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County Taking Another Look at Comprehensive Plan



County taking another look at comprehensive plan
Originally published February 03, 2010By Karen Gardner
News-Post Staff


Frederick County Commissioners are working their way through the county’s voluminous draft comprehensive plan that, when approved, will determine the direction of residential and commercial growth.

The commissioners agreed Tuesday the Crum and Thatcher farms, north of Frederick along U.S. 15, should not be designated as areas that will one day receive public sewer from the county. Public water will be available.

The two farms are the subject of a dispute between the county and City of Frederick , which wants to annex the properties for potential mixed-use development. The county does not have these properties in its growth area, but the city wants to designate them for growth.

County officials said schools, roads and other public services aren’t set up to accommodate services that residents of new developments expect.

The commissioners accepted the draft plan’s recommendation that the Summers Farm, just to the west of Frederick off U.S. 40 Alternate, be designated an area to one day receive public water and sewer from the city. Frederick already plans to provide public water and sewer to the area if developed. The farm is one of the city’s planned growth areas.

The commissioners directed planning staff to determine what specific changes are proposed in industrial and employment-use areas.

The county has 8,195 acres designated for industrial and employment-use areas. Under the proposed comprehensive plan, that category would drop to 5,941 acres.

Commissioners’ President Jan Gardner asked for a breakdown of the proposed changes. Some of those were provided:

n Eastalco Employment Area — total area designated limited industrial and general industrial would be reduced from 2,040 acres to 1,747 acres.

n Frederick City Community Growth Area — five properties recently annexed into the city totaling 541 acres were designated limited industrial or office research on the current plan, and are within the city on the draft plan.

n Ballenger Creek Community Growth Area — about 264 acres between Md. 180 and I-70 across from the Jefferson Technology park would be changed from office/research to agricultural/rural.

n I-270 Employment Corridor — about 117 acres designated office research at the southern end of what is called an employment corridor would be changed to natural resource and agricultural/rural.

n Walkersville Community Growth Area — two properties on the west side of Md. 194 would be changed from limited industrial to agricultural/rural.

Also, some land near LaFarge in Frederick is in floodplain, which means it cannot be used for heavy industry.

Gardner was hoping to get a more detailed breakdown of lands going from industrial or office use to natural resource or agricultural. Jim Gugel, chief planner for comprehensive planning, said he would get those figures for the commissioners.

The comprehensive plan is expected to be adopted in final form in late March.