FoFC has some issues with the site plan presented at today’s Planning Commission meeting…read about them.
The Frederick County Commissioners have approved or are discussing approval of over 7000 new dwellings, in many cases without appropriate plans for schools, roads, emergency services and other key infrastructure. We believe that our public officials should follow existing laws; in a growing number of cases that is not happening.
FoFC is currently challenging:
* Crum and Thatcher (Frederick City north)
* New Market Municipal Growth Element in Maryland Court of Special Appeals(read letter from FoFC)
* Frederick City Comprehensive Plan in Frederick County Circuit Court
* Landsdale (Monrovia) at the Board of Appeals
* Landsdale Storm Water Management Administrative Waiver at the Board of Appeals, March 28, 2013 7pm
* Jefferson Technology Park at the Board of Appeals
* Frederick County’s 2012 Comprehensive Rezoning in the Frederick County Circuit Court
If school overcrowding is your concern, it is with good reason. Read this published letter from one Monrovia citizen who gives us the facts.
|Monrovia Town Center protesters gather downtown
Plan would put 1,510 houses, commercial development on hundreds of acres east of Ed McClain Road
Originally published January 17, 2013By Patti S. Borda
Half a dozen protesters took their concerns about Monrovia’s future to Frederick’s streets Wednesday.They made their stand at the corner of Church and Market streets just before the Frederick County Planning Commission was scheduled to discuss the Monrovia Town Center proposal.
The commission has not yet scheduled a public hearing on any part of the plan, but will do so and make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners probably around March, according to Jim Gugel, county planner.
Monrovia Town Center’s plan would put 1,510 houses and 280,000 square feet of commercial development on 460 acres east of Ed McClain Road and north of Fingerboard Road.
Before that can start, Teddy Kroll said she and her Monrovia neighbors are rallying as many people as they can to write letters and speak at public hearings. They hope to convince planners and county commissioners that their neighborhood is not suitable for Urbana-style density and development.
“How would they like it if someone did this to them, put Urbana on their front lawn?” Kroll said in an interview Wednesday.
The roads cannot handle the traffic now, and the additional traffic would be disastrous, Kroll said. Her first concern is Md. 75, which the state has no money or plan to improve.
Kroll and her neighbors take no comfort from Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young’s assurance that the developers will help pay for road improvements and their projects will be built over several decades.
“It’s irresponsible to plan on money that isn’t there,” Kroll said.
Amy Reyes is spearheading the grass-roots effort to involve more residents in the area planning. She runs a Facebook page for Residents Against Landsdale Expansion. The group will meet Sunday at a location and time to be announced soon, Reyes said.
Reyes and a half dozen people at Wednesday’s meeting scoffed aloud at what counts as community notification about projects such as the 1,100-home Landsdale development in the same area. Planning Commissioner John McClurkin suggested that people who had sat through the meeting might be allowed to comment, even though it was not a public hearing.
The county is not sufficiently accounting for the combined effect of Landsdale and Monrovia Town Center on schools and roads, three people told the commission.
In addition to optional meetings developers may choose to have with neighbors, Gugel said county staff will accept any invitation to attend community meetings for the purpose of answering questions about projects and the planning process. He encouraged the public to find the latest information on the county planning website, from a project’s initial stages to its completion.
If Monrovia Town Center is built, Kroll said, life will change for a small community where it is safe to let children outside to play.
“It becomes Urbana,” she said. “You have to bring all the kids back inside.”
Young’s “forceful personality” may be swaying fellow commissioners to approve the plan, but they and the county will have to live with this administration’s decisions long after Young leaves office, Kroll said.
“Now is the only time the neighborhood can stop it,” she said.
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Katherine Heerbrandt, staff writer
Frederick County has led the way in identifying the costs of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, but advocates say the cost of doing nothing may be much more daunting than the pricetag for reducing pollution in the bay’s 64,000-square mile watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has to navigate some rough waters to convince some stakeholders, such as the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, that the costs are worth it and that everyone will benefit.
States in the bay’s watershed — Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York —- are charged with enforcing a pollution diet for the bay, as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to significantly cut water pollution by 2025.
Cleanup efforts of this magnitude have no precedent, so the outcome could serve as an example to the rest of the world, according to Doug Siglin, federal affairs director for the Annapolis-based Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Dead zones,” where nothing grows due to overuse and significant pollution, exist in waterways in the U.S. and around the world.
But some local governments and other groups, already reeling from economic setbacks, are balking at what they consider the cost-prohibitive mandates.
“There is going to be a cost, there’s no question about it … but the first [cost] estimates are always just nuts,” Siglin said.
Reduction goals that affect local governments and the building industry include upgrades to treatment plants, septics and the systems that filter pollutants from stormwater.
For farmers, changes include narrowing the time that fertilization can be applied, planting cover crops and fencing off streams from livestock, among other initiatives. Farmers receive subsidies to help cover the costs.
Frederick County initially estimated its costs of compliance at up to $4 billion or more in the next 13 years.
