Commissions, just who stands to benefit from weakening stream buffer regulations? WHO?

upright FoFC logoTestimony before the Board of County Commissioners on amendments to ZT-13-09, Winchester Hall, Frederick County MD   October 31, 2013

 

My name is Janice Wiles, Executive Director for Friends of Frederick County, a countywide organization that promotes environmental conservation, fair and open government, and active civic engagement in Frederick County.  We are here today to speak on your proposal (ZT-13-09) to weaken the very important Waterbody Buffer Ordinance adopted in 2007 for the Linganore watershed and in 2008 for the entire county.  Your proposal represents a step backward in terms of water resource protection in Frederick County and we believe that it is undermines the public health, welfare and even safety of the residents and citizen taxpayers here.

 

Every person in the USA today should know that vegetation alongside streams provides ecological, economic, and aesthetic benefits.  We read about floods where there are no forests, we see photos of siltation, and we have learned in school about the importance of streamside buffers to protect the aquatic beings and provide terrestrial habitats.  And, the distance between cleared soil and water makes a difference, ie the more the better.

For the TV audience who may not know what is happening, this BOCC is requesting that the county weaken stream buffer regulations. This proposal translates to long-term damage to Frederick County’s streams and watersheds, at a time when the Chesapeake Bay states and counties are all working hard to clean them up!  It also translates to increased taxes for you and me to clean up the mess created by siltation and polluted waters (but that’s after these guys are out of office)

 

Specifically this proposed rollback includes:

  • Reducing stream buffer vegetation from 175 ft to 150 feet on steep slopes
  • Reduce stream buffer vegetation from 150 ft to 125 ft on moderate slopes
  • No longer mandate that vegetation needs to cover a moderate or steep slope to the top of the hill
  • Remove the requirement that there should be increased buffer protections in the Linganore Watershed Protection Area
  • Allow some building in buffer zones

 

Throughout Frederick County many steep and moderate slopes historically have not been disturbed, as they are very difficult to farm, graze log or develop.   Disturbing steep (or even moderate) slopes increases the likelihood of serious erosion problems.  Logically,  the steeper the slope, the more velocity that runoff water will accumulate.  The ability of water to move soil is proportional to the slope on which the water flows, making it critical to maintain vegetation (plants) on slopes.

Commissioners, do you recall reading the following in the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan:

Protecting the natural terrain and vegetative features present on steep slopes prevents flooding, stream siltation, and the alteration of natural drainage patterns.  Preserving steep slopes protects the natural environment, manmade structures, and the safety of all citizens.  Steep slope protection also provides aesthetically attractive open space/view sheds and maintains local biodiversity found on many of these slopes.  Preservation of steep slopes adjacent to water courses is especially important because of the impact to water quality and in stream aquatic habitat from soil erosion and sedimentation when slopes are graded, cleared or disturbed.

This leaves citizens wondering why, since vegetation buffers are key to protect our waterways, our safety and pocketbooks, would our county leaders vote to allow their degradation?  

Who stands to benefit from weakening these regulations?  And, who is asking you to weaken them?

Riparian buffers help to attenuate floodwaters, assimilate and sequester nutrients, stabilize stream banks, and filter sediment and potentially harmful bacteria. Due to historic clearing along streams in the Linganore Creek watershed Lake Linganore is the recipient of a high sediment load, which may and often does result in the following awful situations:

  • Ø frequent nuisance 
seasonal algal blooms, due to over-enrichment by nutrients, which interfere with water supply and recreational uses
  • death and decay of excessive algae and subsequent fish kills, in violation of the dissolved oxygen (DO) water quality standard
  • Ø high levels of phosphorus (a nutrient that fosters algal production, a problem in Lake Linganore)  Since phosphorus binds to sediment it arrives in abundance in the lake when erosion occurs.  MDE suggests that addressing the sediment run off would help reduce algal blooms.  And, I have not had time to research but I have heard that there are scientific studies that show some algae (when ingested like say in drinking water, ie Lake Linganore drinking water) can be a neurotoxin.  There is even some suggestion that there are links to some diseases like alzeihmers.  We request that you do some homework on that before actively compromising the public drinking water here for Frederick City residents.

