city failed to prepare an annexation plan, zoning limitations and charter amendments. "Failure to meet these requirements, or any one of these requirements, invalidates the annexation," the motion states.

Candidates clash at final forum

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
10/27/2010
In a last-minute push for votes, candidates at a Tuesday night Frederick County commissioner forum went into attack mode on some of the biggest issues facing the county. Candidates disagreed on the effects of land use policy, how much the budget has been cut and whether the next board should reverse a decision to build a regional waste-to-energy trash incinerator. Ten candidates are running for five slots on the commissioners board.

Frederick County commissioners united against annexations

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
10/09/2009
The Frederick County Commissioners have fought over illegal immigration, haggled over the incinerator and stood divided when it came to government spending. But for what could be the first time in recent history, the five-member board stands united on an issue that has erupted in the county — the City of Frederick's annexation of the Crumland and Thatcher farms, on U.S. Route 15. Regardless of political affiliation and partisan interests, the five stand together in their fight against the annexations.

City reaches settlement, acquires land for park

Frederick News Post
Adam Behsudi
02/05/2009
The City of Frederick on Wednesday finalized its condemnation and seizure of 148 acres for a regional park. The $18 million settlement will prevent the city and the landowner, Pleasants Development, from going to trial in March. The Clarksburg company had planned to build 640 residential units and retail space on the acreage along Butterfly Lane. Portions of the project had already received planning commission approval, and crews had started grading the land. "As a property owner, we're not happy to lose our property," said Jerry Connelly, the company's senior vice president. A trial in Frederick County Circuit Court would have determined the value of the land. An argument against the city's right to condemn the property was dismissed in March 2008. "The trial is not about whether the city could take the property, it's about value," Connelly said. "When you look at a subdivision that will take eight to 10 years to develop, who's deciding the value of the future?"

Frederick city approves two annexation

One would allow retirement community to expand by 345 residents
Gazette
Connor Adams Sheets
12/21/08
Senior citizens on the wait list for a Frederick retirement community may be able to move in sooner than expected in light of a decision Thursday by the city's Board of Aldermen. That's when the board unanimously approved the annexation of 73 acres at the intersection of Willow Road and U.S. Route 15, allowing the community, Homewood at Crumland Farms, to expand by 345 units. The board also unanimously approved the annexation of 43 acres at the intersection of Md. Route 26 and Wormans Mill Road that would allow the construction of a Wegmans grocery and Lowe's hardware stores. They are the first annexations since Mayor W. Jeff Holtzinger (R) lifted on July 10 a nearly seven-year-long moratorium on extending city boundaries

Aldermen against city mayor prioritizing annexation requests

Gazette
Keith Martin
12/06/2007
When it comes to ranking requests for land annexation into the City of Frederick, a majority of the Board of Aldermen thinks the decision should not lie solely with Mayor W. Jeff Holtzinger. At tonight’s public hearing, the board is scheduled to discuss a resolution on how to weigh and rank each request to incorporate land into the city’s existing boundaries.Chuck Boyd, deputy director for Planning, has told the board in two prior discussions that his department has more than a dozen inquiries from landowners regarding annexation into the city. Frederick has a moratorium on the practice dating back to 2002. The proposed resolution states the mayor will evaluate the merits of each case and rank them accordingly. It is that stipulation which has all three of the city’s Democratic aldermen calling for more discussion at tonight’s meeting. Alderman Donna Kuzemchak (D) said Holtzinger (R) should "absolutely not” have lone authority on prioritizing requests, since "annexation is a legislative act ... and a decision for the whole city.”

Thurmont commissioners deny Myers Farm annexation

Gazette
Jeremy Hauck
10/18/2007
Thurmont commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously not to annex 210 acres north of town, known as the Myers Farm, ending a yearlong negotiation with a developer that wanted to build 350 houses and commercial space on the land Commissioners said residents’ opposition to the annexation played a crucial role in their votes. A survey written by Mayor Martin A. Burns and mailed to residents in December found that 66 percent of the 1,487 respondents did not want the town to annex the farm. Burns on Tuesday also cited the results of the town’s Oct. 1 election for two commission seats in voting against the annexation petition. Incumbent Commissioner Glenn D. Muth, who had said he would vote against the Myers Farm annexation, and newcomer Robert E. Lookingbill, who campaigned on slow growth, won the election over four other candidates.

City approves Hargett Farm townhouses

Frederick News Post
Justin Palk
07/10/2007
Developers could proceed with a plan to build nearly 160 townhouses in southwest Frederick -- unless the city takes the property for a community park first. On Monday, Frederick's Planning Commission voted 4-0 to approve the final site plan for 158 townhouses on the Hargett Farm property. This is one part of a larger project that could include single-family homes, apartments and a retail center on roughly 150 acres on Butterfly Lane. In all, the project will include more than 640 homes. Whether this development will ever be built is uncertain, as Frederick's Board of Aldermen voted in May to condemn the property through eminent domain and redevelop it as a park. The condemnation still must be resolved in court. Alderman Alan Imhoff, who recused himself from the condemnation vote, citing his position on the planning commission, voted Monday to approve the site plan. At the start of the hearing, commission member Meta Nash reminded the attendees that the aldermen's decision has no effect on the property owner's legal right to pursue development of the property.

New Market voters reject annexation

Gazette
Rebecca McClay
04/25/2007
New Market voters on Tuesday refused to annex 262 acres on Boyers Mill Road into town. The Town Council voted in December to annex the Smith-Cline property, proposed for development by Winchester Homes, but residents quickly collected 176 signatures to take the decision to referendum. Of the 253 votes cast, 148 voted against annexation and 105 supported the move. Annexation opponents said they believed that development would bring traffic and children that would burden overcrowded roads and schools.