Blog Archives - Warfield at Historic Sykesville

Limited Time to Let your Voice be Heard

Thanks to all who attended Tuesday night’s public hearing on the zoning text amendment for Warfield. There is still time to submit your comments to the town for the record and for their consideration. See below for details.

It is clear that many of you still have questions and concerns about the project. We at Warfield remain eager to get you more information, develop a common understanding of the facts through respectful public discourse, and help the community develop a full understanding of the project and its potential. This includes solutions to help address key issues like schools and public services, traffic, natural resources, and impacts on Main Street and other businesses.

We were disappointed that public engagement was not encouraged when our proposal was referred to the Planning Commission in January, and that the Planning Commission was not allowed to evaluate our proposal fully and develop a more detailed analysis and recommendation to the Mayor and Town Council in advance of a public hearing. Among other things, the lack of due process took away the public’s voice and denied the developer the ability to hear valuable feedback, address concerns, and perhaps even make adjustments to its proposal and approach.

In short, Tuesday night’s public hearing was premature, and so is the scheduled vote on our proposal at the regularly scheduled Town Council meeting on Monday, May 9th at 7:00 PM.

OUR REQUEST OF YOU: Please write the Town and ask for a deferral on the Town Council vote, and referral of Warfield’s proposal back to the Planning Commission for a full and fair hearing to allow continued community participation in the process. Many of you expressed a desire for a more civil and productive discourse between the Town and developer. We believe that the Planning Commission is the venue for such a discussion that also encourages continued citizen and merchant involvement.

Please send emails to town@sykesville.net by 5:00 PM on Monday, May 9th. Be sure to include your name and address in the email. Feel free to copy us at info@historicwarfield.com.

View the full public hearing here:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carrollmediacenter/videos/713666469820756

On YouTube: https://youtu.be/ef9LAkoZPXo

Access documents related to the zoning request here:

https://ws.onehub.com/folders/x3np2wnb

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Join Us on May 3rd to Support Preservation and Economic Development

After over two decades of vacancy and decline, we are on the verge of saving the historic buildings at Warfield at Historic Sykesville. Warfield Companies has successfully identified $36 million in state and federal tax credits and other incentives to make the preservation of this important historic resource a reality, and unlock massive economic activity and expansion of the tax base in the Town of Sykesville and Carroll County.

Warfield filed a Zoning Text Amendment in December 2021. Among other things, this zoning request proposes shifting much of the previously approved development density from commercial to residential uses. The zoning change is needed to access the above-mentioned package of incentives and finally set the Warfield project in motion in a meaningful way.

Sykesville’s Mayor and Town Council have scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022 to consider Warfield’s zoning request. As part of the public hearing process, the Town Council will take public comments on the proposal. Roger Conley and I respectfully request that you come out on May 3rd to show your support for our proposal and the Warfield project.

In recent months, much misinformation and disinformation have been circulated about the zoning request and the project. To give all constituencies a more complete and accurate picture of Warfield, we will keep “virtual office hours” for the next several days to answer questions and provide additional information you may need to better understand the zoning proposal and the project.

If you wish to schedule a time to ask questions, get a project update, and better understand how you can help, please email info@historicwarfield.com and provide your availability for a Zoom call. Daytime, evening, and weekend slots are available. We are happy to accommodate individuals and small groups. We encourage you to reach out no matter how you feel about the project based on the information you have heard to date.

Significance of Zoning Change

A shift from commercial to residential density is necessary to preserve Warfield’s historic buildings, as it will allow us to access over $36 million in state and federal incentives to cover excess costs associated with environmental remediation and the high cost of historic preservation. The proposed shift in density will also accelerate the project, which has been stagnant for over two decades. This new approach will result in the significant expansion of the Town’s and Carroll County’s tax bases, substantial economic benefits to the community that will endure for decades, and a substantial increase in state, federal, and private investment in the community.

The current zoning already allows for close to 600,000 square feet of commercial density and 181 residential units. Warfield’s proposal does not ask for additional density but, rather, a shift in density from commercial to residential to reflect market conditions and the ability to finance the project. In essence, Warfield’s proposal will result in a less intense development in the long term, particularly in terms of strain on roads, parking, and water/sewer capacity.

Important Legal and Administrative Developments

The merits of the zoning proposal and Warfield project aside, we feel it is vital to inform the public about Warfield’s serious concerns about how the Town has managed the review and approval process.

Beginning with the original Zoning referral to the Sykesville Planning Commission on January 24th, 2022, the conduct of the Mayor and certain other town officials towards the proposal is troubling. The Planning Commission has not been allowed to conduct an independent review and evaluation of the zoning proposal. There seems clear evidence of undue influence evidenced by, among other things, private off-record communications by and between the Mayor and other town officials, denial of fair due process, a lack of transparency, including failure to pass along key information and correspondence to Town Council members and Planning Commission members, and violations of the Maryland Open Meetings Act. The process we have observed raises serious legal and ethical concerns for which there must be corrective action at a minimum.

