Proposals for land use change in Frederick County

Friends of Frederick County has analyzed the 194 proposals available for public reading at:  Frederick County Government website, Community Development page. Here is a summary of our findings:


Municipality Number of proposals Agriculture/open space properties requesting reclassification and rezoning  (acres) Agriculture/ open space properties requesting reclassification and rezoning for residential development (acres) approximate # of homes to be constructed approx # of new school children approx # of additional car trips/day on local roads
ADAMSTOWN 13 3203.0 99.9 293.0 159.1 2804.0
BRUNSWICK 7 339.4 321.4 737.0 400.2 7053.1
FREDERICK 33 2358.0 2169.6 3172.7 1722.8 30362.7
MIDDLETOWN 18 518.7 505.9 1215.6 660.1 11633.3
NEW MARKET 43 3691.0 2331.4 7505.1 4075.3 71823.8
THURMONT 19 486.0 434.3 452.0 245.4 4325.6
URBANA 46 2769.0 2380.7 5189.9 2818.1 49667.3
WALKERSVILLE 15 2014.0 1857.3 4847.0 2631.9 46385.8
194 15379.0 10100.5 23412.3 12712.9 224055.7


03-01-2011 Country wide APFO for schools on annexed land repealed FNP headline: Ordinance repeal will crowd Frederick County schools

Speakers: Ordinance repeal will crowd Frederick County schools

Originally published March 02, 2011

By Patti S. Borda

The Frederick County Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to repeal the ordinance that has applied the county adequate public facilities schools test to certain properties in municipalities since November 2009.The ordinance was not applied in practice before several municipalities challenged its legality in December 2009. Petitions for judicial review of the ordinance were filed by the municipalities of Frederick, Thurmont, Brunswick, Emmitsburg and Myersville, the burgess and commissioners of Middletown, Woodsboro, Summers Farm LLP and Crum Commercial Farm Development LLC.

The county’s stated purpose for adopting the ordinance was to ensure that schools would be built before development could overburden them in areas the City of Frederick annexed — the Summers and Crum farms among them. Municipal leaders balked at the suggestion that they do not plan for school needs when approving development, presented arguments that the county had overcrowded schools in unincorporated areas before 2009, and that the county may have no legal right to impose the ordinance.

On Tuesday, many municipal leaders and builders told commissioners that the previous Board of County Commissioners had soured the relationship between the county and municipalities, and the ordinance worsened the situation. Mayors, burgesses, builders and land-development lawyers assured commissioners that they would work cooperatively with the county to plan for school capacity and would withdraw the legal action if the county would rescind the ordinance.

That order of events is wrong, said Commissioner David Gray. He advocated ideas from speakers who urged commissioners not to repeal the ordinance until something was written to replace it, a memorandum of understanding or an agreement to set certain standards that limit development according to school capacity.

Opponents of the repeal said Gray is the only one who is thinking of the effect that overcrowded schools would have on children. Commissioners President Blaine Young and Commissioner Paul Smith said they have children in public school, and they are taking into account the effect the repeal will have.

Lawyer Rand Weinberg said the commissioners should repeal the ordinance because it did not foster cooperation but represented an attempt to negotiate with a hammer over the heads of municipalities.

“The least productive way to negotiate a good solution … is with a threat,” he said.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement, whose municipality was at the heart of the original matter before he took office, said he would work closely with the county on a solution. He said he was not speaking for the city aldermen, but believed they would be willing to work with the county to set an adequate public facilities ordinance for the city that would meet county approval.

The ordinance repeal went into effect Tuesday.

03-02-2011 7pm Public Hearing on Lehigh Cement Co. Air Permit Renewal, Union Bridge MD

Frederick County residents living near Union Bridge could be impacted by decisions made on air emissions from LeHigh

Public Hearing on Lehigh Cement Co. Air Permit Renewal,  Union Bridge MD

What: Public Hearing on Lehigh Cement Co’s operating permit renewal

When: scheduled for March 2nd 7pm or March 9th in case of inclement weather.

