It would have increased the amount of residential in three developments.
Frederick, Md (KM). Proposed land use changes in Urbana were shot down Tuesday afternoon by the Frederick County Council.
The panel voted against a motion to approve the changes in three different communities to allow more residential development.
Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer these changes for these three communities should have been considered separately. “It’s not the applications and the merits of the applications. It’s the combining of all three of them under one umbrella that I’m having a problem with,” she said. “And, unfortunately, that’s why I’m not going to be able to vote for this.”
The applicant, developer Tom Natelli, wants to reduce the employment area in the Northern Town Center to approximately 32-acres and expand the residential area. It would keep the number of homes for that area to 610. He also wants to rezone 210-acres of land in the Souther Employment District from Office/Research/Industrial, and add to the mixed use category. In addition, Natelli is proposing 700 age-restricted homes on the 210-acres; also, all or a portion of the property will be used for a continuing care retirement community and assisted living or nursing care facility. It would also increase the number of homes in the Villages of Urbana from 3,013 to 3,088.
The Council voted on two motions connected with the project. The panel turned down a motion in favor of the rezoning. The board then voted in favor of a motion to deny the application.
Councilman Tony Chmelik said he likes the idea of an age-restricted community for senior citizens, and he would fight against any attempt in the future to change that to an all-age community. “I would not support Mr. Natelli coming back here and asking for all age use of the 700 homes in the Southern MXD mixed. And I will stand by that if I’m re-elected. I will not support that. I do believe though the market is changing
to the point where that’s not going to be an issue,” he said.
Councilman Jerry Donald is against the project. “We would push school overcrowding to a greater number. And I, in good conscience, cannot do that. I can’t,” he said.
But Councilman Billy Shreve said school overcrowding is not a big problem, noting that he was the Commissioners’ liaison to the Board of Education for three years. “I met a bunch of the parents down there, and they’re fine with their kids being in overcrowded schools. The school system, Frederick County Public Schools, is fine with those schools being overcrowded because the parents are okay with it. It’s well managed,” he said.
Part of the discussion on the application concerned the three developments not be contiguous, or close to each other. Some Council members felt because the communities don’t abut each other, these rezonings should be considered as three applications, not all at once. Council Kirby Delauter had a comment on that. “The other night, there was a word that kept coming up and I mentioned it before. It’s contiguous. That was the word of the night. The word of the night tonight, it begins with a ‘C.’ It’s corrupt. You’re looking at it up here. It’s corruption, absolutely,” he said.
That brought a response from Councilman Donald. “There is no corruption. It’s making a legal decision based on what you’ve been told in the best way you can. No one is arguing anything differently,” he said.
The motion supporting this application was favored by Councilmembers Delauter, Chmelik and Shreve, with Councilmembers Donald, Jessica Fitzwater, Keegan-Ayer and Bud Otis in opposition. For the motion denying the application, it was Councilmembers Donald, Fitzwater, Keegan-Ayer and Otis in support, and Councilmembers Shreve, Delauter and Chmelik opposed.
By Kevin McManus