Frederick County Council Hears Testimony To Allow Schools In ORI Districts

A lot of support came from Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School representatives.

Frederick, Md (KM) An amendment to Frederick County’s zoning ordinance to allow schools in areas classified as office, research and industrial received a lot of support during a Council hearing Tuesday night. It if passes, the measure will allow the Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School to continue operating and to expand at its current location at 7215 Corporate Court.

Attorney Lisa Graditor represents the Monocacy Montessori Communities, Incl., which operates the Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School. “it has operated for 11 years within the ORI zoning district without incident. And the school and its community bring  a vitality to the Westview neighborhood  that the South Frederick Corridor’s Plan really  seeks to expand,”: she said.

Molly Carlson has been leading the search for a new school site. “We have actively explored 60 Frederick County properties with the hope of securing a permanent home,” she said. “However, we inevitably found that each property had the wrong zoning as almost none of Frederick County’s  commercial zoning districts allow public schools as a permanent use.”

The Monocacy Montessori Communities, Inc., which also operates the Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School on Dill Avenue in Frederick, is part of the Frederick County Public School School system, but operates independently from FCPS.

Because Carroll Creek Montessori  Public Charter School is located in an ORI zone, Carlson says the school each year must request reapproval by filing a temporary special exemption application in order to stay at its Corporate Court location. “This is burdensome process. But it’s particularly problematic because our temporary occupancy means we can’t access financing to purchase, expand or plan for the future beyond one or two years,” she said.

Other speakers said being allowed in the ORI zoning would enable the school to apply for financing to purchase and expand the classroom building.

The Principal at Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School, Marilyn Horan, said more than 2200 parents have applied to enroll their children in the school for the upcoming academic year. They were competing for 36 slots. “This popularity demonstrates that Frederick County families find our educational program highly attractive. We want to continue our quality Montessori education for decades to come. And we can do so much more easily in a customized, permanent facility,.” she said.

The Council is expected to vote on this amendment at a later date. It was sponsored by Council President Brad Young on behalf of the Monocacy Montessori Public Charter Schools, Inc.

By Kevin McManus