Frederick County Council members unanimously passed legislation that will allow a developer to build the final 15 homes of a development in Ijamsville.

Councilman Steve McKay (R) helped draft the bill on behalf of County Executive Jan Gardner (D). It was spearheaded in part from dozens of residents of the Days Range Community Association, who argued their home values were decreasing thanks to 15 empty lots in their neighborhoods.

The lots are empty because the developer let the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) Letters of Understanding (LOU) expire after several homes were already constructed. The APFO tests whether developments can meet requirements regarding roads, local school capacity and other public infrastructure needs.

McKay felt this was an “honest” mistake, and his and Gardner’s legislation allows developers to apply for re-testing of the APFO and to pay school construction fees by adding language to the county’s school construction fees code. They can apply if their development, among other requirements, meets the following criteria:

  • The development is 60 dwelling units or less
  • More than 50 percent of the development’s units are built and have certificates of occupancy
  • The total number of projected students, upon newly built homes, does not exceed 10

School construction fees are paid by developers who are building in areas where schools are already crowded.

McKay said before Tuesday’s vote the bill creates a “very narrowly constrained set of modifications” to the county’s APFO. He added once the bill takes effect and the final 15 homes in the Ijamsville community are built, he intended to ask the council to take the language out, so other developers don’t take advantage of any possible loopholes.

Mike Wilkins, the county’s director of the Department of Development and Review, said at a council meeting in September he or other county planning staff did not know of any other developments or projects that would utilize the law change countywide.

“I’d rather deal with those situations one at a time, rather than leave in some messy ordinance,” McKay said before Tuesday’s vote about any possible developers trying to take advantage of the bill.

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.

(12) comments

MD1756

Unless one is planning on moving soon, why would one complain about their property values going done? Lower estimated property value means lower property taxes. No houses built means more green space in the neighborhood. Finally, would anyone seriously think that 15 new homes would have 10 or fewer children unless it were in an age restricted community?

mrnatural1

Great comment MD1756 -- once again you saved me some typing. [thumbup][thumbup]

Hayduke2

Good points.. I personally would love the open space. They say each home would have less than one child?

public-redux

I believe the number is an average of school age children per house. A house with a 2 year old, a house with an 8 and a 12 year old and a with no kids is 0.67 avg/house. 2 kids, 3 houses.

Approximately 20% of children are not school-aged in any given year.

MD1756

That is the average across Frederick County (which would include, for example, households in age restricted communities where there are likely to be no children) but what is the average for single family homes particularly new single family homes? Let's assume they are building 3 BR houses. How many people buy new 3BR houses with no children or the expectation of children in a few years (and since the state seems to be going to all day pre-k school age is from 3 to 18). I suspect the average number is higher than 0.67 children per single family home.

public-redux

“That is the average across Frederick County (which would include, for example, households in age restricted communities where there are likely to be no children)”

I don’t know what number you are referring to as the the average in the above.

“... but what is the average for single family homes particularly new single family homes?”

I don’t know.

“Let's assume they are building 3 BR houses. How many people buy new 3BR houses with no children or the expectation of children in a few years”.

I don’t know. But the sorts of people you describe would certainly pull down the average.

“...and since the state seems to be going to all day pre-k school age is from 3 to 18). I suspect the average number is higher than 0.67 children per single family home.”

Where did you get the 0.67 number from? I hope it wasn’t my comment as I simply made up numbers to illustrate a point.

public-redux

You got me thinking about my neighborhood. My house and the 9 houses closest to me are all single family houses with a minimum of 3 bedrooms each. Some have 4 and a couple have 5. It is not an age-restricted community. Over the last 20 years, 7 of the 10 houses have had zero children in public school. One of those seven have used private schools and 6 have had older owners whose children were long gone, younger parents whose kids were not school aged and who moved away before they were, or childless folks. My house accounted for 26 years of public schooling over those 20 years. Of the 2 remaining houses, one has used 3 years so far and the last has accounted for 8 years. Of the 10 houses, 1 has changed owners twice in the last 20 years, 7 have changed owners once, and 2 have had the same owner for at least 20 years.

So, 37 years of public schooling over 200 house-years. 0.165

MD1756

public-redux, you answer part of my questions and part of my suspicions. You apparently live in an older neighborhood. When it was built how many had no children versus had children? In my neighborhood I'm certainly the exception rather than the rule being a single person living in a home, except for the guy next to me who's wife died last year (their children moved out years ago). They have lived in that house since it was built in 1973. Shortly after it was built, they had a family of 3 children. This is a new development so you're not likely to have someone moving there with no family or without plans for a family in the near future. The .67 I thought you used from census numbers where the average household size in Frederick county is 2.67, so assuming a two parent household would leave an average of 0.67 children per household which just happens to meet the requirements of not more than 10 children from those 15 homes. But as I'm suggesting, the average may not be a good number to use for new single family homes and it may overestimate the number of children in older neighborhoods. I don't know, but they should be looking at those possibilities.

MD1756

Should read "going down" not "going done."

public-redux

One reason could be that newer houses tend to be more desirable than older houses (for new construction). Fifteen years from now, the current homeowners might find themselves having trouble selling because their’s is the dumpiest house in the neighborhood if the 15 lots are built on 12 years from now instead of next year.

Numbers chosen for illustrative purposes only.

My sister encountered something like this.

Hayduke2

I wonder if I let a building permit elapse by an honest mistake, would the folks in the decision process be as accomodating?

KellyAlzan

Very irresponsible.

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