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

10-25-12 Public Hearing with Board of Appeals on Grant County Mulch Processing in Buckeystown, read more!

Please attend the special hearing on:

Thursday October 25th 7:00 PM    1st floor hearing room, Winchester Hall,   12 E Church Street, Frederick MD

Read what local Buckeystown residents think!

White line is current usage, red line is proposed expansion.

Grant County Mulch in West Virginia

 

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

Facts about the 194 rezoning applications under review by Young Board of County Commissioners

Since FoFC did this analysis the county has made some changes to the parcel sizes to be rezoned.  Click here for a memo from the Frederick County Community Development Division summarizing those changes.  FoFC has not yet revisited our analysis.

 

BOCC seeing serious resistance against privatization plan

This afternoon marked the end of the second public hearing regarding the BOCC’s plan (being pushed forward by Commissioners Young, Shreve and Delauter) to privatize core services in Frederick County and implement a public-private partnership. There was a huge turnout of County employees and residents at the first hearing on the evening of July 12th, filling all rooms of Winchester Hall with many people remaining outside to wait, and the hearing this morning (the 19th) filled at least the main hearing room on the 1st floor when the hearing began.

Many of the County employees and other speakers brought up excellent points, and substantiated their points with ample amounts of evidence, analysis, and experience.

Some of the main points that have been brought up and supported multiple times throughout these first two hearings include the following:

  • The County can often provide services more cheaply than contractors have in the past, and the switch to providing these services in-house often results in great savings.
  • The financial problems which the County is facing are not as dire as the pro-privatization Commissioners have made them out to be, and there are many ways that the County could save money and get our finances back on track without dismantling the government.
  • The Porter report which the BOCC has used (until today – explained further down) as the only piece of literature presented to the public in support of this privatization plan was riddled with errors, and provided absolutely no sources, background data, or methodology of any kind.
  • Private contractors often time experience high turnover rates, and provide a lower quality of service than County employees can provide.

Some other information that FoFC delivered to the public at today’s hearing:

  • When talking about requirements for the private sector (in the event of an implemented PPP)  to rehire a percentage of County employees or to at least give County employees the chance to be interviewed for their old job, Blaine Young was quoted as saying “But the fewer requirements that are included, the greater the cost savings would be.”
    • So while Commissioner Young may insist that he cares about County employees to their faces, when he is elsewhere the Commissioner feels comfortable stating that County employees aren’t even worth the money it would take to pay an interviewer to talk to County employees about filling their old jobs.
  • In a response from Oliver Porter to my request for more (any) data and information regarding his sources and adjustments behind the cost-savings projections listed in his report, Oliver Porter said the following: “I can appreciate your desire to get into the details of our analysis, but I think that I must decline to do so.”
    • It would seem that Mr. Porter has received his $25,000 from the BOCC, and has no further interest in our County.
  • During the time period of a few months in which the Ethics Commission granted Commissioner Delauter an exemption from the Ethics Ordinance, and allowed Delauter’s company to accept County contracts, Commissioner Delauter took full advantage. Three County contracts, signed by Blaine Young and awarded to Kirby Delauter, worth the amounts of $70,347.31 on December 22nd, 2010, $130,657.40 on February 11th, 2011, and $88,220.66 on March 10th, 2011 were given to Commissioner Delauter before the Ethics Commission decided that this behavior was unethical.
    • What’s going to happen if Commissioners Young and Delauter are successful in their privatization efforts, and they are in charge of giving out County contracts?

We would like to thank all of the County employees who have not only worked hard for our County for so many years, but have taken the time to put forth so much extra effort in an attempt to show the BOCC that this privatization plan is a mistake. Friends of Frederick County is honored to stand by our County workers and help force our County government, and three of our Commissioners in particular, to rethink this issue of privatization on a foundation of facts, reliable research, and time-tested experience.

And eight hours (counting both hearings) of testimony against this plan has paid off in some small way. The BOCC has finally voted to take Oliver Porter’s report off the table! While this is definitely good, on the other hand, now there isn’t anything on the table at all to back up this privatization plan. A true testimony to how much work the BOCC has put towards understanding the issue, with the exception of David Gray, who suggested a Master’s thesis as a good source at the end of the hearing today (which focuses on Sandy Springs and points out many of the pitfalls to a PPP setup).

We can keep this up! The last two hearings are at the following times:

Thursday, July 21 at 1:30pm, Winchester Hall (1st floor)

Tuesday, July 26 at 7pm, Winchester Hall (1st floor)

And an hour before the July 26th hearing there will be a rally held in front of Winchester Hall for anyone who has been given reason to harbor reservations regarding the privatization plan! I encourage everyone to attend!

