Gazette: Keller property annexation in Frederick postponed to July 9 (Public Hearing @ 6pm, City Hall)

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Keller property annexation in Frederick postponed to July 9 by Sherry Greenfield

Staff Writer

People living near the Keller property in Frederick will have another chance to tell city planners why they don’t want 750 to 850 homes built there.

The City of Frederick Planning Commission tabled a decision on the annexation of the 302.67-acre Keller property at a public hearing Monday night, scheduling a second hearing for July 9. City planners were expected to make a recommendation to the mayor and board of aldermen on whether to approve the annexation, but with an already heavy agenda decided to postpone a decision.

And, since this gives people more time to speak out, the group, Citizens For Responsible Growth Along Yellow Springs Road — the location of the Keller property — sent a letter to the planning commission Tuesday detailing their objections. The letter includes signatures from 77 people in the county.

“Our summery concern is that there has been inadequate analysis of the impacts of the planned residential development on roads, schools, natural resources and sensitive areas, emergency services and all other impacts that adding potentially 850 families to our area will have,” the letter states.

The Keller Corporation is asking the city to annex the land at the intersection of Yellow Springs Road, Rocky Springs Road and Walter Martz Road in Frederick. The land is currently zoned for agriculture in the county.

Annexation opponents could have an uphill battle, however, since the long-term growth plans for the city and county stipulate that water and sewer service will be provided to the property, according to the planning commission’s staff report. As a result, the city’s planning staff is recommending that the planning commission support the annexation.

But this is not stopping residents from speaking out against the proposal and the impact the development will have on traffic in the area.

“Yellow Springs Road, Rosemont Avenue is the only road connecting the neighborhoods around the Keller Farm to downtown Frederick and to U.S. 15,” the letter to the planning commission reads. “Rosemont is already overburdened with traffic, and is the site of frequent accidents. “…The 500 single-family dwellings alone will put nearly 5,000 additional car trips each week to these already dangerous and crowded roads.”

The city is recommending that the Keller Corporation pay $5,600 for each house they build to pay for road improvements needed to accommodate the development, according to a June 1 letter from the city’s engineering department.

Jeremy Holder, the project manager with Ausherman Development Corp., said in an interview Tuesday, that they agree to put up some money toward the road improvements, but “we’re just not sure we’re in agreement with the calculation.”

Holder said this is only the beginning of the process and that the board of aldermen will make the final decision.

The development of the Keller property is not the first in the area. Another 1,200 homes are slated to be built on the nearby Crum Farm in Frederick.

“Yellow Springs vicinity is a rural community with little crime,” the letter reads. “Residents love the rural feel of the community and school and the safety of our neighborhoods. We love the farms, trees, creeks and rolling hills, with views of the mountains. Adding a large, overcrowded neighborhood along both sides of Yellow Springs Road will take away from the rural nature of our community and bring crime.”