Shades of Green

Saving the Planet Touches Almost Every Area of Frederick County Living, and it Comes with a Price Tag
Frederick Magazine
Linda Norris-Waldt
Save the Bay. Buy recycled. Reduce your carbon footprint. Conserve water. The list goes on and on. And so does the number of programs and projects that aim to improve Frederick County’s environment— and with them, the debate about where lies the responsibility: Who pays, who is inconvenienced by change, and how much habit-breaking is practical when the returns aren’t immediately evident. A myriad of regulations, public education programs and businesses have brought environmental initiatives to our doors. The new programs, like mandating rain barrels and rain gardens for new subdivisions, roll in with great fanfare like ocean waves, supported by public demand. And then they are either delayed or abridged because of cost, impact or feasibility. A constant rebalancing is always taking place. Kirby Delauter, a Frederick County commissioner whose work in construction takes him into the field where he has direct encounters with environmental regulations, has been no fan of the feasibility of government programs regulating the environment. They have “grown exponentially and for no good reason other than to expand the role of government in our lives,” he says. “Stormwater has been ruled by courts to not be a pollutant, yet we still seem to have governing bodies that can’t let go of the power and control of regulating the lives of personal property owners.” Kai Hagen, a community activist and former county commissioner known for championing environmental causes, has a differing view. “If people knew the real environmental and economic costs and benefits associated with the choices we make—as a community—I’m convinced we would be making a lot more responsible choices than we are now,” he says. Here’s how current environmental programs in Frederick County touch water, land and lives.

Frederick County to continue, possibly expand municipal recycling program

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
Bottles and cans might soon have to cover less distance to land in a recycling bin near Brunswick or Thurmont. The Board of County Commissioners decided Thursday to continue and possibly expand the county's municipal recycling program. Middletown, Walkersville and Emmitsburg each have the recycling drop-off sites, and under the pilot program, have received county dollars to reimburse them for running the centers. Commissioners on Thursday unanimously opted to make the recycling incentive program permanent and set aside $50,000 to fund the current sites and support Brunswick and Thurmont if they join the program. "This is a program we started. It's been very, very popular. So this is to take it to another level," Commissioners President Blaine Young said. The fiscal 2014 funding levels represent a reduction from last year, when the program was budgeted for up to $100,000. However, Phillip Harris, the county's superintendent of solid waste management, said the three participating municipalities together used only about $12,300 of the available funds.

Brunswick eyes sustainable efficiencies

City committee to find ways to encourage resource conservation
Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
The asphalt parking lot at City Hall has sprouted islands of flower beds and trees. Not only does the flora beautify the utilitarian backside of buildings in the first block of West Potomac Street, it stands to earn the city some credit with the state. Brunswick has just started working toward certification in the Sustainable Maryland Certified program, and although the garden was not part of the new effort, it could count. The City Council approved setting up an ad hoc committee called the Green Team to get started. About 10 interested residents attended the first meeting, and others said they want to participate, Mayor Karin Tome said.

[Brunswick] Mayoral candidates share vision for future of city at debate

Frederick News Post
Nicholas C. Stern
When Mayor Carroll Jones ran for office in 2008, he said it would be his last time. Yet, he also said he wanted to see a resolution to a dispute with Rosemont over providing a new waterline to the neighboring village, Jones said Thursday at a mayoral debate at Beans in the Belfry with Karin Tome, Brunswick councilwoman and fellow mayoral candidate. "We have made a lot of progress, but we are not there yet," he said. In June, Jones announced his plans to run for re-election to another four-year term as mayor. The election is set for Aug. 7. In August, he will have been in office as mayor for 12 years, with 10 prior years spent on the City Council.

County officials beginning growth plans with Brunswick

Frederick News Post
Nicholas C. Stern
County officials interested in aligning the county's growth plans with changes to municipal master plans will begin the process with Brunswick. In a public hearing today, county commissioners will discuss updating the county's principal planning document to coincide with Brunswick's stated planning goals over the next two decades and beyond. That alignment would be dubbed the 2012 Brunswick Community Plan Amendment. Adopted by the Brunswick mayor and council in November, the city's plan reflects projected growth of about 500 acres, according to Bruce Dell, Brunswick's planning and zoning administrator. About 75 percent of the growth is planned for the east side of the city, with the remainder to the west.

Plans for new libraries in Frederick County could be stalled

Young proposes continued funding for schools, public safety
Sherry Greenfield
Frederick County Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young has proposed a temporary halt to the construction of new libraries in the county. Young (R) said he would like to reduce or eliminate fees collected from builders to build new libraries. Under his proposal, developers would continue to pay fees for new school construction. “I don’t want to slow down school construction or reduce the impact fees for schools, because that [school construction] is one of the priorities of this board,” he said. “It’s in our strategic plan.”

Tome announces bid for Brunswick mayor

Frederick News Post
Nicholas C. Stern
Karin Tome, a Brunswick City Council member, plans to run for mayor in August. A 20-year city resident, Tome, 53, was elected to the council in 2008 after about a year of active involvement and opposition to the city's annexation of the Brunswick Crossing development, which almost doubled the size of the city, she said. Brunswick Crossing, which opened in 2010, is expected to eventually include some 1,500 houses. Tome supported a failed 2001 referendum on the annexation, mostly because she believed it would create a divide in the city, she said. "I didn't want to see Brunswick go in that direction," Tome said. "Rather, I wanted to see Brunswick grow out slowly." As the development begins to grow, along with renewed interest in downtown investment, Tome said she wants to foster mutual respect and cooperation among newcomers with fresh ideas for the future and lifelong residents who built the railroad city and may find the transition difficult. "I see myself in the role of continuing that transition," she said.