Where: Union Bridge Fire Hall, 8 W Locust St, Union Bridge

For more info: Call the Maryland Department of the Environment at 410-537-3000

Lehigh’s Union Bridge plant is one of the largest cement kilns in the United States, and produces over 2,000,000 tons of clinker each year.  Lehigh uses sewage sludge, along with fly ash and bottom ash (waste produced from coal-fired power plants), as raw materials in its clinker production.  The cement kiln “cooks” this waste material at temperatures as high as 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which releases hazardous pollution into the air.  Lehigh emits large amounts of hazardous air pollutants including mercury, chlorobenzene, and naphthalene, as well as other air pollutants like particulate matter and nitrogen oxide.  This is particularly significant given Lehigh’s proximity to high population areas and the Chesapeake Bay.  Pollution from the Lehigh plant can harm public health and the environment, as well as contribute to the degradation of the Chesapeake Bay.  Read comments on the draft Title V permit submitted to Air and Radiation Management Administration of Maryland Department of the Environment on December 15, 2010 by Environmental Integrity and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Read more about Lehigh’s emissions and the impacts of mercury emissions on our families and our environment in this report:  Cementing a Toxic Legacy? How the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to control mercury pollution from cement kilns

31 Ways Citizens Can Help Our Economy in Frederick County

Municipal Growth Element Fact Sheet

County’s Role in the Development of “Municipal Growth Elements”

wedrawthelineMandatory Adoption

Every municipality in Maryland is required to adopt a “municipal growth element” as part of its comprehensive plan.  The initial deadline for meeting this requirement was October 1, 2009.  For good cause shown, the Maryland Department of Planning may grant up to two six month extensions of this deadline — to either April 1, 2010 or October 1, 2010.

The Maryland Legislature has provided for the suspension of zoning authority in any municipality that fails to adopt a municipal growth element within the prescribed time limits.  By establishing this extraordinary penalty, the Legislature has underscored its commitment to sound planning at the municipal level.

Download the Municipal Growth Element Fact Sheet here.


In developing its growth element, a municipality must, among other things, evaluate and disclose the potential impacts of its planned growth on county-wide services and facilities (e.g. roads; schools; water and sewer; parks; fire and emergency services etc.).  This information, in turn, will enable the county to project the likely costs of accommodating proposed municipal growth plans.

Mandatory Consultation

A municipal corporation is required to consult with the county in developing a municipal growth element.  In the course of this consultation, the county may provide the municipality with information related to the cost to the county of accommodating proposed municipal growth.

Mandatory Period of Review and Comment

A municipal corporation is also required to provide a copy of its proposed municipal growth element to the county and, for a period of 30 days thereafter, to accept comments from the county.  In its comments on the municipal growth element, the county may request additional information on the impacts of planned growth on county-wide services and facilities.  The county may also request that the municipality decrease the size of its planned growth area where (i) county-wide services and facilities are not sufficient to accommodate municipal growth plans; and (ii) the county will not in the foreseeable future have the resources to expand its infrastructure to accommodate this planned municipal growth.

Mandatory Meeting of County and Municipal Officials

Within 30 days following the close of the comment period, the county and the municipal corporation “shall meet and confer regarding the municipal growth element.”

This meeting provides the county and municipality an opportunity to resolve differences of opinion regarding (i) the likely costs to the county of municipal growth, as proposed; and (ii) the appropriate size of the planned growth area.  According to the Maryland Department of Planning, “HB 1141 mandates that jurisdictions meet and confer on this subject before the municipal growth element can be adopted.”

Mediation by the Maryland Department of Planning

Following this meeting, “on the request of either party”, the county and the municipality shall employ the mediation and conflict resolution office of the Maryland Department of Planning to resolve any remaining differences of opinion.  The Maryland Department of Planning has stated that:

Good planning dictates that the municipality and county agree on those land areas that will someday become part of the municipality.