Court Proceedings Begin on Farmland Annexations Imperiled by Sprawl

Contact:  Janice Wiles  240 626 5209

Court Proceedings Begin on Farmland Annexations Imperiled by Sprawl

On February 16, oral argument will be heard on motions for summary judgment on the complaint filed by Friends of Frederick and numerous residents challenging the validity of the Crum and Thatcher annexations. The attorneys for Friends of Frederick, the City of Frederick, and the land owners will be heard in support of their motions for summary judgment.

Residents filed the complaint last June, charging that the annexations and rezonings are unlawful.  A case in point is the failure by local leaders to prepare and adopt annexation plans, a key legal element that would demonstrate the needed public facilities to serve the annexed areas, and, more important, who would pay for them.  State law requires this essential information to avoid overcrowding of roads and schools, as well as to ensure that the true cost to taxpayers will be known before a decision to annex is made.

The Crum annexation would allow 285 acres of agricultural land to be rezoned and used for 1200 dwellings and 1,300 square feet of nonresidential development. The Thatcher annexation would allow 151 acres of agricultural land to be rezoned and developed for manufacturing and office use. State law does not permit such zoning changes for at least five years, unless the County consents, and the County did not consent in this case.

The court proceedings are open to the public.  “People who are concerned about dangerous traffic on Rt 15 and over crowded schools may wish to attend.  Our local government needs to follow the law and show the true cost of this annexation and how it will be paid for.  Frederick county taxpayers don’t want to spend our limited tax dollars subsidizing development,” said William Morrow, county resident and Friends of Frederick County chairman of the board.

The oral argument is scheduled to be heard at the Frederick County Courthouse, courtroom # 4, at 9 a.m. on February 16, 2011.