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.

Eaglehead in Lake Linganore, 950 acres to become 1,735 new houses

1736 new homes

1736 new homes

 

There will be a meeting hosted by Oakdale LLC to discuss the Eaglehead DRRA. Please attend and spread the word to your neighbors and friends

When:  Saturday May 11th 10AM

Where:  Oakdale Middle School (entrance is usually around back)

Who:  most likely Jason Wiley and/or John Clarke To learn more please read:

Eaglehead PUD fact sheet, page 1

Eaglehead PUD fact sheet pg 2

 

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.

 

1/24/13 Frederick County has…”essentially violated the state’s new law aimed at limiting growth on septic systems…

State says three counties flouting septic growth law

Planning secretary says O’Malley administration “weighing options”

Tim Wheeler

7:00 AM EST, January 24, 2013

Three Maryland counties have essentially violated the state’s new law aimed at limiting growth on septic systems, a top O’Malley administration aide said Wednesday, adding that state officials are “weighing our options,” including possible legal action or withholding of funds.

Cecil, Frederick and Allegany counties did not follow the 2012 law in drawing up maps that were supposed to restrict where large housing subdivisions on septic may be built, Planning Secretary Richard E. Hall told lawmakers in Annapolis.

Hall, briefing members of the House and Senate environmental committees, said that Cecil and Frederick in particular appear to have tried to essentially “negate” the law by leaving as much forest and farm land open to septic-based housing development as possible – including some properties already preserved.

“So they basically have not only ignored the law, they’ve thumbed their nose at the state,” observed Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat.

Hall said Allegany officials have deviated from the law in a more limited fashion in one area of the county.

Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of the land preservation group 1000 Friends of Maryland, said she’s also worried about Charles County, where she said county officials have been considering a septic growth map suggested by developers. The county has yet to adopt anything for submittal to the state, though.

The planning secretary said that only 11 of Maryland’s 23 counties have adopted maps provided for in the law that spell out where septic-based development can and can’t occur. State planners are “fine” with most of those, Hall said, concluding they’re basically in line with the law’s aim of curbing rural sprawl and limiting nutrient pollution from septics.

But the rest of the state’s counties have not submitted any growth maps for state review, Hall said, and many of those appear to be waiting to see what happens to those counties that essentially ignored the law – or to see if lawmakers amend or repeal the controversial law.

Under the “Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act” passed last year, Maryland’s 23 counties and its municipalities are supposed to map where they plan to grow, carving their territory up into four “tiers” that increasingly limit residential development on septic systems. The maps were due by the end of the year, if the counties want to continue permitting any large-scale housing projects using septics.

Hall noted that the bill the administration introduced would have had his department approve or reject the counties’ maps, but lawmakers worried about local prerogatives to control land use stripped out the state’s ability to veto plans or order changes. Instead, the law provides that the department may force a county to have a public hearing on its septic growth plan if state planners believe it doesn’t comply with the law.

The state planning department has written Cecil and Frederick saying its maps do not conform to the law’s requirements.  Cecil already has called a public hearing Feb. 19 on the state’s criticism.

“We hope they will change their maps, but there’s nothing in the legislation that requires them to,” he said. “To be blunt, they can ignore us.”

While his department is limited by the law to commenting on local septic plans, Hall said it’s possible that counties may still face lawsuits from residents who believe they or their property may be hurt by having septic-supported development nearby.

Administration officials also are considering what options the state may have to respond to a local government they believe is flouting the law, Hall said. Nothing’s been decided, he said, but noted that there’d been discussion of state agencies joining with the attorney general in a lawsuit, or withhholding some funds from counties deemed out of compliance.

Hall said he’s worried that if Cecil and Frederick don’t respond to the state’s criticism of their septic growth plans, it may encourage other counties to ignore the law unless there are some consequences.

Some lawmakers indicated they feared the state had already overstepped its authority in trying to influence local land use decisions.  House Republicans have introduced a bill to repeal the law.

Del. Cathy Vitale, an Anne Arundel County Republican, questioned why Hall’s department had blocked a planned development in her county that had been approved by local officials.

Hall said his staff objected because the project in question called for extending public sewer service into an area of the county not designated for such development in Arundel’s long-range growth plan.  If the county amended its growth plan to include the development, he said state planners would go along.

