YMCA Seeks Site Plan Approval for South County Facility

Photo |Brent Pernak, Cruising Altitude Photography LLC Main access to the YMCA property will be through an improved Campus Drive.

Photo |Brent Pernak, Cruising Altitude Photography LLC
Main access to the YMCA property will be through an improved Campus Drive.

The YMCA of Frederick County has requested site plan approval for the development of an 85,078-square-foot, two-story YMCA recreation facility and a 40,000-square-foot, two-story professional office and medical clinic building on the 20.22-acre site located between Urbana High School and Urbana Middle School on the east side of MD 80/Fingerboard Road. The site plan will be discussed by the Frederick County Planning Commission on Feb. 27.

According to the site plan proposal, Phase 1 of YMCA facility construction (61,940 square feet) will include an indoor swimming pool, locker rooms, a gymnasium, space for exercise rooms, weightlifting, meeting rooms, offices, classrooms, an outdoor stage/amphitheater, outdoor multi-purpose fields, and associated parking. Phase 2 (23,138 square feet) will include space identified for classrooms and a performance stage area. The YMCA facility will be set back from Fingerboard Road, located close to the schools.

The professional office building/medical clinic is a proposed second use for the property, which is permitted under the Planned Commercial/Industrial Development Standards within §1-19-10.300. The building will be located close to Fingerboard Road. Construction of this building will follow completion of the YMCA facility and classrooms, according to Tim Goodfellow, Frederick County principal planner.

Main vehicular access to the site will be through a portion of Campus Drive, a private road owned by Frederick County Public Schools. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by the YMCA and the Frederick County Board of Education on Jan. 17, 2019. According to the MOU, the main entrance and access to the YMCA and office building/medical clinic will include

  • An improved joint/common entrance at Campus Drive and MD 80;
  • Shared use of a portion of Campus Drive and the YMCA Connector Road;
  • New entrances from the YMCA Connector Road to the Urbana High School parking lots;
  • An extension of an internal road (Urbana Middle School access/connector road) from the YMCA site, through the parking lot
    on the Urbana Middle School property to Pontius Court; and
  • A new stormwater management facility within the main entrance/access area.

A road extending onto the Urbana Middle School property will connect the Y to the middle school’s parking lot. According to the site plan document, “This new 24-ft. wide internal driveway will provide a secondary point of access to the YMCA and office building/medical clinic via Pontius Court from MD 80 and reduce full dependence on the Campus Drive entrance.”

Ron Burns, transportation safety manager for the Frederick County Planning and Permitting Division, said that the State Highway Administration did not approve another entrance on Route 80 directly into the Y property. Campus Drive “was the only practical access to the Y property.”

Image | Harris Smariga The YMCA property can be accessed from adjacent school properties.

Image | Harris Smariga
The YMCA property can be accessed from adjacent school properties.

The improved common entrance for the high school and YMCA via Campus Drive will feature one additional lane in each direction. On the ingress, the left-hand lane will be turn only onto the YMCA Connector Road and the right-hand lane will continue straight toward the high school. Drivers coming out of the Y property will have a stop sign before turning right or left on Campus Drive. Traffic on Campus Drive will continue to free flow.

Pedestrian safety and access are an important part of the site plan, and an extensive sidewalk network is featured. This includes

  • a new sidewalk along the northeast side of Campus Drive from MD 80 to the YMCA Connector Road, and on both sides of the YMCA Connector Road that leads to the front of the YMCA building;
  • a sidewalk from the Urbana Middle School to the rear of the YMCA building, and extending to the side of the YMCA to meet other paved walkways;
  • a sidewalk from the Urbana High School to the southern edge of the YMCA parking lot, which then connects to internal sidewalks within the YMCA parking lot;
  • a sidewalk on the east side of Campus Drive, extending approximately 420 feet southward from the Campus Drive/YMCA Connector Road intersection; and
  • a sidewalk along the site’s frontage on MD 80, and off-site along the south side of MD 80 from Campus Drive to join the existing sidewalk to the southwest.

“The most important thing about the Y construction is the extension of the sidewalk from the middle school through to Worthington Boulevard on south side of Route 80,” Burns said, noting that this is especially important for kids in the new Urban Green apartments who walk to the middle and high schools.

Further improvements to MD 80 are coming. Landsdale developers widened MD 80 in front of Campus Drive, and Natelli will pick this up and widen MD 80 up to Carriage Hill Drive, Burns said.

A traffic signal at MD 80 and Carriage Hill Drive is “barely warranted” now, according to SHA. When SHA gave the go-ahead to implement the signal, a second east-bound through lane was needed. “So, the signal is driving the widening of 80,” Burns explained. “This should happen within the next two years and make the left-hand turns easier.”


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