Oath of office?

Frederick News Post
Russell Harris
In my senior year at Virginia Tech, I joined the Order of the Engineer. As part of joining this group, I took an oath that states, “I am an engineer, I have an obligation. My obligation has become my desire. My desire is to apply the Golden Rule, our code of ethics, to the technical knowledge of the world by persuasion. My desire becomes the yardstick of my professionalism and lastly that my professionalism means to me that I will never again ask myself the question, ‘How much do I get out of it?’ but rather I will ask myself the question, ‘How much can I give?’ The symbol of the desire to be a giver is the Engineer’s Ring. The ring will say to all who see it, ‘Here is an engineer, possessed of a publicly avowed dedication to his profession and the public it serves.” Now I may be wrong, but I would imagine that public officials, such as the planning commissioners and the Board of County Commissioners, would take a similar oath in which they are appointed to serve the public and not themselves. As I watched and participated in the public hearing for the Monrovia Town Center, it did not seem that the planning commission was thinking about what was best for the public that they were appointed to serve, but perhaps what was best for them.

Lake Linganore residents band together on water quality

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
When Lake Linganore resident Betsy Smith looks out the window after a storm, she watches the land around her acting as a “huge water filter.” Plants and soil slow the flow of rainwater and help remove sediment and pollutants before the runoff reaches Lake Linganore and surrounding tributaries, she said. The filtration step is important not only for preserving water quality, but also because sediment can build up and reduce the lake’s capacity. But Smith and her neighbors are concerned that planned development in the area will replace these vegetated areas with paved surfaces, she said. “We just didn’t see how it could work to do all of the development right there in that really big water drainage area,” she said. Smith has expressed her opinion at public meetings, she said, but she doesn’t feel her voice has been heard by county leaders. So Smith and some of her neighbors decided to band together. In late October, they filed the articles of incorporation for a new group called Cleanwater Linganore Inc. Smith is president of the nonprofit’s five-member board, all of whom live in the Lake Linganore area.

County hears input on transportation priorities

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
County staff members and representatives from the State Highway Administration met with the commissioners last week to go over transportation priorities for Frederick County. Transportation projects tend to develop slowly, so many of the items on the county priorities list were carried over from earlier years. The overall top priority remains widening U.S. 15 between I-70 and Md. 26. However, three key changes were made possible by state funding. Planners secured construction funding for the U.S. 15, Monocacy Boulevard interchange and a streetscape project on Main Street (Md. 144) in New Market. Streetscapes generally involve improving or adding sidewalks and upgrading roadways to make them more navigable.

Commission OKs concept plan for 314-home village

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
The first round of drawings and plans for a 314-home development in Ijamsville brought the project one step closer to approval. The Frederick County Planning Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to approve the concept site plan for building Oakdale Village on roughly 52 acres north of Old National Pike and west of Eaglehead Drive. The property is sandwiched between Oakdale High School and Oakdale middle and elementary schools, and much of Wednesday's discussion related to the potential for worsening the existing traffic congestion during peak hours. Colby Hubble, who said she has lived her entire life on Old National Pike, said cars in the area of the proposed project are at a standstill for about 20 minutes most mornings. "The designer hasn't seen it, hasn't lived it," she told the county planning board. However, representatives of developers Oakdale Properties said the village would be ideally situated near schools and the future Linganore Town Center. "This is a very unique site. I can't think of a better place to put some density and establish a walkable community," said Mark Friis, president of Rodgers Consulting. Planning commissioner Robert Lawrence said he doesn't think the design provides enough access points to the community. Lawrence predicted backups at the Old National Pike entrance.

County approves 1,735 more homes for Lake Linganore

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
Frederick County commissioners Tuesday voted to rezone roughly 950 acres in the Lake Linganore community as part of a plan to fill out the development with 1,735 more houses. The board voted 4-1 to approve the proposal, with Commissioner David Gray the only one to oppose reclassifying the land from its agriculture and resource conservation zoning. Allowing the development to move forward will enable the construction of roads and other infrastructure systems that have been lacking in the community, commissioners said during the evening public hearing.

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

Commissioners have given preliminary approval to proposal
Sherry Greenfield
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.

Not happy with New Market plan

Frederick News Post
Robert Schaefer
The affidavits provided by experts doing careful analysis of Mayor Burhans' Municipal Growth Element for New Market show that this plan would saddle existing residents with a huge bill for a bypass that will destroy local character and do nothing to alleviate traffic (and only add more, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation). The proposed bypass would cut along the edge of the 140-acre Fred Archibald Audubon Sanctuary, bisecting the Cherry Run mature forest

County rejects bypass proposals for New Market

Chris Brown
The Frederick Board of County Commissioners on Monday removed from plans several proposed roads that would bypass the Town of New Market, citing the lack of money. Commissioner John ''Lennie" Thompson Jr. (R) was the most stringent critic of the proposed roads, saying that without money, the roads were nothing more than ''words or lines on a map," and were not enough to build a bypass. The plan for a northern bypass from Boyers Mill Road and Summerfield was removed by a 3-2 vote. Thompson said that this would not prevent the construction of a bypass at some point, but there would need to be money first. "There's no money, there's not going to be a bypass," Thompson said.

Reactions mixed on revised plan for growth

Sherry Greenfield
No issue has elicited as much controversy in Frederick County in recent years as the New Market Region Plan. The Frederick County Division of Planning unveiled a revised plan for the first time to residents and property owners at an open house June 21 at Oakdale Middle School in Ijamsville. Due to the new plan, 12,200 homes that were slated for the New Market area have been reduced to 5,400, said Tim Goodfellow, project planner with the planning division. The reduction has left some unhappy property owners who were hoping to make a profit off their land.

New Market voters reject annexation

Rebecca McClay
New Market voters on Tuesday refused to annex 262 acres on Boyers Mill Road into town. The Town Council voted in December to annex the Smith-Cline property, proposed for development by Winchester Homes, but residents quickly collected 176 signatures to take the decision to referendum. Of the 253 votes cast, 148 voted against annexation and 105 supported the move. Annexation opponents said they believed that development would bring traffic and children that would burden overcrowded roads and schools.

Commissioners debate impact of development

Frederick News Post
Clifford Cumber
Commissioners expressed concerns this week over the environmental impact a massive development in Lake Linganore could have for a wooded area in the region. More than 4,000 homes are planned by Virginia-based Land Stewards LC, in the Lake Linganore area. Commissioner David Gray's fears over clear cutting and other development actions may lead him to make efforts to kill the Land Stewards project if he isn't satisfied the developer is taking care of environmental concerns. Steep slopes and forest characterize some of the properties where Land Stewards plan to build. "If it doesn't look like it's going to be something special for the county here, I'll do everything I can do to stop it. Period," Gray said. "Whatever I can pull off. Because I don't want to leave this place a mess. Its purely that simple."