Sunday, January 24, 2016

Flying Dog contract still under review: Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK), Frederick County, Maryland

Plans to sell city land to a local craft beer company are still brewing, but won’t take flight for a few months.

The Frederick Board of Aldermen approved a contract with Flying Dog Brewery in September to sell 31 acres of vacant land near Frederick Municipal Airport. That vote triggered a 120-day study period for the brewery to determine the feasibility of its $50 million project to open a 150,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art brewery on the Bowman Farm property.

The study period ended this week, meaning Flying Dog could either commit to the $2.55 million offer it put on the property, or walk away with its money in hand, minus a $50,000 deposit. The verdict?

It’s still to be decided, according to Richard Griffin, the city’s director of economic development. In a phone interview on Tuesday, Griffin said several contingencies within the contract need to be ironed out before the deal is set in stone.

The contract includes three agreements that must be made before the sale is settled, all related to the site’s proximity to the airport. The one that’s creating a hold-up, at least now, relates to the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast. In case you’re not familiar, it’s surveillance technology that helps determine and broadcast a plane’s position using satellite navigation, which is received through a corresponding tower.

The tower cannot be moved, nor can nearby buildings exceed a certain height, unless the changes are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. As of Tuesday, Griffin said, the city and Flying Dog were in the midst of discussing how the brewery’s plans could be affected by the tower regulations, or if the tower could be relocated to better accommodate a building on the land.

“It takes a little bit of analysis and study,” Griffin said. But, he added, “we’re not talking years here. We’re talking months.”

Months until the details are nailed down and the question of a Flying Dog brewery on city land will be answered, that is.

For now, both the city and Flying Dog are still interested in the sale, Griffin said. In an emailed statement sent through the company’s senior communications director, Erin Weston, Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso said:

“While there is still some additional information needed to determine whether or not the site is suitable for a state-of-the-art brewery, especially given its proximity to the airport, we are optimistic that all open questions will be resolved within the next 60 days.”

Of course, if those contingencies aren’t met, Flying Dog can still decide not to move forward with the project. So don’t get your “hops” up just yet.

Blight committee reviews code enforcement work

Members of the Blighted and Vacant Property Ad Hoc Committee wasted no time in delving in to their work at a meeting on Wednesday. The discussion marked the first meeting of the group of residents, local business owners and city employees since December.

The three-hour meeting covered a lot of ground, but the highlight, according to member Kara Norman, was a presentation from Dan Hoffman and Brittany Parks, manager and assistant manager of the Department of Code Enforcement.

The 60-slide PowerPoint presentation and subsequent question-and-answer session recapped the department’s strategies to combat blight and vacancy issues in the wake of the recommendations made by the last ad hoc committee. Changes inspired by the recommendations included the following:

staffing changes: department inspectors were assigned to new Neighborhood Advisory Council Areas and an assistant manager position filled by Parks was created to oversee the blighted properties list equipment changes: smartphones, tablets and mobile printers in vehicles were added to facilitate inspection and enforcement changes to public information: a code enforcement database was published on the city website allowing full access to all code violations and a phone app was also created through the information-technology department with a map depicting properties with code violations.

Upcoming changes for the department, according to the presentation, include the switch from paper documents to entirely electronic case files and scheduled training on code-related issues for Frederick Police Department officers and those with the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services.

The full presentation, including photos of properties on the Blighted Property and Property Watch List that have been brought up to code, is available on the city website at

The committee will meet again on Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Office Annex.

Original article can be found here:

No comments: