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

boccherings_april_8-9-10_featureOn 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 their displeasure about the proposed Monrovia Town Center.

This is a very important set of hearings and it is vital that you attend if you are concerned about this development.

At the Planning Commission hearings last week, they didn’t see the 350-400 people that attended the hearings in October.

Rather than assuming that people might be worn out and frustrated with the process, they interpreted the lower turnout as a sign that people were satisfied with the revisions they have made to the development plan. I don’t think you’re happy. I don’t think you’re satisfied. To prove it, you have to show up, sign up, and speak up. That starts on Tuesday, April 8th, at 6:00pm at Winchester Hall.

MTChearingcrowd500w

As before, there are two parts: First the zoning amendment, followed by the Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) and the associated Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance Letter of Understanding (APFO LOU).

This is how we expect the hearings to proceed:


• Staff presentation of the zoning amendment
• Cross-examination of the Staff (5 minutes/person)
• Developer presentation of the zoning amendment
• Cross-examination of the developer (5 minutes/person)
• Public testimony on the zoning amendment (3 minutes/person)

At this point, they may vote on the zoning amendment, or they may proceed with the DRRA and APFO LOU.  You will have the same speaking opportunities as in the zoning portion of the hearing:

• Staff presentation of the DRRA and APFO LOU
• Cross-examination of the Staff (5 minutes/person)
• Developer presentation of the DRRA and APFO LOU
• Cross-examination of the developer (5 minutes/person)
• Public testimony on the DRRA and APFO LOU (3 minutes/person)

At the end they will vote on the DRRA and APFO LOU plus the zoning amendment, if they hadn’t already done so.

Here are a couple thoughts for you. Remember all those questions about the roads and schools and more that they didn’t let citizens ask? Well this time around they can’t cut you off. Ask your questions! This is our final opportunity to get important concerns and issues into the public record. If something isn’t in the record, it can’t be considered as part of any legal appeals. This is also your final opportunity to influence these decision makers.

Revised Monrovia Town Center Concept (with circles added).

Revised Monrovia Town Center Concept (with circles added).

Did you know that every member of the Board of County Commissioners is running for elected office this Fall?

• Blaine Young – candidate for County Executive

• David Gray – candidate for County Executive

• Billy Shreve – candidate for County Council, At-Large

• Kirby Delauter – candidate for County Council, Distric 5

• Paul Smith – candidate for Delegate, District 3A

Believe me, with the exception of David Gray, none of these guys want to still be hearing and reading and talking about Monrovia Town Center. They want it done. They want to move past it. They want it to be a distant memory by the time the elections roll around. I don’t know about you, but I have no intention of letting that happen. 

I know it’s tiring, and frustrating, but we need to keep at it a little longer. We need to show up. We need to speak out. 

If you don’t think this development is right for this community, then say so. If you don’t think the County has any plans or budget to fix MD Route 75, then say so. 

In fact, if you know that “fixing” MD Route 75 means that you will lose part of your land and/or that it will harm your property values, then say so. 

If you think that our schools can’t handle this development, then say so. And finally, if you are tired of the lies and half-truths, and if you are tired of a county government that only seems to care about developers, then say so, clearly and emphatically.

Monrovia Town Center Will Impact the Entire County

Many of you living outside of Monrovia may wonder what “all the fuss” is about?

It’s a legitimate question. Here are just a few answers:

Monrovia Town Center is part of a development plan bringing more than 10,000 new homes to a relatively small area in southeastern Frederick County. The impacts of that development will be felt in a number of ways throughout the entire county.

Your schools will suffer. These developments will mean that four (or perhaps five) new elementary schools will have to be built to serve the new residents. Because of the specific approvals and agreements that go with them, the impact and mitigation fees will not provide remotely adequate funding to build the schools they will require. Among other things, that means taxpayers everywhere in the county will have to cover the cost. It also means that if your community has an older school in need of rehabilitation, expansion or replacement, those important projects will become a lower priority than building these new schools.
Your children’s schools will be negatively affects, or you taxes will increase, or both.

In addition, it is estimated that the Monrovia developments will require more than $262,000,000.00 to sufficiently address major safety and traffic concerns on MD Route 75. The developer will pay only a small fraction of that cost, and, again, area residents will either have to live with unsafe and highly congested roads, or all county taxpayers will have to pay the difference, or both.

Looming Bond Debt. Studies show that growth through residential development costs more in the services required to support those new residents, than the tax income from those new tax payers. When you then factor in major capital costs like new schools and roads, the problem worsens dramatically. Through this rush of development, Frederick County is gearing up for a massive wave of bond debt in the future.

Click on the graphics below to open a larger version.

14-04-02_MTCflier1

14-04-02_MTCflier


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:

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