Dr. Jim Gracie, hydrologist with 40 years experience shared with me his greatest concern with your recommended changes.  That is allowing vegetation disturbance on steep slopes to the crest and, in some instances, beyond.  “If a 25% slope is not protected at least to the crest (and it is prudent to protect beyond the crest), then the protection intended for the steep slope will be significantly degraded.”  The disturbed area above (upslope from) the protected part of the steep slope will be highly susceptible to erosion.   Erosion on a steep slope begins with rill formation, which expands to gully formation.  Since the force that erodes and transports sediment (shear stress) down a slope is proportional to the depth times the slope, the flow from the unprotected slope will flow through the protected portion of the buffer at a faster speed than if the steep slope were protected.  Rills and gullies will carry sediment and concentrated flows into the protected portion of the buffer and will likely cause erosion of the undisturbed portion of the slope.  By not protecting the slope to a point beyond the crest of the slope, the protected portion of the slope will be damaged.  Rather than eliminate the requirement that steep slopes be protected to their crest, in fact the legislation should be expanding steep slopes protections beyond the currently-established buffer minimums.”

Additionally, the proposed changes permit structures for recreation (like bikeways and trails) within slopes.  These activities will most certainly accelerate erosion, which in turn will undermine the very structures and activities in the buffer!  Keep your eyes open citizens, if the trail system the developer and county propose are within the sloped buffer zone it will be your county taxes required to maintain it each time it washes away! Development within the buffers will also degrade both terrestrial and aquatic animal and vegetation habitat.

Reducing the depth of any stream buffer will generally increase the amount of sediment that is carried into that water body, and also tends to raise the temperature of the runoff, thus raising the temperature of the water body itself.   Both of these are damaging to the aquatic ecosystem.

Additional sediments in the surface waters require dredging sediments out of water bodies that serve as reservoirs for drinking water;  Lake Linganore is a case in point.  The County taxpayers, City taxpayers and Lake Linganore Association are currently on the hook for $8 million to dredge the lake of sediments.

This leaves citizens wondering why, since buffer zones are important and protect our waterways and pocketbooks, would our county leaders vote to allow their degradation?

 

State Law and Local Policy

The 1992 Maryland Planning Act (ie state law) requires that the County Comprehensive Plan address streams and their buffers, steep slopes and environmental features.  Section 03-13, a Sensitive Areas Element of the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan does just that.  The Element describes stream buffers as:   “Stream banks and adjoining steep slopes (an incline of 25% or greater) that help to prevent erosion from clogging the streambed and provide plant and animal habitat.”

The County Plan notes that areas adjacent to

  • Bush Creek
  • Linganore Creek and the
  • Monocacy River

all have moderate and, in particular, steep slopes.

The County’s Plan expressly establishes the County’s Waterbody Buffer Ordinance as the mechanism that the County uses to protect waterbody buffers.  It notes that “Development setbacks up to 175 feet from all waterways and water bodies were established based on the degree and extent of slope present in the adjacent stream valley.”

While noting that lots that pre-date the Waterbody Buffer Ordinance in effect in 2010 would be “grandfathered” from these setbacks, the County Plan clearly anticipates that new development would be subject to the standards now in effect. The proposed amendments to the County’s Waterbody Buffer Ordinance are in direct conflict with the recommendations and the intent of the County’s Plan, and will serve to undermine the goals of the Sensitive Areas Element of the Plan and should not be adopted.

Moreover look at two of the areas that were identified as having moderate and steep slopes:  the Linganore Creek Watershed and the Bush Creek watershed.  The Linganore Creek watershed is an area that, should this BOCC have its way, will see construction of 6000 new homes.  The Bush Creek watershed is an area that, should this BOCC have its way, will see construction of nearly 3000 homes.  The construction and paving over of these sensitive areas will surely require MORE vegetation to protect the streams, not less.

This leaves citizens wondering why, since buffer zones are important and protect our waterways and pocketbooks, would our county leaders vote to allow their degradation?

The 1992 Maryland Planning Act (ie state law) requires that the County Comprehensive Plan address streams and their buffers, steep slopes and environmental features.  Section 03-13, a Sensitive Areas Element of the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan does just that.  The Element describes stream buffers as:   “Stream banks and adjoining steep slopes (an incline of 25% or greater) that help to prevent erosion from clogging the streambed and provide plant and animal habitat.”

The County Plan notes that areas adjacent to

  • Bush Creek
  • Linganore Creek and the
  • Monocacy River

all have moderate and, in particular, steep slopes.

The County’s Plan expressly establishes the County’s Waterbody Buffer Ordinance as the mechanism that the County uses to protect waterbody buffers.  It notes that “Development setbacks up to 175 feet from all waterways and water bodies were established based on the degree and extent of slope present in the adjacent stream valley.”

