Potomac Conservancy Urges Citizens To Speak Out Against Stream Buffer Changes

WFMD
Kevin McManus
10/15/2013
A regional organization is urging Frederick County citizens to speak out against proposed changes to stream buffer regulations. In an e-mail sent out last week, the Potomac Conservancy said residents need to tell the Commissioners to vote against changes to the Waterbody Buffer Amendment."It's {the current regulations} a proven, cost-effective methodology that will help reduce flooding on rainy days, and also keep pollutants out of much of the drinking water supply," says Hedrick Belin, President of the Potomac River Conservancy. The revisions would reduce the minimum setbacks for buildings being constructed near bodies of water, cut down the required study area around bodies of water and remove special rules for the Lake Linganore area.

Gardner leaves job at Mikulski’s office and mulls future

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/09/2013
Former County Commissioner Jan Gardner has left her job as state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. As the first-ever race for Frederick County executive nears, what could be next for her? Reached by phone this week, Gardner said she's taking some time to think about her future, but declined to give any clues about whether an elected office is on her mind. She did acknowledge that many people are urging her to run for county executive in 2014. "If anybody ... tells you you've done a good job and says they'd like you to do it again, I think that's always flattering, certainly," she said. Gardner, a Democrat, joined Mikuslki's office shortly after the end of her term as commissioners president. Her last day as the senator's state director was in July, she said. With the buzz that Gardner is looking at the executive race, some see a potential match of the political heavyweights brewing between her and Commissioners President Blaine Young. On Thursday, Young, who has said he is open to a Republican bid for Frederick County executive, said Gardner's entrance into the race would nudge him toward joining it himself. "People say that she's the leader of one philosophy, and I'm the leader of the other philosophy. … Some would would like to see that competition take place," he said.

Gardner leaves job at Mikulski's office and mulls future

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/09/2013
Former County Commissioner Jan Gardner has left her job as state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. As the first-ever race for Frederick County executive nears, what could be next for her? Reached by phone this week, Gardner said she's taking some time to think about her future, but declined to give any clues about whether an elected office is on her mind. She did acknowledge that many people are urging her to run for county executive in 2014. "If anybody ... tells you you've done a good job and says they'd like you to do it again, I think that's always flattering, certainly," she said. Gardner, a Democrat, joined Mikuslki's office shortly after the end of her term as commissioners president. Her last day as the senator's state director was in July, she said. With the buzz that Gardner is looking at the executive race, some see a potential match of the political heavyweights brewing between her and Commissioners President Blaine Young. On Thursday, Young, who has said he is open to a Republican bid for Frederick County executive, said Gardner's entrance into the race would nudge him toward joining it himself. "People say that she's the leader of one philosophy, and I'm the leader of the other philosophy. … Some would would like to see that competition take place," he said.

Frederick residents mixed on mall's decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

Frederick residents mixed on mall’s decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

Blaine and Co. bad for Frederick County

Frederick News Post
George Wenschhof
07/07/2013
The 4-1 vote recently to sell the Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Care facilities and disband their board of trustees, illustrates the latest example of Frederick County government behaving badly. Immediately following the 2010 election, new board of county commissioners’ president Blaine Young (R) proclaimed Frederick County “Open for Business.” Joining Young as newly elected Republicans on the five member board were Kirby Delauter, Billy Shreve and Paul Smith, who I quickly dubbed with the moniker; “Blaine and Co.,” the moniker resulting from their like ideology and the carte blanche votes Delauter, Shreve and Smith gave to Young on anything Young would propose. Fueled by “tea party” fervor, prevalent across the nation, that promoted less government and less spending, Blaine and Co. wasted no time in promoting these ideals, a disturbing pattern of governing that clearly illustrates how following ideology often trumps reasonable representation. The resulting action from Blaine and Co. was felt immediately after their election, when they moved to eliminate $2 million in county funding for Head Start, a proven and effective federal program that helps children in need during the critical early years of development. What has followed over the next 2 1/2 years has been a continued move to follow an irresponsible privatization path in governing.

