615-home building plan wins county approval

Frederick County commissioners Tuesday night signed off on a plan to build 615 homes on the Westfield South property and agreed to accept an $800,000 payment from developers instead of a school site.

The housing will work hand in hand with office space to attract businesses and jobs, developer representatives said, pointing out that employers look at a wide range of factors as they consider moving to a new area.

"What they want is they want the lifestyle ... where you can live, work, and go shopping and go eat," said Mark Matan, principal at Matan Cos.

Without an attractive blend of homes, shops and workspace, the roughly 210-acre property will continue to sit vacant and unused, he added.

An earlier proposal dedicated the majority of the site to employment and commercial uses and didn't include housing. It also carved out about 25 acres as a school site. With the changes approved Tuesday, however, the developer will contribute $800,000 to the county instead of the land.

Over the years, there have been a number of different visions for the property, which lies between Buckeystown Pike and New Design Road and is bisected by Executive Way. The original proposal for the land included homes, but officials removed the residential component from the plans in 2001, said John Dimitriou, county planner.

Matan asked commissioners to restore housing to their proposal so they could construct 129 single-family houses, 126 townhouses, 60 condominiums and 300 homes in multi-family buildings. County staff estimates the housing development could bring 189 elementary, middle and high school students to the area.

With Tuscarora Elementary School already over capacity, the area needs another elementary school, Dimitriou said.

During discussion about removing the school site from Westfield South plans, Commissioner Paul Smith asked Dimitriou if an alternative location was available.

"We're eliminating a school site, and we still have a need," Smith said.

Dimitriou said one potential site is on the Ballenger Run development, but its appropriateness as a school location has yet to be determined.

The county board voted 4-1 to approve the changes, with Commissioner David Gray opposing the decision.

Smith called the amended plan a "model smart-growth proposal" that would allow people to live near their workplaces.

In the same vote, the county board also decided to rezone about nine acres from limited industrial to mixed use development.

Commissioners on Tuesday also voted in favor of a 25-year agreement with the developer. The development rights and responsibilities agreement guarantees Matan that the property's zoning and other building requirements won't change over the 25-year period.

The document also lays out Matan's responsibilities to build improvements and pay certain fees. School-related fees will total $7.35 million, or about $39,000 per student added by the housing development, estimated Rand Weinberg, an attorney representing Matan. The county will also receive a roughly 22-acre parcel for public use.

The county received written objections from the local nonprofit Friends of Frederick County, which has filed legal challenges to other such agreements with developers. One of the group's assertions was that the term of the agreement was too long.

Gray was the only commissioner to oppose sealing the agreement. Tuesday's action represents the third time county commissioners have passed a DRRA, with the first gaining approval in September.

(50) comments

digdugmd

615 new osb boxes.... really?....really ?... I mean REALLY? Is $800k gonna make a dent in the impact this eyesore is going to bring upon us? The BoCC has lost their darn minds.

KellyAlzan

FMJC - that was my thoughts as well when I read that line!

exactly, a $10 / hr shopping center job ain't gonna pay for a new house, unless you put like a down payment of 85%!

Soon Frederick county will the the U.S. capital of minimum wage jobs

eyelounge

All these comments and the only thing I can be sure of is that Watson4sherlock ain't running on all cylinders.

"Are you being facetious?" Er, um, no.

watson4sherlock

Sometimes. Which comment?

watson4sherlock

Sometimes it's a typo thats spelled correctly or an omitted word.

hawbottom1

Do you think these new houses will have a good view of the incinerator stack>

vmdigioia

It is actually nice to see the trolling posters from Baltimore City, PG and Montgomery County agree that overdevelopment puts stress and strain on our roads, schools, and overall infrastructure -- welcome to Frederick County, Western Maryland -- the county with the largest land mass -- self reliant, traditional, and conservative core values.

