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.