By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun
11:57 PM EST, December 5, 2012
The Anne Arundel school board received Superintendent Kevin Maxwell's redistricting recommendation Wednesday for Crofton-area schools, which delays plans to draw boundaries for a $38 million elementary school in Odenton that a developer has promised but some area residents have opposed.
The proposed school, still included in the redistricting plan, would be along Evergreen Road and is part of the school system's efforts to ease crowding at Nantucket Elementary. Those plans also include redistricting Crofton Meadows Elementary, Arundel Middle and Crofton Middle.
School officials have tentatively named the proposed school Evergreen Elementary. They hope it will be included in plans that two developers — Annapolis-based Koch Homes and Bethesda-based Classic Communities Cos. — have for building a 2,000-home development called the Preserve at Two Rivers near Route 3 in Odenton. As part of negotiations with the county, the developers have offered to build the school.
The developer had entered into an earlier agreement with residents in an adjacent Odenton community, called the Forks of the Patuxent, to build only age-restricted homes, but sought to lift the covenant amid the housing market crunch.
The Forks of the Patuxent Improvement Association, made up of community residents, voted against lifting the age-restriction covenant. The move came at about the same time the redistricting committee began outlining its plans.
At Wednesday's school board meeting, the proposed elementary school was scarcely mentioned as Maxwell submitted a plan that was identical to that put forward by the Crofton-area redistricting committee.
School officials said Maxwell and the redistricting committee did not offer a recommendation for the proposed Evergreen Elementary because of the "unresolved issues in discussions between the developer, community groups and the county."
Neither the community association nor officials at Koch Homes could be reached for comment this week, and school board members say no one has told them where the age-restriction issue stands.
The school board will consider the recommendations and possible alternatives to redistricting the area at a public hearing in January. School officials said a redistricting plan must be adopted by late April. The school system said it has set late April as the deadline for deciding whether to move forward with a public-private partnership agreement to construct the school.
The redistricting plans are to take effect as early as August 2014.
Anne Arundel schools demographic planning specialist Chuck Yocum said that the school system would need to redistrict the area again if plans for the school fall through.
"Depending on whether they're building out fast or selling fast, that window can be very, very small," Yocum said. "For planning purposes, sooner is always better than later, but our hands are as tied as everyone else's at the moment."
School board member Teresa Birge, who lives in Odenton, said she has heard nothing from the Forks community since it upheld the age restriction.
"We don't have any control of what happens," Birge said of the school board. "It's all between the builder and the county. We just sit and wait."
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