The Frederick County Council acted wisely last week in deciding to delay construction of up to 600 homes in the Lake Linganore area, pending the completion of an important road that will address worsening traffic.

Council members voted 6-1 to require Lake Linganore Boulevard be completely finished before a neighboring section of land is rezoned for the development. The new road would start from Meadow Road on the west, loop around Oakdale Elementary School and connect to the Linganore Town Center.

The developer, Elm Street Communities, is seeking the rezoning of just over 160 acres from agricultural land to a planned unit development (PUD), along with a possible site for a public library.

Councilman Jerry Donald summed up very well why it is essential to wait for the road to be built before the development goes forward:

“There’s not a single person who lives within 10 miles of that area that doesn’t want to see that road [Lake Linganore Boulevard] entirely completed before other people keep dumping on it,” Donald said.

He is absolutely correct.

The growth around Lake Linganore and the three Oakdale schools — elementary, middle and high schools — has been explosive over the past couple of years. Single-family homes, townhomes and apartments have sprouted like mushrooms after a summer storm.

The overall plans were approved by the last Board of County Commissioners, who have left quite a mess for the council and the Gardner administration to clean up. Getting the infrastructure built has been a thorny issue.

The Elm Street development proposal would add about 600 age-restricted homes and a continuing care retirement community. That is likely to have a smaller impact on traffic than developments that are built to attract working families, with commuters and school traffic. But it is not zero.

At an earlier meeting on the project, council members questioned representatives of the developer as well as Denis Superczynski, the county’s Livable Frederick Planning Manager, about increased traffic in the area.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater, a music teacher at Oakdale Elementary, 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.

Superczynski told the council that most residents in the development would probably 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 at the earlier meeting, according to the article by News-Post reporter Steve Bohnel. “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.”

That reinforces the need for the boulevard to be built first.

If Elm Street is determined to proceed now with the project, the council could consider requiring the developer to complete the roadway as part of the approval. Developers in other communities have often built roads or other public improvements like schools, libraries and fire stations as part of winning approval for residential and commercial projects.

The council should not shy away from driving a hard bargain with developers who are impatient to begin their projects. Finishing Lake Linganore Boulevard is essential if this entire project is going to work well and enhance the livability of the eastern part of the county.

(14) comments

llrowse

Uhh... on topic, I believe the houses should remain unbuilt. The Lake Linganore area has been destroyed. I’m disgusted that this growth was ever approved. I’m selling my house asap

mrnatural1

Agreed.

This is a good indicator of exactly what is going to happen. People who moved to FredCo for the rural atmosphere, to escape soul deadening traffic congestion, will begin to sell. More houses on the market = lower prices. The downward spiral in prices will create a vicious cycle of more sales and ever lower prices as people begin to panic and decide to cut their losses.

You know who won't care at all? Developers. Even real estate brokers make money in a buyer's market. Ka-ching!

"Build baby, build!" When the traffic becomes so bad that there are not enough hours in the day to commute to D.C. area jobs, people will begin to realize that buying here in Frederick County makes no sense and there will be a wave of houses being dumped.

In fact, buying a house here now is taking a huge risk of buying high and selling low.

Greg F

Great...my house over the other side of the catoctins will go up in value then...

mikec

Agree. What was once a beautiful community is being bulldozed. I'm not anti-development, but this new kind of development is ugly. Every single tree gets bulldozed and the whole landscape gets flattened. The irony is that Lake Linganore Association, the Linganore HOA, makes current residents jump through hoops to remove a dead tree from their yard by submitting applications and arborist reports. Meanwhile, Ryan Homes takes down every tree in its way. Next time I'm going to take down a tree, I'm going to ask to get the same considerations as developers.

The other story here, which I would like to see reported, is the number of Delauter Excavating equipment on site at these new Linganore developments. I see an awful lot of Delauter trucks, bulldozers and other earth moving equipment. Isn't this a story? County Commissioner rubberstamps development projects, then County Commissioner does site prep on said projects?!?!?!?!?!?

Greg F

Yes....this is typical corruption and self-serving of government officials at its worst. They literally took a hundred feet off hillsides there...that should in itself tell you they are destroying the environment in places that should NOT have ever been built. They decimated the entire landscape down past the bedrock.

abowers1

Wow! I didn't think that anyone would agree with me about this area. I used to live at the intersection of Boyer's Mill and 144 over 20 years ago, and traffic from Lake Linganore was too much for the roads back then. All I have seen since is a Lake Linganore/New Market that I do not recognize because of all of the construction, and barely any new roads. Building 600 more houses surely wouldn't make it better. I am going to be in the market to downsize soon, but New Market/Lake Linganore is an area I won't even consider because of the lack of roads. It is terrible because it is a beautiful area.

benhem612

Agreed, when 8bfirst came to the area I was charmed by linganore but decided not to move there due to the congestion and that was in 2015.

KellyAlzan

And it’s disgusting what they have done with the New Market area. Lake Linganore used to be no where near New Market.

jerseygrl42

Well said and the pols are destroying this once beautiful part of the County even blocking the view of Sugarloaf Mt with the ugly matin apartments ...all about the $$$$

yogib

The editorial cartoon above this editorial is tasteless, inaccurate and undemocratic (small d). What is wrong with bringing thousands of citizens into statehood, etc. The Trump republicans have changed our democracy so that in order to counter the destruction, we need to truly build it back. I would think the FNP would begin to realize that supporting such trump trash would not be in Frederick's best interest or the future of the FNP

MD1756

Your comment is off topic. However, regarding statehood, I agree that the citizens of Puerto Rico should either vote to become a state or go independent (I don't care which way they go, it's up to them). Of course if they decide to become a state, they should all be subject to federal income taxes (which most people in PR currently are not).

The District of Columbia is another matter. DC as it currently exists came entirely from MD. VA took their part of DC back before the civil war. If DC wants representation it should be done as part of MD, not a separate state. MD gave its land to the federal government for the capitol, not for another state to be created and weaken its voice in the senate.

KellyAlzan

Context is everything. While some comments are or may be off topic,,,it’s the context that matters

public-redux

MD, It might be worth asking current Marylanders what they think about DC statehood. Perhaps most of us don’t want DC returned to MD.

MD1756

Article IV Section 3 of the Constitution would possibly apply. To become a state I think it would require not just approval from congress but from MD as well.

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