10/17/13 editorial: Dredging Lake Linganore

Dredging Lake Linganore

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 2:00 am

It appears as though Frederick, Frederick County and the Lake Linganore Association may be sharing the cost of a much-needed project — dredging tons of silt that have accumulated in the lake since it was created in 1972.

LLA has been talking about this project for years, but the cost, estimated at between $4 million and $8 million, has been prohibitive for the development near New Market to bear alone.

It’s encouraging that these three potential partners in this enterprise met recently to discuss their interest in financing the project.

County special projects manager Mike Marschner presented the following three-way split on the project’s cost: Frederick County, 25 percent; the city of Frederick, 50 percent; and LLA, 25 percent.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement and LLA representative Robert Charles seemed amenable to Marschner’s cost-sharing proposal. The city’s share is greatest because the lake, which Frederick uses for water storage, is a component of its water management system.

And while the county no longer relies on Lake Linganore for any of its water needs, that could change in the future. To ensure access to the lake’s water if it is needed, the county is willing to contribute to the cost of the dredging operation.  Read the entire editorial.

8/24/13 FNP: New Market reconsiders annexation plans

 

New Market reconsiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read entire article here.

4/24 Planning Commission to discuss Westview South MXD

 

WESTVIEW SOUTH MXDNew development planned for the north and south sides of Executive Way, south of Frederick, between Buckeystown Pike and New Design Road.  There will be 122,500 square feet of employment use and a maximum of 615 dwelling units (approx. 255 single-family and 360 multifamily) type products (apartments, two-over-twos, condos), or any variation of dwelling unit mix such that the intensity of total peak hour vehicle trips or the school student generation is not increased above that analyzed in the “Westview South Land Bays 2, 3, and 4″ memorandum prepared on behalf of the Applicant by Wells and Associates, LLC, dated February 22, 2013 (the “Project Memorandum”) or the student projections referenced here.

See the former LOU  and the DRAFT LOU in progress.

Is poorly planned growth what you wanted from your county leaders?

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 using the option of last resort to protect your quality of life: litigation. As recently quoted in the Frederick News Post “We turned to the courts after finding that citizen concerns were ridiculed and dismissed …These lawsuits will determine whether the county follows state law, whether growth proceeds at a reasoned pace that does not increase taxes, traffic, school overcrowding and water and air pollution.”over 7000 new dwellings proposed or approved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Landsdale in Frederick County Circuit Court

* 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.

 

1/18/13 FNP editorial on New Market process: Skirting open meetings

Skirting open meetings

Originally published January 18, 2013

By ed

We’re glad New Market’s attorney, William Wantz, put the brakes Wednesday night on two massive annexations, but not because we support or oppose them — that’s a matter for the town to decide.What concerns us are some of the maneuvers by town leaders that make it look like they’re trying to skirt the Open Meetings Act, a state law dedicated to ensuring we all have full and thorough access to government officials when they make decisions, most of which involve spending our tax money.

At issue in this case are two parcels of land — the 262-acre Smith-Cline and 134-acre Delaplaine properties — that, added to New Market’s boundaries, would double the town’s size and could add nearly 1,000 new houses.

New Market’s leaders know annexation proposals are controversial. In a 2007 referendum, in a vote of 148-105, residents shot down plans to annex the Smith and Cline farms after the public objected. The process dragged out over months and was extremely controversial; tempers flared on both sides. That was a tough, open and necessary debate, one that seems to be missing in this latest push to expand the town’s limits.

Take two examples where New Market’s leadership walked a fine line about notifying its residents and other interested parties.

On Jan. 10, the day of the planning commission hearing, the annexation discussion was added to the agenda at 10 a.m. The hearing was at 7 p.m. — and the planning commissioners voted to support the annexations that night. If you were interested in attending and making your opinion known, pro or con, but worked out of the county or had some other commitment, you were probably out of luck.

A planned vote on the annexations, listed innocuously enough as a “discussion,” was added to Thursday’s Town Council agenda only the day before the 7 p.m. meeting. That’s where Wantz, who is apparently listening to residents worried about the annexation, told council members, “We want to do this right, and we want to do this in a way that doesn’t cause harm.”

These meetings were not advertised even remotely adequately. In the case of the vote, the lack of notification was particularly egregious. Another public hearing has been scheduled for next month.

Scheduling the discussion suddenly on the day of the hearing or day before by adding it to the agenda at the last minute is government’s cowardly end run around the law to mute opposition in sometimes controversial decisions. Sadly, under the Open Meetings Act, it’s not illegal. But it’s certainly not within the spirit of the law. We’re not sure if an intentional suppression of opinion was what happened in the case of the annexations, or whether it was an overly hasty attempt to move this issue ahead. Either way, we’d urge Mayor Winslow F. Burhans III and the Town Council to consider the importance of allowing enough time for the public to be present at and speak at the next hearing.

Taken alone, the lack of notification could be considered just an oversight. But there are a couple of more points of concern.

