City reverses Citizens-Montevue subdivision

Some now hope county will reconsider sale
Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
11/27/2013
The Frederick County Board of County Commissioners will need to retrace its steps when pursuing the privatization of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living facility. The city's Zoning Board of Appeals voted Tuesday to reverse the city Planning Commission's decision to subdivide the land. The land the centers sit upon must be subdivided from the rest of the parcel they are on in order for the county to sell the land and privatize the centers. The Board of County Commissioners voted this past summer to privatize the centers. A planned sale to Millersville-based Aurora Health Management, which is now operating the centers, is not yet final. The plan has faced opposition from residents and members of the centers' former board of trustees, who think the centers should continue to serve as public entities serving low-income residents. The board of trustees was dissolved in June when the county commissioners voted to move forward with the sale of the two facilities. In its decision Tuesday, the board agreed with the one former board member and two residents who appealed the Planning Commission's decision in a few ways, stating that the county's application was not complete, and the commission should have considered the intent of the subdivision and how the county's plan for the land would affect city residents. The commission erred when considering the incomplete application, erred in failing to evaluate whether the plan conflicted with the city's comprehensive plan, and erred when thinking that that they were restricted from asking the county its plan for the land, said Jim Racheff, zoning board chairman. The zoning board voted unanimously to vacate the approval of the subdivision, and remand it back to the planning process.

Vote set on Citizens, Montevue land next week

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
11/19/2013
Frederick County commissioners could be forced to take a step backward in their mission to privatize Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living facility. The city of Frederick’s Zoning Board of Appeals is to make a final decision Nov. 26 on whether the city’s Planning Commission was justified in May when it approved the county’s request to subdivide the centers’ land. The county asked to split the 41-acre site into two parcels — one with Citizens and Montevue, and the other with the remaining buildings. The land must be subdivided to move forward with the sale of the centers. After the Planning Commission voted to subdivide the land, commissioners voted to privatize the centers. A planned sale to Millersville-based Aurora Health Management is not yet final.

BoCC priorities disappointing

Frederick News Post
Jim Racheff
02/26/2011
The Board of County Commissioners recently discussed the reduction of fees that residential developers currently pay to partially offset the negative financial impacts of their activities. So how will taxpayers shoulder these additional burdens -- which would essentially amount to a permanent tax increase for residents and businesses -- in the face of a multimillion-dollar deficit?

The rest of the waste-to-energy story

Gazette
Jim Racheff
10/23/2008
As a resident of Frederick County who has followed the debate over waste-to-energy closely, I read Carroll County Commissioner Michael Zimmer's letter of Oct. 16 ("Incinerator discussion is good, but let's stick to the facts") with great interest. While I agree with Mr. Zimmer's factual assertions, I feel that his letter neglected "the rest of the story." Mr. Zimmer rightly compares the 1,500-ton-per-day capacity of the proposed regional waste-to-energy incinerator to a car speedometer: "It will tell you how fast the car can go, not how fast you should drive it." I can't speak for Mr. Zimmer, but I frequently see people exceeding the posted speed limits. Even after several years of waste-to-energy discussion, I have yet to hear how our elected officials plan to limit future officials from importing waste from other jurisdictions, or keep materials that are better recycled from becoming a waste-to-energy fuel-source.

County shares details from Boulder trip

Frederick News Post
Karen Gardner
07/18/2012
Frederick County Commissioners David Gray and Kai Hagen recounted their information-gathering trip to Boulder, Colo., last month in a PowerPoint presentation before the other three commissioners and the public Thursday. The commissioners were in Colorado to learn about Boulder's aggressive recycling programs. Recycling is a way of life in Boulder, where recycling containers outnumber trash containers in most public places and where the residential recycling rate approaches 50 percent. The commissioners hope to achieve a recycling goal of 60 percent within the next 15 years, but recognize the current system needs to change in order to do so. In 2006, the last year for which data is available, the county's recycling rate was 36 percent with a waste diversion rate of 39 percent.

Residents strive to change attitudes

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/26/2008
Karin Tome of Brunswick practices what she preaches when it comes to creating as little waste as possible. In the Tome kitchen, separate bins are used for empty soda cans, paper and cardboard. Coffee grounds are kept in a white jar to be dumped in a black composting machine outside. Inside, tiny red wiggler worms feast on raw fruit and vegetable scraps in a plastic tub. The worms turn the food waste into a rich, dark soil that will be used for flower bedding. Tome, her husband, and their two sons use only one can for trash that cannot be recycled or composted.

A Boulder approach

Frederick News Post
Katherine Heerbrandt
06/20/2008
If they can do it, why can't we? That's the inspiring message that most politicians, citizens and journalists brought home recently from Boulder, Colo., about Frederick County's ability to reduce and recycle trash. The trip was the brainchild of resident Caroline Eader who joined long-time efforts led by resident Sally Sorbello to look for alternatives to a $350 million, 1,500-ton regional incinerator in Frederick County. But Kevin Demoskly, deputy director of solid waste for the county, told The Gazette that there's "a different mindset" in Boulder than in Frederick. His gloomy assessment of residents' willingness to change their lifestyles reflects the thinking of much of the pro-incinerator crowd, including a majority of the county commissioners. But that's selling people short. And, in fact, most of those who traveled west say they were surprised at how little impact there was on their "daily habits." Jim Racheff, a Frederick resident and a rumored contender in the 2010 county commissioner race, said the trip proved that there's "nothing magical about Boulder."