Smarter Growth Alliance of Frederick County: Letter supporting proposed amendments to Council Bill 17-17

Below is a letter from the Smarter Growth Alliance of Frederick County, expressing support for the most recently proposed amendments to Council Bill 17-17 (revisions to the County Forest Resource Ordinance).

The county council’s public hearing for the amended version of the bill will be Tuesday, February 20, at 7:00pm, in the first floor hearing room at Winchester Hall.

Below the letter is a link to the bill, with the proposed amendments.


February 20, 2018

Frederick County Council
President Bud Otis
Vice President M.C. Keegan-Ayer
Councilmember Tony Chmelik
Councilmember Kirby Delauter
Councilmember Jerry Donald
Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater
Councilmember Billy Shreve

Re: Support for Proposed Amendments to Council Bill 17-17

Dear President Otis and Councilmembers,

The Smarter Growth Alliance for Frederick County is a coalition of local and state organizations representing approximately 16,000 members and supporters in Frederick County. We engage residents and policy makers in support of wise land use that values our rural landscapes, protects our natural resources, and enhances the unique character of our towns and cities to ensure a more resilient and prosperous future.

We are writing today in support of the proposed amendments to Bill 17-17 introduced by Councilmembers Fitzwater and Chmelik. These amendments clarify portions of the FRO and strengthen forest protections.

The proposed amendments were negotiated among a group of stakeholders representing development, agricultural, and environmental interests. While we remain hopeful to see additional, future progress regarding afforestation and reforestation thresholds in the FRO program, we are pleased that the current amendments strengthen the mitigation banking program, reduce allowable miscellaneous credits, and provide administrative clarity to portions of the FRO program.

The benefits of healthy forests were described in detail during the January 9, 2018 County Council public hearing. The public spoke out overwhelmingly in favor of stronger forest protections, even more than what we see in the proposed amendments. Investing in our forests provides our children and grandchildren, the future of Frederick County, with cleaner air, land, and water. We urge you to support the proposed amendments to Council Bill 17-17, but to also continue working with and engaging stakeholders to promote additional, future forest protections in Frederick County.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Golden Brandt
Acting Executive Director
1000 Friends of Maryland

David Curson
Director of Bird Conservation
Audubon Maryland-DC

Morgan Lakey
President
Audubon Society of Central Maryland

Elizabeth Bauer
Vice President
Citizens for the Preservation of Middletown Valley

Betsy Smith
President
Cleanwater Linganore

Jennifer Kunze
Maryland Program Organizer
Clean Water Action

Karen Russell
Founder
Climate Change Working Group

Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director
Coalition for Smarter Growth

Kai Hagen
Executive Director
Envision Frederick County

Patrice Gallagher
Board President
Frederick Zero Waste Alliance

Janice Wiles
Executive Director
Friends of Frederick County

Kirsten Johnson
President
Maryland Native Plant Society

Karla Raettig
Executive Director
Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Caitlin Wall
Policy Director
Potomac Conservancy

Matt Seubert
Vice President
Residents Against Landsdale Expansion (RALE)

Daniel Andrews
Chairman
Sierra Club Catoctin Group

cc: Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner
Steve Horn, Frederick County Planning Director


Open or download a copy of the proposed legislation here (as a pdf file):
“AN ACT to: Amend Chapter 1-21 of the Frederick County Code (Forest Resource Ordinance) to revise the forest planting, retention, and mitigation requirements.”