RALE: Town center study underestimates increased traffic

A report commissioned by Monrovia residents states that a transportation study for a proposed 1,510-home development in the area is riddled with flaws and underestimates the traffic that would be created by the new housing.

The group of residents who oppose the Monrovia Town Center project has sent the analysis to officials with the Maryland State Highway Administration. The group, Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, also requested a meeting with state transportation officials before Frederick County commissioners begin deliberating on the town center project planned near Md. 75 and Md. 80.

Read the full article…

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)

8/24/13 FNP: New Market reconsiders annexation plans

 

New Market reconsiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read entire article here.

COMING SOON: 1735 new homes in Linganore, more cars more new students; are we prepared?

Tuesday June 18th, 2013 Public Hearing on Eaglehead Planned Urban Development (PUD) and 25 year DRRA with Board of County Commissioners, Winchester Hall, 12 E Church St. Frederick

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013  Public Hearing on Eaglehead PUD and 25 year DRRA with Planning Commission, Winchester Hall, 12 E Church St. Frederick

Find out more…

OLD NEWS

March 4, 2013  ”Town Hall Meeting” 5-8 PM Windsor Knolls Middle  School informational session on development in south county.   

There is more to life than lower taxes.  If people want the lowest tax rates in the country they should move to Mississippi and enjoy their school system, poverty rate, and level of public service.    - Anonymous Frederick County Resident

September 2012

Frederick City to hold final Public Hearing on Keller Farm annexation

Thursday, September 6, 2012 7:00pm City Hall  Agenda for Public Meeting, including the staff report

Frederick County to hold final meetings

September 13, 2012  Winchester Hall on Comprehensive Plan rezoning map :   approving 160 rezoning applications that could lead to development of some 9,000 acres and 12,600 homes, over and above those homes already planned for in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan.  See FNP report of meeting

September 18, 2012 Winchester Hall:  BOCC Public Hearing on Landsdale PUD Phase I plan and Developers Rights and Responsibilities Agreement  The Planning Commission, after hearing questions from citizens on illegalities of the PUD and DRRA, inconsistencies with the comprehensive plan, voted in favor of the Landsdale PUD and DRRA - and sent it onward to the BOCC for their vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in February 2012 the Young Bocc gave thumbs up to 163 rezoning proposals (out of 204). They recently added 9 new proposals to the 193 that were requested in Summer 2011.

Results significant to land use, zoning, environment, good governance, transparency

BOCC Work Sessions on 193 rezonings scheduled for February 2012

How much of the over 15,000 acres will be zoned from agriculture for development?

The Young Board will decide in their upcomingPublic Work Sessions

The sessions are open to the public though any public comment will only be taken at the very end of each day’s session not after the discussion of an individual request. Any votes taken on individual requests are considered preliminary decisions at this time. All work sessions will be held in the 3rd Floor Meeting Room, Winchester Hall.

1. Tuesday Feb. 14 8:30 am to noon: Overview of 2010 County Plan and Adamstown, Brunswick and Middletown region requests // 1:00 to 4:00 pm: Frederick, Thurmont and Walkersville region requests

2. Tuesday Feb. 21 9:00 am to noon: Town of New Market Draft Plan overview, and New Market region requests

3. Thursday Feb. 23 1:30-5 pm: Urbana region requests

4. Tuesday Feb. 28 9:00 am to noon: Reserve for carry over or follow-up issues to discuss analysis of Requests

Following the work sessions where the BOCC will be making preliminary decisions, staff will then prepare a review and analysis of the requests that received preliminary approval by the BOCC. The analysis will be provided to the BOCC for their review and consideration at a subsequent work session. **What you can do:** * PLEASE ATTEND. * Write letters to the editors of the Frederick News Post and the Gazette. For more information contact: Jim Gugel, Planning Manager, Community Development Division, 301-600-1144 or jgugel@FrederickCountymd.gov.