Trio of Development Projects Still Proposed

Urbana Town Courier
Sally Alt
06/28/2013
Three proposed development projects will play a significant role in shaping the Urbana and Monrovia communities. Currently, developers for the Monrovia Town Center and Urbana Town Center are seeking approval for zoning and site plans for these residential and commercial developments. The 457-acre proposed Monrovia Town Center development includes 1,510 single-family and multi-family units. The development, which will be located east of Ed McLain Road and north of the intersection of MD 80 and MD 75, needs zoning approval before starting the site plan review process. The Urbana Town Center/Northern Mixed Use development between MD 355 and I-270, south of Park Mills Road, will include up to 2 million square feet of office space and some commercial development, according to Denis Superczynski, a principal planner for Frederick County. He said the developer, Urbana Investment Properties II, LLC, plans to submit for review a site plan and preliminary subdivision, which will be focused initially on the residential portion of the project. A site plan for commercial development at the MD 75-80 Dragway property in Monrovia includes grocery stores, retail, offices and restaurants. The site plan for this development, which will be integrated with the Monrovia Town Center, is currently under review, according to Jim Gugel, the planning manager for the Community Development Division in Frederick County.

Frederick County levies 1-cent storm-water fee

Local officials protest state-mandated pollution control law
Baltimore Sun
Tim Wheeler
05/31/2013
Unhappy over a state law requiring property owners to pay a new fee to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay, Frederick County officials have decided to set the charge at just a penny a year. The county's board of commissioners approved the 1-cent storm-water pollution control fee on Thursday, declaring they were doing even that only to avoid possible state restrictions on new development in the county if they didn't act.

Bill limiting appeals of Frederick County developer pacts passes

Opponents must now take cases directly to court instead of appeals board
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/18/2013
A bill making it more difficult to undo binding agreements between developers and the Frederick County Board of Commissioners that will allow construction of hundreds of new homes and businesses passed the Maryland General Assembly minutes before the legislative session ended April 8.

Bill limiting appeals of Frederick County developer pacts passes

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/18/2013
A bill making it more difficult to undo binding agreements between developers and the Frederick County Board of Commissioners that will allow construction of hundreds of new homes and businesses passed the Maryland General Assembly minutes before the legislative session ended April 8. The bill, proposed by Del. Galen R. Clagett (Dist. 3A) of Frederick, will prevent opponents from asking the five-member Frederick Board of Appeals to overturn what are known as Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements, or DRRAs, signed between the commissioners and a builder. Currently, the law allows opponents of an agreement to take their case to the appeals board for an administrative review and decision. If the appeals board votes to stand by the agreement, opponents can take their case to Frederick County Circuit Court. The new bill, which is expected to go into effect Oct. 1, now forces opponents to go directly to a circuit court judge.

Frederick delegate angry about state’s criticism of county’s land use plans

Young, Hagen spar in regard letter from state
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/21/2012
Del. Galen Clagett was expected to meet with a Maryland Department of Planning official Wednesday about a letter the state sent to the Frederick Board of County Commissioners concerning their plan to develop 8,824 acres of farmland.

Frederick County growth plans criticized

Young: State’s stance is political, former commissioner involved
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/04/2012
A letter sent this past week from the Maryland Department of Planning, marks the second time the agency has criticized the commissioners’ plans to give 163 property owners permission to build homes and businesses on what now is open space.

Burnin’ Down The Waste

Trash Talk
Frederick Gorilla
Kelly Brook
04/27/2012
“No Incinerator!” scream the signs. If you live or work in Frederick County, you’ve seen them in windows, on lawns and in cars for years. You can’t help but notice them. When you see them, maybe you cringe from the vision of soaring incinerator smokestacks spewing a black, smoky, noxious sludge of particulates, carcinogens, and climate-altering acids. Or maybe you roll your eyes imagining the “tree-hugging, peace-loving, Common Market-shopping” conservationist who might have posted it. If you’re like most people, though, you take a moment to acknowledge your concern for the environment, worry for a moment about how this will affect your taxes, wonder what the heck this incinerator debate is all about—and then forget about it and get on with your day.