Del. Charles J. Otto, a Republican representing Somerset and Worcester counties, expressed his disdain for the law and recited constituents’ complaints that it is unconstitutional because it limits their ability to develop their land. He also questioned how the restrictions on septic growth would help the Chesapeake Bay.

Hall replied that the legislation was reviewed for constitutionality before it was introduced. He recited statistics on the law’s environmental effects, including keeping 1.1 milllion pounds of nitrogen out of the bay and its tributaries, and preserving 100,000 acres of forest and farmland that planners believe would otherwise be developed.

But he noted that there’s still plenty of land available for development under the development, up to twice as much as planners project would be needed over the next 25 years to accommodate an additional 450,000 households.

Earlier in his briefing, Hall sought to dispel more of what he called “misinformation” about the law, saying counties in Maryland with strict limits on building homes in agricultural areas have higher farmland values than do neighboring counties with relatively looser development rules.

“When I go out and about,” Hall said, “I’ve had some people tell me — some local elected officials, believe it or not, and professionals in the field — tell me, ‘This will actualy help us achieve our goals .. this helps lock down, solidify many existing policies that we’ve had at the local level.’”

For the most part, he concluded, “We think that this (law) is very consistent with what local governments already have in place.”

 

Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun

Gazette editorial: Pay now, or pay later for Frederick County development

Gazette editorial published on Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pay now, or pay later for Frederick County development

The scene is a familiar one in Maryland: a “bedroom” county with lots of available open space attracts developers who see dollar signs, while elected officials see an easy way to expand the tax base and pay for needed services.

On the other side, advocacy groups and residents who are worried about crowded roads and schools, and the possible higher taxes needed to improve both, draw a line in the sand to fight what they view as unfettered growth.

The developers and elected officials, with zoning law on their side, usually win in the end, with the developers getting rich, and the elected officials moving on to higher office. But years later, their legacy is sometimes urban sprawl that is virtually impossible to undo.

By then, the debate is about “smart growth” vs. “dumb growth,” or the need to impose a building moratorium because development has outstripped a jurisdiction’s ability to accommodate it with the needed infrastructure.

Thoughtful elected officials and residents who witnessed such a gradual erosion of the quality of life in their communities then ask, “How did we get here? What were they thinking a decade ago when they allowed this to happen?”

That crucial time when the future is decided is being played out in Frederick County here and now.  Read more…

 

FNP: Monrovia Town Center protesters gather downtown

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 

Monrovia Town Center protesters gather downtown
Photo by Adam Fried

Pam Abramson, co-founder of Residents Against Landsale Expansion, holds a sign Wednesday in downtown Frederick opposing a proposed Monrovia Town Center.
ON THE WEB- Planning documents, project status at www.frederickmd.gov/planning- Residents Against Landsdale Expansion www.facebook.com/RALE.Monrovia

 

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.

Residents Against Landsdale Expansion R.A.L.E. – Monrovia

Citizens are concerned.  1100 new homes, without warning, without discussion.  One meeting called by the Monrovia Citizens Association (a group no one has heard about) was held 8 miles from Monrovia at Holly Hills Country Club.

Today residents discovered that 1500 more homes are being quickly sent through without due process for the Monrovia Town Center.

Check out their Facebook page.

EIP report: Frederick County discharges 111,158 pounds of nitrogen/year over permitted level

Last week the Environmental Integrity Project released its report The Clean Water Act and the Chesapeake: Enforcement’s Critical Role in Restoring the Bay (December 2012)  Appendix A in that report shows the Ballenger McKinney Waste Water Treatment Plant discharging  111,158 pounds of nitrogen each year over the permitted level.  It is the worst offender in the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“Far too much nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution choke the Chesapeake Bay, making it impossible to sustain a healthy watershed.TItle page EIP report To restore the Bay and protect aquatic life, users will have to meet a pollution diet – a diet that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already set by establishing “Total Maximum Daily Loads” (TMDLs) to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loadings to the Bay by 25% by 2025, and sediment loadings by 20%.1 Measured in pounds, that means decreasing the nitrogen that flows to the Bay by more than fifty million pounds a year; phosphorous by more than three million pounds; and sediment by more than one and a quarter billion pounds.”

Appendix A EIP report

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.