Two actions YOU can take now to help stop the Monrovia Town Center!

I’ve written several times now, explaining what has been happening regarding the Monrovia Town Center. In short…

Even though we have won two great victories – first the remand by the court, and then the County Council vote to restart the process – at this time, nothing has really changed!

The Developer is still moving forward. And with every day, and every permit approval, the situation is getting worse. It appears that the only way to change this is to convince the County Council to stop it. They have the ability to do just that. All they need to do is technically clarify their already very clear intent to vacate the prior zoning approval when they voted on September 1, 2015 to restart the process.

Please send an email to Bud Otis and the rest of the County Council!

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Please take a moment to write the council members and ask them to make that earlier decision meaningful, and vacate the zoning. Some of you have already written the council about this. Thank you for that. But far more of you, who share our concerns and goals here, have not done so…yet.

To make that as convenient as possible, we have drafted a note and included it below. You can use it for ideas, or just copy and paste and email it, without or without additional personal comments. Please appreciate that every additional email makes a difference. The council needs to understand that citizens — voters — are paying attention to how they address this important issue.

In the meantime, here are a few quick updates.

1) A new traffic impact analysis is being sponsored by the County for the Monrovia Town Center. They did traffic counts last week (Tues-Thurs) at more intersections and during longer time periods than the old study by the developer.

2) The public hearing process at the Frederick County Planning Commission could begin as early as March. We’ll let you know when the date is confirmed.

3) We have a hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals scheduled for February 25, 2016 regarding our opposition to one of the ongoing permitting approvals.

Thank you!

The message below should be emailed to:
Bud Otis: BOtis@FrederickCountyMD.gov and
County Council members: CouncilMembers@FrederickCountyMD.gov

With a CC to County Executive Jan Gardner:
jgardner@FrederickCountyMD.gov

Dear Council President Otis and fellow County Council members:

I support the County Council’s decision to send the Monrovia Town Center Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning case back to the Planning Commission for a restart of the review process. However, I am very upset to know that the developer continues to defy the Council order for them to reapply, and that they are, in fact, steadily moving forward to vest under the PUD zoning approved by the Board of County Commissioners. With every passing day the PUD zoning remains in effect, the developer is given an opportunity to undermine the Council’s well-considered and proper vote to begin a clean process.

I respectfully ask that the Council clarify for the record the implicit intent of its vote last September to vacate the current PUD zoning. I further encourage the Council to take this action at its earliest possible opportunity, as time is of the essence in this matter.

Please SEND AN EMAIL or SIGN THE PETITION to the members of our delegation!

delegation8

Back in 2013, in a bill concocted and promoted by the developers and the Young Board of County Commissioners, Frederick County was singled out in the entire state of Maryland as the only county where citizens could no longer appeal a Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

At the time, they sold the change as a time and money-saving measure. After all, “those people” never win at the Board of Zoning Appeals, they argued. What they didn’t say, but knew full well, was the chilling effect that this measure would have on the due process rights that we are all supposed to be afforded. Specifically, when they eliminated the option to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals, they also eliminated all appeal options past the Circuit Court. That’s right – we get one shot at the appeal, at the Circuit Court, and that’s all – end of game, no more options!

The loss of appellate rights beyond the Circuit Court has since been explained as an “unintended consequence.” Personally, I have absolutely no doubt that this was the intent and goal of the 2013 legislation from the beginning.

What a travesty of due process that was – and is. In fact, we’ve already seen the results.

When Friends of Frederick County’s appeal of the Landsdale DRRA was finally heard at the Court of Special Appeals, they threw it out based on this legislation. If something doesn’t change, at least two more appeals — Casey and Blentlinger — will never see the light of day. If and when our appeal of the Monrovia Town Center goes forward, it will also be stopped dead in its tracks because of this awful legislation.

YOU have an opportunity to fix this!

County Executive Jan Gardner has made it her priority to undo this travesty of due process and forwarded a bill to our Frederick County Delegation. The Delegation held a public hearing last December and I (and others) urged them to take up this issue. Here’s the problem though: They don’t have to do it. The Delegation makes their own decision on what they’ll pursue in Annapolis. If we want them to do this – we have to tell them!

And if they hear from enough of us, they are much more likely to address this issue.

I urge you to write your Delegation members…and/or sign the online petition (linked below).

If you don’t know who your delegate is, write them all!

If you’ve already written that email, thank you!

If not, please consider taking a moment and sending that message now.

DISTRICT 3

Sen. Ronald N. Young (D), District 3
e-mail: ronald.young@senate.state.md.us

Del. Carol L. Krimm (D), District 3A
e-mail: carol.krimm@house.state.md.us

Del. Karen Lewis Young (D), District 3A
e-mail: karen.young@house.state.md.us

Del. William G. Folden (R), District 3B
e-mail: william.folden@house.state.md.us

DISTRICT 4

Sen. Michael J. Hough (R), District 4
e-mail: michael.hough@senate.state.md.us

Del. Kathryn L. Afzali (R), District 4
e-mail: kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us

Del. Barrie S. Ciliberti, District 4
e-mail: barrie.ciliberti@house.state.md.us

Del. David E. Vogt III (R), District 4
e-mail: david.vogt@house.state.md.us

But, as I noted above, now there’s another quick and easy option for you. An online petition was set up by 1000 Friends of Maryland.

If you fill out the basic information, you’ll send your message — our message — directly to your delegates, asking them to repeal this unjust legislation, and helping to make it that much more clear that citizens — voters — are paying attention and are concerned about this.

Here is the online petition site:
http://www.congressweb.com/fomd/8

And here is the content of the short and simple petition request:

Ask the Frederick County Delegation to Restore Residents’ Rights

Please let the Frederick County Delegation know that you support the County Executive’s proposed bill to restore residents’ appeal rights on Developers Rights and Responsibilities Agreements (DRRAs). The Delegation needs to know how important this issue is to their constituents!

Back in 2013, Frederick County was singled out and made the only county where residents could no longer appeal a DRRA to the Board of Zoning Appeals. All appeal options past the Circuit Court were also eliminated. This is fundamentally wrong. The DRRA appeal process should be fair and balanced, not skewed to favor narrow development interests over the interests of everyone else.

Please ask the Frederick County Delegation to restore the DRRA appeal rights that were taken from County residents in 2013!

(PLEASE NOTE that the first of the two pages does not ask for your name, only your street address and zip code. But when fill those out, which identifies your voting district, and click the “Take Action” button, the next page includes fields for your name and other information.)

Thank you!


Frederick News Post
Frederick County Council will not vote again on Monrovia Town Center
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
By Danielle E. Gaines

Envision Frederick County
Monrovia Town Center developers defy county: Refuse to cooperate in new hearings
Dec 4, 2015
by Steve McKay

Frederick News Post
Council votes to rehear Monrovia Town Center case from the start
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
By Jen Fifield

Frederick News Post
Letter to the Editor
County Council should halt Monrovia Town Center moving forward
Dec 13, 2015
by Steve McKay

Matt Seubert, Vice President of RALE (Residents Against Landsdale Expansion) was recently a guest on Eye on our Community (1450AM) discussing recent developments in the long-running saga of the Monrovia Town Center. You can listen to the show here: http://www.wthu.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Matt-Seubert-120715.mp3

RALE – Residents Against Landsdale Expansion on the web.

RALE – Residents Against Landsdale Expansion on Facebook.

@RALEMonrovia on Twitter.