#Neighborhood Living
Target:
FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Region:
United States of America
Website:
friendsofdeerspring.com

Seven Ponds Farm is a 44-acre property located at 4502 Deer Spring Road in Middletown, MD and less than a half mile from Braddock Heights, MD. The property is zoned Agricultural and has a cape-cod style residence on the property as well as a historic bank barn and corn crib. In 2014, Seven Ponds Farm was one of eight farms in the Middletown Valley featured in the 8th annual Barnstormers Tour and plein air paint-out sponsored by the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation. A picture of the property’s bank barn was the featured photo accompanying an article in The Frederick News Post about this tour. The article further discussed that, based on the nature of the barn’s construction, “the owner made an investment not just for his lifetime, but for generations to be born.” It estimated the barn was constructed between 1820-1830.

The property owner has requested Special Exception to its Agricultural Zoning, seeking approval to:
• Triple the size of the main house on the property to 13,800 square feet to be used as a year-round wedding/event/meeting venue, including overnight accommodations (a “Country Inn”).
• Re-purpose the 2,480 square foot two-story historic bank barn and the corn crib to wedding and activity space.
• Pave two (2) additional parking lots on the property to accommodate 156 vehicles.
• Allow for the influx of vendors (caterers, musical entertainment, etc.), employees, and up to 300 guests celebrating weddings and other events.
• All-day wedding, banquet, and other event activity on the property lasting until at least 10:00 PM, potentially every day of the week with a concentration of events on weekends.

A Frederick County Board of Appeals Hearing to DECIDE
whether to approve or deny this application will be scheduled soon,

The next Board of Appeals Hearing when this application might be decided is
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2022 at 7:00 PM.
YOUR ATTENDANCE IS IMPERATIVE!
We will update this site with updates as they are available.

Please SIGN this petition below
AND ATTEND the meeting to OPPOSE this request.
Winchester Hall, 12 E. Church St., Frederick, MD
Sign up to speak at the Hearing: Ask the Board to DENY this application.

WE APPRECIATE ANY FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO HELP THE FRIENDS OF DEER SPRING DEFRAY LEGAL AND OTHER COSTS TO CONTEST THIS PERMIT APPLICATION.
PLEASE SEND YOUR CHECK MADE PAYABLE TO
"THE LAW OFFICE OF MICHELE ROSENFELD"
AND MAIL IT TO
FRIENDS OF DEER SPRING
P.O. BOX 263
MIDDLETOWN, MD 21769.
(We will not receive any funds paid to sponsor this petition on this website)

We, citizens of Frederick County, are ADAMANTLY OPPOSED to the pending Special Exception application seeking approval for a “Country Inn” in Frederick County’s Agricultural Zoning District by the owners of 4502 Deer Spring Road, Middletown, MD 21769, a property commonly known as “Seven Ponds Farm”. If approved, the owner will be permitted to construct and operate a large year-round wedding and event venue, permanently altering the agricultural characteristics of the property and our community.

Seven Ponds Farm is surrounded on three sides by communities that house HUNDREDS of residential neighbors. On the fourth side, directly across the street, two large farms (272 acres combined) are protected by Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) programs and continue to operate. Seven Ponds Farm is located centrally within an area at the bottom of Braddock Mountain (elev. 912 ft) that produces acoustics like an amphitheater.

The property owner, WLR Residential Properties, Inc., states that “the property is unsuitable for traditional agricultural uses,” yet argues the Special Exception to their Agricultural Zoning will promote agricultural land use and the agricultural heritage of Frederick County. The Frederick County Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan of 2022 calls for protection of the agricultural industry through the preservation of agricultural lands and calls on the County to limit the intrusion of development and its impacts on rural resources and resource-based industries. If approved, this proposed use will effectively remove this land from future agricultural use.

The Seven Ponds Farm property has been and is still suitable for bona fide agricultural activities. Instead, if approved, the Special Exception will allow for a DISRUPTIVE AND OBJECTIONABLE commercial enterprise amid a tranquil residential and agricultural area. There will be a SIGNIFICANT NEGATIVE IMPACT to its numerous neighbors and other people visiting and traveling through the Middletown and Braddock Heights communities.

This proposed use will NOT BE IN HARMONY WITH THE APPROPRIATE AND ORDERLY DEVELOPMENT of the neighborhood and town in which it is located. The property owner is calling this a “Country Inn”. WE ARE OPPOSED TO THE MAJOR ADVERSE IMPACTS their proposed "Country Inn" will have to our area and all surrounding residences, such as:
• This proposed use will increase traffic on Deer Spring Road, a narrow, winding road with sharp curves, steep hills, no shoulders, drop-offs, and homes mere feet from the side of the road, jeopardizing the safety of Frederick County residents, farmers, and vehicles that traverse it. Deer Spring Road was neither designed nor built to handle this type of activity.

• The roads leading into Middletown and Braddock Heights are inadequate to handle the influx of traffic this venue will create. This proposed use will have a significant negative impact on the overall traffic flow through and around Middletown and Braddock Heights.

• The sound of large crowds, music, and celebration will reverberate off Braddock Mountain and amplify throughout the area. The hundreds of neighbors surrounding Seven Ponds Farm will be unable to quietly and peacefully enjoy their homes and properties.

• Weddings and other events increase the risk of accidents from impaired drivers and drivers who lack the familiarity to navigate our narrow and winding roads leading to and from the property.

We are opposed to the threat of stormwater drainage issues that could arise from the addition of significant parking and other hardscape.

We are opposed to the potential for ground water contamination from the installation of a super-sized septic system and drain field that would be required to accommodate potential daily use by over 300 people.

We are opposed to the potential for failed water supply for existing wells on nearby properties.

We are opposed to the ecological and safety threats this proposed property use creates for the various animal species that inhabit Seven Ponds Farm and the surrounding area.

A Special Exception for properties zoned Agricultural should promote the agricultural heritage of Frederick County. The requested use of this property will do the opposite. The owner’s request utterly disregards the agricultural characteristics of Seven Ponds Farm and, at this location, will INTRODUCE HIGHLY INCOMPATIBLE ACTIVITIES into the community. It will neither support nor serve the needs of this rural community and it will DESTROY THE PEACEFUL ASPECTS of our neighborhood that people find most enjoyable This proposed property use will CONTRIBUTE TO DEVALUATION of all properties in the area, IRREVERSIBLY IMPACT the agricultural viability of the Seven Ponds Farm property, and DISRUPT THE HARMONIOUS, RURAL AMBIANCE of this area of Frederick County.

For the above reasons and more, we are STRICTLY OPPOSED to the approval of the Special Exception permit requested for 4502 Deer Spring Road, Middletown, MD 21769.

We call on The Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals to DENY the property owner’s application, and we urge the Frederick County Planning Commission and County Commissioners to fully support the Board of Appeals in its denial.

Please sign the petition and ask all adult members of your household to do the same. Then, forward the link to your family and friends who live in Frederick County, MD.

Thank you so much for your support!
Friends of Deer Spring
P.O. Box 263
Middletown, MD 21769
email: FriendsOfDeerSpring@gmail.com
www.friendsofdeerspring.com

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The STOP A "COUNTRY INN" ON DEER SPRING ROAD IN MIDDLETOWN, MD petition to FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS was written by Friends of Deer Spring (Middletown, MD) and is in the category Neighborhood Living at GoPetition.