The Frederick County Planning Commission will recommend to the County Council that a property near Lake Linganore should have its zoning changed to allow the development of an age-restricted community of up to 600 homes.
The commission voted 5-2 Wednesday night to recommend that the council approve the zoning map amendment that would let the project move on to the next step of planning. Commissioners Bob White and Craig Hicks opposed the approval.
The plan would include a mix of single- and multi-family units on the 160-acre property that’s currently zoned agricultural.
The project fits into the Livable Frederick Master Plan’s policies of trying to support the residential and other needs of an increasingly older county population, through either new development or redevelopment in the county’s designated community growth areas, such as the Linganore and Spring Ridge growth areas surrounding the site, according to a county planning document.
According to the document, the maximum 600 homes would result in about 1,600 new residents, although the it notes that the age restriction means that estimate is likely on the high side.
“This is an area that has been thought of as a growth area for many years,” Denis Superczynski, the county’s Livable Frederick planning director, told the Planning Commission on Wednesday night.
He pointed out that some of the residents in the community would come from people moving from other places within the county.
The application suggests that the project will be made up of a combination of single-family houses, single-family villas, multi-family condominiums, and possibly some affordable multi-family rental units.
Rather than the age-restricted design, the property could also be built as a nursing home, assisted living center, or independent living complex.
Along with its recommendation of approval to the council, the Planning Commission made several recommendations for conditions for the approval, including that the applicant be more specific on how many beds such a facility would include.
A 4-acre site on the south side of Lake Linganore Boulevard has been dedicated to the county for a public library site.
Preliminary planning for the site calls for 48 acres of open space along the wooded eastern boundary of the property.
The net density of the project, using only the 104 acres of residential land, would be 5.7 dwellings per acre, within the county’s six dwellings-per-acre threshold for what is considered low-density residential development.
The property is not specifically related to the Linganore Town Center project or other nearby properties, said Jason Wiley of Elm Street Development, which is developing the town center area and other nearby neighborhoods.
The area has been considered “basically a hole in the doughnut” of development in the area, he said.
The plan would make improvements to Lake Linganore Boulevard to connect Meadow Road at the Interstate 70 interchange to Boyers Mill Road.
A western leg would connect to Eaglehead Drive, while the eastern leg would connect Eaglehead Drive to Boyers Mill Road.
A new ramp recently opened from the I-70 interchange at Meadow Road to westbound I-70, while a ramp from eastbound I-70 to a reconstructed intersection with Md. 144 is expected to be finished in late 2021 or early 2022.
Several people who live in the area expressed concern about traffic on Meadow Road and the loss of agricultural land.
Timothy Sheets, who lives nearby, asked about the potential environmental impact of turning agricultural land so close to a water supply for the city of Frederick into developed land.
Catherine Thompson, who lives in Spring Ridge, questioned the wisdom of putting an age-restricted community so close to the Oakdale cluster of schools.
In an all-ages community, children could walk or bike to the schools, she said.