I would also encourage everyone to watch the public hearings online on the Frederick County website if you haven’t seen them already.

The July 12th hearing can be viewed here: http://frederick.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=2790

And the July 19th hearing can be viewed here: http://frederick.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=2803 (if you are interested, the comments from FoFC begin at approximately 3hrs:50mins).

For your reference, the Frederick County contract numbers for the contracts that Commissioner Delauter received are 340L-SW (the Dec. 22nd contract), 186K-SW (Feb. 11th), and 322A-SW (Mar. 10th).

If you have any questions, or you would like hard or digital copies of the contracts or any other information, e-mail me at davidboston88@gmail.com.

- David Boston

Audubon concerned with impact of New Market’s proposed parkway on bird sanctuary

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

09-02-2010 FNP Picking our pockets – to pay for PATH (letter to the editor)

In September one county board will consider whether the PATH project is consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan; another will consider a zoning exception to permit a substation near Mount Airy. This “Kemptown” substation will be the terminus of a 275-mile transmission line from a coal-burning plant in West Virginia.No PATH energy is for us; it will pass through the county, headed farther east. But we’ll pay in loss of scenic views, lowered property values, and runoff from its 200-foot-wide right of way. Over 1,300 households near the Kemptown substation may also lose peace of mind, worrying that their water wells would be ruined if fire should cause a transformer meltdown.

We will pay plenty out of pocket, too. Federal law gives Allegheny a 14.3 percent return for PATH, paid by all customers, not just PATH users. It’s also ironic that we’re all paying already, through add-ons to our bills!

For example, Allegheny is recovering $2.1 million from us for its ads in 2008 and 2009 to sell us on PATH! So we’re paying to be lobbied for something that gives us no benefit — some deal!

NICHOLAS CARRERA

Urbana

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/opinion/display_lte.htm?storyid=109340

Download Flyer Showing How New Market will Double in Size

Click here to download the one page flyer for distribution.

Contact Friends of Frederick County to find out more about the Municipal Growth Plan process:  friends@friendsoffrederickcounty.org ref:  New Market MGE

Revitalization Must Be Done to Curb Sprawl: take a look at the Portland Development Commission

To the Elected Officials of

Frederick City and Frederick County:

RE:  Frederick Comprehensive Growth Plan

As you know, city growth can occur in two ways:  cities can focus their attention on revitalizing older urban settings and filling in where possible, or they can grow outward through urban sprawl that consumes precious farmland and open spaces. The revitalization of vacant and underutilized areas is not an easy task, but it must be done first, to minimize sprawling development on the outskirts of town.

Frederick can benefit from emulating the vision and mission of the Portland Development Commission (PDC), in Portland, OR, which is as follows:

The Vision is to be a catalyst for positive change in the creation of a world-class 21st century city; a city in which economic prosperity, quality housing and employment opportunities are available to all.

The Mission is to bring together resources to achieve Portland’s vision of a diverse, sustainable community with healthy neighborhoods, a vibrant central city, a strong regional economy, and quality jobs and housing for all.

It seems to me that that is a vision and mission we could all heartily embrace and support for our city.

Opinion is divided over the social and economic impacts of sprawl, because evidence indicates that both social/economic benefits and costs occur from this phenomenon. While it is the responsibility of our government to make the case for the benefits and outline the projected costs in its comprehensive plan, we cannot ignore the documented negative effects including decreased community spirit and leisure time, traffic congestion and longer commutes, over-crowded schools and higher taxes

. In addition, urban sprawl’s impacts on ecosystems and other environmental resources include decreased surface and groundwater, air quality and landscape aesthetics, as well as the destruction of wildlife habitats.

Sprawl also may have serious implications for our health. There is increasing evidence that the way we design our communities discourages physical activity such as walking and cycling, contributes to air pollution, and promotes pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Increased traffic congestion contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and a greater risk of car crashes. Runoff due to the absence of vegetation is polluting our water systems.

We can “think globally” about ozone depletion, but there are few environmental causes in our own hometown that allow us to “act locally.” Frederick’s elected officials, working with concerned citizens in the design of a Fiscal Impact Analysis, is one way we can all act locally. While there may be different interests or opinions driving our decisions, we need to work together to assess the impacts, in financial terms including taxes, as well as quality of life issues.  A collective interest in a fiscally responsible planning process is imperative for us all.

Sarah J. Thompson, Frederick City Resident