As an initial response to the Town’s actions noted above, Warfield Companies and the Maryland Building Industry Association have filed an Open Meetings Act complaint with the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board. The Town must respond to this complaint within 30 days.

In addition, Warfield has requested information from the Town under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA), which also requires a response from the Town in 30 days. Among other things, the purpose of this request is to access town communications to investigate the concerns noted above. Finally, Warfield’s legal counsel has requested that the Town preserve all records connected to the Warfield development in preparation for possible additional administrative and legal action.

However, the most important request we have made of the Town is to meet with us about our concerns and take immediate corrective action to restore fairness to the process. This likely includes referral of our application back to the Planning Commission with appropriate instructions to complete their evaluation, report, and recommendation to the Mayor and Town Council, with the understanding that the Planning Commission is an independent body constituted by and subject to state law.

Please come out on May 3rd to let the Mayor and Town Council know that you support maintaining fair, ethical, and transparent processes in general, as well as referral of Warfield’s zoning proposal back to the Planning Commission for a full and fair evaluation.

Access to Documents and Correspondence

Warfield Companies has created a virtual data room containing important correspondence and other documents related to the zoning proposal and pending actions. These documents are public information and can be accessed via the following link:

https://ws.onehub.com/folders/x3np2wnb

We look forward to hearing from you, hearing your feedback, and answering your questions.

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Company Hopes to Bring Life Back to Historic Area

BY MADISON BATEMAN | Carroll County Times | January 25, 2022

 

Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville to be repurposed into residential, office and park space

The Warfield Companies received a $15 million state tax credit for its ongoing project to redevelop the historic Warfield Complex, a former state hospital site in Sykesville, into a mixed-use community. Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times

 

The historic Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville will soon be rehabilitated and repurposed into a residential and commercial hub, serving the local community while also preserving county open space.The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development this week announced Warfield Companies would be the first recipient of Maryland’s Catalytic Revitalization Tax Credit, designed to help fund rehabilitation of formerly government-owned properties for economic and community development purposes.

The company received a $15 million state tax credit for its ongoing project to redevelop a former mental health facility in Sykesville and the surrounding area into a mixed-use community. Warfield at Historic Sykesville is anchored by historic buildings dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was used by the Springfield Hospital Center until the early 2000s. Formerly owned by the state, the 12 buildings carry historical designations from the National Park Service and Maryland Historical Trust.

Three of the historic buildings have already been restored and are occupied by commercial tenants. The remaining nine buildings will be repurposed in a variety of ways to meet the needs of future tenants, with some combination of residential, office, light industrial, retail and park space.
This project is expected to include a housing component, as well as a multipurpose space that will serve local residents.

“The redevelopment at Warfield presents a once in a lifetime opportunity for the people of Sykesville to preserve a piece of their heritage by transforming the former Springfield Hospital Center into a residential and commercial hub that will enhance the local community, while preserving prime and productive
Carroll County farmland and open space,” Kenneth C. Holt, secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, said in a news release.

Passed in the 2021 General Assembly session and signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan, Senate Bill 885 created the Catalytic Revitalization Tax Credit. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Katie Fry Hester, a Democrat who represents District 9 in Carroll and Howard counties.
The credit is designed to support the rehabilitation and renovation of properties formerly owned by the state or federal governments, including colleges or universities, public schools, hospitals, mental health facilities and military facilities or installations. These properties usually have been vacant for a significant time and often require mitigation of various environmental and health hazards.

“I am thrilled that a community in my district will benefit, and serve as a model for other projects around the state,” Hester wrote in an op-ed to the Carroll County Times. “In Warfield’s example, economic projections indicate a fiscal benefit of $29 million over 20 years for our local schools, health department and the Town of Sykesville. … These millions of dollars represent new revenues generated that can be reinvested in the local community or directed to keep taxes low. Furthermore, the project is expected to create approximately 233 permanent and 69 temporary jobs and generate roughly $40.8 million in economic output over the next 20 years.”

The tax credit was a recommended action that came from a study conducted by the Maryland Department of Planning and is designed to fill financing gaps between the cost of rehabilitation and the market-rate value of the redeveloped property. Proposed revitalization projects related to the rehabilitation of these government-owned properties must foster economic growth, job creation, affordable housing or other community improvements and services.

“For the first time in nearly 30 years, preservation and restoration of the Warfield complex appears within reach,” Hester wrote. “Other deteriorating state properties — like Crownsville Hospital Center in Anne Arundel County, Glenn Dale Hospital in Prince George’s County, or Bainbridge in Cecil County — need help transforming into new, vibrant and socially beneficial local spaces.”

