Green acres, not greenbacks

Frederick News Post
Chuck Honse
The Monrovia and Green Valley areas are about to change. The folks living there are about to lose the lifestyle for which they moved into the area — lots of green space instead of blacktop and concrete; lots of peace and quiet instead of the sounds of traffic and emergency equipment; lots of fresh country air, the smell of freshly cut grass and hayfields instead of the fumes generated by huge volumes of traffic; lots of peaceful living instead of living in fear of increased crime, which is often the result of densely populated areas; lots of space around their homes instead of having to listen to their neighbor snoring, sneezing or their radio/TV program; lots of sounds of children at play in their spacious backyards, birds chirping and singing instead of the sounds of honking horns and screaming sirens. Head puppeteer Blaine Young and his three puppets (Billy Shreve, C. Paul Smith, Kirby Delauter) are about to change it all.

Conflicting Opinions Offered at BOCC Land-Use Hearing

Urbana Town Courier
Kristy Crawford
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.

Transmission line meeting set for June 17 in Frederick

Frederick News Post
Ed Waters Jr.
Area residents will have an opportunity to meet with utility company officials June 17 to discuss the proposed PATH line. The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline is a high-voltage system that will start in West Virginia, cross Frederick County and end at a proposed substation in Kemptown. The $1.8 billion line is scheduled for completion in 2012, a date when experts say the area could face blackouts without additional power. The meeting will be held at the FSK Holiday Inn from 5 to 8 p.m. Additional meetings will be scheduled in August. It is a first step in a long process that will involve the public, the utility companies and public service commissions in Maryland and West Virginia, said Vernon Estel, director of transmission projects for Allegheny Power. The project is mandated by PJM, the firm that monitors power needs in a 13-state area.

Housing development still faces many hurdles

Frederick News Post
Pamela Rigaux
For years, farmers in Green Valley, Monrovia and Urbana have been planning to scale back on crops and livestock to make room for houses. Now, for another two to five years, the reverse is true -- some are gearing up to plant crops on land that had been planned for homes. A number of factors account for the switch. Homes aren't selling as fast and at least one big residential developer, Toll Brothers, is withdrawing from contracts involving several Urbana farmers. Some farmers are trying to make ends meet until they can realize profits from future developments. Dairy farmer Mike Wilcom, for example, said Thursday his 168-acre Green Valley farm will be part of the Monocacy Town Center development, which includes shops and 1,600 homes for people 55 and older. Md. 80 will be widened at the intersection of Md. 75 and drivers will be able to access the shops from Md. 80. The land has been surveyed, but Wilcom won't be paid until the houses are built, and that won't happen for three to five years, he said. The project is waiting on public water and sewer.

County approves senior development

Frederick News Post
Liam Farrell
The graying baby boomers in Frederick County are getting another community just for them. On Tuesday night, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners approved a change in zoning to allow construction of the Monrovia Town Center, an age-restricted development of more than 1,600 units south of Monrovia. About 50 acres of the area, near Urbana, will be donated for public use and will eventually house a fire and emergency medical service substation and a Frederick County Sheriff's Office substation.The developer, 75-80 Properties L.L.C., will also put $10,000 for each market value unit, or about $14 million, toward improving neighboring roads such as Md. 75. Any new development of 25 or more dwelling units must make at least 12 percent of its units affordable for middle-income residents.