Election supervisors want to cap LLC donations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/26/2013
Frederick's law regarding how much business owners can donate to candidates in elections should mirror the state's law, the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections decided Wednesday. The board will recommend to the mayor and Board of Aldermen that they pass an amendment to the city's election law that limits the amount a person who owns multiple business entities, such as limited liability corporations, is able to donate to each candidate. Anne Leffler, the board's president, said the change is long overdue. The business owner would be limited to the same amounts allowed to a resident or corporation — $2,500 to one mayoral candidate and $1,000 to one aldermanic candidate — no matter how many business entities that person owns or is making donations from.

County hears input on transportation priorities

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
09/23/2013
County staff members and representatives from the State Highway Administration met with the commissioners last week to go over transportation priorities for Frederick County. Transportation projects tend to develop slowly, so many of the items on the county priorities list were carried over from earlier years. The overall top priority remains widening U.S. 15 between I-70 and Md. 26. However, three key changes were made possible by state funding. Planners secured construction funding for the U.S. 15, Monocacy Boulevard interchange and a streetscape project on Main Street (Md. 144) in New Market. Streetscapes generally involve improving or adding sidewalks and upgrading roadways to make them more navigable.

City officials pass ordinance to fight blighted properties

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/07/2013
The city now has a bigger hammer to help it fight its most habitually blighted and vacant properties. Frederick's Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to pass an ordinance that would allow the city to set up a receivership program. With receivership, the city could take the owner of a habitually vacant, unsafe and nuisance property to court. The court could either force the owner to make upgrades, or take the property from the owner and sell it to a qualified owner, with requirements attached to fix up the property in a set time frame. Alderman Michael O'Connor said the city does not believe receivership to be "the magic solution." The city would use the tool sparingly, if at all, said Alderwoman Carol Krimm.

Delegate Hogan Announces he will not seek re-election

Frederick Politicis
George Wenschhof
08/13/2013
In a press release, Maryland Republican state delegate Patrick Hogan announced he will not will running next year for the seat in district 3-A. Hogan said “I am grateful to the citizens of Frederick for giving me the opportunity to represent them in the legislature,” said Hogan. He continued, “I never intended to make a career out of elected service and now it is time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life.” He added "he is particularly proud of working to secure funding for important local school construction and transportation projects as well as working on the Environmental Matters Committee trying to balance environmental protection with economic growth." There are two state delagte seats in district 3-A and Democratic delegate Galen Clagett, who is running for mayor of The City of Frederick has already announced he would not seek another term. The Maryland state election is next year and it is commonly known Democratic city alderman Carol Krimm, who is not seeking re-election as an alderman in the city election this year, will run for state delegate next year. Also, in the rumor mill is Democrat Ryan Trout, who ran for state delegate in district 4-A in the 2010 election. He now lives in Frederick, which is part of district 3-A.

City, county officials back regional transportation plan

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/31/2013
Residents should speak up for easier commutes and road and bridge repairs, according to Frederick city and county leaders. At a joint news conference Tuesday, Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith and city Alderwoman Carol Krimm praised a drafted transportation priorities plan that is under development by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Almost all major transportation projects need the council's blessing, so it's important to make sure the group's long-range plans reflect Frederick's needs, said Smith and Krimm. The Frederick area has significant infrastructure issues, the officials said. "We are actually behind the curve," Smith said.

Mayor: City has done more with less

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/30/2013
Mayor Randy McClement characterized his administration Monday as one that has managed to do more with less. McClement used his State of the City address as an opportunity to highlight his administration’s work on maintaining Frederick’s fiscal health, pushing forward road and public work projects, and helping spur commercial development — all during the recession. The mayor, whose first term ends this year, focused on the city’s current state, rather than giving specifics for what should happen in the future. “It was important to me that we not reduce service levels or increase taxes, but be more creative and do more with less,” he said. “I feel that with the passage of the fiscal year 2014 budget, the aldermen and I have done just that.” In the speech at City Hall, McClement addressed ongoing issues such as the second phase of Carroll Creek Linear Park, the city’s unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits, the downtown hotel and conference center project, and blighted and vacant properties.

U.S. 15-Monocacy interchange gets regional stamp of approval

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/25/2013
It could soon get easier to travel across town in Frederick now that a regional transportation planning board has given its blessing to the long-awaited U.S. 15 and Monocacy Boulevard interchange. The Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board voted last week to include the project in its transportation improvement program. Construction is set to be completed in 2016. The state agreed in May to use funds raised from the gas tax increase to foot the $84.5 million bill for construction, but the plan still had to be approved by appropriate regional authorities — in this case, the council of governments.

Will Wal-Mart Vote Impact City Election?