BOCC Hearings on 193 rezonings scheduled for January 2012

Board of County Commissioners Public Hearings

All of the hearings will be held in Winchester Hall, 1st Floor Hearing Room, starting at 6:00 pm. Speaker sign-up sheets will be available at 5:00 pm for each hearing. There will be separate speaker sign-up sheets for each planning region. Each speaker, whether it is an applicant or individual citizen, will be allowed 5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 10 - AdamstownBrunswickFrederick regions

Wednesday, January 18 - Urbana region

Tuesday, January 24 - MiddletownThurmontWalkersville regions

Tuesday, January 31 - New Market region

Wednesday, February 1 – snow date

 

November 2011 Planning Commission Hearings CANCELLED

The Planning Commission voted 4-2 to recommend that the BOCC follow the existing Comprehensive Plan (and it’s supporting land use/zoning maps)

Between June 1 and July 15, 2011 a majority of Frederick County’s Board of Commissioners accepted requests from land owners to in red. change their zoning or land use designation. The county received 194 proposals that, if accepted, would forever alter up to 15,000 acres of open space and farmland.

You have the opportunity to express your opinion at the Planning Commission’s scheduled public hearings on these land use change requests. Please do.

When? Wednesday, November 16th, 6pm | Topic: New Market Thursday, November 17th, 6pm | Topic: Urbana  THE  PLANNING COMMISSION VOTED 4-2 TO RECOMMEND THE BOCC STICK WITH CURRENT 2010 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, AND IT’S SUPPORTING LAND USE /ZONING MAP – AND DISCONTINUED THE PUBLIC HEARINGS.  READ MORE HERE.

October 2011:

Become aware of the potential rezoning and land use changes proposed near your home:

  • Open House October 19, 4:00 – 7:45pm Urbana Public Library, Small Community Room
  • Open House October 25th, 4:30-8pm Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick,  4880 Elmer Derr Rd, just off 15 south of Frederick.

Keep your eyes on the Partnerships and Efficiencies Committee:  Monday, Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. in the third floor meeting room in Winchester Hall. It will also be televised live on Channel 19.

September 2011:  Rezoning discussions to start

Take a look at the acreage proposed for rezoning (map coming soon).  If you’d like more specifics click here.

June 2011:  Citizens be damned month!

The BOCC  is accepting rezoning applications until July 15th to address grievances expressed from the ratification of the 2010 county rezoning map.

June 2 1o am Winchester Hall:  BOCC passed the FY2012 budget. Read FoFC’s position on the FY2012 budget.

June 16  1pm, Winchester Hall:  Privatization discussion based upon a 30-page report prepared by consultant, Oliver Porter, for $25000.  Report is unavailable to public until that meeting – although the county will have it the day before the meeting. Read FoFC’s position on privatization here.

June 29 7pm, Winchester Hall:  Public hearing before the Planning Commission on Mitigation Fees for school construction.  Read FoFC’s position on mitigation fees for school construction here.

May 2011

5/19  BOCC to discuss changing the county comprehensive plan, public meeting 10am Winchester Hall, item G

5/17 Village Center Zoning under threat of change: would allow Jefferson Food Lion!

March 2011

3/9  Planning Commission to discuss land use text ammendments

3/1  at 7pm Public Hearing on Repeal of Countywide APFO for schools, vote by BOCC  Citizens must come to speak out!  Read more in this bulletinYour child’s public education vs developer private interest BOCC voted 401 to repeal the APFO for schools county wide on annexed land after June 23, 2009.

 

February 2011

2/23  1pm Planning Commission on Repeal of  County wide APFO for schools:  Planning Commission voted 4 against the new APFO ordinance, which is essential a repeal of the county wide ordinance (McClurken, Forrence, White, Floyd),  and 3 for the new ordinance, or repeal of county wide APFO for schools (Lawrence,  Wolfe, Shreve)

Privatization trip to Sandy Spring Georgia:  read about towns that are voiding contracts with the same privatizing company – and why.

2/18  FoFC files request for all information on individual zoning map amendment or floating zone reclassification filed with the Zoning Administrator pursuant to Code §1-19-3.110.2.

2/18  FoFC files request for all information on Comprehensive Plan Zoning since Nov 1, 2010.

January 2011

1/31 FoFC files request for information on exchange between BOCC and Blickenstaff option or rezoning.

