City commission recommends subdividing land for school on Hargett Farm

This aerial photo taken in July 2011 shows the Hargett Farm property. Butterfly Lane is at the right and Jefferson Pike is at the bottom. 

After giving a portion of Hargett Farm to Frederick County Public Schools a year ago, the city of Frederick is now working on subdividing the land so a school can be built.

The city’s Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend to Mayor Randy McClement and the Board of Aldermen that they subdivide the 12 acres of the 148-acre Hargett Farm they gave to the school system.

Next, the land needs to be rezoned from residential use to institutional use in order for a school to be built, said Pam Reppert, a city planner. The city is responsible for rezoning the land before handing it over to the school system.

The new elementary school is meant to relieve overcrowding at schools on the west side of the city.

Meta Nash, Planning Commission chair, said she supported the subdivision because it complies with the comprehensive plan and is exempt from other rules for public facilities. No one came forward for public comment.

The city sold the 12 acres to the school system for $1 last December.

Some have criticized the sale, stating that the city should have charged more for the land.

The city purchased the farm for $18 million in 2009, with a plan to use the land for park and recreational space and a portion of the land for a school site. The debt service on the land is more than $100,000 monthly.

When voting on the sale last year, some aldermen stated that they were agreeing to the sale just because of the promises of the previous administration.

The new school is meant to help overcrowding at Hillcrest, Waverley and Orchard Grove elementary schools.

Hillcrest and Waverley are both over capacity. Hillcrest has more portables than any other county school, with 26 at the beginning of this year.

It will be at least a few years before the school is built.

The school system’s five-year Capital Improvement Program states that planning approval for this project will be in the next fiscal year, fiscal 2015, and construction funding will be requested in fiscal 2017.

Commission reviews plan for Crum Farm

A developer planning to build out the 537-acre Crum Farm presented its plan Monday to the city’s Planning Commission.

Real estate company Foulger-Pratt’s plan is to create a neighborhood, mixed-use center, school and parks on the land, which is on the northern edge of the city, west of U.S. 15, north of Willow Road and south of Sundays Lane.

The plan outlines 655 single-family units, 480 townhouse units and 250 multifamily units; 1.3 million square feet of commercial and office space; a 15-acre school site; and 130 acres of open space or parks on the land. It may be 20 years before the project is complete.

The company has been working with the city for about a year to finalize the master plan, said attorney Bruce Dean, who is representing the company.

It is the largest mixed-use project the city has and probably will ever see, Dean said.

The Planning Commission took public comment on the plan for the first time Monday. The second opportunity for the public to comment will be in January, said Meta Nash, Planning Commission chair.

One resident commented on the plan, stating that this site was where a snowy owl was spotted last week and the development would build on open land that attracts wildlife.

It is exciting to see the development advance, Alderwoman Kelly Russell said.

“It will be a long time in the making, but when you look at the greenway, the pathways, the connectivity that will be created within the development and the development to older parts of the city, it is exciting to see it all unfolding,” Russell said.

City officials annexed the land into the city in two parts, with 286 acres annexed in September 2009 and 252 acres in September 2012, said Brandon Mark, a city planner.

The plan places the school site in the southern portion of the property and a city park in the northern portion of the property, with other development in between. A trail is set to run through the center of the development.

The first phase of the project includes the designation of the school site and 450 residences.

Planning commission members asked questions about the modifications that the applicant was asking for, such as changing requirements for parking and building setbacks.

Follow Jen Bondeson on Twitter: @Jen_Bondeson.

(This story has been updated to correct the action of the Planning Commission.)

(22) comments

Comment deleted.
backroomfrederick

Then who would work for the developers?

quemzeee2

Does anyone consider the desparity of allowing the developer to build all those houses on Summers Farm,, and NO one considered a school. Does this smack of questionable planning,, Yes it does.
There was no public intent of school during the plannning of Summers farm development in Harget farms when Sumers farm was allowed the development.
Something dosent look good, I am sure it was inocent , Remember Pleasant excavation company, Bought Hargett farms for 5 million and then wanted to sell it back to the city for 57 million dollars 5 years later during the real estate Crash???? what is wrong here

watson4sherlock

Hillcrest has progressed from being onl 5th grade in the portables and is now 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in the portables. FCPS could shift some students to the now vacant Lincoln school but they won't because they want to build a new school. PK-2 not served in portables because of need for restroom facilities. Portables are not suited for wind and can't be locked down for extended periods of time.

watson4sherlock

Good thinking digdugmd. Still love that twenty gallon hat too.

digdugmd

Might have to give up the hat soon..... my head's gettin' too big for it !

