Smarter Growth Alliance of Frederick County: Letter of support for County Executive’s proposed amendments to the Forest Resource Ordinance

Please read this letter from the Smarter Growth Alliance of Frederick County, expressing strong support for County Executive Jan Gardner’s proposed amendments (Bill 17-17) to the county’s Forest Resource Ordinance.

These amendments were drafted and advanced to the council some months ago, but the bill was held up until recently, when Council President Bud Otis simultaneously introduced a weaker competing bill, with some of the same components, with others removed, and with some additional changes.

In the next week, I will also publish an analysis of the differences between the two different bills.

The letter below, from the Smarter Growth Alliance of Frederick County supporting the county executive’s proposed amendments, has been sent to the Council and the County Executive on December 13th, and has been acknowledged. The public hearing for both bills is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9th at 7:00 PM.

Smarter Growth Alliance for Frederick County

December 13, 2017

The Honorable Frederick County Council
Winchester Hall
12 East Church Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701

Re: Support for the County Executive’s Proposed Amendments to Chapter 1-21 of the Frederick County Code (Forest Resource Ordinance), Bill No. 17-17

Dear Council President Otis and Members of the Council,

The Smarter Growth Alliance for Frederick County is a coalition of local and state organizations representing approximately 16,000 members and supporters in Frederick County. We engage residents and policy makers in support of wise land use that values our rural landscapes, protects our natural resources, and enhances the unique character of our towns and cities to ensure a more resilient and prosperous future.

We are writing today in support of the County Executive’s proposed amendments to Chapter 1-21 of the Frederick County Code, also known as the Forest Resource Ordinance (FRO). These amendments clarify portions of the FRO and strengthen forest protections.

Forests are critical to the health and future of Frederick County. Healthy forests provide economic, environmental, and social benefits for Frederick County residents and visitors. Economic benefits include increased property values and savings in avoidance costs, especially for stormwater management. Environmental benefits include air and water pollution filtration, wildlife habitat, and flood mitigation. Social benefits include enhanced quality of life and public health improvements.

The proposed amendments to the FRO provide a proven framework to protect Frederick County’s forests. These amendments, originally enacted in 2007, resulted in no net loss of forest to development from 2007 to 2011. When the amendments were rescinded in 2011, Frederick experienced a loss of 335 acres over the next five years. Without these amendments, Frederick will continue losing forest acreage to development – adding costs to our stormwater management systems and diminishing the quality of life throughout the county.

We recognize that the FRO amendments will slightly increase costs for the development community; however, the benefits of healthy forest to all county residents far outweighs these costs. Investing in our forests provides our children and grandchildren, the future of Frederick County, with cleaner air, land, and water.

We urge you to support and pass the County Executive’s proposed amendments to the FRO. Frederick County’s forests are too important to be lost to development.


John Campagna
Executive Director
1000 Friends of Maryland

David Curson
Director of Bird Conservation
Audubon Maryland-DC

Elizabeth Bauer
Vice President
Citizens for the Preservation of Middletown Valley

Betsy Smith
Cleanwater Linganore

Jennifer Kunze
Maryland Program Organizer
Clean Water Action

Karen Russell
Climate Change Working Group

Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director
Coalition for Smarter Growth

Kai Hagen
Executive Director
Envision Frederick County

Patrice Gallagher
Board President
Frederick Zero Waste Alliance

Janice Wiles
Executive Director
Friends of Frederick County

Karla Raettig
Executive Director
Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Caitlin Wall
Policy Director
Potomac Conservancy

Matt Seubert
Vice President
Residents Against Landsdale Expansion (RALE)

Daniel Andrews
Sierra Club Catoctin Group

cc: Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner
Steve Horn, Frederick County Planning Director

As introduced at the Frederick County Council Meeting on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, click the links below to see the two different Forest Resource Ordinance-related bills:

Revisions to the County Forest Resource Ordinance – Council President
Otis (on behalf of the County Executive)

Alterations to the Forest Resource Ordinance – Council President Otis

Click to…Tell the Frederick County Council: Fix the Forest Resource Ordinance!
by Anna Mudd
December 6, 2017