Bollinger Properties LLC will have to
wait another month to learn the town planning commission's
reaction to its proposed
annexation and rezoning. But it learned Monday night
that a handful of vocal residents and property owners aren't
in favor of more houses.
After hearing from six people concerned about or opposed to
the projects, the planning commission deferred its decision to
recommend approval or denial of the requests. Its ruling is
expected on Aug. 25, when a rezoning request for an adjacent
tract in the Brookfield subdivision is on the agenda.
That meeting, like Monday's, will be held at the Sleep Inn
conference room beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Josh Bollinger, president of Bollinger Homes and one of
three family members affiliated with Bollinger Properties,
said he was surprised by the decision-making delay. He said it
wouldn't affect any development timetable but said that "any
delay is not a good thing for us." Bollinger Properties wants
almost 20.3 acres virtually encircled by town property to be
annexed. Mr. Bollinger said 50 "upscale, luxury, single-family
homes" similar to those in Brookfield would be built on the 14
acres that can be developed.
Because the tract is barely connected
to other county property, Bruce Dean, a lawyer representing
the partnership, said the annexation would be like filling
"the hole in the doughnut. If any annexation would be
appropriate, I think this is the one that should."
The roughly 8.9 acres up for rezoning is part of the same
tract but is inside the town limits. If the change is
approved, Mr. Bollinger plans to build four senior-housing
buildings to be sold only to people age 55 or older. Each
brick structure would contain 12 units of 1,400 to 1,500
Mr. Dean said such projects are being
built all around Frederick County because "you have a lot of
people who move out of their houses but don't want to move out
of their community."
But if the residents and property owners who spoke Monday
night get their way, one won't get built in Emmitsburg, at
least not now.
They questioned whether the projects would overburden a
water and sewer system that is in disrepair. They worried
about the effect of extra traffic on already crowded streets.
They lamented the thought of putting more students in schools
already using portables for classrooms.
"It disturbs me that wešre not taking care of our own,"
Larry Little said. "What makes sense is to take care of the
people of Emmitsburg."
Betsey Forrence, who lives outside the town but owns rental
properties within its limits, said 290 homes already are
approved for development in Emmitsburg. Their effect on the
cityšs water and sewer systems, roads and schools remains
unknown, she contended.
"I think the prudent thing ... is to wait and see how all
this shakes out," she said.
Harold Craig, vice president of Citizens Organized to
Protect Emmitsburg Inc., said the organization believes the
town should deny development until its infrastructure catches
up with current use. The group got the last annexation
overturned by petitioning for referendum and campaigning for
its defeat, and Mr. Craig said it would do that again if
Mr. Bollinger said it would be difficult to go forward with
the senior-housing project if the annexation isn't approved.
"We see both as one project," he said.
"We need the annexation to make the project work."
Frank Henry, chairman of the planning commission, requested
more up-to-date traffic reports for Irishtown Road by the next
meeting and also wants input from Emmit Court residents. The
entrance to their townhouses would be extended to provide
access to the senior housing.
If the planning commission votes in August, the board of
commissioners could make a final decision in October.
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