Rosehaven Manor & Linganore Road/144 Intersection in Frederick, MD
Rosehaven Manor & Linganore Road/144 Intersection in Frederick, MD
Why this petition matters
Rosehaven Manor is a historic home that has been restored to its original beauty and serves as the center piece of a new subdivision named the Estates at Rosehaven Manor. Rosehaven Manor is being developed under a Wormald subsidiary named Overlook at Long Branch, LLC. The adjacent street, Linganore Road, is being relocated through the development to remove the existing dangerous traffic intersection with MD Rt 144. The road relocation includes a new traffic light and highlights the historical home. To achieve these benefits, 102 subdivision lots have been constructed so that Wormald Homes may sell new residences to cover the expense.
So What’s The Problem?:
Even though all the necessary improvements to the property including the new Linganore Road intersection have been completed, costing $14 million dollars, the County will not plat the finished lots, thus forcing the property to be unsightly for years to come. Without platting the lots, Wormald has no way to pay for the relocation of Linganore Road.
Tell Me More:
In 2018, Wormald revised the original Preliminary Plan approval in order to reroute Linganore Road to a safer and more appealing location for the long-term benefit of Frederick County residents. The Preliminary Plan approval and APFO approval had a 3-year approval sunset deadline of November 18, 2021, so the work had to be performed throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Despite closure of the Frederick County offices to the public and limited County staff availability, Wormald persevered to get the improvement plan, final plats, bonding, State Highway access plan, and sediment and erosion control plan, so work could commence. Once the plans were reviewed and commented upon multiple times, then the onsite work commenced. The work on site including site grading, pipe installation, retaining wall construction and road installation was accelerated despite shortages of labor and supply chain issues finishing July 2021. At that point, Wormald was permitted to submit the final plats for review and recordation. After addressing numerous County changes to the plat through the review process, and after Wormald paid over $750,000 in school impact fees to the County, the County asked Wormald to submit the final plat mylars for County signature and recordation. On October 28, 2021, the County said something like “Oops, we were wrong. There is a letter from 2018 that says Wormald has to initiate a petition so that the County can do their three-month open/close/alter process for Linganore Road before signing a residential plat.” Initially, the Department of Planning was going to amend the 2018 letter for review and approval by the Planning Commission at their November 10, 2021 public hearing (a mere 8 days prior to the sunset) so that Wormald could beat the November 18, 2021 deadline. The County Attorney advised the planning staff to remove the topic from the Planning Commission after having prepared an extensive staff report. Wormald further requested the topic be raised at the November 17, 2021 Planning Commission meeting to once again be denied an audience with the Planning Commissioners. The County staff and the County attorney acted in bad faith by purposely withholding our modification request from the Planning Commissioners and as such, the Planning Commission, acting on bad direction form County staff, would not allow our case to be heard by the Planning Commission thereby forcing the expiration of the Preliminary Plan and APFO approval.
On March 8, 2022, the County Council was to vote on the open/close/alter process in the 2018 letter, but they are saying the approval would have to only be for the road plat without the lots. On March 4, 2022, Wormald asked the County to allow any type of platting, not just a road plat. The County attorney refused the request, so the open/close/alter petition had to be withdrawn by Wormald to avoid a potential taking of the property by the County.
Wrongs by Frederick County:
1. The Frederick County office closures during COVID-19 made the approvals process significantly longer than prior to the Pandemic.
2. Despite County office closures, no extensions were granted on the Preliminary Plan or APFO approval deadline.
3. The County was aware of the deadlines and asked for the school mitigation fees and final plat mylars for signature and did not remember the 2018 letter until October 28, 2021, only 3 weeks before the expiration. This County behavior is no less than estoppel behavior.
4. The County attorney barred the County Planner from informing the Planning Commission of the request for a revision to the 2018 letter to enable signing of the Final Plat prior to November 18, 2021.
5. The County did not forward our correspondence to the Planning Commission in October 2018 so Wormald was prevented from informing the elected officials of our need before the deadline.
6. The County attorney sent Wormald’s attorney an order for Ed Wormald to stop contacting the County Executive in November 2021 to try to have fair and equitable treatment.
7. The County attorney told the County Council Members to not meet with Ed Wormald at the property in January 2022 due to a County-opined potential conflict of interest due to a perception that discussing the project issues while the open/close/alter process was soon to be heard would influence the Council Member decision.
8. The Department of Planning sent Wormald a letter telling Wormald that they will have to reapply for the Preliminary Plan and APFO approval knowing full well that the calculation for school capacity has been diminished and would not pass despite not accounting for reductions in school attendance caused by COVID-19. So, resubmitting the Preliminary Plan for approval does not address the problem of the wrongs Wormald has suffered since the APFO test would not allow Wormald to advance.
9. The County is trying to get Wormald to deed over Linganore Road through the Open/Close/Alter Process without Wormald having revenue from the rest of the property to pay for it.
10. The County has not extended the Preliminary Plan and APFO deadlines despite the Executive Order from Governor Hogan urging municipalities to grant such extensions commensurate to the number of days of the emergency declaration by the State of Maryland for COVID-19.
11. In past, open/close/alter approvals have never limited the road transfer to a plat that excludes the subdivision lots. In fact, the type of plat has never been specified in past open/close/alter approvals. By forcing a plat to be limited to only Linganore Road, the County is attempting to hamstring Wormald’s ability to record the lots under the expired plan and essentially “steal” the land and improved road from Wormald with no remuneration or benefit to the project in return.
12. On March 4, 2022, the County attorney refused to remove the provision that the road could only be platted without the lots thereby forcing Wormald to withdraw its petition for the open/close/alter process.
13. The County silencing of the applicant’s communication with the Planning Commission and Council Members for the reasoning of preventing “exparte communication” is really a ploy for the County Executive to control the information received by the elected decisionmakers. The County is silencing the applicants so that those who vote on the decisions are not aware of the applicant’s opinions.
14. It is bad faith by the County to have a project spend $14 million on public improvements and then prevent its fulfillment due to a minor technicality that is conducted by the County itself.
As you can see, we had to issue this petition since we have not been getting the opportunity to resolve these matters with the County to date. Thank you for your concern for governmental fairness, responsiveness and common sense.
Please sign the petition and offer any comments as a demonstration of your support for the completion of the road safety improvements, the traffic light and the completion of Rosehaven Manor.