Monrovia Town Center Hearing Packs Winchester Hall

WHAG
10/30/2013
It was a packed room at Winchester Hall Wednesday night, but despite emotions running high it was quiet. The public was instructed to wave hands, and refrain from cheering and clapping to keep the meeting running in a timely manner. The Planning Commission has heard comments from hundreds who are against the Monrovia Town Center, including more than 1,500 houses, as well as commercial properties. "They want to take basically 1,500 new homes, carve it out from the farmland and dump it next to our community. It's going to more than triple the size of our town," said Steven McKay of Monrovia, the president of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion. Residents are pushing for the Planning Commission to say no when they make a recommendation to the Frederick County Board of Commissioners on November 20th. "I'm for sustainable growth, but not over development. Our roads can't take the heavy traffic, there dangerous, now our schools are overcrowded," said Monrovia Resident Stan Mordensky. Hundreds of residents echoed the same concerns, the local schools already over crowded and the roads in no condition for increased traffic.

Maryland planning official says state not responsible for town center density

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
10/29/2013
Maryland planners are looking to correct the record after a Frederick County official said state smart growth rules are determining the density of a controversial 1,510-home development in Monrovia. The state does not control local growth decisions or decide the compactness of particular housing projects, a Maryland Department of Planning official wrote in an email to the Frederick County Planning Commission. The email’s author sent the correspondence to address “incorrect statements” made at a Wednesday hearing on the proposed Monrovia Town Center. During several hours of public testimony, some speakers objected to the dense housing arrangement planned for the town center and said they would prefer homes spaced out on 1- to 2-acre lots. Planning Commissioner Bill Hopwood responded that the state discourages these large-lot developments. He mentioned that the commission must follow Maryland mandates and said “five, 10 houses an acre, this is what the state tells us they want.” Not so, wrote David Cotton, of the state planning department. “The state has no authority over local zoning. The densities proposed for the Monrovia Town Center project are the result of local zoning and market forces,” wrote Cotton, western Maryland regional planner.

‘Coalitions’ an ineffective way to spend taxpayer money

Frederick News Post
06/17/2013
t's hard not to see the $25,000 the Frederick County Commissioners have allocated to a coalition of rural counties to resist the so-called, state imposed "rain tax" as a waste of money. It's understandable the county board is agog at the total cost to Frederick County for its part in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay -- a staggering $1.88 billion by 2025. But in light of how tight the commissioners have repeatedly protested the budget is -- the maintenance of effort allocation to schools, the cuts and gradual attrition to zero of grants to emergency need nonprofits, the aggressive push to sell Citizens and Montevue because of the money it will free up -- the $25,000 to pursue a purely political lobbying effort is a questionable investment.

'Coalitions' an ineffective way to spend taxpayer money

Frederick News Post
06/17/2013
t's hard not to see the $25,000 the Frederick County Commissioners have allocated to a coalition of rural counties to resist the so-called, state imposed "rain tax" as a waste of money. It's understandable the county board is agog at the total cost to Frederick County for its part in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay -- a staggering $1.88 billion by 2025. But in light of how tight the commissioners have repeatedly protested the budget is -- the maintenance of effort allocation to schools, the cuts and gradual attrition to zero of grants to emergency need nonprofits, the aggressive push to sell Citizens and Montevue because of the money it will free up -- the $25,000 to pursue a purely political lobbying effort is a questionable investment.

Taneytown discusses Sustainable Community application

Carroll County Times
Rachel Roubein
06/06/2013
At the Taneytown City Council workshop Wednesday evening, most council members vocally supported the decision to finish the application to submit this month, as the state is accepting them in June and in October. Sustainable Communities aim to conserve resources, provide green spaces and recreational parks, offer transportation and more to its residents, according to the Maryland Department of Planning. Only specific portions of Taneytown would fall under the Sustainable Community designation: downtown, the city’s older areas, two townhouse communities, Memorial Park and Taneytown High School Park, according to Wieprecht, who is in charge of crafting the application.

