Councilman McKay Outlines Proposed Growth Moratorium Ordinance

He says it will allow school capacity  to catch up residential growth.

Frederick County Councilman Steve McKay  (Photo from Frederick County Government)  





Frederick, Md (KM) After months of work, a proposed growth moratorium ordinance was presented Tuesday to the Frederick County Council. It’s sponsored by Councilman Steve McKay, and it would put a hold on residential development in areas experiencing school overcrowding. “If a school’s overcrowded, and we don’t have a plan to address it, we need to slow down development in that area. If the school is grossly overcrowded, and we don’t have a plan, we need to stop,” he says.

According to a presentation by McKay, if a school’s attendance exceeds 120 percent of state -rated capacity, a moratorium on residential plat recordations  would be placed on hold within that school’s attendance area. IF the school’s attendance exceeds 175 percent of state rated capacity,  a moratorium would be placed on building permits within that school’s attendance areas.

The ordnance would have exemptions for age-restricted developments; low income or moderately priced dwelling unit developments; and smaller developments of less than 50 residential units or minor subdivisions. Larger developments with less than 50 residential units remaining to be built would also be exempt.

The maximum duration of the moratorium would be two years.

During the time of the moratorium, the County would use that period to make plans to fix the school overcrowding.

McKay said it’s not a perfect solution, but something must be done so that school capacity can catch up with residential development. “I think we have to stop throwing up our hands, or sitting on our hands, and just relying upon when’s the next big tranche of state funding that’s going to bail us out before we do something,:” he said.

No vote was taken on the proposed ordinance Tuesday night. If it passes, it would only cover the unincorporated areas in Frederick County.



By Kevin McManus