Rezoning Request Rejected By Council To Be Reconsidered

The County Council needs to act before August 21st.

Frederick, Md (KM). A request from Natelli Communities to rezone  properties in Urbana to allow more residential development will be reconsidered by the Frederick County Council. The panel took that action Tuesday evening.

The Council in March turned down the request from Natelli Communities.

The company’s plans would reduce the employment area in the Northern Town Center to approximately 32-acres and expand the residential area. But it would keep the number of home in that area to 610. The Southern Employment Distinct would be rezoned form Office/Research/Industrial, adding a mixed use capacity. In addition, 700 age-restricted homes for senior citizens would be constructed on 210-acres, with all or a portion of the property used for a continuing care retirement community, assisted living or nursing care facility.

This would increase the number of homes in the Villages of Urbana from 3,013 to 3,088.

In March, Natelli Communities submitted the rezonings  as one application which was rejected. It will now submit these rezonings as three applications.

Chris Covell, CEO of the YMCA of Frederick County, supports this rezoning request. “We value our relationship with Nateilli Communities and we believe  the 55-plus active older adult development, which is part of the one of the three pieces of the pie that they’re asking you to consider, will enhance the YMCA services and the partnership will be mutually beneficial to the community at large,” she said. Natelli donated land to the YMCA for a new facility in Urbana.

Business owner Charlie Seymour also expressed his support. “I along with other business owners and residents wish to see continued residential growth in the downtown Town Center area, hoping to attract more and better retailers to the downtown area,” he said. “In addition, the request for senior housing is greatly needed.”

While not necessarily supporting the rezoning, Steve McKay of Monrovia expressed his support for reconsideration. “I do think it’s reasonable and fair to give him another shot to have those cases reheard,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I support all three cases, certainly without some strong reservations on some”

Matt Suber also had no objections to Natelli being given a second chance, but he had a concern. “Where are we going to put the kids in the schools? Thousand-seat student deficit at the high school, 500-seats at the middle school in 10 to 15 years; where are these kids going to go to school,” he asked

In his comments, Tom Natelli, who heads up the company bearing his name, said the Council needs to act soon. He said a proposed ethics bill could hold up his plans. The measure states that members of the Council could not consider rezoning requests between six-months before and three months after the general election. “As it stands now, we couldn’t submit until next summer. If that ethics legislation gets adopted, we can’t submit until the spring of ’19, and it would be unlikely that we have a decision on the merits of this until late 2019 or more likely 2020,” he said.

In a unanimous vote, the Council agreed to postpone a decision formally  adopting a resolution finalizing the rejection of the rezoning request in March, and asked Natelli to submit three applications instead of one.

Once the applications are received, a public hearing will be scheduled. The Council has until August 21st, 2017 to take any action.


By Kevin McManus