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.

4/16/13 – COMMENTS SOUGHT ON OVERSIGHT OF “DUAL USE” BIO RESEARCH

Members of the public are invited to comment on the feasibility and desirability of various forms of institutional oversight at federally-funded institutions that perform research involving certain pathogens or toxins.

“Certain types of research that are conducted for legitimate purposes may also be utilized for harmful purposes. Such research is called ‘dual use research’,” said a Notice filed in the Federal Register Friday by the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“Dual use research of concern (DURC) is a smaller subset of dual use research defined as life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security,” the OSTP Noticeexplained.

The term “dual use research of concern” should not be taken in a pejorative sense, OSTP said.

“Research that meets the definition of DURC often increases our understanding of the biology of pathogens and makes critical contributions to the development of new treatments and diagnostics, improvements in public health surveillance, and the enhancement of emergency preparedness and response efforts. Thus, designating research as DURC should not be seen as a negative categorization, but simply an indication that the research may warrant additional oversight in order to reduce the risks that the knowledge, information, products, or technologies generated could be used in a manner that results in harm. As a general matter, designation of research as DURC does not mean that the research should not be conducted or communicated.”

In the February 22 Federal Register Notice, OSTP posed a series of questions concerning potential oversight arrangements for dual use research of concern and solicited feedback from interested members of the public.

Please send Beth Willis (mcbeth@mac.com) the following if you want to sign on to these comments.  They will be submitted to the Office of Science and Technology Policy on April 19. 
Name, title, (if relevant)
Organization,(if relevant)
City and State
You can sign on for an organization, or as “member, (name of organization).” or just as yourself.
PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY SO WE CAN GET AS MANY SIGNATURES AS POSSIBLE.  I will put my name and contact info on, others do not need to.  
DEADLINE:  Thursday April 18th.
Thanks for considering this sign on comment document and apologies for the short time frame.
Beth Willis
Frederick Citizens for Biolab Safety
Frederick, MD

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

10-24-12 Public Hearing with Planning Commission: Jefferson Tech 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:
    • October 24th 7pm Winchester Hall: Public Hearing with Planning Commission
    • October 30th 7pm Winchester Hall: Public Hearing with the Board of County Commissioners

Jefferson Tech Park (JTP) documents

Documents and background for Jefferson Tech Park (JTP)

 

FNP: citizen questions city permitting the Tough Mudder, and links bad planning to votes of current elected officials

 Put blame in the right place

(Frederick News Post, Sept 23, 2012)

The traffic snarl and resident complaints regarding the Tough Mudder race held at Crumland Farms last weekend are not the story of an organizer who misled anyone. It is the story of incompetency among Frederick city and Frederick County officials. On Sept. 5, an article inThe Frederick News-Post quoted Tough Mudder media representative Ashley Fallick as stating the event is expected to attract approximately 27,000 people. In that same article, Frederick city Economic Development Director Richard Griffin remarked, “Having 27,000 folks here for the Tough Mudder Race this weekend is sure to increase hotel room nights and sales at restaurants and other retail establishments.” He goes on to say, “Additionally, it highlights Frederick to folks from other places as a great place to live, invest and do business.”

Were these individuals misquoted? I doubt it. Regardless, Mayor Randy McClement and Police Chief Kim Dine claim they were caught off-guard and the debacle was a result of poor planning on the part of Tough Mudder LLC. When an organization from outside of Frederick applies for a permit and the city grants it, should they not assume the officials would understand the implications of said permit? Are McClement and Dine unaware of the issues we face on U.S. 15 every day? Were they shocked that 27,000 people going to a parking area off Willow Road could pose a problem? Should it have been their responsibility to recognize the possible problems more than an out-of-town organization that is bringing its business to Frederick? And why is the local government being so difficult about revealing the details of the permit to the public? It is laughable that Alderwoman Karen Young, an elected city leader, was, by her own admission, not even aware that two major events were scheduled for Frederick on the same weekend. What about County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who seemed to sense there might be work involved? He made sure to keep the mud off his hands.

But this was only one event on one weekend that went wrong. What is more frightening is that several of these individuals are behind the annexation of several farms in the area, including the race venue, Crum Farm, so that the lands can be developed heavily. These are the people that claim issues regarding school crowding, congested local roads and highways, and public safety will be addressed satisfactorily once thousands more housing units are added to the area.

How many portables are already on our public school grounds? How often is traffic congested on 15 and other main roads in the area? How well-staffed are our police forces and other emergency response organizations? Last weekend, Frederick city’s leadership proved they were incapable of ensuring a decent quality of life for residents of the city and county. Sadly, I am glad this weekend’s events wreaked so much havoc on Frederick. Consider it training. It is the kind of discomfort we will need to get used to in the coming years. As Commissioners President Blaine Young stated in the Sept. 7 edition of The Frederick News-Post, the annexation and further development of local Frederick farms “supports the best aspects of Smart Growth,” the urban development plan initiated in Maryland under Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening in the ’90s. That is a rather ambiguous remark, for it overlooks the worst aspects of the Smart Growth initiative. A week ago Saturday was just a taste of what is to come in the all-too-near future of Frederick, and I fail to see anything smart about it — or the elected officials behind it.

DONNIE CORNELL

writes from Frederick.

FoFC questions Keller Farm Development Fiscal Impact Assessment

The Fiscal Impact Analysis on this project vastly overestimates its potential revenue.   After careful review, the city will not have a $500,000/year revenue source off the Keller Farm development, as presented by Ausherman Developers before the Planning Commission in June 2012.  Instead the development will bring somewhere between a net loss of $43,000/year to a gain of $25,000/year.  Getting the numbers right, and then weighing them together with the numerous other farm annexations for development in the works, is key to helping taxpayers know what we face down the road.

