Growing Smart with APFOs


Letter to parents on why we should care about the adequate public facilities ordinance for schools.

wedrawthelineAn Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) is a measure designed to assure that adequate infrastructure is in place for development.  Frederick County’s APFO covers public schools, roads, water and sewers, but can also cover other infrastructure items such as fire, police and life safety facilities, as well as libraries and parks.

Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFO) can be useful tools for managing urban growth.  For nearly 30 years local jurisdictions and municipalities have had the authority to enact ordinances to ensure that adequate services would be available for developing communities.  In 1991 the county enacted its first APFO (on the web at:$f=templates$3.0), an ordinance that has always included provisions for public school adequacy.  However, without municipal APFOs that mirror the county’s the entire school test is woefully inadequate.  Municipal growth – like the recent annexations to Frederick City – can cause school overcrowding however it is the county held responsible for ensuring that schools accomodate all students.
housing development thurmont

The following Frederick County municipalities have not adopted an adequate public facilities ordinance:

  • Burkittsville
  • Emmitsburg
  • New Market
  • Middletown
  • Rosemont
  • Woodsboro
–    and Frederick City’s school APFO is meaningless  (once a contemplated development fails the City’s APFO schools test for 3 consecutive years, the development automatically passes the City’s APFO schools test  – even if the schools are inadequate).


We believe that the only way to ensure that our schools are adequately modernized, maintained and not over capacity is to enact a countywide school test, including within all municipalities.   Read more about the APFO for schools.