New primary date makes campaigns adjust schedules

While others actively campaign, Gansler opting for September start
Gazette
Ryan Marshall
07/26/2013
A new primary date has led many Maryland gubernatorial campaigns to start their politicking unseasonably early, but some prime contenders have opted for a delayed start to the race. For the 2014 election, Maryland’s primary will be held on June 24 rather than in September, forcing candidates who otherwise might have waited until the fall to declare their intentions earlier.
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Young supports Frederick County sheriff despite controversies

County renews controversial federal immigration program
Gazette
Ryan Marshall
07/05/2013
Potential gubernatorial candidate Blaine R. Young (R) said he stands by his sheriff amid several recent controversies and a renewal of the county’s participation in a controversial federal immigration program. Young, the president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, said Sheriff Chuck Jenkins (R) is the latest in a long line of fine Frederick County sheriffs. “I think we have an outstanding sheriff’s department,” Young said, adding that Jenkins has been effective in both law enforcement and fiscal responsibility. Jenkins has found himself under fire in recent years for the county’s embrace of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 287(g) program, which brings together local and federal law enforcement to enforce immigration policy. Frederick is the only county in Maryland to participate in the program. It has used it since 2008. On June 27, the sheriff’s office renewed its participation in the program for another three years, through 2016, Jenkins said Tuesday.

Carroll commissioners to discuss waste-to-energy, stormwater management fee

Carroll County Times
Christian Alexandersen
06/23/2013
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to discuss and possibly make a decision on the waste-to-energy proposal Thursday. In June 2012, the board sent a letter to its Frederick County counterparts suggesting each party go their own way when it comes to plans for a waste-to-energy incinerator. In August, Frederick County sent a letter back stating that Carroll may seek alternatives while it looks for substitute equity partners to replace Carroll in the contract between the two counties. Frederick County has yet to find a partner to replace Carroll.

[Montgomery County] Organic farm advocates to host fundraiser

Gazette
Ryan Marshall
06/13/2013
Supporters of an organic farm in Potomac are trying to improve their relationship with the Montgomery County Board of Education after a legal controversy over the property, but the school system doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to mend fences. About 150 people, including a crowd of Montgomery County senators, delegates and council members, are expected to attend a fundraiser tonight at Glenview Mansion in Rockville to benefit the nonprofit Brickyard Educational Farm on Brickyard Road in Potomac.

Pulte housing plan for 1,000 units in Boyds under fire

Coalition recommends shifting density to unbuilt Clarksburg Town Center
Gazette
Virginia Terhune
06/12/2013
[Montgomery] County environmentalists are recommending that a plan by the Pulte Group to build 1,000 homes on three ridges in the Ten Mile Creek watershed in Boyds be scaled back or eliminated by placing most of the 538-acre rural site into the county’s Agriculture Reserve. “The only way to preserve fragile water systems is to cap development in their watersheds, clear and simple,” according to a 26-page report released June 6 by the Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition.

Boom in multifamily housing moving to Frederick

But is there a bust on the way?
Gazette
Sonny Goldreich
06/07/2013
Multifamily vacancy rates in Frederick County stand at about 2.3 percent today, falling by more than half since the 4.9-percent rate in 2010, he noted in a blog posted last week. During the same period, apartment rental rates in the county have increased almost 6 percent since 2010. There are 6,061 units currently in the county pipeline, with 4,069 units in the city of Frederick alone. This is a slow-moving construction boom that could take until 2030 to be completed, but developers see value in building apartments that they don’t see in other sectors of commercial real estate, Mackintosh said

A farewell to Frederick and Mount Airy Gazettes

Gazette to close Frederick and Mount Airy editions
Gazette
05/15/2013
After a careful review of these ever-shifting market conditions, The Gazette has decided to close its Frederick County editions. This is the last edition.
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Frederick residents spar over plan to build new Walmart on Golden Mile

About 150 attend meeting at empty mall to hear developers
Gazette
Tripp Laino
05/10/2013
The Frederick Planning Commission recommended at a March meeting that the aldermen reject the zoning change. It’s the third time the plans have been presented publicly, with vocal opponents and proponents of the plan to replace the nearly empty Frederick Towne Mall sparring at previous meetings, and online on social media sites. An online petition drive on the website Change.org has nearly 1,500 signatures, with residents urging the aldermen not to approve the zoning change.

Frederick County sets property tax

With fire tax rolled into general fund, overall rate increases
Gazette
Ryan Marshall
05/09/2013
The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the county’s $516 million proposed budget for fiscal 2014 on June 6. The new property tax rate of $1.064 per $100 of assessed value is an increase from the fiscal 2013 rate of $0.936. The commissioners approved the new rate by a vote of 4-1.

Incinerator would tower over historic Monocacy battlefield

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/25/2013
The Monocacy National Battlefield has again been identified as one of Maryland’s most endangered historical sites because of its proximity to a planned incinerator in Frederick County. In 2008, the Civil War Preservation Trust, a nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of Civil War battlefields, named the park an endangered site because of how close it would be to the proposed “waste-to-energy facility” that will burn trash to produce electricity. This time, Preservation Maryland — a nonprofit organization founded in 1931 to advocate for historic sites, neighborhoods and landscapes in the state — has also recently named the battlefield one of the state’s most endangered historical sites because the incinerator’s 270-foot smokestack will be visible from across the battlefield.

