Planning Commission hearing a debacle

Frederick News Post
Catherine Forrence
Developers and their attorneys expect certainty in the land development process. Fair enough. We all like to know the rules of the game. Part of the zoning and subdivision process involves appearing before the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission’s Rules of Procedure provide certainty, and are issued to assist in the “orderly and efficient conduct of all matters with which the Commission is concerned.” Before the second public hearing on the Monrovia Town Center rezoning, I sent an email to the Frederick County Planning Commission and staff highlighting two sections of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure: §6.2 “Any person is entitled to appear and be heard by the Commission before it reaches a decision on any matter” and asked how cross-examination will be handled, as permitted by §6.9 “The Chairman will allow reasonable cross-examination of witnesses at a time and in a manner considered reasonable by the Chairman under the circumstances.” Prior to the Oct. 30 Monrovia Town Center hearing, I provided a copy of the Planning Commission’s Rules of Procedure to the Planning Commission’s chair, and asked whether the commission planned to follow their rules? No response. The county attorney announced the Planning Commission would not allow cross-examination, even though it is permitted by their rules! During the hearing that evening, a number of speakers asked and received no response from the commission when asked to follow their Rules of Procedure.

TransIT accepting input on proposed taxi voucher program

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
As the time for public comment on TransIT's proposed taxi voucher program comes to a close, director Nancy Norris wants to keep the conversation focused on service, not controversy. Some people, like Emmitsburg resident Catherine Forrence, have doubts about the proposal that would allow elderly or disabled residents to buy $10 debit cards pre-loaded with $60 for cab fare. Forrence emailed Pat Rosensteel, director of the county Citizen Services Division, stating that taxis are not an adequate substitute for TransIT-plus service because of the complications surrounding liability for riders in wheelchairs and other issues.