While noting that lots that pre-date the Waterbody Buffer Ordinance in effect in 2010 would be “grandfathered” from these setbacks, the County Plan clearly anticipates that new development would be subject to the standards now in effect. The proposed amendments to the County’s Waterbody Buffer Ordinance are in direct conflict with the recommendations and the intent of the County’s Plan, and will serve to undermine the goals of the Sensitive Areas Element of the Plan and should not be adopted.

Moreover look at two of the areas that were identified as having moderate and steep slopes:  the Linganore Creek Watershed and the Bush Creek watershed.  The Linganore Creek watershed is an area that, should this BOCC have its way, will see construction of 6000 new homes.  The Bush Creek watershed is an area that, should this BOCC have its way, will see construction of nearly 3000 homes.  The construction and paving over of these sensitive areas will surely require MORE vegetation to protect the streams, not less.

This leaves citizens wondering why, since buffer zones are important and protect our waterways and pocketbooks, would our county leaders vote to allow their degradation?

Well, we hope that you’ve listened.  We hope that you understand that this proposal is bad for Frederick County does not protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens  and will only serve to provide for the short term profits of a few.  We ask in closing that you explain to all those citizens watching this public hearing just who will benefit from these weakened regulations?  And, who is asking you to weaken them?

 

9/5/13 Glendening sees discrepancy between houses we are building and the type buyers want

Governor Glendening described exactly what FoFC has been saying.  The infrastructure needs for a community that is more dense and walkable is less.  And that there is a disconnect between what will sell and what we are building in Frederick County.  FoFC inserted the photos below (they are not part of the FNP article).

Glendening describes mismatch between housing supply, demand

By Bethany Rodgers News-Post Staff | Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 2:00 am

The American dream is changing, and community design must keep up with it, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a Frederick group Wednesday.

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Downtown Frederick City, a place to live, work and play.

In a talk focused on smart growth, Glendening said an increasing number of people are eschewing large, single-family houses in the suburbs and instead settling in dense, walkable communities. However, there’s a growing disconnect between the types of housing people want and what’s available on the market, he said.

“Keeping our downtowns strong and keeping our communities economically vibrant in the long term will require a different approach to growth than we have been doing for the last 60 years,” he said during the event at Frederick City Hall.

Two population trends are driving changes in the types of housing people want. For one thing, the nation’s senior population is on the rise, and by the year 2030, almost one in five Americans will be older than 65, Glendening said. Increasingly, older Americans are less inclined to head to Florida or a nursing home upon retirement and are more interested in aging in place. Seniors are now looking for communities where they wouldn’t have to drive and where they’re near stores, activities and health care services.

A large millennial population, made up of people between the ages of 18 and 30, is also shaping the housing needs of the future, Glendening said. These people are starting families later and are driving less, he said. The millennial generation tends to like small-lot homes or attached dwellings that are close to their workplaces and served by transit systems.

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Demand is waning for this typical strip mall in a non-walkable community.

In addition, rather than choosing their place of residence based on a job, an increasing number of these individuals are selecting the communities they like and then seeking employment in those areas.  Read the story…

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

 

New Market reconsiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read entire article here.

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.

COMING SOON: 1735 new homes in Linganore, more cars more new students; are we prepared?

Tuesday June 18th, 2013 Public Hearing on Eaglehead Planned Urban Development (PUD) and 25 year DRRA with Board of County Commissioners, Winchester Hall, 12 E Church St. Frederick

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013  Public Hearing on Eaglehead PUD and 25 year DRRA with Planning Commission, Winchester Hall, 12 E Church St. Frederick

Find out more…

OLD NEWS

March 4, 2013  ”Town Hall Meeting” 5-8 PM Windsor Knolls Middle  School informational session on development in south county.   

There is more to life than lower taxes.  If people want the lowest tax rates in the country they should move to Mississippi and enjoy their school system, poverty rate, and level of public service.    - Anonymous Frederick County Resident

September 2012

Frederick City to hold final Public Hearing on Keller Farm annexation

Thursday, September 6, 2012 7:00pm City Hall  Agenda for Public Meeting, including the staff report

Frederick County to hold final meetings

September 13, 2012  Winchester Hall on Comprehensive Plan rezoning map :   approving 160 rezoning applications that could lead to development of some 9,000 acres and 12,600 homes, over and above those homes already planned for in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan.  See FNP report of meeting

September 18, 2012 Winchester Hall:  BOCC Public Hearing on Landsdale PUD Phase I plan and Developers Rights and Responsibilities Agreement  The Planning Commission, after hearing questions from citizens on illegalities of the PUD and DRRA, inconsistencies with the comprehensive plan, voted in favor of the Landsdale PUD and DRRA - and sent it onward to the BOCC for their vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in February 2012 the Young Bocc gave thumbs up to 163 rezoning proposals (out of 204). They recently added 9 new proposals to the 193 that were requested in Summer 2011.

