CLEANWATER_LINGANORE, Inc forms to put stream health in Linganore on red alert!

Email the group at info@cleanwater-linganore.org

FINAL CLEANWATER_LINGANORE (1)

 

FINAL CLEANWATER_LINGANORE (2)

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.

 

6/18/13 Commissioners approve 1734 new homes in Linganore

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.

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

4/24 Planning Commission to discuss Westview South MXD

 

WESTVIEW SOUTH MXDNew 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.

See the former LOU  and the DRAFT LOU in progress.

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.

 

Gazette editorial: Pay now, or pay later for Frederick County development

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…

 

1/9/13 Request for approval of sketch plan on rezoned property, currently in circuit court

Read more.

FNP letter: Handouts to the elite development set

Handouts to the elite development set

Originally published November 11, 2012

County Commissioners President Blaine Young often says that Frederick County is not business-friendly and that the county has been anti-development. The problem with Blaine’s views is that the facts do not accommodate his empty arguments.From 2000 to 2010, Frederick County grew at a rate of 19.5 percent. Only two other counties grew at a faster rate. The state of Maryland grew at a rate of 9 percent. Twenty percent in 10 years is not enough for Blaine Young, because there is so much more money to be made — consequences be damned.

He is not business-friendly, but business-obsessed, and irrationally supportive of welfare for developers, caring little about the consequences his development-at-all-costs policies will have in the future. Frederick County has not been anti-development, and if the county is so hostile to developers, then how did the developments of Spring Ridge, Glenbrook, Brunswick Crossing and countless others occur? If developers are victims of bad policy, then how were they able to accommodate the housing needs of over 30,000 new residents from 2000 to 2010?

Why is Blaine Young so adamant about taking the same exact path that neighboring counties have when it comes to development? When people are sitting in miles of traffic years from now, they will know whom to thank. He seems to care little about current and future traffic congestion, which was highlighted when he decided to lower the tax developers had to pay, which went into a transportation infrastructure fund. The goal for Blaine is to make Frederick County look more like Tysons Corner, and then future generations will have to play catch up 30 years later for transportation needs, as we are seeing in Tysons right now.

Developers may strongly support Young’s policies. The problem is most people in Frederick County aren’t developers and he is accountable to all county residents, not just those responsible for much of his campaign support. Wealthy developers get a tax cut, yet those in need get their services cut.

The future success of Frederick County growth does not depend on the policy of build now, pay for infrastructure later. The county is in an advantageous position because of its location in one of the wealthiest states in the country, its proximity to the base of the federal government and three of the wealthiest counties in the country: Loudoun County, Va., Howard and Montgomery. But that doesn’t mean we have to travel down the same road of growth.

The desirability of Frederick County will be a result of a well-thought-out approach to growth and development, not one in which Blaine Young and developers have free rein, as they have no incentive to combat future traffic and school congestion, but only make money off new construction and do everything in their power to increase their profit margins. I never realized that developers were so impoverished to begin with.

In the next 10 years, do we want a growth rate of 20 percent? Blaine seems more supportive of 40 to 50 percent growth, and radically altering the landscape and character of the county. But as long as his developer cronies are making more money, it’s fine with Blaine.

A growth rate of 19.5 percent is business- and developer-unfriendly? Since when? Of course, for Young, government intervention is necessary not to help the most vulnerable, but for developers looking to increase their profit margins.

For Blaine, benefits for developers are also more important than raises for teachers in Frederick County. Frederick County is the eighth wealthiest county in the state, yet the teachers pay is ranked 22nd out of 24. Doesn’t a successful business environment depend on the recruiting and retention of high-quality educators? Once again, Blaine fails to make the connection. Compensating teachers what they deserve is simple fairness, yet Blaine prefers corporate welfare and developer handouts over providing Frederick County Public Schools teachers with what they deserve.

One would think by looking at neighboring counties that chasing revenue via mass development is not a well-thought-out strategy, unless appropriate transportation infrastructure and uncrowded schools can be realized. By slashing the fee developers had to pay for future infrastructure needs, Young unapologetically indicates that the only thing that matters for this county is more development, and everything else, including teachers pay, school crowding, and well-thought-out infrastructure, will continue to take a back seat to Blaine’s building buddies.

Frank Clements writes from Knoxville.