Burhans says he has been meeting with anyone who wants to learn more. They have been one-on-one meetings in private homes. They were set up using his private business email, which he includes on nearly all of his town correspondence, and not the email he has through the town.

Why private email? Presumably because government emails are public information and subject to public information requests. Using a private email to communicate is the 21st-century equivalent to meeting in a smoky back room behind closed doors. Meeting one-on-one is similarly questionable.

Finally, in an explanation of the late notice to one of our reporters, Burhans indicated that letters from him and other council members were sufficient notice — except they didn’t contain a time, date or address for the meetings. This is hardly the “reasonable advance notice” required by the law. In fact, the Open Meetings Act manual published by the Maryland attorney general (and available on his website) clearly states: “Unless some unusual circumstance makes it impracticable to do so, the public body should give a written notice that includes the date, time, and place of its meeting.”

We hope these aren’t intentional strategies to subvert proper public comment and avoid the kind of divisive — but necessary — public debate that took months to resolve in 2007 and led to that special election referendum. But that’s how it appears, and in politics, even small-town politics, appearance is everything.

Hearings on this have not allowed for a full and thorough debate. We doubt a majority of residents’ voices have been adequately heard. That needs to happen before a decision as monumental as doubling the town’s size is voted on by the council.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/opinion/display_editorial.htm?StoryID=145789#.UPmok4njnxY

FCPS says no school construction planned to handle Smith/Cline annexation kids

New Market has proposed annexing the Smith/Cline property for 925 new residences, which at full buildout would yield approximately 248 elementary  116 middle school and 181 high school students.

In a (1/7/13) letter from FCPS Facilities Director, Ray Barnes (page 1 and  page 2), FCPS Facilities Director “FCPS staff has

Deer Crossing Elementary School, New Market - currently at 103% capacity

Deer Crossing Elementary School, New Market – currently at 103% capacity

reviewed the Board of County Commissioners FY 2013-2018 Capital Improvements Program and would note there is no school construction projects at any level currently scheduled for funding in this area of the county…”

1/7/13 New Market on fast track to double size of town

Monday, January 7th at 7pm, New Market held a public hearing,Rural Monrovia

over 50 people turned out to learn more about the annexation plans.  The mayor and council made no presentation for the crowd, and told people to submit their questions in writing.  Read about the hearing in the Frederick Newspost:   Dozens turn out for New Market annex debate

 

FoFC presented Mayor Burhans and the Town Council with a letter  detailing the legal issues with the annexation proposals, and made the following points in testimony:

pg1  Public Hearing testimony 1_7_13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pg 2 testimony 1_7_13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FNP letter: Handouts to the elite development set

Handouts to the elite development set

Originally published November 11, 2012

County Commissioners President Blaine Young often says that Frederick County is not business-friendly and that the county has been anti-development. The problem with Blaine’s views is that the facts do not accommodate his empty arguments.From 2000 to 2010, Frederick County grew at a rate of 19.5 percent. Only two other counties grew at a faster rate. The state of Maryland grew at a rate of 9 percent. Twenty percent in 10 years is not enough for Blaine Young, because there is so much more money to be made — consequences be damned.

He is not business-friendly, but business-obsessed, and irrationally supportive of welfare for developers, caring little about the consequences his development-at-all-costs policies will have in the future. Frederick County has not been anti-development, and if the county is so hostile to developers, then how did the developments of Spring Ridge, Glenbrook, Brunswick Crossing and countless others occur? If developers are victims of bad policy, then how were they able to accommodate the housing needs of over 30,000 new residents from 2000 to 2010?

Why is Blaine Young so adamant about taking the same exact path that neighboring counties have when it comes to development? When people are sitting in miles of traffic years from now, they will know whom to thank. He seems to care little about current and future traffic congestion, which was highlighted when he decided to lower the tax developers had to pay, which went into a transportation infrastructure fund. The goal for Blaine is to make Frederick County look more like Tysons Corner, and then future generations will have to play catch up 30 years later for transportation needs, as we are seeing in Tysons right now.

Developers may strongly support Young’s policies. The problem is most people in Frederick County aren’t developers and he is accountable to all county residents, not just those responsible for much of his campaign support. Wealthy developers get a tax cut, yet those in need get their services cut.

The future success of Frederick County growth does not depend on the policy of build now, pay for infrastructure later. The county is in an advantageous position because of its location in one of the wealthiest states in the country, its proximity to the base of the federal government and three of the wealthiest counties in the country: Loudoun County, Va., Howard and Montgomery. But that doesn’t mean we have to travel down the same road of growth.

The desirability of Frederick County will be a result of a well-thought-out approach to growth and development, not one in which Blaine Young and developers have free rein, as they have no incentive to combat future traffic and school congestion, but only make money off new construction and do everything in their power to increase their profit margins. I never realized that developers were so impoverished to begin with.