Results significant to land use, zoning, environment, good governance, transparency

BOCC Work Sessions on 193 rezonings scheduled for February 2012

How much of the over 15,000 acres will be zoned from agriculture for development?

The Young Board will decide in their upcomingPublic Work Sessions

The sessions are open to the public though any public comment will only be taken at the very end of each day’s session not after the discussion of an individual request. Any votes taken on individual requests are considered preliminary decisions at this time. All work sessions will be held in the 3rd Floor Meeting Room, Winchester Hall.

1. Tuesday Feb. 14 8:30 am to noon: Overview of 2010 County Plan and Adamstown, Brunswick and Middletown region requests // 1:00 to 4:00 pm: Frederick, Thurmont and Walkersville region requests

2. Tuesday Feb. 21 9:00 am to noon: Town of New Market Draft Plan overview, and New Market region requests

3. Thursday Feb. 23 1:30-5 pm: Urbana region requests

4. Tuesday Feb. 28 9:00 am to noon: Reserve for carry over or follow-up issues to discuss analysis of Requests

Following the work sessions where the BOCC will be making preliminary decisions, staff will then prepare a review and analysis of the requests that received preliminary approval by the BOCC. The analysis will be provided to the BOCC for their review and consideration at a subsequent work session. **What you can do:** * PLEASE ATTEND. * Write letters to the editors of the Frederick News Post and the Gazette. For more information contact: Jim Gugel, Planning Manager, Community Development Division, 301-600-1144 or jgugel@FrederickCountymd.gov.

BOCC Hearings on 193 rezonings scheduled for January 2012

Board of County Commissioners Public Hearings

All of the hearings will be held in Winchester Hall, 1st Floor Hearing Room, starting at 6:00 pm. Speaker sign-up sheets will be available at 5:00 pm for each hearing. There will be separate speaker sign-up sheets for each planning region. Each speaker, whether it is an applicant or individual citizen, will be allowed 5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 10 - AdamstownBrunswickFrederick regions

Wednesday, January 18 - Urbana region

Tuesday, January 24 - MiddletownThurmontWalkersville regions

Tuesday, January 31 - New Market region

Wednesday, February 1 – snow date

 

November 2011 Planning Commission Hearings CANCELLED

The Planning Commission voted 4-2 to recommend that the BOCC follow the existing Comprehensive Plan (and it’s supporting land use/zoning maps)

Between June 1 and July 15, 2011 a majority of Frederick County’s Board of Commissioners accepted requests from land owners to in red. change their zoning or land use designation. The county received 194 proposals that, if accepted, would forever alter up to 15,000 acres of open space and farmland.

You have the opportunity to express your opinion at the Planning Commission’s scheduled public hearings on these land use change requests. Please do.

When? Wednesday, November 16th, 6pm | Topic: New Market Thursday, November 17th, 6pm | Topic: Urbana  THE  PLANNING COMMISSION VOTED 4-2 TO RECOMMEND THE BOCC STICK WITH CURRENT 2010 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, AND IT’S SUPPORTING LAND USE /ZONING MAP – AND DISCONTINUED THE PUBLIC HEARINGS.  READ MORE HERE.

October 2011:

Become aware of the potential rezoning and land use changes proposed near your home:

  • Open House October 19, 4:00 – 7:45pm Urbana Public Library, Small Community Room
  • Open House October 25th, 4:30-8pm Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick,  4880 Elmer Derr Rd, just off 15 south of Frederick.

Keep your eyes on the Partnerships and Efficiencies Committee:  Monday, Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. in the third floor meeting room in Winchester Hall. It will also be televised live on Channel 19.

September 2011:  Rezoning discussions to start

Take a look at the acreage proposed for rezoning (map coming soon).  If you’d like more specifics click here.

June 2011:  Citizens be damned month!

The BOCC  is accepting rezoning applications until July 15th to address grievances expressed from the ratification of the 2010 county rezoning map.