As citizens and residents of Frederick City and County we are concerned with what we know – and more importantly what we don’t know – about the costs associated with the Keller Farm development.  The FIA prepared for the Keller Farm development shows the annexation to generate an annual net revenue to the City of about $500,000 upon build-out. This analysis is based upon sales of 500 single family homes priced at $410,000 each, 50 single family homes priced at $340,000 each and 200 town homes each priced at $285,000.

After review of the FIA for Keller we believe it provides to you an incorrect net revenue of $500,000/year, and believe instead the annexation would generate anywhere between a net loss of $43,000/year to a net gain of $25,000/year upon build out and before any monetary proffers are considered. [1]

We believe that the excessive net revenue presented in the FIA is attributable to the following three factors:

  1. the Keller FIA does not adjust the property’s residential “market rate” value to reflect its assessed taxable value in accordance with the County’s sales to assessed value ratio of .906[2];
  2. on the expenditure side, the Keller FIA does not include any general fund debt service costs (Keller, Exhibit 8).  The City’s 2013 budget shows the residential share of its General Fund debt service to be approximately $195 per housing unit; and
  3. the Keller FIA includes a token amount of $6.44 as the operating revenue contribution for each of its residential units for the City’s future capital outlays (Keller Exhibit 8).  A review of the City’s 2013-2018 CIP indicates the average residential share of pay-go funds to support the General Fund capital projects is about $200 (excluding the Carroll Creek project).

Throughout the public meetings and hearings there has been discussion of the impacts on infrastructure, principally schools and roads.  What we haven’t heard – or seen in writing -  is the cost to mitigate those impacts and who will pay. It seems fair and prudent to clarify to citizens the best assessment of costs to mitigate impacts  - and who will pay for what  - before making the commitment to spend the money, especially in light of the potential losses or minimal annual gains off this project development.



[1] These figures are based on the City’s FY2012 and FY2013 budgets and tax rates and its most recent five year CIP.

[2] Maryland State Department of Taxation, 2010 Ratio report, Table 1

9/6/12 Final Public Hearing on Keller Farm Development

Thursday, September 6, 2012 7:00pm City Hall

Mayor McClement and the Board of Aldermen (O’Connor, Russell, Young, Krimm and Aloi) will meet to hear citizens speak about the Keller Farm Annexation and development.

Read more about the annexation proposal.

Read citizen opposition.

Agenda for Public Meeting, including the staff report

Opinion of city resident on Keller Farm development (FNP letter to the editor)

 

Keller annexation will devalue quality of life

Originally published September 04, 2012

I’m a city slicker. Born and raised across the river from New York City, I went to high school a stone’s throw from the Twin Towers. I love the excitement, the crowds, the culture, the clubs, the shows and the food.When I moved to this area, I lived in Bethesda, a rather quaint city with a handful of great restaurants 20 years ago. It has since grown dramatically and now teems with the latest hot spots, $2,500/month condos and parking tickets until 10 p.m. to those delinquent with their quarters.

So when my lab on the NIH main campus was slated to move to the NCI atn Fort Detrick 12 years ago, I thought, “OMG, I’m moving to Frederick.” There were, however, advantages, one being home prices: I could get triple the house for the same price as down the road. So I thought it won’t be so bad, especially since twins were on the way.

And I was right: Frederick is a wonderful mix of urban, suburban and rural: sprawling farms interspersed with development, older neighborhoods and a vibrant, expanding downtown. After torturing our real estate agents for about five months, we found a perfect house in an equally perfect neighborhood that is safe and in an excellent school district. Not sure how it happened to a guy like me, but I actually really liked it here.

Former Beatle George Harrison once said “All things must pass,” and it seems as though my once sub-urb-al utopia will begin to fall victim to this omniscient phrase, as the Keller Farm annexation process barrels down the tracks headed for almost certain approval. If successful, the families on three sides of the Yellow Springs/Rocky Springs/Walter Martz roads intersection will have 750 (or more likely 850 to 1000) new structures in our backyards before we can say “urban sprawl.”

That is why I was thrilled by Bill Pritchard’s Aug. 24 “Not-so-smart growth, where he hit the nail on the head suggesting that desecrating the harmony of green, farm and family that encompass this haven of northeastern Frederick would be less than prudent. I certainly do not want to seem completely anti-growth, as this adds to the local economy, creates jobs and entices people to come to our fair city and county. But R4 development (more likely R5 as time goes on, meaning five homes per acre) will upset the aforementioned harmony making it as grating as a mistuned orchestra. The short commute from Rosemont Ave to Whittier and Rocky Springs Road will quadruple and the landscape will change from one of natural serenity to 5th Avenue.

While the buzz of the city has always been enticing to me, this just does not fit in this part of Frederick. If I wanted that, I would have bought a row house on Second Street, understanding all the benefits and drawbacks to living downtown. That is why I urge all of you who live in the area to attend the Sept. 6 forum to implore the Board of County Commissioners to either reconsider the entire annexation, or at a minimum suggest halving the slated zoning standard to 1 to 2 homes per acre and require added parkland that incorporates some of the built-in beauty of the existing neighborhoods.

Let’s keep Frederick, Frederick.

 

JACK BARCHI

 

Frederick

FoFC asks state to calculate their share of costs for public services and facilities in Frederick County

Frederick News Post report:  Group wants growth costs calculated