Steven McKay testimony opposing the zoning change for the Casey Property

EXCERPT: “All of these homes will generate competing needs – some grave needs – for road and school improvements. Only a fraction of these infrastructure needs are currently planned, or funded. And yet, the march to develop presses forward, codified by 20-25 year contracts (DRRAs). Where will all of the money for roads and schools come from? It won’t all come from the developers. That is clear.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the oral testimony by Steven McKay on behalf of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion (RALE) in opposition to a Zoning Map Amendment for the Casey Property, before the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners, on July 15, 2014. After the public testimony, entirely in opposition to rezoning, the commissioners vote 4-1 to rezone the 634-acre expanse of farms, forests and streams – streams that flow into Lake Linganore.


My name is Steve McKay, I live on Shakespeare Way in Monrovia. I’m the President of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion (RALE). I am here before you tonight in opposition to case # R-13-03, the proposed rezoning for the Casey Property. The proposed development is part of a larger pattern of aggressive development occurring throughout this small area of the county. It is also just a bad idea considering the impact it will have on Lake Linganore.

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First and foremost, this isn’t just about a single 1,017 home development. Casey is part of a larger pattern of aggressive development being foisted upon the southeastern corner of Frederick County. The 1,017 homes proposed at Casey, are part of the nearly 2,800 homes being planned immediately north of New Market, which are part of the over 10,300 homes being approved for this area of the county.

All of these homes will be built in parallel over the coming years. All of these homes will generate competing needs – some grave needs – for road and school improvements. Only a fraction of these infrastructure needs are currently planned, or funded, and yet, the march to develop presses forward, codified by 20-25 year contracts (DRRAs). Where will all of the money for roads and schools come from? It won’t all come from the developers. That is clear.

It is also clear that we taxpayers will be left holding the bag. In Commissioner Young’s campaign announcement last February, he made the soothing claim that “we’ve developed enough.” Yet here we are, with another thousand houses being added to the mix, with more approvals planned during the remainder of the summer. So much for nice sounding campaign speeches.

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Lake Linganore is a critical water source in Frederick County and, specifically, for Frederick City. The proposed development lies across vital watershed contributing to Lake Linganore. The proposed arterial road will pose severe ecological challenges to Hazelnut Run. With the arterial road running alongside, perhaps even through Hazelnut Run, we can anticipate severe damage to the stream during the construction phase. Excess sediment, construction debris, and damage to wildlife will be a given.

Once the road is built, we can also expect petroleum and other roadway pollutants washing into the stream. All of this will impact Lake Linganore. I hope Frederick City residents are paying attention – because this is your water that they are messing with!

For schools, I must say I’m impressed. The county seems to be building a magic school. One lone new elementary school that won’t open until 2022 or 2023 seems to be the savior for not just one, but for five major new developments in the area. Each and every development application points to the same school. That’s some school! In reality, of course, four new elementary schools are needed to service these communities. Where are the other schools in the budget? When will they be built? Unless you have specific, budgeted answers to these questions then you cannot state that public facilities will either be adequate or available.

You cannot say yes to this criterion based only on good intentions – there must be a plan and, currently, there is none.

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Finally, let’s talk about MD Route 75. On page 23, the staff report has a refreshing piece of honesty: “MD 75 as a two lane road would not be able to handle such a traffic load.” That assessment is equally valid along the entire length of MD75. So what is the proposed solution to address this dire adequacy situation? About a half mile of road work. What about the rest of MD75?

The long term solution for this problem is the MD75 Corridor Improvement Program. We’ve been lied to repeatedly about this project. The FACT letter was a sham. The cost is twice what we were told, and both the Maryland Department of Transportation and State Highway Administration went out of their way to explain all the problems that will be encountered in trying to get it done! There is no money!

On page 23 of the staff report, there is a list of programmed and planned improvements for the road infrastructure. It is highly telling that the MD75 Corridor Improvement Project isn’t listed on this page. That tells me quite simply that the MD75 project is neither programmed nor planned – something we’ve known and argued all along. Until that changes, you have no business approving this or any other development along its path.


Frederick News Post coverage of the hearing and BOCC vote
BoCC rezones property near New Market
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Casey Map Amendment: Staff Report (as a pdf file)

You can watch the entire hearing, or any part of it here:
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ MEETING, TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014