Commission opposes water, sewer changes

By Ryan Cornell

MIDDLETOWN — An amendment to the Reliance Road Area Land Use Plan by the Frederick County Planning Commission has members of the Middletown Planning Commission riled up.

The land use plan, which addresses the area east of Middletown and across Interstate 81, formerly stated that policy enabling Middletown to provide water and sewer service to the Frederick County properties would require approval by the Frederick County Board of Supervisors.

The new amendment states that the Frederick County Sanitation Authority would be the party responsible for providing water and sewer service to the area, which includes 41 acres owned by Middletown Properties LLC.

Reviewing the plan at its meeting on Monday, Middletown Planning Commission members reacted negatively to the changes.

Middletown has historically been working on adjusting its boundary line in the direction of the Reliance Road area, and commission member Mark Brown said county landowners have asked the town to provide them with water and sewer services.

Not only would the expansion of the Frederick County Sanitation Authority to the Reliance Road area take authority away from the town, he said, but also it would remove Middletown from potential tax revenue brought in.

“This is the future of Middletown, across 81,” he said. “You look at the money it will bring in, well over $100,000 a year in tax funds just from McDonald’s once it’s built.

“And so when you consider that, and the number of businesses that are going in over there, that will bring in lower taxes to this community, cheaper water hopefully, better services, sidewalks, paved roads, it will do a lot for this community and it really upsets me to see this going in,” Brown said.

He drew comparisons to Stephens City, where utilities and tax revenues stop at I-81, while it still receives the brunt of traffic.

“They have treated Stephens City like a left-handed stepchild and they’re doing the same to us and I don’t understand why,” he said. “Because any improvement we make to the tax base here just flows onto the county and they don’t have to do the work.”

The Planning Commission approved recommending that Town Council designate a representative to discuss the issue and create a dialog with the Frederick County Board of Supervisors.

A phone call placed on Tuesday afternoon to the home of Back Creek Magisterial District Supervisor Gary Lofton was not returned.

In other business, the Middletown Planning Commission:

  • Approved a special permit for three apartments at 7868 Main St., the former site of the Civil Cricket
  • Passed on the final site plan for Team 84 Athletes to the Town Council

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com