Through a combination of monitoring and advocacy, Envision Frederick County is committed to promoting ethics, maximum openness and transparency, and accountability in county and municipal government.
Land Use, Planning and Development
Envision Frederick County is dedicated to enhancing the social, economic and environmental vitality of our community. Perhaps no other set of issues affects each of those things, and others, more than the choices we make about land use. Where and when and how we develop our community directly and substantially affects the cost and quality of infrastructure and public services; it affects the range and affordability of housing, and the attractiveness and long term viability of our communities; it shapes matters of public health and public safety; it determines challenges related to transportation, traffic and public transit; the choices we make have a dramatic impact on the environment, including open space, parks and recreation, air and water quality, and the overall biological integrity and sustainability of our “green infrastructure; and much more.
And, because local government in Maryland is the primary regulator of land use, and because there is a great deal of money associated with zoning and development, wealthy and motivated, and narrowly-focused development interests invest a great deal of money and time and effort to influence this critical decision-making process that so heavily shapes our community and its future. We believe having any meaningful and significant balance in that process requires a well-informed and more engaged citizenry. Using this website and other communication tools effectively is vital to being able to make a difference on this important set of issues. Stay tuned.
For a number of years, and a number of reasons, Frederick County was embroiled in an ongoing controversy about the funding and construction of a regional 1,500 tons per day, mass burn incinerator, to be located on the banks of the Monocacy River, overlooking the Monocacy National Battlefield, only three miles from the heart of downtown Frederick. Although the extremely controversial project was approved by the 2006-2010 Board of County Commissioners, and continued to receive unwavering support from the 2010-2014 board, it was finally and certainly ended in 2014, due substantially to the lack of continuing support for the project from the county’s partners in Carroll County.
So, with the incinerator option off the table, the question became: “What’s next?” While the county has made real progress with regard to recycling, yard waste composting and other waste diversion, we are still a long way from meeting ambitious state mandates…and simply doing a better job, reducing our environmental impact, etc.
To address that question, County Executive Jan Gardner established a new process, in 2015, and appointed a special steering committee: the Frederick County Solid Waste (Options Study) Steering Committee (SWSC), generally referred to as What’s Next. Envision Frederick County’s director and two board members were among those appointed to the committee, focusing on identifying and developing a “sustainable and robust long term solid waste program for Frederick County.”
Monitoring local government
Although many county residents are probably more aware of what is happening in Washington or Annapolis than Winchester Hall, or City Hall, through their role as managers and legislators, our local elected officials and their policies have a profound affect on many aspects of life in Frederick County, at this time and well into the future. Because of that, Envision Frederick County keeps a close eye on the ongoing process, and works to keep county residents informed about what is happening.
Local elections have consequences
Envision Frederick County does not endorse candidates in elections. As it says in our mission statement, however, we were “founded on the principle that informed public discourse and active engagement of individuals and groups in our civic life is essential to our well-being and prosperity,” and that absolutely includes being and informed participant in the selection of elected officials, at all levels. In that light, we believe that all of us, and our community, are better off when residents, as citizens and voters, are more informed about and engaged in local government.