December 2010

December 21 8:30am: Agenda Briefing for Public Hearings Scheduled for Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.   PUBLIC HEARING

* Zoning Text Amendment #ZT-10-05, Proposed Ordinance to Amend Certain Sections of the Frederick County Code Regarding Floodplain, Commercial and Business Schools, Public and Private Schools and Boarding Stables – Larry Smith, Planning Division

December 20 7pm: Public Hearing PATH Request – Board of Appeals Meeting regarding the PATH Request for Reconsideration, Winchester Hall

December 16 3pm: CANCELLED to be rescheduled BOCC to meet with municipalities:  discussion to include the APFO county-wide school test;  learn more about the significance of this decision to taxpayers and school renovation, and check out this fact sheet on the impact of residential growth on schools in Frederick County.

December 15: BOCC agreed to fund special study on costs for running sewer to northern annexation properties.

December 14: BOCC voted 3-1-1 (Blaine Young voted against, David Gray absent) to repeal the ethics law.  Public Hearing on January 4th 7pm, Winchester Hall.

December 11 Winchester Hall 1st floor:  Proposal to repeal ethics legislation

December 9/10 at Pine Cliff Park: strategic planning with department heads starting at 9am Thursday (all day Thursday and half day on Friday)   Commissioner Young announced creating a new position for a Special Project Manager to work directly with the BOCC, and filed the position with Mike Marschner, former DUSWM Director.  The Young Board had the option of cutting the Assistant County Manager  position – as it was left vacant by the previous BOCC (acknowledging that this BOCC wanted to CUT government) – but announced they had instead filled the position with David Dunn (Solid Waste Advisory Committee and strong proponent of WTE).  We are investigating another position created to explore privatizing government departments and tasks.

December 7 BOCC meeting: discussion on base budget, revenue projections, ethic ordinance and public ethics law, Md Open Meetings Act and Md Public Information

  1. Commissioner Young started a new 15 minute program to be aired at 5:30 and 8:30 pm on channel 9 called “This week in Frederick County”.  Commissioners and department heads are encouraged to be on the show.  Robin Santangelo also noted that there are other shows on Channel 19 FCG TV “inside Frederick County, “Health” and the “Best Kept Secrets”
  2. Budget discussion:  with county’s primary source of revenue, property taxes, falling with decrease in assessments (up to 26% decrease from 3 years ago), 11 million needs to be cut from budget.  BOCC to lobby delegation for more from highway user fee and lobby MACO for state school pension money – which could be as much as 9 million for the county.
  3. Commissioner Shreve suggested that Frederick County doesn’t need the Ethics Ordinance, The Frederick County Ethics Ordinance prohibits all covered persons from acting in their County positions in any matter that would have a direct financial impact on them or on a close relative or business associate. Both Commissioners Smith and Shreve made comments about repealing the ethics legislation.  No motion was made on said comments.

December 2 BOCC meeting:

December 1 BOCC meeting: Robert’s Rules changed to allow the president of the BOCC to make motions.  From John Mathias, Frederick County Attorney:  ”The parliamentary rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order cover many different types of group meetings from small entities of 3 or more members up to large organizations of thousands of members.  Some of the rules are more intended for the large organizations than the smaller ones.   The general rule prohibits the Chair from making a motion (although the Chair can ask the vice chair to preside temporarily while the Chair makes a motion).  The purpose of the rule is to allow the chair to focus more on the role of presiding at the meeting and making objective, impartial rulings on any parliamentary procedures.  Though not worded this way, the logic of Robert’s Rules seems to be that the Chair has plenty to do running the meeting without having to also make motions.    These concerns are much more prominent with a large society.  In fact, Robert’s Rules provides that for a board with fewer than a dozen members present, the Chair may make motions (as well as speak in debate and vote on motions) subject to the rule or custom of the particular board.  (Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 10th ed., Section 49, p. 471).    At the December 1 meeting, the BOCC, in effect, adopted a rule indicating that it would follow the Robert’s Rules guidance for a small board and allow the Chair to make motions.”

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

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.

 

1/24/13 Frederick County has…”essentially violated the state’s new law aimed at limiting growth on septic systems…

State says three counties flouting septic growth law

Planning secretary says O’Malley administration “weighing options”

Tim Wheeler

7:00 AM EST, January 24, 2013

Three Maryland counties have essentially violated the state’s new law aimed at limiting growth on septic systems, a top O’Malley administration aide said Wednesday, adding that state officials are “weighing our options,” including possible legal action or withholding of funds.

