The greater Ellicott City/Elkridge area is having some serious growth pains. With Ellicott Mills Middle and Elkridge Landing Middle above the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance capacity threshold, the brakes have been applied to new residential development in District 1. According to this story by Larry Carson in The Sun, this “will trigger delays in planning for new homes in the redeveloping U.S. 1 corridor until two new schools and an addition are built. A new 600-seat elementary school and a 97-seat addition at Bellows Spring Elementary are to open in the northeast region by 2013, with a new middle school by 2015.”
“Crowding has shifted from the western part of the county to the east, leaving the western schools, including several built within the past decade, far below capacity. Elkridge Elementary is projected to be the county's most crowded school in three years, at 131 percent of capacity with 1,021 students. The school board owns a middle school site near Turf Valley, in western Ellicott City, that is not immediately needed, but has no site in Elkridge.”
This doesn’t mean that development will come to a complete stop however. Marsha McLaughlin, the county planning director, told the reporter “there's more in the development pipeline that are far enough along to be eligible for construction despite growth controls.”
This is actually a pretty good time for the county to be in the market for new school sites. Raw land prices in HoCo have dropped significantly from their highs of only two years ago.