At its last meeting, the Sykesville Planning Commission debated the pros and cons of annexing a property on Buttercup Road — knowing the next steps would be to change its zoning to high density and add 45 townhomes within the next four years.
What road maintenance would the town be responsible for on Raincliffe Road leading up to Buttercup? Can the town annex the entire parcel instead of just the part to be developed? And what are the traffic implications?
“The recommendation from the county is that the town take over the road,” said Town Manager Aretha Adams at the Oct. 1 meeting.
Planning Commission Chair Stephen Enslow asked how the town council felt about that recommendation.
“They didn’t necessarily love it,” she said, “but they want to go back and find out if that recommendation is a requirement.”
The commission agreed that finding a specific answer to that would help in a decision.
Rob Scranton, a representative from the prospective developing company CBI Development, said that they also worked on the townhomes currently on Raincliffe Road and that the county made the same recommendation there.
Annexing the whole parcel
The commission was also concerned with the growth that would come from the townhomes and the burden it could place on resources.
Even so, the members asked why only part of the parcel was up for annexation — including two acres being used industrially for a Baltimore Gas & Electric substation.
Dennis Boyle, of commercial real estate firm Lee & Associates, was present at the meeting representing the current owners of the property, Buttercup Road, LLC.
“There’s no benefit for them to annex that property, no need to,” he said. “And it would increase their tax burden. The only portion that's in question is the portion that would be used for the townhouse development.”
But it might be a better deal for the town to annex the entire property, Enslow said Monday night, to benefit from adding it to Sykesville’s tax base and putting it under the town’s jurisdiction to maintain control of the contiguous area’s development.
Boyle said it wouldn’t be advantageous for the contract purchaser, however, and keeping it under the county is no issue since the use is consistent with the what’s allowed there.
There is also already water and sewer infrastructure for the current use.
“But the town might want that annexation as part of the zoning,” said Enslow.
Town Council Member and Planning Commission Liaison Julia Betz said the reason she wanted the annexation request to come back to the commission was because she didn’t remember the body having any extensive discussion about it and wanted to make sure its input was considered.
“Some of the other concerns from council members were the fact that we just approved Warfield,” she said. “We’ve got 145 townhomes going on over there we were concerned with that traffic. Now we are adding another 45 homes to this site.”
Betz said she wanted to know what the commission’s thoughts were.
“I have some concerns,” said Commission Member Phil Singleton. “We have a traffic study for Warfield” but no data on what these extra homes will bring.
The other members agreed more traffic data would make them feel more comfortable about the potential development.
But Enslow also said that given the property’s residential surroundings, he believes residential zoning is more suitable than industrial.
The commission’s questions and concerns will now go back to the Mayor and Town Council and Board of County Commissioners before the town makes a decision on the annexation.
The next Mayor and Town Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at the Sykesville Town House.