Proud of citizen involvement

Frederick News Post
Jan Gardner
11/10/2013
Congratulations to the hundreds of residents from the Monrovia area who have participated in the planning commission public hearings on the proposed Monrovia Town Center. This is “democracy in action.” Citizens have a right to be heard. Monrovia residents are raising their voices loudly but thoughtfully. They have done their homework, raised legitimate issues, asked honest questions and deserve to have their concerns discussed and addressed. I watched the planning commission meeting on Wednesday and was embarrassed and saddened by the mistreatment and rude behavior toward these citizens by the planning commission, specifically during cross-examination. Citizens deserve to be treated with dignity and respect even if they are presenting an opinion that planning commission members and the developers disagree with. Citizens should be welcome and encouraged to participate in their government. Unfortunately, citizens were ridiculed, shut down mid-sentence, and actively discouraged. I have watched hundreds of public hearings over the past 20 years and have never witnessed such negative treatment of the participating public.

Arguments heard in comp plan lawsuit against county

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
10/23/2013
A legal challenge to the county's long-range growth plan should be tossed out of court unless commissioners made an error of constitutional proportions, county attorneys argued Tuesday. On the opposite side of the courtroom, attorneys contended that judicial oversight of local government extends beyond the limits of the state and federal constitutions. During a court hearing that stretched into early afternoon, debate centered on whether a judge should dismiss a lawsuit filed against the county. The plaintiffs, including a number of county residents and the nonprofit Friends of Frederick County, take issue with how and why commissioners changed the comprehensive plan, a document officials use to map a 20-year course for local growth. Rather than considering the county as a whole, commissioners simply eased development restrictions on a handful of properties, the plaintiffs argue. The underlying reason for making the changes was to increase land values, an improper motivation, according to the complainants.

Planning commission OKs plan for 147-home Libertytown project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/14/2013
A plan for 147 new homes in Libertytown has area residents talking about the need for a global look at development in the area. The concept plan for the Mill Creek development, situated on about 66 acres along Jones Road and north of Green Valley Road, won approval Friday from the Frederick County Planning Commission. The project that began in the early 1990s has faced numerous hurdles over the years, but it is finally gaining steam, said Ed Wormald, who represented the developer and landowner. However, three neighbors of the proposed project are wary of moving forward too quickly. Many of the roads leading to the subdivision are narrow and rural, and Rustin Gallagher, one of the residents, said they should be improved before more cars are added. Traffic accidents on these roads have already claimed lives, he said. "Mike Fink was killed right there," he said, pointing to a road on the map of Mill Creek. Fink died in a January 2012 collision with a tractor-trailer on Md. 75 near Jones Road.

Frederick County commissioners approve the rezoning of 8, 824 acres of land

New comprehensive plan opens door to construction of 12, 600 homes
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
09/13/2012
Frederick County Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young celebrated his 41st birthday today by voting to approve a plan to rezone 8,824 acres of county farmland that could lead to the construction of 12,688 new homes.

Conflicting Opinions Offered at BOCC Land-Use Hearing

Urbana Town Courier
Kristy Crawford
08/23/2012
The Frederick County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is working quickly to revise the 2010 Comprehensive Plan, which restricted the right to build in some areas throughout Frederick County. On July 31, approximately 75 people attended a meeting at Oakdale High School before the BOCC and the Frederick County Planning Commission, to express often strong opinions on the BOCC’s proposal. Close to 9,000 acres of land throughout Frederick County — largely from Urbana to New Market — and more than 12,000 homes could potentially be developed with the revised plan. The revised plan estimates a population increase of more than 20 percent in the next 10 years.

State rejects parts of Frederick County water, sewer plan

Young blames politics, not growth plan inconsistencies for decision
Gazette
07/26/2012
Frederick County Board of Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young (R) is blaming politics instead of state law for Maryland’s recent rejection of portions of the county’s 2011 water and sewer plan because planners found it inconsistent with the area’s own growth plan. The plan includes revisions that extend water and sewer service to properties outside the county’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan, a blueprint for growth updated every 10 years. The county is in the process of changing its growth plan to allow more development. The Maryland Department of Planning, which reviewed the Maryland Department of the Environment’s evaluation of the county’s water and sewer plan, said in a May 31 letter to MDE that while some of the plan’s revisions “strengthen the relationship” between the county’s growth and water and sewer plans, other revisions are inconsistent.

State again condemns county's land-use plan

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
05/01/2012
The state continues to disagree with Frederick County's decision to push forward with its land-use review, according to a letter from the Maryland Department of Planning. In the letter received by the county Thursday, a state planning official expresses concern that the county did not give the public enough time to respond to proposed changes to the comprehensive plan and zoning review

State again condemns county’s land-use plan

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
05/01/2012
The state continues to disagree with Frederick County's decision to push forward with its land-use review, according to a letter from the Maryland Department of Planning. In the letter received by the county Thursday, a state planning official expresses concern that the county did not give the public enough time to respond to proposed changes to the comprehensive plan and zoning review

Frederick County commissioners plan to make growth decisions permanent

Young expects the board to approve more development
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/26/2012
Frederick County Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young (R) hopes to approve new housing and businesses in the county, while preventing future boards from overturning those decisions — even if conditions change. Young said this week several developers already have inquired about the agreement, provisionally granted to a development last week that could bring 1,100 homes to the southern part of the county. The agreements with developers — being used for the first time in the county — mark a reversal from the previous board of commissioners, which sought to limit growth by restricting land zoned for 700 properties from commercial, residential or industrial to agricultural or open space.

Frederick County: Commissioners cast the first votes in rezone requests

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
02/15/2012
A series of up-or-down votes by the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday was all it took to determine the direction of the ongoing comprehensive planning and zoning review. Applications that restored rights to owners whose property zoning was changed in the 2010 comprehensive plan were all preliminarily granted.

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.

State planners warn Frederick County rezonings could promote urban sprawl

Agency argues development of 14,000 acres could cause sprawl, questions commission’s move
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
11/21/2011
A state agency that combats urban sprawl is advising Frederick County not to give 193 property owners permission to build homes and businesses on 14,000 acres of farmland. The Maryland Department of Planning sent a letter to the county’s Division of Planning questioning why, after the previous board of county commissioners adopted a growth plan in 2010, the current board is proposing to make changes. The state agency warns that the rezoning of 193 properties could lead to urban sprawl, strains on county services and inefficient land use of land. “It is unclear to MDP (Maryland Department of Planning) what conditions have changed in Frederick County over the past year-and-a-half to warrant proposing such a dramatic shift in policy in the comprehensive plan,” states Peter Conrad, the director of the department’s local government assistance, in the seven-page letter dated Nov. 16.

Drawing the line: Residents, developers turn out to voice opinions on rezoning

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
11/17/2011
A mixed crowd of residents -- featuring those wanting to slow growth in their neighborhoods and those ready to build -- was out Wednesday night for the first public hearing of the Frederick County Planning Commission to discuss rewriting the county's land-use plan.