In the next 10 years, do we want a growth rate of 20 percent? Blaine seems more supportive of 40 to 50 percent growth, and radically altering the landscape and character of the county. But as long as his developer cronies are making more money, it’s fine with Blaine.

A growth rate of 19.5 percent is business- and developer-unfriendly? Since when? Of course, for Young, government intervention is necessary not to help the most vulnerable, but for developers looking to increase their profit margins.

For Blaine, benefits for developers are also more important than raises for teachers in Frederick County. Frederick County is the eighth wealthiest county in the state, yet the teachers pay is ranked 22nd out of 24. Doesn’t a successful business environment depend on the recruiting and retention of high-quality educators? Once again, Blaine fails to make the connection. Compensating teachers what they deserve is simple fairness, yet Blaine prefers corporate welfare and developer handouts over providing Frederick County Public Schools teachers with what they deserve.

One would think by looking at neighboring counties that chasing revenue via mass development is not a well-thought-out strategy, unless appropriate transportation infrastructure and uncrowded schools can be realized. By slashing the fee developers had to pay for future infrastructure needs, Young unapologetically indicates that the only thing that matters for this county is more development, and everything else, including teachers pay, school crowding, and well-thought-out infrastructure, will continue to take a back seat to Blaine’s building buddies.

Frank Clements writes from Knoxville.

11-13-12 (rescheduled) Public Hearing with BOCC on Jefferson Technology Park development and DRRA

Documents and background for Jefferson Tech Park (JTP)

 

  • what is it?  (description published in the Frederick News Post, written by former member of Planning Commission)
  • INITIAL DRRA submitted to County 6-13-12
  • Initial LOU
  • 9/20/12 JTP staff report
  • The project was initially planned for a tech park off Route 340/180 and 15, but it seems that attracting businesses has been difficult and the “tech park” will now be a 825 home residential development with some commercial and retail.
  • Just this summer the Frederick News Post reported that this development would bring over 7000 jobs, but FoFC has not been unable to get information about which businesses have agreed to locate there.
  • On July 19, 2012 the BOCC discussed  Creation of the JTP CDA  video for that meeting
  • The BOCC resolutions authorizing them are on the County website under 2012 resolutions.  The resolutions are #’s 12-10 & 12-11.
  • Read this letter and this letter about the use of bonds to finance the JTP.
  • Frederick County is preparing a BINDING Developer’s Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) that will be voted on in October and November:
    • October 24th 7pm Winchester Hall: Public Hearing with Planning Commission:the Planning Commission approved the JTP DRRA
    • November 13th 7pm Winchester Hall: Public Hearing with the Board of County Commissioners

New Market annexation proposals would nearly double size of town

Originally published October 11, 2012

By Danielle E. Gaines 

NEW MARKET — Town leaders introduced two annexation proposals Wednesday night that could expand the town by more than 397 acres.The owners of a 134-acre plot northeast of town want to annex into the town’s new economic development flex zoning designation. The zoning classification, which became law Oct. 3, allows newly annexed areas to be used for a wider variety of uses than the county currently allows. Development on the land, which is known as the Delaplaine property, could include commercial, office, technology, retail, service and other businesses, according to the law. Additionally, the owners of a 262-acre plot northwest of town want to annex into a medium-density residential zone.

Together, the two plots of land would almost double the size of New Market and allow the creation of a northern route across town by extending Mussetter Road to Md. 75, Mayor Winslow F. Burhans III said.

Burhans said the annexations will increase economic development, ease traffic congestion and add enough residents to build a new elementary school. He said he’s been going door to door to speak with residents about the annexation and answer any questions they might have.

“I’ve met with as many residents as I could possibly get to in the last month,” Burhans said after Wednesday’s meeting.

For several months, the mayor has argued that New Market needs to create a more diverse economy, particularly on county land adjacent to the town. He cites businesses such as the Food Lion and CVS on Md. 144, which are in the county, when arguing that development just outside the town is stifling New Market’s economy.

“We’re a town that’s rapidly becoming a small town surrounded by a larger county town,” he said. “That’s a threat because we don’t get any economic benefit from that.”

The annexation agreements were signed by the landowners this week, and the introduction of the resolutions was added to the council agenda less than five hours before the meeting. No one who attended the meeting spoke against the introduction of the resolutions.

Town attorney William Wantz said the annexation agreements cannot be finalized until a public hearing is held. The council did not decide on a date for the public hearing Wednesday.

The council did debate whether to have more workshops about the proposed development, and Burhans said he opposed too many meetings about the issue.

The 262-acre plot under consideration, which is known as the Smith Cline property, was set to be annexed into the town in 2007, but that annexation was voted down by town residents in a referendum led by Friends of Frederick County.

Burhans said the town had several workshops before that proposal and the meetings devolved into a “circuslike” atmosphere.

In 2011, Friends of Frederick County, a smart-growth advocacy group, sued the town over its expansion plans. In late September, Wantz asked a Frederick County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the lawsuit. A written decision is expected in the coming weeks, Burhans said.