Shannon Moore, the county’s manager of sustainability, has been putting dollars signs to pollution reduction mandates for the past year, and looking for some flexibility in the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan to be able to achieve reduction goals in the most cost-effective way.
In the meantime, the county commissioners are not backing down in their opposition to the plan.
The commissioners and a local-land use attorney recently took aim at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a published opinion article espousing the value of cleaning up the bay.
County Commissioner Paul Smith (R) said the most egregious of the foundation’s assertions was the claim that the cost of reducing pollution in the bay is worth it — without mentioning the cost.
“Frederick County has been on top of this for a year … we assessed the cost, and it was excessive,” Smith said at a commissioners meeting on Sept. 20.
Attorney Rand Weinberg took up Smith’s argument during the public comment portion of the meeting, accusing the foundation of changing from a group devoted to protecting the bay to “another loud, no growth organization” that “conveniently omits the facts.”
Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young reported that his cab company, Yellow Cab, has gotten rid of all its “Save the Bay” license plates as an act of defiance. The plates raise money for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a grants organization that gives money to groups committed to cleaning up waterways.
Tom Zolper, spokesman for the foundation, said answers to the question of costs are “coming slowly,” in part because the effort is unprecedented and involves the future.
“We are trailblazers,” Zolper said. “This is new stuff.”
Also, many of the problems associated with water pollution have not been researched, he said.
For example, bacterial pollution of many rural streams in Western Maryland and the impacts on drinking water is a big problem, and has been for a long time, but associated cleanup costs have not been analyzed, Zolper said. Cleaning up the bay means cleaning up the the smaller waterways, including streams, creeks and rivers, he said.
But Zolper was able to compile a list of costs and potential costs of not cleaning up the bay, culled from various reports and research from academic and government agencies.
Most notably, reports from the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development, estimate the value of the bay related to fishing, tourism, property values and shipping activities at over $1 trillion, he said.
Despite the potential for economic loss from a degraded bay, the benefits of a healthy bay cannot be fully determined, according to Donald Boesch, a professor of marine science and president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
People rely on nature and know there is value to it, and that does not always include a fixed dollar sign, he said.
“We have to think broadly about the benefits …. from local water quality to mitigating food risks to quality of life … Local governments should be thinking of these requirements not as a burden but as an opportunity to improve their communities,” Boesch said.
If those opposed to the policies enforcing the federal pollution diet have their way, cleaning up the bay will not only be a dream deferred, but a dream lost, Boesch said.
As a scientist and bay advocate for most of his extensive career, Boesch said the time is now for bay cleanup or it will be lost forever.
Attempts to start on the bay cleanup with voluntary compliance in 1983, 1987 and 2000 failed, Boesch said. The federal enforcement of the Clean Water Act and the states’ compliance in mandating changes is the watershed’s last chance at purity, he said.
“I am a scientist who uses real data and real observations, and I don’t see any empirical evidence, given our past record, that we will ever have another chance like this,” he said.
Pressures from climate change and population growth will soon be insurmountable, Boesch said.
Recent studies have shown that the original growth projections for Frederick County have fallen since the Gardner Comprehensive Zoning Plan was established:
Originally published July 29, 2012
I hope that enough citizens, especially those in New Market, Monrovia and Urbana, are preparing to attend the meeting at Oakdale High School with our county commissioners Tuesday (July 31 at 6 p.m., sign up to speak at 5 p.m.). I have not seen much publicity for it, which is unfortunate since the meeting is concerning something that affects our daily lives and our wallets quite significantly.
The BoCC’s new rezoning plan to build 12,000 more houses is unnecessary! The Comprehensive Zoning Plan approved by Jan Gardner’s BoCC in 2010 planned for enough homes to cover the expected population growth with minimal cost.
The current BoCC has not calculated what kind of an impact this new plan will have on us. Other sources that have taken the time to calculate the impact expect the costs to be monumental: The Maryland Department of Planning expects the costs for five new schools alone to be $300 million. A recent report from Friends of FrederickCounty shows that we would exceed our wastewater treatment capacity by over 50 percent. These are only some examples and still do not include how much we will have to pay for new roads, utilities and emergency services!
The previous Gardner plan smartly took all of this into consideration, planning for new homes to be built in areas where there is already infrastructure or where it can easily be expanded. The new plan appears to completely ignore infrastructure.
Don’t let the BoCC get away with using your money for unreasonable costs; we all need to let them know that this is not what we want!
“It remains unclear to MDP what conditions have changed in Frederick County over the past two years to warrant proposing such a dramatic shift in policy in the comprehensive plan. The draft plan still proposes to significantly increase the supply of low density residential development. The need for this additional supply has not been sufficiently documented as to the impact on existing growth areas and impact on community services and facilities. Low density residential growth will increase demand on the Frederick County Government services and budgeting for additional schools, roads, water and sewer infrastructure and fire and rescue services…”
3-2012 Linowes and Blocher request that Frederick County lift the age restriction on 1100 family Lansdale development, Monrovia
Read the Lansdale PUD letter here.