RALE: Town center study underestimates increased traffic

A report commissioned by Monrovia residents states that a transportation study for a proposed 1,510-home development in the area is riddled with flaws and underestimates the traffic that would be created by the new housing.

The group of residents who oppose the Monrovia Town Center project has sent the analysis to officials with the Maryland State Highway Administration. The group, Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, also requested a meeting with state transportation officials before Frederick County commissioners begin deliberating on the town center project planned near Md. 75 and Md. 80.

Read the full article…

FoFC testifies against the Monrovia Town Center

upright FoFC logoTestimony about the Planned Urban Development Amendment for the Monrovia Town Center (PUD R-12-02);  Public Hearing before the Planning Commission 10/23/2013

 

 

Good evening Frederick County Planning Commissioners:

 

I am Janice Wiles, Executive Director for Friends of Frederick County, a working to protect taxpayers and citizens through good planning, and environmental protections in economic growth, and pushing for transparency in local government.  We believe in sound planning. We want to believe that the Frederick County Planning Commission does too.

 

So, let’s start from the beginning.  The Monrovia Town Center is COMPLETELY unnecessary.    In 2010 a plan was approved based on Maryland Department of Planning 20 year housing forecast demand;  the plan called for building 36, 264 new homes to meet projections AND WE MET THOSE PROJECTIONS WITHOUT the Monrovia Town Center.

 

As an aside on projections, and as planners I’m sure you are aware that  the WashCOG and MDP have since lessened their 20-year projections for Frederick County by at least 20%!

But as the story goes, the political will of our county has changed from leadership for the entire citizenry to helping a few who help you and your Board of County Commissioners.  In this case all of these citizens here, many more families in Monrovia, and all taxpayers in Frederick County stand to lose because Roy Stanley, Howard Payne and Rand Weinberg want the Monrovia Town Center?

Well here’s what we want.

We  want to believe that the Frederick County Planning Commissioners have carefully read the application for the Monrovia Town Center.

We want to believe that you have explored the area and thought long and hard about what it means to put 1500 homes on agricultural land.

We want to believe that you have studied the FCPS plans and the traffic impact analysis.

We want to believe that you have considered why this project was removed during the 2010 comprehensive process.

We want to believe that you are considering the needs and demands of the Frederick County community over the special interests and profits of the landowner, developer and attorney: 75/80 Properties LLC, Payne Investments LLC, and their attorney Rand Weinberg.

Let’s talk about our families and something we all care about – family values, like education.

 

Green Valley Elementary School sits across the street from the proposed MTC.  And right across from the proposed – yet “mythical” – high school.  At present day 82% state rated capacity afternoon pickups are a mess. Cars line the entire parking lot and loop out to the bus lanes under the new pickup policy.  Parents and school officials there are nearing a grid-locked situation.  As Planning Commissioners do you consider this a problem?

 

And then, what is your proposal to ensure that the development complies with Section 500.3 (J) of the zoning ordinance:

 

“Planned developments shall be served adequately by public facilities….  Additionally, increased demand for public facilities … created by the proposed development … shall be evaluated as adequate or to be made adequate within established county standards.”

 

While as Planning Commissioners I’m certain you know the following, but I will say it just in case there is doubt.

 

On May 22, 2013 the Frederick County Board of Education’ Educational Facilities Master Plan presentation projected the need for four new elementary schools to service the development in Linganore, New Market and Monrovia.  Only one (1) new elementary school is planned for and budgeted.  Moreoever that new school, the East County Elementary School, will not seat a single student for 8 years minimum.  Planning Commissioners:  where will the other 2100 kids go?

 

The problem is no better at the middle school level.  Windsor Knolls Middle School is at its designed capacity.  The BOE has stated that there are no plans to make it larger.  There are also no plans, either budgeted or envisioned to add another middle school in this part of the county.  Even after Urbana Middle is expanded, this part of the County is projected to be 108% of state rated capacity.  There are no options put forth by either the county or the BOE to adequately deal with the 220 projected new middle school students from the proposed development. Planning Commissioners:  what is your plan?

