A citizen speaks out about the Monrovia Town Center and the county commissioners

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an edited-for-posting version of the public testimony Meaghan delivered to the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners at the April 10th Public Hearing at Winchester Hall.


Irresponsible, horrible, unnecessary, disastrous, tragic, unwanted, infuriated, sad, mad, frustrated, over-crowding, over-development, chaos, devastating, disgusted, unhappy, angry, unjustified. What do all these words have in common? They are the responses people had when asked for one word to express their feelings about the Monrovia Town Center.

How do those same people, the residents and voters of Monrovia and Frederick County, feel about our Board of County Commissioners, our elected body that we entrusted with the future of our communities? Many people couldn’t even express their view with just one word: Irresponsible and crooked, one said; a resounding chorus of self-serving and greedy clowns, said another; while others said money-centric and arrogant, unresponsive to constituents, disgusted and disappointed, willfully destructive for a buck, unethical and bought and paid for, corrupt dictators, serving big-money interests, the epitome of what’s wrong with government, unconcerned about citizens, not surprised, inept and incompetent, not understanding, not respecting. All very similar sentiments. And none had heard the responses of others.

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As a substitute for FCPS with special education, I drive throughout Frederick County. I see a lot of…yellow signs protesting the Monrovia Town Center and the current commissioners. What I don’t see a lot of in the areas around Monrovia, New Market and Ijamsville: “Blaine Young for County Executive” signs. I don’t see many signs supporting current BOCC members. We have lost faith in, and respect for, our elected representatives. Who care more about money than our safety and lives.

Mr. Young said at a previous hearing that he is listening to our pleas, but that doesn’t mean he has to “obey” them. Perhaps he and his fellow commissioners don’t need to “obey.” But, as our representatives, they certainly should listen, and make a real effort to understand. We elected the commissioners to represent our concerns and interests. Instead, they represent other interests.

We trusted our elected officials with our homes, our safety, our environment, and our county. But they have abused that trust. During the first round of hearings about the Monrovia Town Center, as many as 400 people came to Winchester Hall. They packed the large hearing room, filled the lobby, and jammed into two other rooms. And some people were turned away at the door for lack of room.

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They showed up hopeful, trusting in the system and believing their concerns would be heard. Even though many still show up, and have sat through dozens of hours of hearings, taking time away from their families, we’ve seen attendance drop at successive meetings. Contrary to comments by Commissioner Young, that is NOT because people are satisfied with the process or a few changes. It is NOT because people have come around to accepting the plan. No. It is because they have seen that no matter what they say, their concerns are not being heard. People are sick and tired of being ignored. Fewer and fewer are willing to sit through five hour hearings, getting home close to midnight, when they are convinced the decision was largely made before the hearings ever even began.

People are tired of expressing sincere, and even desperate pleas to those whose attention is elsewhere. Most of the commissioners can’t even feign interest. Some rarely even look up at the speakers who have waited patiently for their three minutes, too absorbed in whatever they are doing on their smart phones. Hearing after hearing, commissioners appear completely bored and shut off, and show no interest in what is being said. They refuse to understand or even acknowledge many of the serious problems with the proposed development, or to consider the bigger picture, in which the Monrovia Town Center is just one of many developments recently approved or proposed in the general area!

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It won’t be much consolation to look back and say “I told you so” when we have more accidents, injuries and deaths on our inadequate and dangerous roads. This it is all so preventable…now.

A few weeks ago, a student was suspended from school after shoving me. The experience was upsetting, but what made it more so was I had previously asked school administrators to remove him. They decided to leave him in the classroom, but hindsight makes it clear the situation could have been avoided. Today, the residents of the Monrovia area see the problems ahead, and they are asking the commissioners to take steps now to avoid them.

Please don’t wait for more overcrowded schools, or more accidents and deaths on our roads. Take the right action now. Hear our concerns and protect us before the disasters happen.

Listen. Represent us. And restore our faith and trust.


More information

RALE – Residents Against Landsdale Expansion on the web.

RALE – Residents Against Landsdale Expansion on Facebook.

@RALEMonrovia on Twitter.

Previous Guest Blog entries about this issue:

Controversial Monrovia Town Center comes down to final…and vital…public hearings

New Monrovia Town Center Hearings Start on Wednesday, March 19

$77,000,000.00

Say NO to the Monrovia Town Center! Say no to sprawl, congestion, overcrowded schools and massive subsidies to developers

BOCC hearing on Monrovia Town Center next week matters to all county residents and taxpayers!

‘Friends of Frederick County’ testimony regarding the Monrovia Town Center

Make Your Voice Heard on October 23rd (oppose the Monrovia Town Center)

Open Letter to the Frederick County Planning Commission

Fighting for our community by fighting against the Monrovia Town Center

Some of the other media coverage about this issue:

Monrovia project opponents scrutinize Young’s campaign donations
Frederick News Post
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A missing balance
FNP column by Fred Ugast
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Proposed Monrovia Town Center draws crowds to county hearing
Frederick News Post
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Maryland planning official says state not responsible for town center density
Frederick News Post
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dozens speak out on Monrovia Town Center
Frederick News Post
Thursday, October 31, 2013

Development and death in Monrovia
Frederick News Post
Friday, November 8, 2013 2:00 am

Proud of citizen involvement
FNP Letter to the Editor by Jan Gardner
Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monrovia residents say impact fee elimination would be developer boon
Frederick News Post
Sunday, November 17, 2013

Commission votes favorably on Monrovia Town Center rezoning
Frederick News Post
Thursday, November 21, 2013

RALE: Town center study underestimates increased traffic
Frederick News Post
Thursday, November 28, 2013

Traffic study’s flaws need addressing
FNP Editorial
Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It pays to pay attention to local government
FNP Letter to the Editor
Thursday, December 5, 2013

Development burden
FNP Editorial
Saturday, December 7, 2013

Monrovia Town Center hearings begin tonight
Frederick News Post
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hundreds show up at Monrovia Town Center hearing
Frederick News Post
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Monrovia Town Center: Round 2
Residents voice concerns during second hearing with county
Frederick News Post
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scaled-back Monrovia Town Center passes commissioners
Frederick News Post
Friday, January 17, 2014

Not impartial
FNP Letter to the Editor
Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blaine Young’s full transparency
FNP Editorial
Monday, January 20, 2014

Frederick County’s one-man band
FNP column by Bill Pritchard
Sunday, January 26, 2014

Surprise! Surprise!
FNP Letter to the Editor by William Bugg
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Monrovia Town Center developer meets with public
Frederick News Post
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Commission OKs revised zoning map for Monrovia Town Center
Frederick News Post
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Planners OK Monrovia Town Center plan
Frederick News Post
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Habitat…For Humanity
Frederick Gorilla column by Matt Edens
March 28, 2014

On the record inconsistencies during Monrovia hearing
Frederick News Post
Letter to the Editor by Steve McKay
Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blaine’s boondoggles
Frederick News Post column by Boyce Rensberger
Monday, March 31, 2014

‘Just plain arrogance’
Frederick News Post Letter to the Editor by Amy Reyes
Friday, April 4, 2014

Traffic concerns raised at Landsdale development hearing
Frederick News Post
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Commissioners hear testimony on Monrovia Town Center plan
Frederick News Post
Thursday, April 10, 2014

Night 3: Monrovia Town Center opponents question county staff
Frederick News Post
Friday, April 11, 2014