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Southgate Developer Hopes Time is On His Side for Permits

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News Post

Tom Carolan said Wednesday night that his race with the town is on.

Though Emmitsburgís board of commissioners agreed in principle to temporarily restrict growth in the town, it likely will be February or March before an ordinance is passed to make the building-permit limits law. That delay, Mr. Carolan hoped, will be enough time for him to get permits to build the 21 homes heís been contracted to build.

"It is a race," said Mr. Carolan, owner of Applegate Homes and developer of the Southgate subdivision off South Seton Avenue. "Iím fighting for my life, for the financial solvency of this project."

Though there are other developers working on projects in various stages in Emmitsburg, they donít seem to be imperiled as greatly as Mr. Carolan. Dan Ryan Homes has pulled some permits to build in Brookfield, and that project is years from completion.

Bollinger Properties LLC is seeking a rezoning and annexation so it can build a 48-unit senior housing complex and a subdivision. However, the board of commissioners hasnít approved either request yet, so Mr. Bollinger hasnít spent money on roads or water and sewer lines for either project.

Itís Mr. Carolan who has roads on the ground and pipes in the ground but no grounds to begin building homes on.

In most areas, Mr. Carolan said, he could be building 10 of the developmentís 35 homes now. In Emmitsburg, however, a regulation that builders must have 85 percent of a projectís infrastructure completed adds months to the time it takes before they can apply for any building permits. The road-paving requirement should be reached in two to three weeks. At that point, Mr. Carolan said, heíll immediately apply for building permits, but thereís no guarantee that Frederick County and Emmitsburg will issue the permits before the town imposes its growth restrictions.

"You donít know how long it will take any government agency," he said. If he gets the permits in time, Mr. Carolan said heíll have all 21 homes built by next fall, enabling a number of families to leave the temporary housing theyíve arranged and settle into their new homes. If he doesnít, he said heíll be financially ruined.

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