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Op-Ed from Senator Katie Fry Hester

Sen. Katie Fry Hester: Warfield Complex can be a model for state investment in preservation projects

By Katie Fry Hester | Carroll County Times | Jan 26, 2022

Across Maryland, a number of former government complexes sit vacant, and have become a large expense for Maryland’s taxpayers. In Anne Arundel County, for example, since the Crownsville Hospital Center was closed in 2004, the state has spent more than $2 million annually to keep it mothballed, secure, and mowed — despite the fact that many of the buildings on the campus are ideal candidates for reuse. Without a plan in place or the resources to spur reuse, stories like this are all too common across the state.

Thankfully, this approach is finally about to change. This year we may see the stars align for Maryland’s historic infrastructure. In the context of a $2 billion state surplus and the recently passed federal infrastructure bill, this year we will also see the state Department of Housing and Community Development award the first Catalytic Tax Credit — aimed at spurring private sector investment in these types of resources and reducing long-term government expense. At the same time, state Sen. Cory McCray, Del. Eric Luedtke and myself have introduced legislation to increase funding for the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Program to meet the statewide need for rehabilitating older structures — which in turn gives local economies a sustainable and long-term boost. Now is the time to invest in Maryland and leverage the embedded value of our historic buildings to catalyze our future economic growth.

 

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Benefits of Warfield: The Coolest Small Town in America

Sykesville, MD was named one of the coolest small towns in America. One facet of the town’s past remains a centerpiece today: the railroad. Railway travel was a significant factor in creating and securing the foundation of Sykesville proper. Today, we honor this history through attractions like the S&P Railway model train displays and the Little Sykes Railway Park.

No matter when you visit, Sykesville is sure to offer something for everyone. Come explore and find out what makes Sykesville the Coolest Small Town in America.

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Benefits of Warfield: Downtown Sykesville

A charming former railroad hub along the Patapsco River, Sykesville is home to a vibrant community, a thriving downtown, and numerous attractions for the whole family. As a state and nationally designated Main Street Community, the Town has plenty to offer its residents, business owners and visitors. Contact us today to find out how Sykesville and Warfield can be a part of your future.

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Benefits of Warfield: Beautiful Location

Warfield is located on MD Route 32 in the Sykesville town limits and, in addition to substantial acreage for new construction, includes twelve separate buildings on a 17-acre parcel constructed in the early 20th century and utilized by Springfield Hospital Center until the early 2000s. The buildings carry historical designations from the National Park Service and Maryland Historical Trust and comprise about 185,000 square feet of the total 600,000 square feet of potential non-residential density. The existing buildings are eligible for federal and state historic tax credits because of these historic designations.

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Benefits of Warfield: Quality of Life

Located in the heart of Carroll County’s Piedmont region, Warfield at Historic Sykesville is a mixed-use project that is zoned for up to 600,000 square feet of office, light industrial, and retail space, approximately 181 residential units, a full-service hotel, and a 27-acre town park. Contact us today to find out how Warfield can be a part of your future.

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Let’s Talk about Warfield: Online Community Information Sessions

Community engagement is an integral part of any large-scale historical preservation project like Warfield. It’s important to us that members of the Sykesville community be included in the conversation about Warfield’s future, so we’re organizing two 90-minute community information sessions via Zoom to update local residents on the status of the project and field questions, comments, and concerns. 

The sessions will take place on the following dates:

March 30, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM 

April 1, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM 

Each session will begin with a 30-minute overview of the history, current status, and future of the Warfield project. Specific topics will include:

  • The history of the property;
  • The current approved plan;
  • Possible future changes to the plan;
  • Project challenges and initiatives to advance the project;
  • A summary of the local real estate market;
  • The impact of the Warfield project on the Sykesville community;
  • The current political climate (state, county, and local).

The remainder of the session time will be devoted to answering questions and addressing comments and concerns. We ask that you submit your questions in advance so we can provide thoughtful and detailed answers. We want to be responsive and tailor our presentation to what the community wants to discuss.

Pre-registration is required for these sessions and spaces are limited to ensure maximum engagement, so if you’d like to participate, sign up now to reserve your spot.

Please note that these sessions are restricted to residents of Sykesville at this time. Future sessions may be added to include non-Sykesville residents.

We look forward to speaking with you and answering your questions in these sessions. If you’d like to keep up with all the latest Warfield news you can sign up for updates on our website, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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Senate Bill 885: You Can Play an Important Role

On Wednesday, March 3, Senate Bill 885 was in front of Maryland’s Senate Budget and Tax Committee. We asked members of the community to assist in supporting the bill prior to the hearing, but this is just the beginning of the journey – there are still many ways you as a citizen can get involved to help this important legislation move forward.

The above video of the testimony for SB0885 is a great place to start for basic information about the Income Tax Credit for Catalytic Revitalization Projects. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support the bill, contact Steve McCleaf as soon as possible. No amount of support is too small – even something as simple as an email or letter to a legislator can make a big difference.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for updates on our website, and to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest information.

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