Friends of Frederick County has filed complaints to challenge unlawful growth plans or rezonings – to hold public officials accountable, insuring they follow the rules.
This inappropriate amount of development and its location gave rise to severe adverse consequences. Farm land, forested areas, and other open spaces were being needlessly destroyed, and environmentally sensitive areas, such as wetlands and streams, degraded. Existing public facilities were unable to handle the new development, resulting in road congestion, school overcrowding, etc. New infrastructure had to be constructed which eventually resulted in great cost to the taxpayer – even though it was represented or assumed that the cost of development would be fully covered by the developer or revenue from the new development.
To prevent these adverse consequences, the State adopted a “Smart Growth” policy, implemented by legislation. Part of the legislation requires municipalities to prepare Comprehensive Plans to govern new development, including development on property to be annexed. In preparing the Comprehensive Plan, State law requires municipalities (like New Market and Frederick City) to clarify:
- if there is an actual need for the development proposed in the Plan
- whether existing infrastructure can handle the growth
- if existing infrastructure cannot handle the growth then what new infrastructure is needed
- the cost of that infrastructure
- who will pay for that infrastructure
Over and over citizens raise valid concerns and questions about the challenges to providing adequate and costly public infrastructure for their communities in light of new development on farmland. This is an indication that something is wrong. Time after time taxpayer questions go unanswered, ignored – indicative that either the public official doesn’t know enough to answer the question or wishes not to. Taxpayer concerns are treated as frivolous while developers and their attorneys (the 1% who stand to make a profit off the 99%) are taken seriously.