 

In closing we would like to clarify a few incompatibility issues with the MTC:

 

  1. 1.    The zoning ordinance (sections 500.3 (C) and 100.4 (A)(4) dictates that the development be compatible with the existing community, or that “mitigation of the differences” are implemented.  Please explain to the citizens of Monrovia how 9 homes/acre looks at all like what is there now – and thus compatible with the existing community.
  2. 2.    Section 500.3 (H) dictates requirements for incorporating the existing natural features into the development.  On page 12 of their staff report on the zoning amendment, the County states that “a previously approved Forest Stand Delineation associated with the prior PUD rezoning effort on this site has expired and must be updated and submitted prior to approval of this application.”  We have seen no evidence of the Applicant meeting this requirement and, therefore, the zoning amendment should not be approved.
  3. 3.    Perhaps the most revealing incompatibility is with the County’s Comprehensive Plan, that reads:
  • the county shall focus a higher proportion of development within Community Growth Areas to protect green infrastructure land (Goal #13 , page 03-2)
  • that “beyond the role of agriculture as part of the County’s economy is the effect agriculture has on how the County looks, its rural landscape of rolling hills and open vistas and its rural communities.  For many residents and visitors, the County’s rural landscape and small towns are a defining contribution to the perception of the County as a unique place.”
  • That we work to “minimize the development in areas of our best agricultural lands to preserve critical masses of farmland” ( Preserving our Agricultural and Rural Community chapter policy #2 (page 05-2)

 

We request that the Planning Commission do its job and thoroughly review Monrovia Town Center PUD R-12-02 in the context of the county plan, the county’s residential needs, the impacts on infrastructure, the county’s citizen’s interests and quality of life.

 

6/13/2013 Landsdale site plan: FoFC voices concerns

FoFC has some issues with the site plan presented at today’s Planning Commission meeting…read about them.

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.

 

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.

Residents against Landsdale expansion UNITE!

A coalition of residents of Monrovia, Maryland

are working together to keep the nature of their community small and rural, in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan for Frederick County .  They have formed a facebook page called Residents against Landsdale Expansion Monrovia, please post something of interest, sign their petition (go to the bottom of the page), pose questions, volunteer interest…get involved and help!

Lansdale PUD could bring in up to 4,000 new residents, with more coming as part of the Monrovia Town Center development. Imagine what our roads will look like. The capacities of our schools are already being threatened.

Citizen concerned with Landsdale development precedent

 

Bad precedent

Originally published October 05, 2012

Recently, the Board of County Commissioners, by a predictable 4-1 vote, approved master plan changes to add over 1,100 houses to the rural Monrovia landscape. It is very unsettling to envision what a project of this scale will do to the area in terms of traffic, schools and infrastructure shortcomings since this change will have triple the impact of the original zoning.However, perhaps more frightening is the proposed Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) that gives the developers a legal agreement that binds the county for a period of 25 years. Really, a quarter of a century? Longer than a master plan? Longer than the period recommended by the state? Longer than the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance?Is it good government to lock future commissioners and planners into 25 years of traffic, school crowding and infrastructure issues?

Perhaps the same crystal ball that instituted a school mitigation fee that underperforms was used to arrive at this decision. Be aware, now that the first DRRA has been approved, developer lawyers will flood Winchester Hall with their requests for 25-year guarantees for taxpayer (government-funded) support for their projects.

 

DAVE HONCHALK

Monrovia

Landsdale PUD Phase I documents

3:23:12 PART I Linowes PUD APPLICATION

3:23:12 PART II Linowes PUD APPLICATION (traffic study)

7:31:12 Staff Rpt Lansdale DRRA: PUD Phase 1 8:22:12 PC Publ Hearing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:21:12 McClurkin Ltr Landsdale App

8:21:2012 Landsdale PUD Phase I Deficiencies

9:18:12 Mahar Testimony LANDSDALE Traffic

9:18 Mahar Testimony LANDSDALE Traffic CHARTS

 

10:4:12 FINAL Phase 1 revisions Landsdale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAPS LANDSDALE LOS based on SHA growth rates

Inconsistencies and Problems with the Landsdale PUD Phase I (non-age restricted) proposal and the Developers Rights and Responsibilities Agreement

Take a look at the Landsdale PUD Phase I Deficiencies.

Take a look at the Landsdale DRRA Deficiencies Memo to BOCC