linganore_development_site

Frederick County Council members decided a major roadway should be completed before construction begins.

After months of delays, Frederick County Council members heard a proposal to rezone about 161 acres to add up to 600 age-restricted homes and a continuing care retirement community in the Lake Linganore area.

Tuesday's hearing lasted more than three hours, and will extend into another hearing scheduled for Thursday. Council members questioned Jason Wiley, an executive with Elm Street Communities, along with Eric Soter and other members of the development team about issues ranging from traffic impact, environmental impact and a new library site.

Wiley said the community provides an opportunity for more senior housing, something desperately needed in the county as its population continues to age. Forty percent of people countywide are 55 or older, but less than five percent of the county's housing stock is designed for seniors.

"It's an unfortunate reality that many people leave Maryland for places like Florida or even Delaware or Pennsylvania when they reach retirement age," Wiley said. "It’s hard to change things like winter weather and tax rates, but it’s important Frederick County consider what can be done to keep our 55-plus population from leaving the county."

Some council members questioned Wiley and others, including Denis Superczynski, the county's Livable Frederick Planning Manager, mostly about increased traffic in the area.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater, a music teacher at Oakdale Elementary School, said traffic near the school is "extremely backed up" during arrival and dismissal times when schools are fully open, to the point teachers and school buses are sometimes late. 

Fitzwater expressed concerns about increased traffic in the area, even though the proposal is meant for older residents and Lake Linganore Boulevard, a stretch of road designed to wind traffic behind the school and toward Linganore Town Center, is planned. 

"Even though Lake Linganore Boulevard will be there, depending on which direction you're coming from, to me it seems like there will be people using Oakdale School Road to enter into this [development]," Fitzwater said.

Superczynski said most residents in the development will hopefully use Lake Linganore Boulevard to exit the development and then travel east or west along that road to get to Interstate 70.

"I think for development of this scale, Lake Linganore Boulevard is going to be the preferred choice for most folks," he said. "And as Linganore Town Center continues to develop, I think there will be more destinations and activities associated with that particular project that will usurp the need to move onto [Md.] 144 via Oakdale School Road."

Steve Horn, director of the county's Division of Planning and Permitting, also noted that road adequacy and Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) testing would happen in later development phases, if the council approves the rezoning of the 160.87 acres from agricultural use to a planned use development (PUD).

Superczynski said the developer could build up to 600 units and a continuing care retirement community, or any combination of units and the continuing care retirement community. The latter needs to be included in Phase 1, because otherwise the proposed facility would need to be added through an amendment process, he added.

Council Vice President Michael Blue said he was somewhat worried that parts of Lake Linganore Boulevard were being negotiated in separate pieces with different contractors.

"Conceptually, I think it's a great development, I think it fits there ... [but] unless all these four pieces are constructed ... it doesn't look like it's going to fit with the amount of traffic," Blue said.

"If one of these pieces doesn't come about, I think the whole plan is flawed," he added.

Joe Caloggero, a traffic consultant with the development team, said age-restricted communities like the planned development typically produce fewer daily car trips than market-rate housing, probably "to the tune of 70 to 80 percent less, based on national statistics."

The council is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the rezoning at a meeting next Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(22) comments

KellyAlzan

Just drove on 144 for the first time in years.

Condos / apartments all stacked side by side like Germantown. Horrible. So sad.

mikec

Blaine and Kirby's vision for Linganore and New Market has been realized. Bulldoze everything that's green and pave it over.

mikec

Guess we'll be seeing a lot more Delauter Excavating Trucks around Linganore. Kinda funny how that works. Wish FNP would look into this.