Cecil, Frederick and Allegany counties did not follow the 2012 law in drawing up maps that were supposed to restrict where large housing subdivisions on septic may be built, Planning Secretary Richard E. Hall told lawmakers in Annapolis.

Hall, briefing members of the House and Senate environmental committees, said that Cecil and Frederick in particular appear to have tried to essentially “negate” the law by leaving as much forest and farm land open to septic-based housing development as possible – including some properties already preserved.

“So they basically have not only ignored the law, they’ve thumbed their nose at the state,” observed Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat.

Hall said Allegany officials have deviated from the law in a more limited fashion in one area of the county.

Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of the land preservation group 1000 Friends of Maryland, said she’s also worried about Charles County, where she said county officials have been considering a septic growth map suggested by developers. The county has yet to adopt anything for submittal to the state, though.

The planning secretary said that only 11 of Maryland’s 23 counties have adopted maps provided for in the law that spell out where septic-based development can and can’t occur. State planners are “fine” with most of those, Hall said, concluding they’re basically in line with the law’s aim of curbing rural sprawl and limiting nutrient pollution from septics.

But the rest of the state’s counties have not submitted any growth maps for state review, Hall said, and many of those appear to be waiting to see what happens to those counties that essentially ignored the law – or to see if lawmakers amend or repeal the controversial law.

Under the “Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act” passed last year, Maryland’s 23 counties and its municipalities are supposed to map where they plan to grow, carving their territory up into four “tiers” that increasingly limit residential development on septic systems. The maps were due by the end of the year, if the counties want to continue permitting any large-scale housing projects using septics.

Hall noted that the bill the administration introduced would have had his department approve or reject the counties’ maps, but lawmakers worried about local prerogatives to control land use stripped out the state’s ability to veto plans or order changes. Instead, the law provides that the department may force a county to have a public hearing on its septic growth plan if state planners believe it doesn’t comply with the law.

The state planning department has written Cecil and Frederick saying its maps do not conform to the law’s requirements.  Cecil already has called a public hearing Feb. 19 on the state’s criticism.

“We hope they will change their maps, but there’s nothing in the legislation that requires them to,” he said. “To be blunt, they can ignore us.”

While his department is limited by the law to commenting on local septic plans, Hall said it’s possible that counties may still face lawsuits from residents who believe they or their property may be hurt by having septic-supported development nearby.

Administration officials also are considering what options the state may have to respond to a local government they believe is flouting the law, Hall said. Nothing’s been decided, he said, but noted that there’d been discussion of state agencies joining with the attorney general in a lawsuit, or withhholding some funds from counties deemed out of compliance.

Hall said he’s worried that if Cecil and Frederick don’t respond to the state’s criticism of their septic growth plans, it may encourage other counties to ignore the law unless there are some consequences.

Some lawmakers indicated they feared the state had already overstepped its authority in trying to influence local land use decisions.  House Republicans have introduced a bill to repeal the law.

Del. Cathy Vitale, an Anne Arundel County Republican, questioned why Hall’s department had blocked a planned development in her county that had been approved by local officials.

Hall said his staff objected because the project in question called for extending public sewer service into an area of the county not designated for such development in Arundel’s long-range growth plan.  If the county amended its growth plan to include the development, he said state planners would go along.

Del. Charles J. Otto, a Republican representing Somerset and Worcester counties, expressed his disdain for the law and recited constituents’ complaints that it is unconstitutional because it limits their ability to develop their land. He also questioned how the restrictions on septic growth would help the Chesapeake Bay.

Hall replied that the legislation was reviewed for constitutionality before it was introduced. He recited statistics on the law’s environmental effects, including keeping 1.1 milllion pounds of nitrogen out of the bay and its tributaries, and preserving 100,000 acres of forest and farmland that planners believe would otherwise be developed.

But he noted that there’s still plenty of land available for development under the development, up to twice as much as planners project would be needed over the next 25 years to accommodate an additional 450,000 households.

Earlier in his briefing, Hall sought to dispel more of what he called “misinformation” about the law, saying counties in Maryland with strict limits on building homes in agricultural areas have higher farmland values than do neighboring counties with relatively looser development rules.

