Author: Frederick Ward Associates

COVID19 Commitment

FWA’s Commitment to Service and Safety During COVID19

COVID19 CommitmentDespite the challenges presented by COVID19, all of us at Frederick Ward Associates are working together to provide continuous service, while also taking precaution to keep our employees, families, clients, and communities safe.

We are committed to serving our clients and business partners and are successfully working within the constraints of the social distancing requirements. You can trust that we remain available for you and your design needs!

We respect the commitment of all of those who are providing for our communities during these difficult times and thank you; especially those working in the healthcare, financial institution, grocery, education, and construction industries, as well as all other industries that are essential to our daily lives.

Stay well. We will get through this together!

Rock Spring 5

Working Through Maryland’s Land Development Process

FW Project Manager Tom Miner, PE discusses the Maryland Land Development process in the newest issue of Maryland Construction Network newsletter.
FW Project Manager Tom Miner, PE discusses the Maryland Land Development process in the newest issue of Maryland Construction Network newsletter.

By: Tom Miner, PE, Project Manager

This article is featured in the most recent edition of the Maryland Construction Network newsletter.

While the nickname the “Free State” arose in Maryland due to its rich tradition of political freedom and religious tolerance, this certainly does not apply to land development in Maryland. Complex rules and regulations establish a daunting and arduous process that must be adhered to for all land development projects. How the process is managed will make a substantial impact on a project’s timeline, budget, and actual implementation. By being proactive and cognizant of common pitfalls, we can plan and facilitate the process, increasing the likelihood of success.

Engage early and with the right people. Prior to purchasing or moving ahead with plans on an existing parcel, it is wise to gain a strong understanding of the process that will be involved; given the particulars of the area, zoning and regulatory requirements, and how desired project goals might be impacted. Tuning in with local experts is a recommended method of navigating this investigative stage. Leaning on the experience of your broker, a local engineering/planning firm, and local county and/or municipal governmental departments can help provide a roadmap of the local process, uncover potential limitations of the proposed property, and anticipate the project’s impact on the local community.

Knowledge is power. Having awareness of the areas where unforeseeable setbacks commonly occur throughout the land development process and learning how to avoid or anticipate can help mitigate loss of valuable financial and time resources. Taking the time to do homework and tapping the expertise of local professionals can identify possible setbacks prior to enacting a LOI (Letter of Intent). Gaining as much prior knowledge about the below components can help assess a project’s overall potential and help paint a realistic timeline and financial picture. It is imperative to have a strong understanding of the property, its surrounding area, and local community prior to project initiation.

  • Become familiar with the zoning ordinances
    – Is the property within its zoning rights or does it need a special exception or variance?
    – What is the stance on waivers or variances per the county or municipality?
    – What kind of buffering or building offsets are required?
  • Utilities and access
    – Are there existing utilities?
    – APFO (Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) is there sufficient capacity if there are  utilities?
    – Is there existing road access and what type of improvements will be required to bring the access to current standards?
    – What entity owns the road SHA, County, Town, etc.?
    – What traffic impact will be felt as a result of the projected development?
  • Know the local culture and demographics and restrictions or perceived neighboring restrictions. While legal or zoning regulations may not directly impact the project, community backlash can potentially delay a project and/or jeopardize the budget as a result of legal fees. Don’t be tone deaf to neighboring owners!
    – Take time to learn your neighboring audience. What developments will be well received? What might present resistance? Do neighboring owners have the means to legally fight the project and if so, what implications might that have on the project?
    – Be mindful of sensitive and unspoken restrictions such as, Section 8 housing and long-standing rural and/or wooded areas, even if located within the development envelope.
  • Understand the environmental impact
    – Will reforestation be required?
    – What impact might there be to wetlands?
    – Is the property in a floodplain?
    – Are there impacts that will require special MDE permits?

All these items above can impact the amount of “developable land” and/or the project cost.

Have a realistic and well-defined proforma and use it as a tool in the process. Having a sound financial base and clearly defined goals is a best practice for any business venture. Outlining such and sharing with trusted advisors (broker, design team, attorneys, etc.) helps fine-tune realistic expectations. After engaging with a design team familiar with the proposed project area, reviewing design and construction assumptions impacting the project proforma with the team ensures all members are on the same page as the design progresses. Collaborating with the design team helps to determine realistic expectations, adjust the proforma and/or project goals accordingly, and helps better define overall project understanding. Owners should price projects such that they factor in costs noted by the design team and other trusted advisors to address potential impacts related to environmental issues, legal complexities, community aversion, etc.

