The Frederick County Council will dig into the issue of long-term developer agreements.
The council agreed, by consensus, to hold a workshop about the role Developer’s Rights and Responsibilities Agreements play in county development and whether those agreements strain funding for roads and schools.
County Executive Jan Gardner (D) held a public briefing on the topic last week, issuing two reports outlining the need for about half a billion dollars in county funding for roads and schools for the pipeline of more than 20,000 homes approved, but not yet constructed, in the county. The briefing focused largely on the impacts in and around 14 developments governed by long-term agreements passed by the former Board of County Commissioners.
Councilman Tony Chmelik (R) said at Tuesday’s council meeting that the public briefing was politically motivated and the results of a school capacity report created within the executive branch were skewed. He also questioned the county executive’s decision to allocate $17,000 that was used to pay an outside consultant for the roads study.
Chmelik made a motion to have the council appropriate its own money to have a new independent analysis of the effect of the DRRAs. The councilman, who represents eastern and southern portions of the county that are slated for substantial development over the next few decades, said it would do no good to hold a workshop to discuss the contents of a report he feels is biased.
But there did not seem to be majority support on the council for another expenditure.
Council Vice President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) asked whether Chmelik — upset about the expense for the independent traffic study — was simply looking to spend more money to fund a report that matched his conclusions about school capacity and development. Keegan-Ayer suggested that council members could focus on the data underlying the reports to reach their own conclusions.
Ultimately, Chmelik agreed to withdraw his request for money to conduct an independent analysis for now.
The council will aim to hold a workshop on the topic in October.
Gardner said Tuesday evening that she’d provided council members with copies or links to the studies and two pieces of draft legislation on Saturday, noting then that a workshop might be appropriate.
Two more workshops
The council also agreed to hold another workshop to delve into the finances of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living facilities. Since Gardner took office, she rolled back a plan to sell the facilities, which now operate through a self-sustaining enterprise fund.
A third future meeting was set to discuss an updated river management plan recently approved by the Monocacy Scenic River Citizens Advisory Board. The council wants to hold a workshop to delve into the details of the plan — after it’s presented to the Frederick County Planning Commission and before a public hearing before the County Council.