Frederick Politicis
George Wenschhof
07/19/2013
Redevelopment of areas of cities affected by economic and social demographic changes will always be a challenge for city planners and elected officials. Looking outward to discover what other cities across the country have done successfully in similar circumstances is a must. Having the courage and conviction to develop a vision and implement it is paramount. It remains to be seen if the Wal-Mart will be built and if so, what long term impact it will have on the area. Meanwhile, the city election nears, with two of the current aldermen; Kelly Russell (D) and Michael O'Connor (D) running for reelection, two running for mayor; Karen Young (D) and Shelley Aloi (R) and one; Carol Krimm (D) intending to run for Maryland state delegate next year. Will their vote on this issue influence voters when they go to the polls this Fall?

City makes way for Wal-Mart on Frederick Towne Mall site

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/19/2013
The stage is set for a third Wal-Mart in Frederick. After hearing more than an hour of impassioned public comment Thursday, the city's Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to rezone the Frederick Towne Mall property. The rezoning will allow Rockwood Capital, which owns the 20 acres on U.S. 40, to move forward with a proposal to bulldoze the nearly vacant mall and build a Wal-Mart. The developers will need to bring forward a site plan before finalizing its plan.

Frederick's race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Frederick’s race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Wal-Mart, zoning and blight among topics pondered by city officials

Frederick News Post
Ed Waters Jr.
06/15/2013
ssues ranging from a proposed downtown hotel to a Wal-Mart on the Golden Mile were informally discussed Friday by Frederick's mayor and aldermen at a meeting with the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. "If the same plan came in without the Wal-Mart name, people would support it," said Alderwoman Shelley Aloi of a proposal to put the big-box store at the former Frederick Towne Mall site on the west side of the city. "It is not our decision to say who goes into a property, it is up to the property owner and the market," Aloi said. "Is the best use for the property residential? No. There is already dense residential use in that area." Alderman Michael O'Connor and others moved to dispel the notion that all businesses on the Golden Mile stretch of U.S. 40 are hurting."Just go out there and see the traffic and the businesses," O'Connor said.

[City of Frederick Planning] Commission to review Wal-Mart proposal

Frederick News Post
06/09/2013
Wal-Mart's proposal for the Frederick Towne Mall property gets another review Monday. The Frederick Planning Commission, with a packed agenda, will consider Wal-Mart's proposal to tear down the mall at 1301 W. Patrick St., leave Boscov's, Ollie's Bargain Outlet and Home Depot as they are, and build a Wal-Mart on the north side of the 40-acre site. The commission meets at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Board Room at 101 N. Court St.

Frederick Zoning Board of Appeals member files to run for alderman

Dacey: ‘I want to see the right kind of growth when it comes to Frederick’
Gazette
Tripp Laino
05/09/2013
Frederick Zoning Board of Appeals member Philip Dacey has joined the expanding list of candidates vying for a spot on Frederick’s Board of Aldermen. Dacey, 34, a Republican, said he grew up in Frederick, graduating from Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in 1996. He is currently director of external affairs at the Motor Vehicle Administration, and is formerly a lawyer. He said his primary reason for running for the board was concern over the city’s growth, and making sure that the city grows responsibly.

Former Frederick planning commissioner files for aldermen

Democrat Josh Bokee, 39, joins nine others as field grows for city board race
Gazette
Tripp Laino
05/03/2013
Former city planning commission member Josh Bokee has joined a growing field of candidates vying for a seat on the five-member Frederick Board of Aldermen. Bokee, 39, a Democrat who has lived in the city for nine years, said his experience as a member of the Frederick Planning Commission would aid him in his run for alderman.

Frederick aldermen press developer on school overcrowding

Questioning gets heated over annexation that would add 300 homes to the city
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/31/2013
A plan to build 300 homes on nearly 49 acres of annexed farmland ran into tough questioning Wednesday from the Frederick Board of Aldermen which raised concerns about who would pay for possible school overcrowding. The developer, Christopher’s Crossing LLC, is asking the five aldermen for permission to build no more than 300 single-family homes and townhouses on land known as the Bargtis/Lasick-Rallas properties, located near Walter Martz and Christopher’s Crossing roads, west of U.S. 15. If the annexation is approved, construction would start in 2015. Developers first unveiled their plans to the mayor and aldermen at a Feb. 27 workshop, and were asked to come back for further discussions on the development’s impact on schools and roads in the area.

Clagett announces run for mayor of Frederick

Delegate has served 11 years in the House, eight as county commissioner
Gazette
Tripp Laino
02/28/2013
State Del. Galen Clagett is hoping to trade his post in Annapolis for one closer to his hometown as mayor of Frederick. “I’ve got a real investment in the city and what goes on in Frederick city,” said Clagett (D-Dist. 3A). “Without sounding too egotistical, I’m going to bring a lot to the table. I have a huge history in public and private life; I have good contacts at the state level and can work with a new county executive. All of that can help us build a great city.” Frederick County will shift from a board of commissioners to a voter-approved charter government in 2014, with a county executive and council.