Frederick County Councilman Steve McKay Raises Concerns About Settlement With Avanti

He says it give the go-ahead for 2500 new homes in the New Market area.

Frederick, Md (KM) The settlement announced this week between Frederick County and Avanti Properties could cause some major concerns in the New Market area. Councilman Steve McKay, who represents that area, says Avanti has two projects near New Market, Calumet and Gordon Mill, where 1500 new homes are planned. There’s also a developer known as Casey which has plans for 1000 new homes. He says this settlement gives these developers the go-ahead to begin building. “My concern is always been when you unlock one or two of these, you unlock all of them,” McKay  says.

There hasn’t been much construction in that area in recent years, but McKay says building will begin as a result of this settlement.

On Tuesday, County Executive Jessica Fitzwater announced that the county had reached a settlement with Avanti. On December 23rd, 2022, the company filed suit in Circuit Court against the county, alleging the prior administration failed to transmit water and sewer amendments to the County Council for its consideration, and asked that the Court  order the County to move forward.

The agreement settles that lawsuit. Also, Avanti will pay $8.6 million in school mitigation fees, and it also makes sure that funds are available for the county to cover ongoing maintenance costs for a New Market bypass. The County Council will also hold hearings on the water and sewer amendments.

McKay says this new residential construction that will result following this agreement will overcrowd area schools and roads. “We know, based on the APFO {Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance} tests for Gordon Mill, that it’s going to push Oakdale High School, Oakdale Middle and Deer Crossing Elementary School all up to the 200 percent of state rated capacity levels. They’re going to overload Boyers Mill Road,” he says.

He says this will adversely impact the residents in the New Market and Lake Linganore areas. “You can’t always track those zoning approvals from ten years ago, or the subdivision plan approvals from six months ago. But when you start seeing the construction material, then it becomes real,” he said.

And it won’t be a pleasant surprise. “It’s very upsetting for the people who currently live here in the community, including the New Market area, because we understand what it will mean,” McKay says.

McKay has been working on an ordinance to place a moratorium on some residential construction until the issue of overcrowded schools is addressed. “We’re hashing out some features of it with staff right now. I got  a bit more homework to do on some particular things. I don’t anticipate having it ready for workshop for probably another month,” he says. After that, it will be formally introduced to the Council and a hearing will be scheduled.

“It will accelerate some development plans to get in under a moratorium,” :he adds. “I can’t control that.”

By Kevin McManus