|Bill would require funds
for schools sooner
By: KONRAD SUROWIEC , Staff Writer Bay Times June 30
A bill being considered by the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners would lower the threshold for requiring residential developers to provide funds for school building improvements to offset higher student enrollments.
County Commissioner Gene Ransom introduced county ordinance 04-37 on June 15. The bill requires the county’s interim adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO) to set 100% of building capacity as the level which requires a developer to provide funds for school improvements to offset the need for larger schools due to increased student enrollment. The current threshold is 120% of building capacity. A school’s building capacity for students is determined by the state.
Commissioner Ben Cassell also instructed the staff to have County Attorney Patrick Thompson draft an amendment to the Ransom bill that would make the interim APFO apply to all residential developments, including projects with 19 homes or less. The interim APFO currently applies to projects with 20 or more homes.
Cassell said for the past 18 months the county has not seen construction of large residential developments, but construction has started on smaller size projects with less than 20 homes. He argued the interim APFO should apply to projects of all sizes whether it’s a dozen homes or one home, because all have an impact to some degree on the schools.
Cassell said the interim APFO requires mitigation for a builder with a 22 home project, but no mitigation for 3 builders who want to build 10 homes each.
Commissioner Joe Cupani said the county already has schools at 104%, 108% and 109% of building capacity. If the 100% threshold is adopted, he asked how the ordinance would be implemented.
Ordinance 04-37 would amend Title 28 of the county’s Code of Public Laws by stating public schools in the service area of a proposed development “shall be considered adequate if the existing and projected school population, together with the school population projected to be generated from the proposed development, is 100% or less of the state-rated capacity per school affected or the Board of Education determines that exceeding capacity will not be detrimental to the curriculum or quality of education.”
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