Now that PG, Montgomery, and Baltimore are screwed up, here you your chance to live free, and stop treading on everyone rights in the name of liberal, feel good, narcissism.

fmjc

I'd be interested in buying one of these homes. Although I doubt I'd pay for it with a job at Westview as the developers dream. It seems very convenient to I-270 and the places with good-paying jobs south of Frederick. Traffic is not too bad up there on I-270 is it?

armillary

Do the math. The going rate for Blaine's treachery toward taxpayers, in favor of dollars for developers, is $1300. per home. Did Matan have to 'sharpen his pencil' this time, or did Blaine do it for him?

usgov

This approval is a victory for developers, democrats and diversity.

phoebe0727

This is one of the most absurd things I've seen the BOCC's do. $800,000 in lieu of a $20M school??? Are you kidding me???? And locking us into a 25 year agreement with Matan? Unbelievable.

They were never getting the $20M school. They were going to get 25 acres or $800K.

adtwiggiv

How much you wanna bet Frederick gets 22 acres of swampland in the deal? This is a horrible deal for the county. I wonder how many bribes/payoffs/favors it took to get this deal done?

KellyAlzan

Duke - you're a tax payer, right?

So you wanna pay for these new schools that necessitate as a result of negligent county planning?

The developer(s) should pay for 100% of the cost. If it wasnt for their development - the added schools would not be needed

See my other post.

And what I'd like is to not have 53% (or whatever the figure is today) of my tax money going to education.

phoebe0727

[thumbup]

the County got $32K/acre. I'm sick of all the education "it's for the kids" belly-aching whiners. Over 50% of Frederick County's budget goes to education, and more from the state. What's the problem? If the county needs more land for schools, then the County should buy it. Many of us don't even have kids, but we tolerate your speed bumps, helmet wearing, gun-grabbing nanny-statism. But enough is enough. Take some responsibility of your own for your kids safety and education. And quit doing it off of my working back.

watson4sherlock

Sir labor is a necessary part of the economy. A trained workforce is essential to a thriving democracy. Even if that means building robots to do what people could otherwise do. Your enlightenment is appreciated.

Sir,

Yes, it goes without saying that labor is necessary. However there are massive efficiencies to be gained in the administration and delivery of education. I suggest that the current (old) model is broken and that we should focus our efforts there, rather than throwing more money at Cap Ex and union concessions.

Consider yourself enlightened.

Duke

sodalite3

DukeOfCenterStreet…..you state of ”massive efficiencies to be gained in the administration and delivery of education.” As almost every person running for elected office that has any input or authority over schools states this during the election cycle and basically NONE has ever been found or implemented pray tell how you, Oh Exalted Brilliant One DukeOfCenterStreet, have managed to elucidated, discover and otherwise detect these frauds, abuses and inefficiencies that all others have failed to detect and announce to the public…..other than your very private beliefs and biases? Well, we are waiting for you to back up your blathering! [smile]

I don't think I'm blathering, and yes, it's merely my opinion. I do appreciate that you think I'm brilliant though. [wink]

I made no mention of fraud or abuse. I'm suggesting that there has been no significant innovation in either the administration or delivery of education in 75 years. We could start by getting rid of teachers unions and top heavy administrations, but I don't suggest that politicians and government will provide an answer. Clearly they have failed. I suggest that we be smart about how we utilize the technology that's already in place and introduce new technology to reduce the burden on personnel and infrastructure. There are a lot of very smart people, technologists and investors working on these solutions, but ultimately it's governments and unions that will stand in the way of progress.

watson4sherlock

Why is $32K per acre a good price?

