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Developer hopes to start project on Md. 65 by fall

May 22, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A developer told the Washington County Board of Commissioners Tuesday he hopes to start construction this fall on a planned 443-acre residential development and public golf course on the west side of Md. 65.

The proposed St. James Park development, which is to have up to 773 units, will be 1.7 miles south of Interstate 70 and north of the existing St. James development.

The 203-acre St. James Park golf course would be in the middle of the development, said Malcolm D. Davis, owner of Davis, Renn and Associates of Hagerstown, the company doing the engineering work on the project.

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The first phase will include 214 single-family lots and the golf course, Richard deGorter, president of Development Partners of Leesburg, Va., told the commissioners. The company manages St. James Park LLC of Leesburg, Va., which owns the property.

Subsequent development phases may include duplexes, deGorter said.

The commissioners on Nov. 7, 2000, approved a resolution establishing a 443-acre St. James Park Special Taxing District.

A taxing district is a financial tool used by developers under which any taxes assessed by the district would be paid by property owners within the taxing district.

The commissioners' action enables St. James Park LLC to issue special obligation bonds to pay for improvements in the development. There is no liability to the county, County Attorney Richard Douglas said.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the commissioners extended the time period for the issuance of bonds from Nov. 30, 2001 to June 1, 2002.

DeGorter went before the commissioners Tuesday to ask for another extension of the deadline to issue bonds. The commissioners, by a 3-1 vote, extended the deadline to June 2003. Commissioner William J. Wivell was opposed and Commissioner Paul L. Swartz was absent.

DeGorter said the amount of the bonds, as well as the estimated cost of the project, have not been determined.

St. James Park LLC has filed an application with the Maryland Department of the Environment for a permit to use water from three wells to irrigate the golf course.

The application asks that the company be allowed to use 250,000 gallons during a month of maximum use. The wells are on the northwest side of Md. 65, 1 mile north of the intersection of 65 and Md. 68.

As part of a standard process, the state agency will seek comment from the public, including contiguous property owners, on the request, said MDE spokesman Richard McIntire. The company has to prove to MDE that using the wells won't "unreasonably" affect other nearby water sources, he said.

The developer has prior Washington County Planning Commission approval to begin construction of the homes and the golf course, Planning Director Robert Arch said.

DeGorter said he took over development of the project after his friend and former project developer, Adrian Carpenter, died in 2000. He had promised Carpenter he would finish the work he began on the development, deGorter said.

The project has been in the works for more than 10 years.

There was not much progress for several years because the development market was not right and because Carpenter was ill with leukemia, deGorter said.

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