Understand and respect the timeline. Development projects take time and require patience. Depending on the jurisdiction, it can take anywhere from nine months to a year, at minimum, to go from the initial design stage to having approved permits in-hand. When developing the proforma, a realistic consideration of the project timeline should be factored in accordingly. Time should also be allotted for a planning charrette with professionals to help define project milestones and create a detailed roadmap of the project’s overall goals and expenditures.

Unexpected delays in the timeline can still occur through bureaucratic interpretations and perceived political impact. It is prudent to anticipate these roadblocks, as they are an inevitable part of the process. Expect the unforeseen but don’t be discouraged by it! With the guidance of knowledgeable local engineering/planning expertise, a better understanding of problem areas in the process can be gained to help assess the success of a potential project.

Scouts BSA Event at FWA

FWA Hosts Scouts BSA Troop 1920 for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

February 20th was recognized by the National Society of Professional Engineers as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, in which schools and individuals were encouraged to engage and introduce girls to engineering and the world of STEM. At FWA, we took this opportunity to share our knowledge of engineering with local Scouts BSA Troop 1920, Harford County’s first all-female BSA troop.

After weeks of preparation by members of our engineering team, FWA opened its doors to the troop on the evening of the 20th and FWA engineers, Veronika Vall and Zashary Orengo, led a presentation focusing on “Girl Day”. The content of the presentation aligned with the requirements needed for the girls to obtain their engineering merit badge.

The troop was then divided into groups, each led by a FWA engineer. The groups designed micro bio-retention facilities by following a detail created by our engineers. The completed facilities went into a scale model depicting a developed site. In this case, the site consisted of a parking lot, commercial office building, landscaping, and three micro bio-retention facilities. The girls were then able to use water to create a 1, 10, and 100-year storm, each of which showed the results of the micro-bio’s filtering capability and ability to clean the water, post-runoff, from the site.

To learn more about inspiring today’s youth to discover engineering, please visit   http://www.discovere.org/.

FWA Scouts Event FWA Scouts Event 2 FWA Scouts Event 3
ABC Groundbreaking

FWA Celebrates Groundbreaking of ABC Baltimore’s Construction Education Academy

FWA is leading the design for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Baltimore’s (ABC) new Construction Education Academy. As part of Cross Street Partner’s revitalization efforts and neighborhood development in East Baltimore, ABC will be occupying 28,000 SF of space in the old Hoen Lithograph complex. FWA architects designed the tenant fit-out for ABC’s new space, which will contain training labs for various construction trades, classrooms, conference rooms, hoteling stations for students, a gathering area for student interaction, a coffee shop, and ABC’s new corporate offices.

ABC hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on January 13, where FWA’s Vice President and Director of Architecture, Ted Jasinski, AIA, NCARB participated in the celebration. He was joined by fellow FWA project team members, Senior Project Architect Ellen Jenkins who provided interior design support, and Staff Architect Nate Hilker who helped with the architectural design and provided building renderings. The design is mindful of the historical aspects of the building, which are incorporated throughout.

The Construction Education Academy will act as an education hub for apprenticeship training that will provide training and career opportunities for Marylanders while creating a pipeline to help curb the construction industry’s labor shortages.

ABC of Greater Baltimore is the largest organization in Maryland to represent the commercial construction industry. With 650 members, the organization specializes in construction training, apprenticeships, continuing education, and professional development for those currently and seeking to join the construction industry. ABC’s offices will be relocating from to the new space in East Baltimore.

ABC Baltimore Construction Education Academy Groundbreaking FWA Architects ABC Baltimore's Construction and Design Team
Board of Directors

FWA Employees Appointed to Various Community Boards

It has been a busy past few weeks for Frederick Ward Associates’ John V. Mettee, IV and Ted Jasinski, as they have both recently been appointed to serve on various Boards within the community.

John V. Mettee IV, Senior Vice President and Director of Surveying, has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties. John has participated in recent fundraising events for the organization such as their annual golf tournament, Kuffed for Kids, and the Kiss a Pig fundraiser, the latter in conjunction with corporate support from FWA. The funds raised from these events help provide a safe and friendly after-school environment for the children of Harford and Cecil Counties.

John’s volunteer and fundraising efforts earlier this year in association with the Maryland Center for the Arts’ (MDFCA) annual Dancing for the Arts Gala garnered the attention of the MDFCA Board and he was asked to join the Board of Directors. John and his wife, Jamila, performed in the gala’s dance competition, which benefited MDCFA’s capital project that is raising funds to build a regional cultural arts center in Harford County.

