Frederick annexation negotiations under way

New companies will increase tax base

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 3:54 am

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Crum Farm Land LLC’s request that the City of Frederick annex an additional 250 acres cannot change the terms of its 2009 annexation of adjacent property — but it does open the door for new negotiations, said Joe Adkins, Frederick’s deputy director for planning.

No additional houses and no additional commercial or office development will occur if the 250 acres are annexed, said Bruce Dean, the property owner’s attorney. The land adjoins 285 acres of Crum Farm Land that were annexed in 2009, and would allow the developer to use 535 acres instead of 285 acres for the approved 1,200 homes and 1.3 million square feet of commercial and office space, he said.

The Crum land is west of U.S. 15 and north of Willowbrook Road. The 2009 annexation agreement requires most development to wait until a new interchange is built at U.S. 15 and Biggs Ford Road.

If the new annexation request goes through, Dean said, the overall development density would look more like Whittier and less like downtown Frederick.

This annexation request would require no additional public services, Dean said, so he expects the city to impose no new conditions on the project and to uphold the terms of the 2009 agreement.

Adkins said the city cannot change the terms of the 2009 annexation, but the new annexation involves new negotiations.

“It’s truly a give-and-take thing,” Adkins said.

Alderman Michael O’Connor said the annexation process offers the city a unique opportunity to get agreements from developers. When he was running for office in 2009, residents told him they thought several annexations approved by the previous administration had been rushed through without due consideration, he said, and he does not want to rush any while he is in office.

Alderwoman Shelley Aloi did not have time to review the proposal thoroughly, she said. It is important that it not have an effect on schools, she said. She also noted that the Crums have waited a long time to get started.

Alderwoman Carol Krimm said the city needs to ensure that traffic issues and transportation infrastructure are adequately addressed.

The Sage Group Inc. prepared an economic impact statement for Crum that estimates the development would generate $1.3 million net income per year for the city when the project is complete and $3.5 million per year for the county.

The planning commission will be next to consider the annexation, possibly at a hearing in April, Adkins said.

The county in January lifted a five-year wait for the development process to begin on the Crum property’s 285 acres. Dean said it will likely be at least two years before any houses are built.

A lawsuit filed by Friends of Frederick County, a conservation group, to deny the 2009 annexation is pending.

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