Frederick Aldermen Listen To Schley Rezoning Request

The property is located near the airport.



Frederick, Md (KM)  A rezoning request on the Schley Property came before the Frederick Board of Aldermen during their Wednesday workshop.

The 77-acre property is located at the corner of East Church Street and Schifferstadt Boulevard. The land is classified as light industrial, but the applicants want to put a mixed residential and commercial zoning as an overlay on the parcel. Plans are to construct 850 new homes with a commercial component and a park.

The property  is within the Airport Overlay of Frederick Municipal Airport  and it encroaches upon the Inner Safety Zone which fans out from Runway 12/30.

The city’s planning staff and the Planning Commission have recommended the zoning request be denied, citing its proximity to the airport. Gabrielle Collard, Manager of Current Planning, said new residents could be complaining about aircraft noise. “While decibel levels experienced within a home can be mitigated to acceptable levels, the perception of noise is often different. Just because there are attenuation practices in place, doesn’t mean that people might not complain about noise,” she said. “In addition to noise, general safety or the potential for crashes is something that’s come up.”

Her comments regarding noise were echoed by Joseph Spillman, who lives nearby. He said residential development will lead  to noise complaints. “They’ll go to the airport first. They’ll go to the MAA {Maryland Aviation Administration}. They’ll go to Congressman Delaney. They’ll go to the Mayor’s office,” he predicted. “I can’t forecast exactly how it’s going to impact the airport’s operations, but I can’t think it’s going to be good. So if the airport’s important, you’ve got to consider that.”

But Julia Ferguson of East Frederick Rising, supports the rezoning request. She said the airport won’t be a problem. “Anybody purchasing a home or renting a home in this area would know that the airport is already there. It wouldn’t come as a surprise and they could assess whether or not they’re willing to live in that type of an environment or not,” she said. “I think we have some studies that the noise is not that much, but even if it is, it’s a known  factor to begin with.”

She also said the mixed used is a better use than the current zoning, noting that it will be an extension of the livable, walkable downtown Frederick.

Attorney Dave Severn represents the applicants. “There is no safety reason. There is no FAA regulation. There is no noise reason, at least from all the legal standards that we have to be adjudged by objectively, none prohibit residential development as we proposed on this property. None,” he said.

He also said the city staff has been unfair to his client. “Despite all the data we submitted, all the information we provided, all the input, they’ve never changed their position. I do honestly believe it’s unfairly influenced by the airport. I’m not saying that with any animus.”

Severn said the development team assembled a group of former FAA employees who said the mixed residential and commercial use won’t adversely impact the airport.

The Aldermen gave no indication where they stand on the rezoning request. However, Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said she was “leaning toward mixed used development.”

A vote by the Board of Aldermen could come on February 2nd.


By Kevin McManus