City Notes: State says Frederick is a sustainable city

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
After a couple of years working hard to prove to the state how "green" it really is, Frederick is now certified as a sustainable city. The city was one of eight in the state to receive the Sustainable Maryland Certified award at the Maryland Municipal League conference last week. Joe Adkins, the city's deputy director of planning, has been working with staff and volunteers since 2011 to complete requirements for the certification. The city was ahead of the curve when it started to work on this. It had created a Sustainable Practice Action Plan back in 2009. Most of what the city needed to do was already done: farmers markets, mixed-use paths and bicycling initiatives, stormwater management, forestry preservation, housing elements, stream cleanup and buy-local initiatives. Other than that, Mayor Randy McClement just needed to establish a Green Initiative Team, which he did last year, Adkins said.

Potomac Conservancy Urges Citizens To Speak Out Against Stream Buffer Changes

Kevin McManus
A regional organization is urging Frederick County citizens to speak out against proposed changes to stream buffer regulations. In an e-mail sent out last week, the Potomac Conservancy said residents need to tell the Commissioners to vote against changes to the Waterbody Buffer Amendment."It's {the current regulations} a proven, cost-effective methodology that will help reduce flooding on rainy days, and also keep pollutants out of much of the drinking water supply," says Hedrick Belin, President of the Potomac River Conservancy. The revisions would reduce the minimum setbacks for buildings being constructed near bodies of water, cut down the required study area around bodies of water and remove special rules for the Lake Linganore area.

Citizens Group Raises Concerns About Residential Development

Kevin McManus
The discussion over 8300 new homes planned for the Monrovia is heating up. Members of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion say they're worried about that many homes in their neighborhood. which they say it could increase traffic on Route 75, which can't handle it, and overcrowd area schools. RALE President Steve McKay also says he's worried about a campaign contribution to Frederick County Commissioners' President Blaine Young during the 2010 election. McKay says the developer of the Monrovia Town Center, his wife, and four limited liability companies gave a total of $24,000 to Young's campaign. Two weeks later, the developer filed an application for the project. "When you can so specifically tie a contributor with a development application, that may make a world of difference legally, but I don't think it makes a wit of difference to people on the outside looking in who say 'hey, that's a conflicted situation.'" McKay says. He notes it's legal, but it's not ethical. RALE asks in a news release whether there's a conflict of interest when Young accepts money from a developer whose application he will preside over.

Citizens Protest Proposed Incinerator

Kevin McManus
Chanting "Hey, hey; ho, ho; incinerator has got to go," and unfurling a banner which read "Draw The Line; No Incinerator; Fight CLimate Change," a group of citizens gathered at the McKinney Industrial Park Saturday morning to protest the proposed waste to energy facility for Frederick County. The demonstration was local, but it was driven by national organizations such as, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, which are concerned about the impact incineration has on climate change. "It's the most environmentally irresponsible approach we could take," says former county commissioner Kai Hagen, who was at the rally. "There are public health concerns and it's an incredibly risky financial endeavor that was never really justified. The economic model used to justify it was indefensible then, and it's even more indefensible now." Hagen was on the Board of County Commissioners when approval was given to go ahead with the project. He voted in opposition.

Roundtable Discussion with Frederick’s Mayoral Candidates (VIDEOS)

Frederick Gorilla
On July 8 Frederick Gorilla and WFMD Radio, assisted by the Young Democrats and Young Republican clubs of Frederick County, kicked off the contest for City Hall’s top office by hosting a roundtable with the candidates for Frederick’s mayor. Candidates who participated included Randy McClement, Shelley Aloi, William J. (Jeff) Holtzinger, Galen Clagett, Karen Lewis and Jennifer Dougherty. Of note, Carol A. Hirsch, who is deaf and also running for mayor was unable to participate in the roundtable due to a last-minute cancellation of her interpreter. The forum was moderated by Pattee Brown.

Returning to the subject of boycotts

Frederick News Post
Our editorial questioning the boycott against businesses who advertise on Commissioner President Blaine Young's radio show got our readers' attention. Even across the Independence Day weekend, when other editorials drew online clicks in the double-digits, "Calls for local boycotts ill-advised" netted over 1,100 unique hits (the most we had on any editorial since we launched our redesigned website on April 11) and 121 comments (another record). Clearly, we provoked a strong reaction. Some of the criticism was directed at us. "FNP you have lost your mind," said alovelyplace, and in another comment, "I'm sorry for the FNP's downslide several notches on the respectability scale." stated. "This editorial is nuts" said formerfcps. "This is the most ignorant editorial from the FNP I have ever seen," said runningaddict414. "Did the brains take the day off?" "This editorial is laughable," bukweet commented. Woof. Some stiff criticism there.

Frederick County commissioner explores run for governor

County commissioner forms fundraising committee
Ryan Marshall
With Maryland’s gubernatorial election more than two years away, Frederick County Commissioner Blaine R. Young is hoping the process of earning the top spot in Annapolis will start to come together in the next few days. A campaign website is expected to launch in the next week, about the same time the first direct mail advertisements are scheduled to go out. Young (R) has formed a committee to raise money for a possible campaign for governor in 2014, although he is not yet an official candidate.To appear on a primary ballot, a candidate must file a certificate of candidacy with the state board of elections. He has a fundraiser scheduled in Frederick next week where he hopes to raise about $100,000 in financial commitments, and plans to have one in Bethesda sometime in the next month. He said he plans to stage a variety of fundraisers, from informal house parties and happy hour get-togethers to more formal affairs throughout the state. The fundraising calendar will be important, because Young has committed himself to raising at least $300,000 in the next four months, and said he’ll step aside if he can’t reach that goal.

Honesty, deceit and Chicken Little

Frederick News Post
John Helms
Commissioner Blaine Young and his allies began their terms talking about the structural deficit. They said things were so bad that they were forced to cut expenses including firing or eliminating staff. Over 175 positions including professional firefighters were ripped from the base of those providing needed services, cutting $8.4 million. They crippled the Head Start program to the tune of $2.3 million. They reduced payments to nonprofit and noncounty agencies by $350,000 and they reduced pay and benefits for employees (including nurses) at the Citizens and Montevue centers to the tune of $625,000 per year. The sky is falling, watch out for the structural deficit! When they thought we weren't looking, they danced with the ones that brung 'em to the dance (good ol' boy language for the Frederick Chamber of Commerce and the Frederick County Builders Association). They dropped the excise tax rate to zero, saving the developers an estimated $925,000 a year. They reduced permitting fees paid by builders by approximately $500,000 per year. In addition they went right to work on a list of over 200 changes given to them by the builders and developers to fix rules and regulations they didn't like or that cost them too much money. Some warned what was happening.

Candidates clash at final forum

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
In a last-minute push for votes, candidates at a Tuesday night Frederick County commissioner forum went into attack mode on some of the biggest issues facing the county. Candidates disagreed on the effects of land use policy, how much the budget has been cut and whether the next board should reverse a decision to build a regional waste-to-energy trash incinerator. Ten candidates are running for five slots on the commissioners board.