Political blogger runs for Frederick Board of Aldermen

Jack Lynch, 53, is one of four Democrats to file for race for five open seats
Gazette
Tripp Laino
04/23/2013
A political commentator has decided to put his words into action, joining three other Democrats and four Republicans who have filed thus far to run for five seats on the Frederick Board of Aldermen. Jack D. Lynch II, 53, who said he has lived in Frederick for about 13 years, has been writing political commentary on his website, www.FrederickCitizen.com, for about a dozen of those years. He said it was time to move from commenting about the issues to being active politically.

Bank credit manager runs for Frederick alderman

Gazette
Tripp Laino
04/22/2013
Republican candidate Daniel Cowell has joined the growing list of candidates vying for one of five open seats on the Frederick Board of Aldermen. Cowell, 37, said he was born and raised in Frederick County, having graduated from Middletown High School in 1994, and has been a resident of the city since 2000. A credit manager for JP Morgan Chase in Towson, Cowell said his financial background is one of the reasons he opted to run for office.

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.

Young’s diatribe doesn’t represent Frederick County

Gazette
Ysela Bravo-Schwetje
04/04/2013
As a constituent of wonderful Frederick County, I am mortified at the behavior of our elected official, county Commissioner Blaine R. Young. I don’t agree with his politics, but I am always open to listening and hearing the other side. I want to be informed, even if the facts don’t align with my political beliefs.The headline, “Anti-growth whiners...” (The Gazette, Forum, March 21), should have tipped me off. In a 20-paragraph commentary, there are only seven that do not denigrate his constituents that disagree with him. He says his detractors “whine” and “complain,” are “malcontents,” “selfish,” and “live in fantasy world,” questions their motives and says they deal in lies. What else did I learn? Oh yes, that the school system is fine, and developers don’t need to pay into the system because there are no problems.
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Answering a burning question

Gazette
04/04/2013
Like a slow-burning fire that won’t go out, the continuous spontaneous combustion of questions surrounding the construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County has taken on a life of its own. Since first being proposed eight years ago as a way to mitigate the high cost of hauling away trash from the county’s full landfill on Reichs Ford Road, the $527 million project has been vetted, debated, twisted, turned, politicized and eviscerated over time. Yet we still don’t know for sure that, once built, whether the facility will be an economic savior or a nightmare, with the county already slated to put up $316 million just for construction costs alone.

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.

Senior citizens will suffer if county sells assisted-living center

Gazette
Diane Grove
03/28/2013
I am both outraged and saddened to hear that the residents at Montevue are being referred to as “a drain on taxpayers.” As a native of Frederick County, taxpayer, and a current Frederick County employee, I couldn’t disagree more! These seniors are members of our community who, at one point in their lives, were taxpayers themselves. These so-called “drains” have been our friends, neighbors, co-workers, mailmen, nurses, doctors, and caregivers (just to name a few). They are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. They have spent their lives working hard raising their families and being productive citizens of what I used to consider a warm, caring farming community, a community that took pride in itself for taking care of its own. What has happened to us?

Frederick County reviewing three bids to buy senior-care facilities

Some fear sale of properties could hurt older citizens
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/19/2013
Frederick County is one step closer to selling its nursing home and assisted-living facility for low-income senior citizens, in a move that still is being opposed by some advocates for older residents. County officials and legal and financial experts are reviewing three of six companies that submitted bids to buy the facilities by the March 12 deadline. The three nationwide firms with offices in Maryland include Aurora Healthcare Management, Millennium Management and NMS Healthcare. “These are the three firms we felt were worth taking to the next level,” County Manager Lori Depies said in a media conference call on Tuesday. The next steps will be visiting each firm, conducting interviews, assessing their patient care, talking to employees and analyzing their finances, Depies said.

Frederick panel rejects zoning change for Golden Mile mall

Planners oppose allowing big-box store, prefer keeping residential element
Gazette
Tripp Laino
03/12/2013
Denying a request from the developer of the Frederick Towne Mall, the Frederick Planning Commission has left unchanged the zoning for the linchpin to the long-awaited revitalization of the Golden Mile. The current mixed-use zoning designation requires the development of both commercial and residential use, and prohibits the building of warehouse stores and super centers. The mall sits at the far end of the Golden Mile, which stretches along U.S. Route 40 between U.S. 15 and Interstate 70 and is one of the first places visitors encounter when entering the stretch from I-70. The mayor and Frederick Board of Aldermen have final approval of any zoning change, but consider recommendations from the commission.

Frederick lawmaker pushes bill to limit appeals of developer pacts

Anti-growth group calls proposal ‘outrageous’ attempt to negate safeguard
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
02/19/2013
A state legislative committee could make a decision as early as this week on a bill that would make it more difficult to undo binding agreements between developers and the Frederick Board of County Commissioners to build hundreds of new homes and businesses. The bill, proposed by Del. Galen R. Clagett (D-Dist. 3A) of Frederick, had its first hearing on Feb. 14 before the 24-member House Environmental Matters Committee in Annapolis. Clagett presented the bill to the panel, explaining that, if passed, the measure would prevent opponents from asking the five-member Frederick County Board of Appeals to overturn what are known as Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements signed between the commissioners and a builder.