Despite some concerns about parking, the Frederick County Planning Commission approved a plan for a day care center and a clubhouse, recreation center, and pool in an Urbana neighborhood.

The commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a preliminary plan for the changes in the Urbana Town Center, as well as site plans for the Goddard School day care and the 8,060-square-foot clubhouse, the 8,750-square-foot recreation barn, and a pool on a 4-acre site off Stone Barn Drive in Urbana.

Commissioner Carole Jaar Sepe was absent for the vote.

The commission pushed back slightly against a request by the applicants to significantly reduce the amount of parking at the recreation center and pool.

The applicant, a corporate subsidiary of Natelli Communities, which has developed the Urbana area, proposed 102 parking spaces for the site, 115 fewer than would be required for the 1,083-person capacity for the community clubhouse.

While the clubhouse could be used for larger meetings and events, its usual usage is likely to be significantly less.

They cited the fact that the site has 481 on-street and 1,297 residential parking spaces within a quarter-mile.

The nearby spaces made the county staff comfortable with the “drastic” reduction in parking, Graham Hubbard, a planner for the county, told the commission.

Commissioner Bob White wondered how the residential spaces could be counted, since people looking to park at the facility can’t park in those spaces.

But Commissioner Sharon Suarez pointed out that those spaces mean that people who live in the community can leave their vehicles at home and walk to the pool or recreation center.

The applicants are reluctant to put a large parking lot behind the site because it wouldn’t get enough use and would add to the amount of impervious surface that the site is responsible for in stormwater payments, said Michael Natelli, of Natelli Communities.

The commission ultimately decided to approve the parking modification, but require the number of handicapped spaces that the full 217 spaces would have required rather than the four handicapped spaces that 102 spaces would have required.

Commissioner Joel Rensberger asked what would happen in winter or bad weather when people are more likely to drive than walk to the center.

The highest use of the facilities, especially the pool, will come when the weather is nice, Natelli said.

The clubhouse will include a 2,000-square-foot fitness area and locker rooms with access to the pool, and the recreation barn will house a basketball court that can be converted into three pickleball courts, Natelli said.

The Goddard School site will be on a 2.1-acre site next to Sugarloaf Elementary School.

The facility, the second Goddard School site in Urbana, is expected to have 24 employees and 162 students.

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Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at

(4) comments


sure it might be "walkable" when you are in the village, but most people have at least 2 cars that they use to commute to their jobs. After all I don't think anyone that can afford to buy here is working at the McDonalds there.


As if people walk.


I’ll never forget when the council approved 25 more homes to get planted in the green space in front of the Urbana library (which will actually end up being 75 homes because of prior homes approved that are currently strayed with out a place to put them, according to the developer) expressed my disappointment to Bud Otis after that hearing and he admitted it’ll be a “nightmare” around there. The street off of Worthington that takes you the library and ‘Town Center’ retail/restaurants is narrow and the side access to parking is little wider than an alley. You really can’t make a turn onto them if there’s another car heading the opposite way. You have to wait for them to turn out before you can turn in. When this is all built out roughly half of the current library parking will be consumed by a portion of these 75 homes. As I stated in my first post, it’s all about planting as many homes as possible at the inconvenience of residents who want just a little breathing room to drive in and out and park.

And it’s really a shame that 75 homes will be planted in the green space when it’s the perfect spot for expanded open space with trees, a fountain and perhaps a band shell. So instead of a relaxing spot the community can enjoy and congregate for events and activities, it’ll be a crowded and confined mess.


Reducing the parking spaces is a convenient way for them to eventually cram in more houses. The reality is, people don’t want to walk a 1/4 mile, and residents don’t want cars crowding their streets which is exactly what happens in the Villages during the summer when there’s swim meets. It’s a disaster.

And, this is the same genius level of thinking that planned only 20 parking spaces for the Urbana Starbucks (right next to McDonalds) for a community of 10,000 people. They used the same ‘walkability’ ruse then to justify that ridiculously small footprint. Why? So they could cram more houses in a larger lot across the street where the old tractor store was. The Starbucks/McDonalds parking situation is a total nightmare. Cars are piled up in multiple directions waiting to use either the drive through or sitting around trying to find a place to park. Developers will always scam the system to plant more houses at the expense of the convenience for residents. It’s greedy and inconsiderate. Why the planners always capitulate to them is beyond me. Have some backbone for once!

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