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