La Plata, MD – The number of allocations to developers based on school capacity in Charles County as part of its Adequate Public Facilities program may be rising.

The Charles County Commissioners elected to raise the number of available seats at their May 17 meeting per Planning and Growth Management recommendations.

The allocations help dictate how many housing units a developer can build based on the number of school seats available in that particular area based on projected school construction projects.

Planning Chief of Resource Infrastructure and Management Jason Groth and Resource Manager John Mudd presented six options to the board, which ranged from leaving the number of allocations the same to raising it substantially.

The sixth alternative, which Mudd and Groth recommended and was ultimately agreed to by county leaders, allocated 110 percent of state-rated capacity and allocates the capacity of schools in the three-year Capital Improvements Program in the annual budget.

“This is a very consistent number we see throughout the state of Maryland,” Mudd told the board. “It’s a fairly simple method to do it. It will have a considerable increase compared to the program in effect at this time.”

“But over next five years your numbers will slide down,” Commissioner Ken Robinson [D-District 1] interjected.

“Yes,” Mudd responded. “That will reduce out of the five year period.”

Groth said staff was seeking direction from the board and that the matter would be scheduled for a public hearing once the measure was voted on.

“This would give us the ability to stay in line with water and sewer bonds,” Commissioner Vice President Debra Davis [D – District 2] noted.

Commissioner Amanda Stewart [D-District 3] wanted to know what the board would do, “If the school board had to delay that opening. What would be the guidelines?”

“The school would have to be planned to be open within three years of that allocation,” Groth said. “We did it a couple of years ago using a three-year CIP. You’ve got a two year buffer. If there’s a delay, you still have that buffer. It’s still five years to come on line on average.”

After approving staff’s recommendation, Charles County Commissioner President Peter Murphy [D] said the county would look to hold a public hearing June 14.

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