Md. reports on county growth law compliance

The Daily Record
Associated Press
02/04/2013
Land development maps adopted by Frederick and Cecil counties have “largely ignored” a state law designed to limit septic system growth to fight pollution, according to a state report. But the law does not allow the state to mandate changes to the plans. The Maryland Department of Planning said in the report, released Friday, that the two counties have failed to designate much land that wouldn’t allow major residential subdivisions that rely on septic systems. “This approach essentially neutralizes the impact of the law,” the report concluded. “This will allow many more major subdivisions on septic and result in significant land consumption and water pollution impacts.” The law passed last year by the General Assembly creates a four-tiered system limiting where residential subdivisions on septic systems can be built. Officials in Frederick and Cecil counties have decried the law as overreaching.

New pollution rules would restrict rural development in Washington Co.

Hagerstown Herald Mail
Andrew Schotz
08/28/2012
The Washington County Board of Commissioners is trying to figure out how and if the county should participate in a new state law on septic systems. The Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 was passed to try to keep pollution from the Chesapeake Bay through tighter land controls. The centerpiece is a four-tier system with different restrictions on sewer and septic use depending on the land.

Frederick aldermen begin discussions on Crum and Keller properties,

Both properties could mean 2, 050 new homes on 555 acres of farmland
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
07/17/2012
The mayor and the Frederick Board of Aldermen this week will begin reviewing plans that, if approved, could mean the construction of 2,050 homes on 555.43 acres of annexed farmland north of the city.

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

Clagett questions state on land use

Involvement in local growth a concern
Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers and Pete McCarthy
07/05/2012
A late May letter from the Maryland Department of Planning -- which took issue with Frederick County officials for not giving the public enough time to digest proposed changes to the county's comprehensive plan -- spurred Delegate Galen Clagett to jump into the mix. In June, he met with the letter writer and another state planning official in Frederick to question them about their typical procedure for getting involved in local matters, especially hotly debated ones like the plan rewrite.

An ear to the ground on Frederick land use decisions

Gazette
Danielle Elaine Manos
06/21/2012
How can Commissioner Blaine Young expect to run for governor when the state is already concerned with how he runs our county? A recent letter from the Maryland Department of Planning to our county commissioners is very telling ( “State again condemns county's land-use plan,” June 1), as they are concerned that our board of commissioners did not give the public enough time to form an opinion over their new rezoning plan, which could have a monumental impact on our wallets, our landscape, our schools and more. I cannot say if I am for or against this new plan, but by the time the public learns of its impacts it will be too late. If Commissioner Young does not allow constituents within his own county to adequately participate in decision-making, how can we expect him to run Maryland with the state’s best interest in mind?”

Frederick delegate angry about state’s criticism of county’s land use plans

Young, Hagen spar in regard letter from state
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/21/2012
Del. Galen Clagett was expected to meet with a Maryland Department of Planning official Wednesday about a letter the state sent to the Frederick Board of County Commissioners concerning their plan to develop 8,824 acres of farmland.

Frederick County growth plans criticized

Young: State’s stance is political, former commissioner involved
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/04/2012
A letter sent this past week from the Maryland Department of Planning, marks the second time the agency has criticized the commissioners’ plans to give 163 property owners permission to build homes and businesses on what now is open space.

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

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.

Commissioners may join effort against land-use plan

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/24/2011
The Frederick County Commissioners might join forces with leaders in nearby counties to push back against aspects of the Maryland governor's land-use plan, a document they fear could erode local authority if carried out. The drafted plan emerged as one of the hot topics last week at the Maryland Association of Counties conference in Ocean City, where Gov. Martin O'Malley offered county government officials a presentation about the vision for smart growth. While the state has insisted the document, called PlanMaryland, doesn't commandeer county land-use decisions, Commissioners President Blaine Young said he would like to see that spelled out in the draft. "Why won't you include the language that it (the plan) is not going to be mandated and dictated from the top down?" Young said. The idea of a partnership of central and western Maryland governments flowed out of a Friday breakfast that included Young and commissioners presidents from Washington, Allegany, Carroll and Garrett counties. Young said the board leaders agreed to go back to their counties and pitch the coalition plan to their fellow commissioners.