City reaches settlement, acquires land for park

Frederick News Post
Adam Behsudi
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?"

City approves Hargett Farm townhouses

Frederick News Post
Justin Palk
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.