Planning commission OKs plan for 147-home Libertytown project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/14/2013
A plan for 147 new homes in Libertytown has area residents talking about the need for a global look at development in the area. The concept plan for the Mill Creek development, situated on about 66 acres along Jones Road and north of Green Valley Road, won approval Friday from the Frederick County Planning Commission. The project that began in the early 1990s has faced numerous hurdles over the years, but it is finally gaining steam, said Ed Wormald, who represented the developer and landowner. However, three neighbors of the proposed project are wary of moving forward too quickly. Many of the roads leading to the subdivision are narrow and rural, and Rustin Gallagher, one of the residents, said they should be improved before more cars are added. Traffic accidents on these roads have already claimed lives, he said. "Mike Fink was killed right there," he said, pointing to a road on the map of Mill Creek. Fink died in a January 2012 collision with a tractor-trailer on Md. 75 near Jones Road.

Glendening describes mismatch between housing supply, demand

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/05/2013
he American dream is changing, and community design must keep up with it, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a Frederick group Wednesday. In a talk focused on smart growth, Glendening said an increasing number of people are eschewing large, single-family houses in the suburbs and instead settling in dense, walkable communities. However, there’s a growing disconnect between the types of housing people want and what’s available on the market, he said. “Keeping our downtowns strong and keeping our communities economically vibrant in the long term will require a different approach to growth than we have been doing for the last 60 years,” he said during the event at Frederick City Hall.

Green acres, not greenbacks

Frederick News Post
Chuck Honse
09/04/2013
The Monrovia and Green Valley areas are about to change. The folks living there are about to lose the lifestyle for which they moved into the area — lots of green space instead of blacktop and concrete; lots of peace and quiet instead of the sounds of traffic and emergency equipment; lots of fresh country air, the smell of freshly cut grass and hayfields instead of the fumes generated by huge volumes of traffic; lots of peaceful living instead of living in fear of increased crime, which is often the result of densely populated areas; lots of space around their homes instead of having to listen to their neighbor snoring, sneezing or their radio/TV program; lots of sounds of children at play in their spacious backyards, birds chirping and singing instead of the sounds of honking horns and screaming sirens. Head puppeteer Blaine Young and his three puppets (Billy Shreve, C. Paul Smith, Kirby Delauter) are about to change it all.

Below the belt

Frederick News Post
Glen and Gloria Dunham
08/08/2013
My wife and I are among the many in southeast Frederick County opposing the two massive developments, Lansdale and Monrovia Town Center, which Blaine Young and his Board of Frederick County Commissioners voting bloc so adamantly supports. We have written to the commissioners. To their credit, we received replies, but they clearly did not consider our argument that Frederick County currently has a dozen municipalities wanting growth, and that future growth should be within those boundaries instead of creating a brand-new townhouse city on beautiful farmland.

City decides Wal-Mart better than nothing

Frederick News Post
07/24/2013
Our hope is that a new Wal-Mart will spur economic activity on the Golden Mile and help revitalize that section of the city — that it will be good for other businesses on the strip, as opposed to making things more difficult for them. We also hope that the plans for the property will hew as closely to the letter and spirit of the small-area plan as possible. We encourage city officials to press the future occupant for any and all contributions it can make in support of this plan. It would be a real tragedy if this decision turned out badly over time. That’s possible, but we do believe it was made in good faith and after much debate and soul-searching by city officials whose alternative was basically to continue to do nothing and hope for the best.

Frederick residents mixed on mall's decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

Frederick residents mixed on mall’s decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

Will Wal-Mart Vote Impact City Election?

Frederick Politicis
George Wenschhof
07/19/2013
Redevelopment of areas of cities affected by economic and social demographic changes will always be a challenge for city planners and elected officials. Looking outward to discover what other cities across the country have done successfully in similar circumstances is a must. Having the courage and conviction to develop a vision and implement it is paramount. It remains to be seen if the Wal-Mart will be built and if so, what long term impact it will have on the area. Meanwhile, the city election nears, with two of the current aldermen; Kelly Russell (D) and Michael O'Connor (D) running for reelection, two running for mayor; Karen Young (D) and Shelley Aloi (R) and one; Carol Krimm (D) intending to run for Maryland state delegate next year. Will their vote on this issue influence voters when they go to the polls this Fall?

City makes way for Wal-Mart on Frederick Towne Mall site

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/19/2013
The stage is set for a third Wal-Mart in Frederick. After hearing more than an hour of impassioned public comment Thursday, the city's Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to rezone the Frederick Towne Mall property. The rezoning will allow Rockwood Capital, which owns the 20 acres on U.S. 40, to move forward with a proposal to bulldoze the nearly vacant mall and build a Wal-Mart. The developers will need to bring forward a site plan before finalizing its plan.