Fleawest

The age restriction is just a ploy to get them to change the zoning. After they get the zoning changed, they will amend the development to remove the age restriction and increase the density of housing to squeeze every last penny out the area.

hayduke2

Yup, will use the excuse that the "market changed." That's how Landsdale in its current configuration came about.

notconcerned

Exactly - that is what they did with Ballenger Crossing, but they did build an at grade expressway for the residents in the area, you can go really fast on BCP now, thanks Blaine.

oldmagpie11

Even if I could afford to live here, I wouldn't. There's nothing to do that doesn't require a car to get there, and nothing interesting or beautiful to look at now that the green living things are gone.

Dwasserba

Yes, we have no green here at all. Everything is grey except for what is black. But it does make the humans literally pop out from the rest of the drab landscape.

matts853

Mr. Caloggero represented the MTC developer for their traffic studies. In my humble opinion he didn’t produce credible evidence of traffic adequacy. We know what subsequently happened as a result: Paul Smith conspired with a couple members of FACT to produce a fraudulent letter giving a false impression of traffic adequacy, which Blaine Young proudly read into the record after he effectively closed the proceedings. So, from my experience having witnessed first hand how that charade play out, Mr. Colaggero’s studies are not an accurate barometer for traffic adequacy in Frederick County. For these developments, they should be vigorously scrutinized by the County traffic engineers and the public given the opportunity to question their findings under cross examination. Of course, that part of the MTC hearing process was conveniently skipped over by the BoCC. But we did get the FACT letter, which was a gift.

But instead of wasting time debating questionable traffic studies in phase 1, just deny the zoning change now and be done with it. Everyone knows that with all the developments underway and in the pipeline, the roads in Linganore won’t adequately handle the new traffic. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

So I say enough already. These developers have gotten in more than their fair share of projects in this County which in total have negatively impacted the budget and quality of life for residents. It’s time to say no mas.

KellyAlzan

Sniff test? Like dogs do to one another?

matts853

No, like the BS you’re prone to spewing.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] matt!

hayduke2

Spot on response Matt

hayduke2

Hey, this is the same ploy used by this group to change Landsdale from an age restricted to all age development. Superczynski and the traffic consultant are also the ones who said traffic in the area wouldn't be impacted and that the north end of Ed McClain would not see much of an increase in traffic ( because, you know, No Left Turn signs would be put on the access points ) but in reality the traffic has increased over 150%, with about 4,000+ cars and trucks using the road daily. The "releif" road that was promised was never built and the developer simply paid a relatively small amount to get out of building it so they could continue their buildout. Their studies are flawed and based on the presumpion that an adult community stays home. Make sure INFRASRUCTURE is in place before moving forward.

Reader1954

it is nice the county is building more age restricted communities but when they cost $400K with $300 to $400 HOA fees not many seniors can afford them.

TomWheatley

Option 2 is sell those homes to younger couples with kids and fill up the schools. After all, growth pays for itself, right? (we need a sarcasm font on here)

public-redux

/s

mgoose806

The county isn’t building anything...they are approving the development to be built. Don’t think it will happen because it’s tough for Ms. Fitzwater to commute to work each day.

des21

Boy, when is enough enough? They've pretty much clear cut the Lake Linganore (I'm sure that's spelled wrong- I'm busy!) neighborhood, just a matter of time before those homes slide down into that silt-choked lake- and they want more and more. Couldn't pay me enough to go over there. Then again, compared to Gaithersburg/Germantown i suppose its nice.

mikec

Lake Linganore gets less nice every day. Used to be a great neighborhood, with smart development. Ryan Homes is taking over with their brand of development- bulldoze every green thing in the way and erect their plastic houses.

Dwasserba

The Brosius concept is not what is happening now. He once asked me why I looked there then bought in Amber Meadows. I joked, "not enough blacktop and concrete!" But it felt remote, and I'd already lived that. As for your opinion of a Ryan house, this being our second so I know whereof I speak, I'll have you know, after 40 years of living here and finding a surprise to fix with nearly every update and repair, we anticipate having a very good upgraded house to offer a stranger after we're dead. So there.

shiftless88

Des is always a capitalist until he disagrees with the result and it impacts him

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