FWA Vice President and Director of Architecture, Mr. Ted M. Jasinski, has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna. Ted is well-suited for this role, given his experience providing design services to the organization. He looks forward to applying his architectural and industry knowledge to better assist Habitat with future design and construction decisions.

Ted is a current Officer of ABC Baltimore’s Board of Directors, where his role as Secretary assists the organization with their endeavors to establish training programs promoting industry awareness and knowledge, while helping to create apprenticeships through local contractors.

MD State BBQ Bash Kiss a Pig

FWA Raises Over $5,000 for Local Boys & Girls Clubs

As one of five local companies in the 2019 Kiss a Pig Challenge, FWA spent the summer raising money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties through the Clubs’ annual Kiss a Pig Fundraiser.

During the two months of fundraising, FWA employees and their families “pigged out” at a pancake breakfast at Looney’s Pub, later working off those calories by hitting the Ma & Pa Trail during the Catch a Pig 5K run/walk. We had great conversations over drinks (including the signature Kiss a Pig Crush) with clients and friends during a charity happy hour, and enjoyed a competitive spirit throughout the office as employees voted to determine who would be the official FWA pig  kisser.

The fundraising events culminated with FWA President, Tory Pierce, and Senior Vice President, John V. Mettee, IV, puckering up on stage in front of hundreds at the Maryland State BBQ Bash, held annually in downtown Bel Air. FWA took second place in the corporate fundraising challenge, contributing to the overall $44,000 that was raised for the Clubs.

The generosity from our clients, business partners, families, and friends in support of our youth was overwhelming in helping us achieve our fundraising goal. We sincerely thank those who worked so hard to make a difference in Harford and Cecil counties, one child at a time.

Kiss a Pig Challenge Catch a Pig 5K Catch a Pig 5K
Governor Larry Hogan Bel Air Armory Marketplace

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Visits FWA Projects

While making his rounds throughout the northeast part of Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan happened to visit two of FWA’s recent projects – both in the same day!

FWA’s civil engineers performed site engineering services as part of a rehabilitation project aimed to provide housing for homeless or at-risk veterans at Perry Point VA Medical Center, spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and its partnered developer, HELP USA. The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, attended by FWA team members, Governor Hogan, and other local delegates, celebrated the completed 75 renovated housing units within Veterans Village.

Later that day, Governor Hogan toured the Bel Air Armory Marketplace, an L-shaped bank of garages behind the 1915 Bel Air Armory that were upgraded for adaptive reuse. The Town of Bel Air promotes these commercial incubator suites for new and emerging businesses, toward the goal of moving to a conventional Bel Air storefront.

Governor Hogan wanted to get a first-hand look at the result of the $175,000 state Community Legacy Program grant that the Town was awarded in 2012, which funded this project.

FWA provided architectural design services and was thrilled to discuss the project with the Governor. All upgrades were designed per the Maryland Historic Trust requirements and incorporated green improvements and renewable materials. Roll up doors were installed to maintain the original historical use aspect, aluminum storefronts were installed behind the roll up doors, and new HVAC, lighting, and electric was added.

Thank you, Governor Hogan, for supporting small businesses!

Governor Hogan Perry Point Veterans Village Governor Larry Hogan & FWA's Lou Schaffer Governor Larry Hogan visits Bel Air Armory Marketplace
John V. Mettee, IV joins Cecil County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

John V. Mettee, IV Appointed to Cecil County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

John V. Mettee, IVSenior Vice President and Director of Surveying, Mr. John V. Mettee, IV, is one of six new Board Members for Cecil County Chamber of Commerce.

As a lifelong Cecil County resident, John is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve Cecil County through his role as a member of the Chamber’s board.

In addition to his role at Frederick Ward Associates, John is also an owner and operator of Tattoo Icons, a tattoo and piercing shop in Cecil County’s Perryville, MD. Tattoo Icons was established in 2012, and has quickly grown into one of the premier shops in the county.

As a graduate of the Harford Leadership Academy and the Core Leadership Program, John also sits on the board for the Harford Leadership Academy while simultaneously serving as the current Susquehanna Chapter Chair for the Maryland Society of Surveyors. Other industry-related groups and local non-profit organizations that John remains active in include NAIOP, ABC Baltimore, Maryland Center for the Arts, Boys and Girls Club, ULI, MBIA, and Habitat for Humanity.

John resides in Colora, MD with his wife, Jamila, and their five children. When not working or volunteering, John can be found crabbing on his boat, doing home improvement projects, or shopping for unique and fashionable outfits.