A site along Md. 144 near Oakdale High School will get some new businesses after the Frederick County Planning Commission unanimously approved a plan Wednesday to divide the area into nine commercial lots.
The nearly 18-acre area on the south side of Old National Pike near the roundabout intersection with Eaglehead Drive will be known as Linganore Town Center South.
The site is adjacent to an area with 1,500 housing units that will hold an estimated 4,000 people when it’s fully built out, meaning the commercial area will likely get a lot of foot traffic from the people living nearby, said Tim Goodfellow, a principal planner with the county.
Site plans for the nine lots will be examined for features that will help people walk between the various parts of the project, he said.
Before plans for the site get final approval, the developer will have to submit a conceptual streetscape and pedestrian plan for the area to help guide future development of the commercial lots, according to a planning document.
Jason Wiley of Oakdale Investments, the applicant for the project, said they’ve received some interest from a gas station for one of the lots, and a day care center on another, although neither case has been finalized.
The area will be known as Linganore Town Center South, to differentiate it from the Linganore Town Center project on the north side of Md. 144, which includes the residential property.
The neighborhood also includes a large commercial lot on the north side of Md. 144, as well as a swimming pool and a clubhouse.
As part of the final agreement, the developer will install flashing beacons that can be activated by pedestrians at the two crossings of Md. 144, to help alert drivers to people crossing the road.
Several commissioners expressed concern about the number of students from Oakdale High School who would have to cross the road to get to the commercial area.
Commissioner Terry Bowie asked if there had been any discussion with Frederick County Public Schools about the pedestrian signal system, while Commissioner Joel Rensberger asked if there was anything else the county could do to increase safety for pedestrians, such as adding rumble strips or a raised crosswalk.
County policy does not call for adding speed-calming devices on arterial roads such as Md. 144, said Ron Burns, transportation engineering manager for the county’s Division of Planning and Permitting.
The county staff believes that it has added reasonable safety measures through the use of crosswalks, markings and yellow warning signs with a flashing strobe light to alert drivers, he said.