Kaid Benfield Archive


More on farmland conversion in Maryland

Kaid Benfield

Posted September 6, 2009 at 3:19PM

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This is a follow-up to add to the record concerning the wisdom of the proposed office park and subdivision north of Frederick, Maryland.  The property in question is highlighted in red jutting out from the existing city limits to the north:

           map of Frederick, MD showing existing city limits and pending annexations

One can see the location of existing development inside and outside the city boundary by noting the location of road infrastructure.  There are substantial areas within the existing city that are not yet fully developed, as well as infill parcels that have not been annexed.  (Viewers should be cautioned that not all property without infrastructure within the city, such as parks and cemeteries, should be developed, but much of it can and should be.)  Note that development on the eastern portion of the new parcels would leapfrog over other farmland.

site of pending annexation and proposed development (courtesy of Kai Hagen)Given the presence of undeveloped land within and closer to the city than the pending annexations, the implication is that development is being proposed in the parcels to the north not because they are the logical next best places for development under good planning priniciples, but because they happen to be the parcels where there are willing sellers, and buyers who wish to develop.  The implication also is that, because county officials have been disinclined to approve the development, the developers pursued annexation with the city so that jurisdiction over the property would transfer to a more accommodating government.

Is this the way smart growth should evolve?  Readers can decide.