Businesses say yes, residents say no to rezoning for Wal-Mart

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/11/2013
Business owners on the Golden Mile are all for a new Wal-Mart on U.S. 40, but residents who live nearby say it’s the last thing the city needs. More than 120 people filled the City Hall boardroom Wednesday night to tell the mayor and Board of Aldermen their thoughts on rezoning Frederick Towne Mall and the Conley Farm. The bulk of the crowd at the public hearing commented on the mall property. Rockwood Capital, which owns the 20-acre mall site on U.S. 40, has requested a zoning change that would allow it to demolish the mostly vacant mall and build a Wal-Mart. The zoning would change the land from commercial use to a mix of commercial and residential uses. After hearing more than 30 public comments Wednesday, aldermen finalized conditions of the rezoning, which is scheduled for a vote July 18.

Trio of Development Projects Still Proposed

Urbana Town Courier
Sally Alt
06/28/2013
Three proposed development projects will play a significant role in shaping the Urbana and Monrovia communities. Currently, developers for the Monrovia Town Center and Urbana Town Center are seeking approval for zoning and site plans for these residential and commercial developments. The 457-acre proposed Monrovia Town Center development includes 1,510 single-family and multi-family units. The development, which will be located east of Ed McLain Road and north of the intersection of MD 80 and MD 75, needs zoning approval before starting the site plan review process. The Urbana Town Center/Northern Mixed Use development between MD 355 and I-270, south of Park Mills Road, will include up to 2 million square feet of office space and some commercial development, according to Denis Superczynski, a principal planner for Frederick County. He said the developer, Urbana Investment Properties II, LLC, plans to submit for review a site plan and preliminary subdivision, which will be focused initially on the residential portion of the project. A site plan for commercial development at the MD 75-80 Dragway property in Monrovia includes grocery stores, retail, offices and restaurants. The site plan for this development, which will be integrated with the Monrovia Town Center, is currently under review, according to Jim Gugel, the planning manager for the Community Development Division in Frederick County.

County approves 1,735 more homes for Lake Linganore

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
06/19/2013
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.

Develop-Mental: GIMCRACK MILE?

Frederick Gorilla
Matt Edens
06/10/2013
The big box is out of the bag. Matt Edens questions the merit of transforming Frederick Towne Mall into a “power center.” The big box is out of the bag. After months of rumors, the owners of Frederick Towne Mall have finally ’fessed up: They want to build a Walmart. Whether the city’s Board of Aldermen will overrule the recommendations of the planning commission and grant the mall’s owners the zoning change they need to build the big box, I don’t know. But I personally think it would be a damn shame.

Opposes Wal-Mart based on business practices

Frederick News Post
Sandy Doggett
06/10/2013
I am against another Wal-Mart in Frederick because the company has a history of shoddy practices. There are so many hidden costs to taxpayers to make their low prices possible. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest recipients of corporate welfare in the U.S. Due to low wages , many of their employees are forced to sign up for food stamps (SNAP), housing assistance, earned income tax credits and Medicaid or SCHIP for their children’s health. U.S. taxpayers are forced to support Wal-Mart workers. Their wages are so low that they can’t support their families with a living or just wage. I have a few questions for you to consider. Do you want a company that...

[City of Frederick Planning] Commission to review Wal-Mart proposal

Frederick News Post
06/09/2013
Wal-Mart's proposal for the Frederick Towne Mall property gets another review Monday. The Frederick Planning Commission, with a packed agenda, will consider Wal-Mart's proposal to tear down the mall at 1301 W. Patrick St., leave Boscov's, Ollie's Bargain Outlet and Home Depot as they are, and build a Wal-Mart on the north side of the 40-acre site. The commission meets at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Board Room at 101 N. Court St.

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."

County approves 20-year agreement for Urbana projects

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
06/05/2013
County commissioners Tuesday gave their stamp of approval to a 20-year agreement with developers of the Villages of Urbana, the Urbana Office Research Center and other nearby building projects. Crafting a development rights and responsibilities agreement is important "so we all understand the ground rules and so investment can be made in the right ways," said Thomas Natelli, president and CEO of Monocacy Land Co. and managing member of other involved development companies. The contract covers the roughly 300-home unbuilt portion of the Villages of Urbana, a large development north of the intersection of Md. 80 and Md. 355. It also applies to the Urbana Office Research Center, the site of the Fannie Mae data center. The Urbana Town Center and Worthington Square projects, slated for 610 and 72 homes respectively in addition to employment and commercial space, also fall under the agreement.

615-home building plan wins county approval

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
05/22/2013
Frederick County commissioners Tuesday night signed off on a plan to build 615 homes on the Westfield South property and agreed to accept an $800,000 payment from developers instead of a school site.

Frederick residents spar over plan to build new Walmart on Golden Mile

About 150 attend meeting at empty mall to hear developers
Gazette
Tripp Laino
05/10/2013
The Frederick Planning Commission recommended at a March meeting that the aldermen reject the zoning change. It’s the third time the plans have been presented publicly, with vocal opponents and proponents of the plan to replace the nearly empty Frederick Towne Mall sparring at previous meetings, and online on social media sites. An online petition drive on the website Change.org has nearly 1,500 signatures, with residents urging the aldermen not to approve the zoning change.

Walmart will only further tarnish the ‘Golden Mile

Gazette
George Wenschhof
05/02/2013
If anything, hard work needs to be continued to ensure efforts made to revitalize the once vibrant Golden Mile is well researched with the entire community in mind and an eye to the future.