Comment deleted.
fredneckian

[thumbup]

Comment deleted.
digdugmd

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

quemzeee2

By the way, Ryland homes in 1985 sold alot of homes in Hillcrest by using Hargett farms as an enticement.
It was stated that all of Hargett farms was going to be the first regional park in the area.
Many persons bought due to that. Many of us would not have purchased there with out such an enticement.

quemzeee2

So when Ausherman foundation enhanced Hillcrest park to include amenities to anchor babies,, Hillcrest was flooded with kids who were actulay trucked in as far away as Virginia, Because Frederick city and County had no way to account for rentals, who and how many lived in a house and who actualy owned the house by living in it. The School was flooded , bad news, not good.
The teachers were told to shut up , [literaly] and the Schools refused any acounting for this move.
Ausherman bailed out of hillcrest.
Then, the City allowed Summers farm to go thru along with the surounding areas. WITH OUT considering a school to be built in the new devlopments.
Then the city refused redistricting.
SO now you will have a nother school which will again add into the high density houseing
I believe there is an odor of back room vision going on here,, dont you. ?

president8444

Portable class rooms good enough for others why not them.not good enough for more portables there??[thumbdown] Less expense for us.

elymus43

Things will not be right in Frederick County until the "BUILDING BUBBLE" breaks. There is no excuse for run away house building, there is no new jobs being created. Big companies are not waiting in line to come to Frederick County???

francesca_easa

Why can't they just build more buildings or add another floor to Hillcrest and leave the Seed of Life gardens and greenspace alone?

fourofsix2003

"adding another floor" to an existing building is not as easy as you make it sound.

beechlover

Two very conflicting stories here...one say schools are so overcrowded a new school needs to be built. With 26 portables kudos to that staff for the running of Hillcreast! On the other hand more homes being approved with happy, happy, joy, joy feelings from the county clowns. How is FCPS expected to keep up with this pace of development?

darththevader

Only a few schools in the system are over capacity. Not the whole system

Hillcrest has had portables for a generation. It's not something new

digdugmd

soooooooo...... the development shall commence until all of the schools are over capacity? Then what ? Build more schools at our expense? Why not make the developers pay 100% of the cost of the impact on our county's budget? Me thinks NO residential development should be approved unless the developer FIRST upgrades roads, schools, police protection, fire protection, ambulance service, water, sanitary sewers, storm runoff etc ..etc... etc... all at the sole cost to the developer....100% .... no exceptions......

fredneckian

[thumbup] Feral the toady of course wants what Blaine wants; The taxpayers to pave the pockets of the developers with gold.

backroomfrederick

[thumbup]

KellyAlzan

amazing

darththevader

Water, sewer, runoff etc already are. Impact fees pay for impact, mitigation fees pay for above and beyond where needed, property tax pays for emergency services, gas tax pays for roads (when the State doesn't raid the fund or channel it into the general fund), and the developer already has to build and dedicate roads.

Beyond that, you can't attribute where existing traffic comes from unless you put in toll booths. Impact fees do no good for schools like Hillcrest. Maybe consider some redistricting

How much more do you want?

digdugmd

If impact fees were adequate (at least in theory) the county would never have to foot the bill for additional class rooms, fire houses. ambulances, fire apparatus, police cars, roads, streets, water lines, sewer lines, or new personnel as the growth would pay for it's self. BUT...that's not the case NOW is it? And yes I agree MoM and Ron should not have raided the trans fund.... but how much does the state really contribute to new local roads construction in Fredneck anyway?

darththevader

They don't contribute. That's the problem. Impact fees are specifically marked for schools and libraries. Property and income tax pay for the services

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