Through a combination of monitoring and advocacy, Envision Frederick County is committed to promoting ethics, maximum openness and transparency, and accountability in county and municipal government.
Land Use, Planning and Development
Envision Frederick County is dedicated to enhancing the social, economic and environmental vitality of our community. Perhaps no other set of issues affects each of those things, and others, more than the choices we make about land use. Where and when and how we develop our community directly and substantially affects the cost and quality of infrastructure and public services; it affects the range and affordability of housing, and the attractiveness and long term viability of our communities; it shapes matters of public health and public safety; it determines challenges related to transportation, traffic and public transit; the choices we make have a dramatic impact on the environment, including open space, parks and recreation, air and water quality, and the overall biological integrity and sustainability of our “green infrastructure; and much more.
And, because local government in Maryland is the primary regulator of land use, and because there is a great deal of money associated with zoning and development, wealthy and motivated, and narrowly-focused development interests invest a great deal of money and time and effort to influence this critical decision-making process that so heavily shapes our community and its future. We believe having any meaningful and significant balance in that process requires a well-informed and more engaged citizenry. Using this website and other communication tools effectively is vital to being able to make a difference on this important set of issues. Stay tuned.
For a number of years, and a number of reasons, Frederick County has been embroiled in an ongoing controversy about the funding and construction of a regional 1,500 tons per day, mass burn incinerator, to be located on the banks of the Monocacy River, overlooking the Monocacy National Battlefield, only three miles from the heart of downtown Frederick. Although the extremely controversial project was approved by the previous Board of County Commissioners, and has continued to receive unwavering support from the current board, it remains an unsettled and uncertain issue. Because if its importance, it is one of the first public policy areas that we will be addressing here.
Tracking the 2010-2014 Board of County Commissioners
Under the current form of county government (which will be ending with the term of the current board), the five member Board of County Commissioners serves as both the executive and legislative branches of county government. Although many county residents are probably more aware of what is happening in Washington or Annapolis than Winchester Hall, through their role as managers and legislators, our county commissioners have a profound affect on many aspects of life in Frederick County, at this time and well into the future. Because of that, Envision Frederick County will be developing a page here to track and analyze the record of the current Board of County Commissioners.
Envision Frederick County does not endorse candidates in elections. As it says in our mission statement, however, we were “founded on the principle that informed public discourse and active engagement of individuals and groups in our civic life is essential to our well-being and prosperity,” and that absolutely includes being and informed participant in the selection of elected officials, at all levels. In that light, we are committed to being an excellent source of information about the candidates and elections in our community. The first election for which we will be developing a section to provide an array of information and links will be the 2013 election in the City of Frederick for Mayor and all five members of the Board of Alderman
Other Public Policy pages to come
We will be establishing other pages/sections in the Public Policy area of this site. There are certainly many issues that warrant the attention, and we’ll do out best to gather and generate and present relevant information about them here. But we will be catching up, so to speak, for a little while. Having said that, if you have a particular interest in one of the issues above, and you would like to help with that section of the site, please let me know: email@example.com.
- Smart Growth America report: Measuring Sprawl 2014 April 25, 2014Smart Growth America recently released a report entitled Measuring Sprawl 2014. It’s an update to an important and highly respected report the organization released twelve years ago: “Measuring Sprawl and […]
- The many benefits of street trees and urban greenery April 24, 2014We humans have an intrinsic emotional need to connect with nature. The eminent biologist E. O. Wilson first called this need “biophilia,” and the term has stuck. Yet cities also, […]
- Final Monrovia Town Center Public Hearings: April 23rd & 24th April 20, 2014Commissioners President Blaine Young said “his” hearings would be done in one night. How about three nights down and we’re not done yet! We go back to work at 6:00pm […]
- Controversial Monrovia Town Center comes down to final…and vital…public hearings April 3, 2014On April 8, 9 & 10, the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners will hold another in the series of public hearings that have witnessed many hundreds of people voice […]
- Why urban demographers are right about the trend toward downtowns and walkable suburbs February 25, 2014I and others have been tracking for some time a surging interest in walkable neighborhoods, in both reinvested downtowns and more pedestrian-friendly suburban developments. Just last month I cited University […]
- Say NO to the Monrovia Town Center! Say no to sprawl, congestion, overcrowded schools and massive subsidies to developers January 12, 2014There are so many things wrong with the proposed Monrovia Town Center. And many of them will affect county residents and taxpayers, even if they do not live in the […]
- How green infrastructure investments can create commercial property value December 27, 2013A new publication from my colleagues in NRDC’s water program shows how green infrastructure practices – integrating nature strategically into urban environments to control runoff and enhance other environmental values […]
- BOCC hearing on Monrovia Town Center next week matters to all county residents and taxpayers! December 5, 2013On December 10th the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners will have their first public hearing on the controversial Monrovia Town Center (MTC), which proposes to build another 1,510 homes […]