$45K per acre...1.99 Acres SMITHSBURG, Frederick County, Maryland $90,000
$90K per acre...MNT AIRY, Frederick County, Maryland $99,900 Actual acre 1.11

See http://www.landwatch.com/Maryland_land_for_sale/Frederick_County

Nice try. Here's a more accurate comparison.

http://www.landwatch.com/default.aspx?ct=R&type=5,48;6,1200;13,12;92,479;267,6928;268,6843

watson4sherlock

12.98 Acres KEYMAR, Frederick County, Maryland $179,900
11.4 Acres UNION BRIDGE, Frederick County, Maryland $295,000

This is very rural land. It doesn't even remotely compare to the land the country sold right off the metropolus. The Westview area is highly developed.

It does in size. Your links were for perked 1-2 acre parcels. The point is, that $0.8-1M is probably about right for that parcel.

watson4sherlock

Who says? Is there an independent valuation somewhere? How do we know the people of the county got the money and this isn't just another act of corporate welfare at the people's expense?

higgledy

What a great deal for the county and citizens. Morons!

Comment deleted.
fredneckforever

^ Shines Blaine's shoes at the cab company!![beam]

jerseygrl42

sure hope mark matan will be forthcoming with potential home buyers about the fact they will be living well inside the incinerator fallout danger zone, if he isn't, others of us will surely be...and then the lawyers can line up when the children become ill.....and yet another school trailer park for Frederick county...these clowns just do not give a damned......its all about the money

watson4sherlock

If they don't like overcrowded public schools then they can send their kids to private schools and pay. I'm seeing the wheels turning.

rbutt

Would the people that did that get to keep the portion of their taxes that goes to public education?

watson4sherlock

Sorry that's not how it works. You pay 100% of your property taxes whether you have kids in school or not. You also pay 100% of your property taxes whether there are 20 or 50 students in a classroom. The Board is simply pursuing it's original goals of privatizing everything by making it necessary.

richardlyons

No surprises here. Just more of the same from our duly elected BOCC. Matan says people want to live where they work, but I suspect 75-80 % of these homes will sold/ rented to individuals who work down the road. Nice thought, Mark, but not based in reality.

ad_s_towel

They not only have an immediate need for an elementary school but the two middle schools that feed into Tuscarora are near capacity as well. Then the HS will be overcapacity. Where are they going to send the kids from the Adamstown/Buckeystown area: over-capacity Urbana or geographically (and culturally) distant Brunswick. But Brunswick is going to be near/over capacity once their major development is built.

$800,000 in lieu of an immediately needed elementary school, near-future needs for middle school expansion or construction, and HS expansion or new construction. This is no way to plan and run a county especially when you factor in the massive debt coming down the pike for the sweetheart-deal WTE plant.

elymus43

They should not have printed this article, because anybody knows how the BOCC is going to vote when it comes to building more houses. It only is a matter of time before the housing bubble breaks again.

Armillary keep the poems coming.

firedupterp

That's because $800,000 is a lot less than building a school. Cheapskates...

primrosefeather50

Armillary, keep going. You should publish your collection! I always look forward your poems.

frederickhole

Just what we need, more freaking housing [angry]

Comment deleted.
armillary

holdemken you don't know a whole lot
about what I am or am not
it's a pretty clear sign too
that you let guns define you
as for me I'm just stirring the pot.

jthompson

The developers won, you lost!

Upton Golfer

The tax payers win.

watson4sherlock

How so?

president8444

A party needed for all dem losers to bash Blaine and the other 3,not Gray a turncoat.

beechlover

Wow! Another slap in the face for education in Frederick County. Sure hope all those Montgomery County transplants enjoy overcrowed schools and an already overworked underpaid educational system. Good luck with that!

kingesquivel

Hope they'll be built to withstand a F 0.00000000000000001 tornado....

dressthebird

??

watson4sherlock

So they'll blow away in the wind? Implying their poorly manufactured?

armillary

Matan's LLCs write checks to campaign
gets the developer's green light from Blaine
if you don't even know
how to spell quid pro quo
have a land use attorney explain.

Comment deleted.
newtofc

They are limericks and they are great, learn something NASCAR.

sodalite3

turn left, turn left, turn left![wink]

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