4/21 County Council to decide on Monrovia Town Center

Please read this message from RALE on the Monrovia Town Center:

On April 21, the Council will decide how they will handle the remanded Monrovia Town Center case. There are still many unanswered questions about what the remand means for the Phase 1 approval, as well as the Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) and Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance Letter of Understanding (APFO LOU). Nonetheless, the Council will be pressing forward to do something … and therein lies our challenge.

The Council will be pressured to conduct a narrow review and to get it done quickly. A narrow review may take several forms. They could take a perfunctory review of whether the FACT letter had any impact on the BoCC’s decision. Or, they could review the record as it stands, without the FACT letter, and then make a decision. Neither of these options will be satisfactory and we need to tell the Council that this situation demands a full and thorough review.

Please support us in telling the Council to hold a full and complete review of MTC.

Here are some thoughts on what you might say:

  • The Council needs to understand that the MTC zoning approval is now THEIR responsibility and theirs alone. As responsible, elected officials they have a duty to make their own well-informed decision. They can’t do this by relying on someone else’s record. The BoCC didn’t ask the questions that these Council members would have asked. Regardless of what transpired in the past, MTC is now their problem and their decision will decide whether this development goes forward or not. They will decide whether MTC is approved despite the many hundreds of residents who testified against it. They will decide whether MTC is approved despite the dangers that it will create on MD 75, despite the over-crowded schools, and despite the harm it will do to our community.
  • The Council also needs to understand that whether they approve the development or not, that decision will probably be appealed – either by RALE or by the developer. They owe it to the County and to themselves to make a full and informed decision. It is their fiduciary responsibility as elected officials to make this decision with all the information at their dispose because, at some point, a judge will be looking over their shoulder to see how they did.
  • The Council also needs to understand that this is their opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. Tell them about all the problems with the BoCC hearings – the back room deals, the rude and dismissive behavior by the BoCC, and their audacity to think they could do whatever they wanted when they threw the FACT letter at us on the last night. The adequacy of the transportation system was a key approval criterion for the zoning decision. Tell the Council that the BoCC never allowed Ron Burns to testify once during any of the zoning hearings. So many questions left unanswered. When we road questions during the zoning hearing, they’d tell us to ask it during the APFO hearing but when we asked it then, the answer was usually Phase 2!We want a different kind of conversation with the Council than we had with the BoCC. There are five new elected officials on that Council. Let’s reach out to them in a respectful dialogue and give them solid reasons to agree with our position. After all, that’s how it is supposed to work!

Which council members should I write?

  • All seven members need to hear from you! Their email addresses are below. Write them individually, but there are two key members and they are Council President Bud Otis and Council Member Tony Chmelik.
  • This project will be Council President Otis’ decision and his legacy.  Tell him how this will impact our community. Tell him of your concerns for safety on MD 75. Bud is in a tough spot, he will get a lot pressure from the development community and from the right. Ultimately, however, he is an honorable man and knows what’s right and what’s wrong. Give him that argument for MTC.
  • Council member Tony Chmelik is District 2 representative. Make sure that you emphasize that he represents YOU on the Council. MTC is an overwhelmingly unpopular issue in District 2. We are his constituents and he owes it to each of us to listen to our concerns. He went through the campaign without really talking about MTC. He took money from Roy Stanley and allied himself with Blaine for the election. Now the decision is his and it will impact each and every one of us. He lives right on MD 75 so he should know how bad this development is for the community. Make sure he knows your opinion on that point.Here are the email addresses for the Council members:

BOtis@FrederickCountyMD.gov
MCKeegan-Ayer@FrederickCountyMD.gov
TChmelik@FrederickCountyMD.gov
JFitzwater@FrederickCountyMD.gov
JDonald@FrederickCountyMD.gov
Billy@FrederickCountyMD.gov
KDelauter@FrederickCountyMD.gov

Please copy County Executive Jan Gardner in your correspondence:

JGardner@FrederickCountyMD.gov

Thank you!