It’s taking on the proposed Calumet development in New Market.
Frederick, Md (KM) Residents Against Landsdale Expansion is taking on another big housing project. President Steve McKay says RALE is opposed to the Calumet development proposed for 262-acres along Boyers Mill Road in New Market.
The town’s Planning Commission last week gave preliminary site plan approval for the project which is expected generate 925 new homes.
McKay says the town has not been very transparent when it comes to information on this project. “I don’t always agree with some of the County’s development decisions in past, but at least you know what documents are before you,” he said. “They’re more closed off up in New Market in terms of trying to find out what’s on the agenda, agenda items being pulled, no documents being available to the public.”
McKay says this number of new homes will increase traffic on roads that can’t handle the extra vehicles. Officials have proposed a New Market Bypass which would connect from the west side of town to Route 75. It’s designed to take traffic away from downtown New Market. But McKay traffic will still be a mess even with the bypass. “The State Highway Administration actually studied New Market traffic, including with this new development and the construction of the New Market Bypass. And they found traffic is going to be worse through downtown New Market regardless of the presence of the New Market Bypass,” he said.
McKay also noted that the New Market Bypass will be built in phases timed with the construction of new homes in Calumet. “The biggest chunk, roughly half, and the most of the cost in building this–which includes a bridge about halfway along and the last section of the road–that won’t come until the very later stages in the end of the build out of this development,” he says.
And, McKay says, it will ruin the Streetscape recently installed in downtown New Market. “They’re spending all this money on this Streetscape project to make everything pretty after they completely denuded downtown New Market of all their old trees and gave it new barren look we see; once they’re finished with that, you’re going to have all that traffic rumbling through, and I think it’s really going to tear up all the new roadway that they’re working on now,” he says.
In addition, the new homes will overcrowd New Market Elementary School, says McKay. He especially notes that New Market Mayor Winslow Burhans wants the local grade school’s student population to increase, making it a little easier to get the county to build a new elementary school in the area. “And I thought that was horribly cynical and a terrible approach to planning,” he says.
Town officials say the housing development and the people who will buy the homes will bring in additional tax revenue to New Market.