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. 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. 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. 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.
Read about it here in the FNP
County approves 1,735 more homes for Lake Linganore
By Bethany Rodgers News-Post Staff | Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 2:00 am
Frederick County commissioners Tuesday voted to rezone roughly 950 acres in the Lake Linganore community as part of a plan to fill out the development with 1,735 more houses.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the proposal, with Commissioner David Gray the only one to oppose reclassifying the land from its agriculture and resource conservation zoning. Allowing the development to move forward will enable the construction of roads and other infrastructure systems that have been lacking in the community, commissioners said during the evening public hearing…. read more.
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)
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.
New development planned for the north and south sides of Executive Way, south of Frederick, between Buckeystown Pike and New Design Road. There will be 122,500 square feet of employment use and a maximum of 615 dwelling units (approx. 255 single-family and 360 multifamily) type products (apartments, two-over-twos, condos), or any variation of dwelling unit mix such that the intensity of total peak hour vehicle trips or the school student generation is not increased above that analyzed in the “Westview South Land Bays 2, 3, and 4″ memorandum prepared on behalf of the Applicant by Wells and Associates, LLC, dated February 22, 2013 (the “Project Memorandum”) or the student projections referenced here.
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 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
* 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.
Gazette editorial published on Thursday, January 24, 2013
Pay now, or pay later for Frederick County development
The scene is a familiar one in Maryland: a “bedroom” county with lots of available open space attracts developers who see dollar signs, while elected officials see an easy way to expand the tax base and pay for needed services.
On the other side, advocacy groups and residents who are worried about crowded roads and schools, and the possible higher taxes needed to improve both, draw a line in the sand to fight what they view as unfettered growth.
The developers and elected officials, with zoning law on their side, usually win in the end, with the developers getting rich, and the elected officials moving on to higher office. But years later, their legacy is sometimes urban sprawl that is virtually impossible to undo.
By then, the debate is about “smart growth” vs. “dumb growth,” or the need to impose a building moratorium because development has outstripped a jurisdiction’s ability to accommodate it with the needed infrastructure.
Thoughtful elected officials and residents who witnessed such a gradual erosion of the quality of life in their communities then ask, “How did we get here? What were they thinking a decade ago when they allowed this to happen?”
That crucial time when the future is decided is being played out in Frederick County here and now. Read more…