Sign citizen letter expressing your concern with Keller Farm development

Click here to read background information on the Keller Farm annexation and development plans.

CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE GROWTH ALONG YELLOW SPRINGS ROAD

[Letter to Frederick City elected officials]

To whom it may concern:

As residents living in the vicinity of the Keller Farm, we are writing to express our concern with the annexation and development plans for this 302.67 acre property located along Yellow Springs and Rocky Springs Roads, west of Walter Martz Rd. The Keller Farm is part of a rural and agricultural community. To the south is another working farm (Hooper Farm), and to the north are homes at a density of one house for every two acres of land.

We wish to raise specific concerns with respect to the plans to build 500 single family homes and 350 townhouses and condominiums on the property (850 total), possibly including 100 moderately priced dwelling units.

 

Traffic

Yellow Springs Road/ Rosemont Avenue is the only road connecting the neighborhoods around the Keller Farm to downtown Frederick and to US-15. Rosemont is already overburdened with traffic, and is the site of frequent accidents. Most of the available jobs can only be reached by taking US-15 south, which is already disastrously overcrowded at rush hour. The 500 single family dwellings alone will put nearly 5000 additional car trips each week to these already dangerous and crowded roads.[1]

 

We understand that there are 1200 residential units to be built on the nearby Crum Farm, and there are others in the city’s Tier 2 municipal growth plan.  Will there be a combined impact analysis done so that plans can be made to avert overcrowding our roads even further?

 

Quality of Life

Yellow Springs vicinity is a rural community with little crime. 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 likely bring crime. The areas of Frederick County with the highest density of population also have the highest per capita crime rates. (neighborhoodscout.com/md/frederick/crime)

 

Schools

A school analysis was done and made available by the City of Frederick Planning Department. There is no information on who provided the analysis or when it was done. There has been no analysis provided from the Frederick County Public Schools or from Frederick County, the ultimate voice on school budgets and planning for new schools.

 

We are also concerned that there is virtually no Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) pertaining to schools in Frederick City. The city’s APFO does have a standard for capacity, however if a development project fails to meet that standard it only needs to wait 3 years before it automatically passes the APFO – regardless if it fails to meet the standard.

 

Emergency Services

We do not have data on the ability of our EMS services to handle the new families who would be dependent upon them. Will Frederick Memorial Hospital be able to handle these additional family demands, considering the other developments planned for this region?  It is the only hospital in the immediate community, and expansion of services and sites for the hospital is difficult and costly.

 

Taxes

It has been shown that “increased population generates less revenue for local government than the costs associated with providing infrastructure to the additional residences.  Because costs exceed benefits, tax rates actually increase as population increases, as each new home creates a larger gap between costs and tax revenues.”[2]  If the city officials insist on rapidly growing Frederick, they should require the developers to show, in detail, that the new development will pay for all of its costs to the city and county, so that current residents will not be left with increased taxes as a result of this development.

Public Water and Sewer

We are unclear about the need for an extension of the Potomac River Water Agreement to service this development. What are the criteria by which extension will be allowable?  Who will negotiate this, and when? What scientific criteria will be used to judge that there will not be irreparable harm to the Potomac River?

 

There are plans for significant growth in our area of Frederick City, namely the Crum Farm and other farms within the Tier 2 growth area. Is there an analysis of their combined impact on our local infrastructure, specifically water and sewer capabilities and environmental upgrades?

 

Environmentally sensitive areas

Little Tuscarora Creek, which runs through the Keller Farm property, is one of the few streams in the area to support brook trout, is suitable for public drinking supply, and is an important resource to conserve. Because of this it is classified as a class III-P trout stream. What will be done to mitigate impact upon this important creek habitat?

In Summary

Our summary 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, safety – and all other impacts that adding potentially 850 families to our area will have. Subsequent to assessing the impacts we would like to see the plan and cost to mitigate those impacts and be informed by Frederick City about who will be held responsible to pay these costs. We as Frederick City and County residents do not want to be held partially responsible for the costs of these and other impacts for this development with increased taxes down the road.

You may contact Lesli Summerstay when that information is available and we will ensure that it gets circulated. Thank you.

Sincerely,

LIST OF NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF CONCERNED CITIZENS

Please email Lesli Summerstay (jsummerstay@gmail.com) with your name, address and  neighborhood if you would like to sign the letter. The letter will be presented to Frederick City officials at a public meeting on June 11, 2012.