Wiles fan sorry to see Friends leader stepping down

Frederick News Post
Peter Currer
11/14/2103
I was sorry to read in The News-Post that Janice Wiles will no longer be the executive director of Friends of Frederick County. I would like to publicly thank Janice for her many years of dedication and service to Frederick County. Janice has been a staunch advocate of thoughtful and controlled growth in Frederick County. This approach would allow us to develop and support growth with adequate infrastructure (roads, schools and public services). I will miss seeing Janice at the many Board of County Commissioners and Frederick County Planning Commission meetings that she has historically attended. Should she move to a new community, they will indeed be fortunate to have such a thoughtful and dedicated member of their community.

Development and death in Monrovia

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
11/08/2013
Commissioners President Blaine Young says he doesn’t remember telling a woman concerned about a 1,510-home development in Monrovia that she shouldn’t be worried because “you’ll be dead by the time everything comes together.” But Monrovia resident Kathy Snyder (the woman who was supposed to take consolation from her limited life span) says she recalls the conversation clearly. Snyder offered her version of events Wednesday, when she joined dozens of others at a public hearing on the Monrovia Town Center. According to Snyder, her March interaction with Young went something like this: She and her husband walked up to the county commissioner during a building industry exhibition at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Snyder said she wanted to ask Young to keep an open mind about the Monrovia Town Center, since many area residents opposed it. “How old are you?” Young asked (according to Snyder). Snyder paused, was taken aback, didn’t know what to say. “He said, ‘Listen, you don’t have to worry about all this development. … You’ll be dead by the time everything comes together,’” Snyder, 50, recounted. Snyder said she walked away from the conversation insulted and troubled by Young’s attitude.

Challenging county growth decisions soon to cost $1,200

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
06/06/2013
Local residents now will have to put up $1,200 if they want to charge Frederick County commissioners or the planning commission with erring on development decisions. Commissioners last week established the fee in what officials said is an attempt to offset the cost of dealing with these grievances. But some say the change is an attempt to suppress the public's concerns about county growth planning. "The vote is yet another roadblock to the democratic process," Janice Wiles, director of Friends of Frederick County, wrote in an email. "This $1,200 fee is so high that almost no one could afford to appeal."

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 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.

Frederick lawmaker’s bill would limit challenges to developer pacts

Opponents couldn’t take cases to appeals board under Clagett’s proposal
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
02/05/2013
A state delegate wants to 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. Del. Galen R. Clagett (D-Dist. 3A) of Frederick has introduced a bill in the Maryland General Assembly that would prevent opponents from asking the five-member Frederick County Board of Appeals to overturn what are known as a Developers Rights and Responsibilities Agreements, signed between the commissioners and a builder.

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.

Frederick County officials to hold public hearing on rezoning 8, 824 acres of farmland

Commissioners have given preliminary approval to proposal
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
07/25/2012
A proposal to rezone 8,824 acres of farmland in Frederick County could lead to the construction of 12,688 homes, a majority of which would be built in the Monrovia, New Market and Urbana areas.

Group wants growth costs calculated

Leader estimates county could see 50,000 new residential units by 2032
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
07/12/2012
The leader of a local anti-sprawl group wants the state to calculate the impact Frederick County's proposed land-use plan will have on taxpayers. In a letter to the Maryland Department of Planning, Friends of Frederick County Executive Director Janice Wiles wrote that it would be wise to figure out how much growth will cost if it gets approved

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

City planners’ misplaced priorities

Frederick News Post
Janice Wiles
05/23/2013
The planning commissioners should first and foremost be discussing costs -- costs of new roads, schools, fire station, water, sewer -- and how to pay for what could add up to billions of dollars if done adequately. Costs that have yet to be calculated for either this parcel or the 282-acre Crum parcel annexed three years ago. Yet the planning commission is already discussing home placement and sidewalk layout!

City planners' misplaced priorities

Frederick News Post
Janice Wiles
05/23/2013
The planning commissioners should first and foremost be discussing costs -- costs of new roads, schools, fire station, water, sewer -- and how to pay for what could add up to billions of dollars if done adequately. Costs that have yet to be calculated for either this parcel or the 282-acre Crum parcel annexed three years ago. Yet the planning commission is already discussing home placement and sidewalk layout!

City needs more details on Crum annexation

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
05/15/2012
The Frederick city planning commissioners agreed unanimously Monday that they want more details about Crum Farm Land LLC's request to annex an additional 250 acres before they make a recommendation to the mayor and Board of Aldermen. The proposed annexation cannot change the 2009 terms of Crum Farm Land's 285-acre annexation of adjoining property, but it does open the door for new negotiations concerning the additional land, staff said. For the conservation group Friends of Frederick County, the original Crum annexation and its conditions do not adequately address the impact the annexation will have on schools and roads. The proposal, for 1,200 houses and 1.3 million square feet of nonresidential development, includes a 15-acre school site, a 22-acre park and improvements to Willowbrook Road.

Potomac named most endangered river

Group says agricultural and urban factors are contributing to pollution
Frederick News Post
Courtney Pomeroy
05/15/2012
The Potomac River has been named the most endangered river in the country. American Rivers, a nonprofit environmental group headquartered in Washington, annually releases a list of the nation's top 10 at-risk rivers. The 2012 list, released today, says agricultural and urban factors are contributing to the Potomac's pollution. Hedrick Belin, president of the Potomac Conservancy, noted that the federal Clean Water Act of 1972 has helped the river come a long way in the last 40 years. "But now is really not the time to turn our backs," he said. "Now is (the) time to finish the job."

Annexation facts

Frederick News Post
Janice Wiles
03/18/2012
In Sunday's (March 4) letter regarding the Crum and Thatcher annexations and development the author says, "I feel if built as advertised it should help traffic and give added tax base to both the city and the county." I don't know what advertising the author refers to, but wish to provide some facts to the story -- so that citizens know the truth about Frederick city's northern development that might not be as transparent as the advertising.

Annexed farmland clear for developing

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
01/27/2012
The City of Frederick is about to gain some acres. For more than a year, two large farms just north of the city have been approved for annexation, but the city and previous county officials disagreed on zoning so developers were told they would have to wait five years. The Board of County Commissioners voted Thursday to end that mandatory waiting period and allow the developers to proceed immediately. The two farms -- known as the Crum and Thatcher properties -- total nearly 400 acres. Both are north of the city limits along U.S. 15. Frederick Mayor Randy McClement was at Thursday's meeting and called the commissioners' decision a positive one for the city. "We need the growth area," McClement said.

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.

Friends of Frederick County questions development mitigation fee plan

Frederick News Post
06/15/2011
The nonprofit organization Friends of Frederick County is questioning whether a proposed school mitigation fee would be enough to cover the cost of needed public school improvements. Executive Director Janice Wiles spoke about the issue Tuesday with three concerned residents and Commissioner David Gray at C. Burr Artz Public Library. She used the Crum Farm development as an example of funds the fee could generate saying it would generate a maximum of $8.35 million while a new elementary school needed to serve the 550 new students would cost $25 million. "That's not even a third of what it would cost to build an elementary school," Wiles said.

Critics of school construction fee worry about overcrowded Frederick County classrooms

Residents concerned that proposal would allow building of homes if schools are overcrowded
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/14/2011
Critics of a proposed Frederick County school construction fee continue to worry that it will not bring in enough money to build classrooms and will only add students to already overcrowded schools. “I know this ... fee is going to pass, I just don’t how it’s going to work,” said Janice Spiegel, long-term parent advocate and former president of the PTA Council of Frederick County. “...I just can’t believe it’s not going to have a devastating impact over what we’ve accomplished.”