June 2 1o am Winchester Hall:  BOCC passed the FY2012 budget. Read FoFC’s position on the FY2012 budget.

June 16  1pm, Winchester Hall:  Privatization discussion based upon a 30-page report prepared by consultant, Oliver Porter, for $25000.  Report is unavailable to public until that meeting – although the county will have it the day before the meeting. Read FoFC’s position on privatization here.

June 29 7pm, Winchester Hall:  Public hearing before the Planning Commission on Mitigation Fees for school construction.  Read FoFC’s position on mitigation fees for school construction here.

May 2011

5/19  BOCC to discuss changing the county comprehensive plan, public meeting 10am Winchester Hall, item G

5/17 Village Center Zoning under threat of change: would allow Jefferson Food Lion!

March 2011

3/9  Planning Commission to discuss land use text ammendments

3/1  at 7pm Public Hearing on Repeal of Countywide APFO for schools, vote by BOCC  Citizens must come to speak out!  Read more in this bulletinYour child’s public education vs developer private interest BOCC voted 401 to repeal the APFO for schools county wide on annexed land after June 23, 2009.

 

February 2011

2/23  1pm Planning Commission on Repeal of  County wide APFO for schools:  Planning Commission voted 4 against the new APFO ordinance, which is essential a repeal of the county wide ordinance (McClurken, Forrence, White, Floyd),  and 3 for the new ordinance, or repeal of county wide APFO for schools (Lawrence,  Wolfe, Shreve)

Privatization trip to Sandy Spring Georgia:  read about towns that are voiding contracts with the same privatizing company – and why.

2/18  FoFC files request for all information on individual zoning map amendment or floating zone reclassification filed with the Zoning Administrator pursuant to Code §1-19-3.110.2.

2/18  FoFC files request for all information on Comprehensive Plan Zoning since Nov 1, 2010.

January 2011

1/31 FoFC files request for information on exchange between BOCC and Blickenstaff option or rezoning.

December 2010

December 21 8:30am: Agenda Briefing for Public Hearings Scheduled for Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.   PUBLIC HEARING

* Zoning Text Amendment #ZT-10-05, Proposed Ordinance to Amend Certain Sections of the Frederick County Code Regarding Floodplain, Commercial and Business Schools, Public and Private Schools and Boarding Stables – Larry Smith, Planning Division

December 20 7pm: Public Hearing PATH Request – Board of Appeals Meeting regarding the PATH Request for Reconsideration, Winchester Hall

December 16 3pm: CANCELLED to be rescheduled BOCC to meet with municipalities:  discussion to include the APFO county-wide school test;  learn more about the significance of this decision to taxpayers and school renovation, and check out this fact sheet on the impact of residential growth on schools in Frederick County.

December 15: BOCC agreed to fund special study on costs for running sewer to northern annexation properties.

December 14: BOCC voted 3-1-1 (Blaine Young voted against, David Gray absent) to repeal the ethics law.  Public Hearing on January 4th 7pm, Winchester Hall.

December 11 Winchester Hall 1st floor:  Proposal to repeal ethics legislation

December 9/10 at Pine Cliff Park: strategic planning with department heads starting at 9am Thursday (all day Thursday and half day on Friday)   Commissioner Young announced creating a new position for a Special Project Manager to work directly with the BOCC, and filed the position with Mike Marschner, former DUSWM Director.  The Young Board had the option of cutting the Assistant County Manager  position – as it was left vacant by the previous BOCC (acknowledging that this BOCC wanted to CUT government) – but announced they had instead filled the position with David Dunn (Solid Waste Advisory Committee and strong proponent of WTE).  We are investigating another position created to explore privatizing government departments and tasks.

December 7 BOCC meeting: discussion on base budget, revenue projections, ethic ordinance and public ethics law, Md Open Meetings Act and Md Public Information

  1. Commissioner Young started a new 15 minute program to be aired at 5:30 and 8:30 pm on channel 9 called “This week in Frederick County”.  Commissioners and department heads are encouraged to be on the show.  Robin Santangelo also noted that there are other shows on Channel 19 FCG TV “inside Frederick County, “Health” and the “Best Kept Secrets”
  2. Budget discussion:  with county’s primary source of revenue, property taxes, falling with decrease in assessments (up to 26% decrease from 3 years ago), 11 million needs to be cut from budget.  BOCC to lobby delegation for more from highway user fee and lobby MACO for state school pension money – which could be as much as 9 million for the county.
  3. Commissioner Shreve suggested that Frederick County doesn’t need the Ethics Ordinance, The Frederick County Ethics Ordinance prohibits all covered persons from acting in their County positions in any matter that would have a direct financial impact on them or on a close relative or business associate. Both Commissioners Smith and Shreve made comments about repealing the ethics legislation.  No motion was made on said comments.

