FNP: Monrovia Town Center protesters gather downtown

Monrovia Town Center protesters gather downtown

Plan would put 1,510 houses, commercial development on hundreds of acres east of Ed McClain Road

Originally published January 17, 2013By Patti S. Borda 

Monrovia Town Center protesters gather downtown
Photo by Adam Fried

Pam Abramson, co-founder of Residents Against Landsale Expansion, holds a sign Wednesday in downtown Frederick opposing a proposed Monrovia Town Center.
ON THE WEB- Planning documents, project status at www.frederickmd.gov/planning- Residents Against Landsdale Expansion www.facebook.com/RALE.Monrovia


Half a dozen protesters took their concerns about Monrovia’s future to Frederick’s streets Wednesday.They made their stand at the corner of Church and Market streets just before the Frederick County Planning Commission was scheduled to discuss the Monrovia Town Center proposal.

The commission has not yet scheduled a public hearing on any part of the plan, but will do so and make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners probably around March, according to Jim Gugel, county planner.

Monrovia Town Center’s plan would put 1,510 houses and 280,000 square feet of commercial development on 460 acres east of Ed McClain Road and north of Fingerboard Road.

Before that can start, Teddy Kroll said she and her Monrovia neighbors are rallying as many people as they can to write letters and speak at public hearings. They hope to convince planners and county commissioners that their neighborhood is not suitable for Urbana-style density and development.

“How would they like it if someone did this to them, put Urbana on their front lawn?” Kroll said in an interview Wednesday.

The roads cannot handle the traffic now, and the additional traffic would be disastrous, Kroll said. Her first concern is Md. 75, which the state has no money or plan to improve.

Kroll and her neighbors take no comfort from Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young’s assurance that the developers will help pay for road improvements and their projects will be built over several decades.

“It’s irresponsible to plan on money that isn’t there,” Kroll said.

Amy Reyes is spearheading the grass-roots effort to involve more residents in the area planning. She runs a Facebook page for Residents Against Landsdale Expansion. The group will meet Sunday at a location and time to be announced soon, Reyes said.

Reyes and a half dozen people at Wednesday’s meeting scoffed aloud at what counts as community notification about projects such as the 1,100-home Landsdale development in the same area. Planning Commissioner John McClurkin suggested that people who had sat through the meeting might be allowed to comment, even though it was not a public hearing.

The county is not sufficiently accounting for the combined effect of Landsdale and Monrovia Town Center on schools and roads, three people told the commission.

In addition to optional meetings developers may choose to have with neighbors, Gugel said county staff will accept any invitation to attend community meetings for the purpose of answering questions about projects and the planning process. He encouraged the public to find the latest information on the county planning website, from a project’s initial stages to its completion.

If Monrovia Town Center is built, Kroll said, life will change for a small community where it is safe to let children outside to play.

“It becomes Urbana,” she said. “You have to bring all the kids back inside.”

Young’s “forceful personality” may be swaying fellow commissioners to approve the plan, but they and the county will have to live with this administration’s decisions long after Young leaves office, Kroll said.

“Now is the only time the neighborhood can stop it,” she said.