Whose Truth Frederick? Our schools. Our roads. Our water.

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For too long, the myths that support conventional wisdom around residential development in Frederick County have stood without question. For too long, we have been carefully fed misinformation and deceptive reasoning designed to mislead us into supporting what is ultimately costly, destructive, irresponsible development that impacts in particular our schools, our roads and our water.

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We often hear statements about growth and development in Frederick County that sound true—but that may well be false. These falsehoods are often spoken by those with vested economic interests who would have people believe them without question. With rampant residential development either underway or planned which far exceeds our county’s future need for housing, our schools, roads and water, already under severe stress, are in even greater jeopardy.

Did You Know?

As a result of rampant and irresponsible development in Frederick County, directly or indirectly,:

• the City of Frederick drinking water supply is contaminated and violates EPA clean water standards.

• many of our schools are significantly overcrowded, with many more new students to come and no space for them.

• it will cost an estimated $3.5 Billion to fix our current road traffic congestion, and that’s before any new development is built.

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The Effects of Irresponsible Development Upon Our Schools

The Myth

Schools are operating under 100% capacity. We do not have problems with handling additional amounts of students in our schools.

The Truth

Many of our schools are well over-capacity, significantly challenging our teachers’ ability to effectively teach and our students to learn. Many of our schools are also in great need of renovation and repair.

With many more students expected to attend FCPS schools in the coming years due to the significant amount of irresponsible residential development planned for Frederick County, our schools are heavily burdened to maintain their high quality of education for our students.

Consider these facts:

• From the latest figures (Sept 2014), there are many FCPS schools that exceed their capacity to educate properly:

– Centerville Elem School (Urbana) – 40% over capacity
– New Midway Elem School – 36% over capacity
– Hillcrest Elem School (Frederick city) – 32% over capacity
– Urbana Middle School – 28% over capacity
– Waverley Elem School – 26% over capacity
– Tuscarora Elem School (Ballenger Creek) – 20% over capacity
– There are many other schools operating well over 100% capacity.

• In addition to overcrowding, 41 schools are, in whole or in part, more than 25 years old. The need to prioritize school capacity has left older schools deteriorating as maintenance and rehabilitation projects are deferred in favor of new seats.

• Older, overcrowded schools typically need portable classrooms to address capacity shortfalls and additional classroom space. Currently, Frederick County Public Schools has 163 portable classrooms at 29 schools.

Download Fact Sheet about the Impact on Our Schools

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The Myth

Growth pays for roads. We need new residential development to help reduce the overcrowding on our roads and highways.

The Truth

Residential development only pays for new roads within the development itself and occasionally for some upgrades to nearby access roads at best.

Consider these facts:

• Reducing the traffic on already overcrowded roads and highways will require a massive infusion of money, far more than developers are willing or able to pay. This means that all additional traffic generated by residential development is forced on to existing overcrowded roads.

• According to the Institute of Traffic Engineers, every new single family home is estimated to generate 9.57 auto trips a day. That means the development already approved through the year 2010 will generate 330,000 additional car trips each day on our already-jammed primary and secondary roads. Add the over 10,000 homes approved since 2010 and we’ll have another 105,000—for a grand total of 435,000 additional auto trips a day on existing roads and highways.

• The cost to remedy current, let alone future, traffic congestion is staggering. As of 2010, Frederick County’s top ten federal and state primary highway projects had a combined cost of $2.54 Billion. And that was just to keep the existing traffic moving. With another 18 high priority projects needed on secondary roads, the total cost in 2010 was estimated at $3.5 Billion.

• There has never been an identified source for that money. The federal, state and county governments certainly don’t have the money. And now you have to add the additional 24% of daily car trips and the impact on our road and highway infrastructure.

Download Fact Sheet about the Impact on Our Roads

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The Effects of Irresponsible Development Upon Our Water

The Myth

The need for clean drinking water in Frederick County will take care of itself. We have a constant supply of clean drinking water, now and for the future. We do not need to be concerned about our watershed.

The Truth

With the planned development of nearly 10,000 homes in the Lake Linganore and Lower Linganore Creek watershed in southeastern Frederick County (which waters provide 42.4% of the City of Frederick’s drinking water supply), and the recently approved 25% reduction of stream buffer that helps to protect the quality of that same water, the city’s water supply continues to be contaminated, posing a public health hazard to city and county residents.

Consider these facts:

• This health hazard is a result of polluted source water (streams, rivers, lake) and is not due to any deficiency on the part of the Frederick City water treatment facilities or personnel. Current erosion levels at Lake Linganore (which cause run-off and sediment which in turn cause pollution) are 5 times the state standard, clearly contributing to Frederick City’s tap water contamination.

• Frederick County has a history of polluted surface water, now further polluted by run-off from residential developments as the water drains into the Lake Linganore watershed.

• Frederick City has a history of contaminated drinking water from the chemicals used to clean the polluted water. The two are naturally linked.

• In 2013, the City of Frederick tap water violated Federal health standards for carcinogenic chlorination byproducts. In August of that year, three of the city’s 8 official sampling sites contained contaminant levels above what is considered safe for drinking.

Download Fact Sheet about the Impact on Our Water

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PLEASE NOTE: Below are smaller versions of three half-page ads that will run in the Frederick News Post, beginning this Sunday and continuing through the month of October. (Click in the images to open a larger version here.)

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