“When I go out and about,” Hall said, “I’ve had some people tell me — some local elected officials, believe it or not, and professionals in the field — tell me, ‘This will actualy help us achieve our goals .. this helps lock down, solidify many existing policies that we’ve had at the local level.’”

For the most part, he concluded, “We think that this (law) is very consistent with what local governments already have in place.”

 

Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun

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…

 

1/18/13 FNP editorial on New Market process: Skirting open meetings

Skirting open meetings

Originally published January 18, 2013

By ed

We’re glad New Market’s attorney, William Wantz, put the brakes Wednesday night on two massive annexations, but not because we support or oppose them — that’s a matter for the town to decide.What concerns us are some of the maneuvers by town leaders that make it look like they’re trying to skirt the Open Meetings Act, a state law dedicated to ensuring we all have full and thorough access to government officials when they make decisions, most of which involve spending our tax money.

At issue in this case are two parcels of land — the 262-acre Smith-Cline and 134-acre Delaplaine properties — that, added to New Market’s boundaries, would double the town’s size and could add nearly 1,000 new houses.

New Market’s leaders know annexation proposals are controversial. In a 2007 referendum, in a vote of 148-105, residents shot down plans to annex the Smith and Cline farms after the public objected. The process dragged out over months and was extremely controversial; tempers flared on both sides. That was a tough, open and necessary debate, one that seems to be missing in this latest push to expand the town’s limits.

Take two examples where New Market’s leadership walked a fine line about notifying its residents and other interested parties.

On Jan. 10, the day of the planning commission hearing, the annexation discussion was added to the agenda at 10 a.m. The hearing was at 7 p.m. — and the planning commissioners voted to support the annexations that night. If you were interested in attending and making your opinion known, pro or con, but worked out of the county or had some other commitment, you were probably out of luck.

A planned vote on the annexations, listed innocuously enough as a “discussion,” was added to Thursday’s Town Council agenda only the day before the 7 p.m. meeting. That’s where Wantz, who is apparently listening to residents worried about the annexation, told council members, “We want to do this right, and we want to do this in a way that doesn’t cause harm.”

These meetings were not advertised even remotely adequately. In the case of the vote, the lack of notification was particularly egregious. Another public hearing has been scheduled for next month.

Scheduling the discussion suddenly on the day of the hearing or day before by adding it to the agenda at the last minute is government’s cowardly end run around the law to mute opposition in sometimes controversial decisions. Sadly, under the Open Meetings Act, it’s not illegal. But it’s certainly not within the spirit of the law. We’re not sure if an intentional suppression of opinion was what happened in the case of the annexations, or whether it was an overly hasty attempt to move this issue ahead. Either way, we’d urge Mayor Winslow F. Burhans III and the Town Council to consider the importance of allowing enough time for the public to be present at and speak at the next hearing.

Taken alone, the lack of notification could be considered just an oversight. But there are a couple of more points of concern.

Burhans says he has been meeting with anyone who wants to learn more. They have been one-on-one meetings in private homes. They were set up using his private business email, which he includes on nearly all of his town correspondence, and not the email he has through the town.

Why private email? Presumably because government emails are public information and subject to public information requests. Using a private email to communicate is the 21st-century equivalent to meeting in a smoky back room behind closed doors. Meeting one-on-one is similarly questionable.

Finally, in an explanation of the late notice to one of our reporters, Burhans indicated that letters from him and other council members were sufficient notice — except they didn’t contain a time, date or address for the meetings. This is hardly the “reasonable advance notice” required by the law. In fact, the Open Meetings Act manual published by the Maryland attorney general (and available on his website) clearly states: “Unless some unusual circumstance makes it impracticable to do so, the public body should give a written notice that includes the date, time, and place of its meeting.”

We hope these aren’t intentional strategies to subvert proper public comment and avoid the kind of divisive — but necessary — public debate that took months to resolve in 2007 and led to that special election referendum. But that’s how it appears, and in politics, even small-town politics, appearance is everything.

Hearings on this have not allowed for a full and thorough debate. We doubt a majority of residents’ voices have been adequately heard. That needs to happen before a decision as monumental as doubling the town’s size is voted on by the council.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/opinion/display_editorial.htm?StoryID=145789#.UPmok4njnxY