Commissioners stall plans for Clear Spring subdivision

August 10, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

CLEAR SPRING - A planned 53-house subdivision near Clear Spring was stalled Tuesday by the Washington County Commissioners, who took no action on the developer's plan to help pay the public school system for new students the community would generate.

Representatives from Washco Development Inc. presented to the commissioners a school mitigation plan for Sunset Meadows, a proposed subdivision at the northeast corner of Hicksville and St. Paul roads in Clear Spring.

Five of the subdivision's houses have been built. The mitigation plan would apply to the remaining 48 houses.

The plan includes a $5,000 fee per house, paid by the developer on top of the current excise tax, to help pay Washington County Public Schools for new students in the development. The mitigation fee would go entirely toward school construction.

"This proposal is very similar to several mitigation plans that have been recently approved by this board," said Brian Kurtyka, attorney for the developer.


Kurtyka cited Claggett's Mill developers, who recently agreed to pay $9,000 in mitigation fees per house for one phase of the development, and Elmwood Farm subdivision in Williamsport, which was subject to $5,000 in mitigation fees per house.

The commissioners did not vote on the matter but did suggest that the developer agree not to build all 48 properties in a single year.

"This development is relatively small, but if you build all the houses at the same time, especially in a small area like Clear Spring, you're going to overload the schools there," Commissioner James F. Kercheval said.

Kurtyka said developer Monsoor Shaool likely would agree to build no more than six or eight houses per year.

Washington County Public Schools Facilities Planner Robert Jacob Spong said Sunset Meadows would contribute to overcrowding at Clear Spring's elementary and high schools.

Spong said Clear Spring Elementary is already over capacity and Clear Spring High is projected to be over capacity by 2010.

Kurtyka said he will revise the mitigation plan and take it back to the commissioners for approval.

The subdivision has been in the planning stages since 2000. When it is finished, it will contain 53 single-family homes on one- to two-acre lots.

The developer built five houses in 2002 during the first phase of construction. The second phase, which hinges on the commissioners' approval of a mitigation plan, will consist of 11 houses.

The remaining 37 houses will be built in the final phase after a stream on the property is bridged, Kurtyka said.

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