December 2 BOCC meeting:

December 1 BOCC meeting: Robert’s Rules changed to allow the president of the BOCC to make motions.  From John Mathias, Frederick County Attorney:  ”The parliamentary rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order cover many different types of group meetings from small entities of 3 or more members up to large organizations of thousands of members.  Some of the rules are more intended for the large organizations than the smaller ones.   The general rule prohibits the Chair from making a motion (although the Chair can ask the vice chair to preside temporarily while the Chair makes a motion).  The purpose of the rule is to allow the chair to focus more on the role of presiding at the meeting and making objective, impartial rulings on any parliamentary procedures.  Though not worded this way, the logic of Robert’s Rules seems to be that the Chair has plenty to do running the meeting without having to also make motions.    These concerns are much more prominent with a large society.  In fact, Robert’s Rules provides that for a board with fewer than a dozen members present, the Chair may make motions (as well as speak in debate and vote on motions) subject to the rule or custom of the particular board.  (Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 10th ed., Section 49, p. 471).    At the December 1 meeting, the BOCC, in effect, adopted a rule indicating that it would follow the Robert’s Rules guidance for a small board and allow the Chair to make motions.”

CBF backs “rain tax”

In a Frederick NEws Post letter to the editor the Chesapeake Bay Foundation supports the rain tax…

 

Bay Foundation backs ‘rain tax’

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 2:00 am

More pollution goes into Frederick County creeks and rivers than into the waters of any other county in Maryland, according to Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) data. About 20 percent of that comes from storm water — a swill of dog feces, lawn fertilizer, oil and gasoline residue and water that flashes off streets and parking lots when it rains.

This type of pollution is the only source of water pollution increasing in the region, especially in growing counties such as Frederick. Farmers, sewage plants and other sources are discharging less pollution than years past.

Frederick understands the value of investing in streets, water filtration plants and sewage plants. But some county officials don’t seem to want to invest in another county utility: the system of ponds, pipes and culverts that drains its landscape. As a result the antiquated system gets more expensive to upgrade each year, like a leaking roof we refuse to patch.

Contrary to a recent News-Post editorial there are no storm water “plants” that treat polluted runoff as there are plants to treat sewage. The polluted runoff mostly goes into a storm drain and straight into local creeks.

How polluted is Frederick County? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and MDE have declared most of the waters of the county officially “impaired,” including the Monocacy River, Double Pipe Creek and Catoctin Creek. Residents are cautioned not to come into contact with the water for a full 48 hours after a summer thunderstorm. How’s that work for convincing businesses to relocate to Frederick County?

This isn’t a new problem. But there is a new urgency to fix it. In fact, soon Frederick and other Maryland counties will receive new storm water permits under the federal Clean Water Act that require them to do a better job.

How to pay for it? About 1,300 jurisdictions around the country have approved some form of “storm water utility fee,” determining such fees to be the fairest and most efficient way to address this problem.

Despite popular rhetoric, these fees aren’t “rain taxes” but a fair assessment on polluters (you and me) that pays for a service the county provides. It’s fixing our parking lots, streets, driveways and other surfaces that turn rain into toxic soup.

The benefits would be substantial. In Anne Arundel County where county commissioners have approved a storm water fee, for example, the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center estimates that for every $100 million the county invests in improvements, the county will gain $220 million in economic benefits and almost 800 jobs.

By state law, Frederick can decide how much of a utility fee it wants to raise from each resident and business to begin to meet its responsibilities. Unfortunately, Frederick County Commissioners have decided their constituents can live with dirty water. They have said they will collect only 1 cent from each resident for the job. That ploy might make for a fine protest, but Frederick County will get what it pays for — likely continued unhealthy water and flooded basements. And an ever larger bill to be paid by the children and grandchildren of the county.

Alison Prost

is Maryland executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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

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

 

Casey farm (639 acres) in New Market on list for 1000 home development

639 acres to become a planned unit developmen

639 acres to become a planned unit development

To learn more please click here for the Casey Property PUD fact sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map below shows streams surrounded by floodplain, forest (green) and blue for ponds and wetlands.

natural resource features on Casey property

natural resource features on Casey property

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.