Commissioners open development floodgates wider as end of term nears

Winchester Hall is going to be very busy, again, on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

It starts on Wednesday morning, when the Frederick County Planning Commission has another very full docket! Let’s call it a “mini-Mega Hearing!”

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We continue to witness an unprecedented frenzy of development-related actions in the final weeks before the current Board of County Commissioners leaves office.

Don’t be fooled! That is exactly what is happening here — a mad rush to approve as much as possible in the last days of their term. The over-full schedule is being driven by Blaine Young, who is working fast to make good on all the promises he’s made to development interests that have poured a few hundred thousand dollars into his campaigns.

Here’s a brief list of a few of the different actions below, with links to the appropriate documentation.

Planning Commission Hearing Agenda

Please see the links in the Agenda to the following: Phase II(ish) approvals for portions of Jefferson Tech Park, Ballenger Run, and Linganore; the triennial water & sewer plan; a proposal for the transfer of development rights from agricultural land in one area to agricultural land in another part of the county (a very bad idea); and a change in the rules of procedure (pay attention to this!).

A couple of other significant actions are described below.

“Treasure Mountain” (Bill Moxley Rd.)

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This is a small development on well and septic with reasonably-sized lots. That’s not so bad. However, it’s also a 24-home development on Bill Moxley Road, and that’s not so good. See the graphic below.

Blentinger PUD DRRA

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The responsibility — or task — for the Planning Commission here is to determine whether or not the proposed Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement for the Blentlinger Property is consistent with the County Comprehensive Plan.

The county commissioners punted on this large development proposal in New Market. They won’t hear it until after the election. The Planning Commission is doing their part by deciding that the DRRA is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

bocc300wMeanwhile, on Thursday, the Board of County Commissioners has an extremely packed agenda.

The commissioners have postponed two of significant agreements with developers (DRRAs), for developments in in Libertytown and Buckeystown. But they are intent on pushing three other, new DRRAs, before the book closes on their administration. These last minute agreements will commit the incoming Charter Government (and the four county executives and county councils to follow) to these developer-drafted 25 year contracts.

These aren’t all for huge developments, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have significant impacts on the local communities, or that there is adequate infrastructure in place, or even planned.

Beyond that, it’s an abuse of authority and power to be signing these new 25 year contracts in their last few weeks in office! The fact that they are pulling this stunt in the middle of a workday to minimize public participation only makes it worse.

You’ll find links to the agenda and the DRRAs below.

Click here for the complete BOCC Agenda

Rayburn PUD DRRA

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You may have heard about this one. This is one of a number of developments where Blaine Young decided that townhouses weren’t appropriate … perhaps because it will sit next to an expensive, big-lot development

Ratley PUD DRRA

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This is a small development in the Spring Ridge/Bartonsville area with a 20 year DRRA.

Hogan Property DRRA

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I can’t help but wonder if this 25-year DRRA could be some sort of political pay-off to Larry Hogan.

This development is taking away the wooded buffer zone between two other developments on New Design Road near Crestwood Boulevard.

All the details missing in this partial list and brief descriptions can be found by following the links above. The overarching point here is to convey the torrent of development-related activity pouring through the system — before and after the election — as the current, and last, Board of County Commissioners wraps up their time in Winchester Hall


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