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Development can proceed if fee paid to help school overcrowding

August 24, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to allow a 17-lot residential development near Beaver Creek Country Club to proceed, despite school overcrowding, if the developer pays a $4,000 per-lot mitigation fee.

The single-family home development, known as Rye Field Estates, is planned for the east side of Stottlemeyer Road, about a half-mile north of U.S. 40 and adjacent to Interstate 70.

The development would be expected to add about six or seven elementary school students to the district for Greenbrier Elementary School, which already is over capacity, school system officials said.

Greenbrier Elementary's enrollment as of June was 324, about 43 percent over its local-rated capacity of 227 students.

That enrollment is expected to drop by 100 students over the next two school years due to redistricting, but at the new enrollment of 224, the six or seven students generated by the development would still put the school over its local-rated capacity, Washington County Planning Director Michael C. Thompson said.

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The development also would generate about three middle school and three high school students, but Boonsboro middle and high schools have the capacity to handle those students, school system figures show.

Under the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, the county may require mitigation, such as additional fees to support school construction, before allowing major subdivisions in areas with school capacity issues.

Jason Divelbiss, representing Antietam Pines III LLC, proposed a $2,802-per-lot mitigation fee to be paid on top of any applicable excise tax. He said he calculated that based on the school system's estimated cost per seat, subtracting the amount of excise tax from the development that is projected to go toward school construction.

The commissioners questioned some of the formulas and figures used in that calculation, but three of the five agreed to support a $4,000-per-lot mitigation fee. They approved the mitigation agreement contingent on the developer's approval.

Commissioners William J. Wivell and Kristin B. Aleshire voted against the agreement. Aleshire called the mitigation payment system "arbitrary."

The proposal Divelbiss presented Tuesday was the third he had made to the commissioners for the Rye Field Estates development. Proposals in November and January were not accepted by the commissioners.

How they voted:



John F. Barr - yes

Terry Baker - yes

Kristin B. Aleshire - no

James F. Kercheval - yes

William J. Wivell - no

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