Carroll County hears trash options

Residents speak on waste-to-energy plan
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
02/29/2012
Carroll County's commissioners Tuesday night publicy reviewed whether to continue a partnership with Frederick County to build a waste-to-energy incinerator plant in Frederick before about 150 concerned residents. The commissioners heard from a variety of groups, ranging from those who were in favor of waste-to-energy to those offering more environmentally friendly alternatives -- including composting. The groups were invited to speak at a forum at Carroll Community College in Westminster. The meeting was called as Carroll County's commissioners debate the idea of moving forward with the plan.

Developers see culture shift in Frederick County’s business approach

Frederick more welcoming under Young board; no public announcements for projects yet
Gazette
Katherine Heerbrandt
02/23/2012
Frederick County’s new motto, “Open for Business,” sets off alarm bells for some, while others offer high praise. But although the barbs and accolades fly, it’s too soon to tell whether the business-friendly focus adopted by Frederick’s Board of County Commissioners in 2011 will have the intended effect of economic growth and lower taxes, said board President Blaine R. Young (R). Although he cannot name any specific projects on the horizon because of the confidential nature of negotiations, he said there is serious interest from companies that want to come to Frederick, including one that might bring 400 jobs to the county.

Frederick city annexation would not increase number of homes

Project would increase tax revenue, developers say
Gazette
Katherine Heerbrandt
02/03/2012
The developer of 285 acres of farmland in northern Frederick is seeking another 250 acres from the city, according to land use attorney Bruce Dean. However, the developer of Crumland Farm does not intend to increase the number of houses or commercial space it originally planned. In 2009, the city annexed 235 acres of the Crumland Farm property along U.S. Route 15, which is projected for as much as 1,200 homes and 1.3 million square feet of commercial space. Plans have not changed, but the additional acreage decreases the number of homes per acre from 9.2 to 4.5, and increases the percentage of open space from 26 percent to 30 percent. The new annexation request increases the number of single-family detached houses and townhomes and decreases the number of multi-family homes. The original plan called for 300 single-family homes, 150 townhomes, and 750 multi-family homes, while the combined annexation plan calls for 700 single-family homes, 300 townhomes and 200 multi-family homes.

Frederick County property owners ask for return of development rights

Commissioners also hear from residents opposed to more development
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
01/11/2012
Frederick County property owners finally had their opportunity Tuesday night to ask commissioners to restore development rights the previous board took away in 2010.

Glad Hagen's still engaged

Frederick News Post
Sandra Anderson
10/08/2011
Kudos to Kai Hagen. I was hoping there was a group out there who was keeping an eye on the goings-on in Frederick County. Evidently it is Envision Frederick County. For those of you who don't know, Envision Frederick County is a nonprofit organization that focuses on issues surrounding land use, good government, the environment, economic responsibility and quality of life.

Glad Hagen’s still engaged

Frederick News Post
Sandra Anderson
10/08/2011
Kudos to Kai Hagen. I was hoping there was a group out there who was keeping an eye on the goings-on in Frederick County. Evidently it is Envision Frederick County. For those of you who don't know, Envision Frederick County is a nonprofit organization that focuses on issues surrounding land use, good government, the environment, economic responsibility and quality of life.

Nonprofits to Frederick County: Take time privatizing

Ex-commissioner asks for 'thoughtful' tactics
Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
06/22/2011
Leaders from two area nonprofit organizations are calling for the Frederick County Commissioners to slow down on a proposal to privatize more than 500 county government jobs. In his report to the commissioners, Georgia consultant Oliver Porter last week recommended the board consider outsourcing core government services handled by about 500 of the county's more than 2,000 employees. Four public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for next month. On Tuesday, leaders from Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County, two local nonprofits, met at C. Burr Artz Public Library to discuss the proposal with Frederick County Commissioner David Gray. At a public hearing last week, the League of Women Voters also called for a slower process. Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County members suggested Porter's study should be reviewed by another consultant, or the county should consider establishing a pilot program of outsourcing only one department, instead of proceeding with Porter's plan of outsourcing all at once. "It's too big to rush into without a serious and thoughtful approach," said Kai Hagen, a former Frederick County commissioner who is now executive director of Envision Frederick County. He said the 27-page study contains little more detail than a brochure for Porter's business, PPP Associates, and described the report as a combination puff piece and sales pitch.