Commissioners approve Sykesville annexation of Buttercup Road

The Town of Sykesville has begun the annexation of Buttercup Road so townhomes can be built adjacent to the Raincliffe Center and Warfield complex.

About 9.73 acres of the 11.7-acre county property is being considered for the annexation, located on the west side of Buttercup Road on the north side of Raincliffe Road. It is currently zoned general industrial with a low-density residential land use designation, but the town is requesting to change the property’s zoning to urban residential with a high-density land use designation so 45 townhomes can be built there.


“The existing site is underutilized,” Stephanie Brophy from developer Williams Quarters, LLC told the Board of County Commissioners this week. “It was an equipment storage yard. There’s simply no interest for industrial development.

“Industrial General is obviously not a good fit for this location,” she said. “It’s not consistent with the surrounding communities. Adjoining property Raincliffe is R-7,500 [high-density residential]. The town would like to rezone [Buttercup Road] R-7,500 if you approve the reclassification.”

But the annexation is the first step, so the town requested approval from the Board of County Commissioners this week to move forward — and received it.

On Aug. 30 the town asked commissioners to sign the review and comment letter from P&Z and a zoning waiver to bring back to the Sykesville Mayor and Town Council.

But before the approval, Commissioners Doug Howard, R-District 5, and Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, expressed their concerns based off of prior discussions that day about growth in South Carroll and their desire to slow the growth outlined in the Freedom Plan.

Howard was concerned the area was included in the Freedom Area and that the new townhomes would require its water and sewer resources.

But Planning Department Acting Director Lynda Eisenberg said that the property at Buttercup Road is actually in the Sykesville municipal growth area. It is Sykesville’s responsibility to provide water and sewer infrastructure to the property.

He said he was also concerned with traffic.

“My concern,” Howard said, “is that road is a nightmare as it is. That has not been improved significantly enough to handle what’s there: the entrance to Freedom Park, Warfield backing up to it… We’re making a move that really’s counter to everything we said this morning about the Freedom Plan — which I understand is in a growth area, which maybe it’s not a concern, but it still seems like more demand on a system that's pretty much under demand and another project we just put on the books.”

The project Howard referred to, townhomes, retail and commercial space at Warfield at Historic Sykesville, is one that just started moving ground this summer after 18 years.

Sykesville Town Manager Aretha Adams said that a discussion about what kinds of infrastructural improvements the developer will make will happen when the site plan comes to the town’s planning commission.

“Once we get to that point,” she said, “if we get to that point with the developer, we will determine what we will require to be done to that road if we want that project to go through — absolutely that is something that will be a part of the conversation.”

One thing the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission requested already was that the sidewalk from Buttercup Road up to Raincliffe Road be connected and completed.

Rothschild said aside from the roads, he was concerned about the influx of residential development.


“We reluctantly approved 145 townhouses at Warfield, and it wasn’t because we wanted 145 townhouses,” he said, “it was because we needed to give the buildier some low-hanging fruit to help the rehab the commercial [aspect]. Now with this exception, I'm wondering if this could put Warfield at risk.”

Brophy said that the proposed builder for the Buttercup Road project is the same from the Warfield project, so there would be synergy between the two lots.

Rothschild also asked if there was any public comment about the density change, to which Adams said there has been no public comment whatsoever.

“I do want to make one observation,” Rothschild said. “I’m torn about this, too. We had a long discussion this morning about community vision and land use designations [in the context of the Freedom Plan] and one of the things we bring up is ‘consistent with the fabric of the community.’

“I do want to say in defense of this petition, they are doing this adjacent to [high-density] community,” he said, “and it wouldn’t be inconsistent with the community. I'd have a hard time not approving this.”

Howard agreed.

“We appreciate people who invest in our community,” he said.

“I also want to make sure there is full consideration given to the activity at Freedom Park,” said Howard. “When we do a traffic study or whatever needs to be done there, it needs to be consistent with the high use or reasonably high use of that facility. If you can communicate those things, it’s my inclination to say it’s the towns decision, town’s purview, and I think they’d get it right.”