“And with a 20-stroke lead, Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement sinks his last shot for a record 100 under par, clinching his victory as men’s golf gold medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics.”

You won’t actually hear any sports commentators or news outlets sharing this update from the Rio games. But if McClement was to compete in an Olympic sport, golf would be his top choice.

“I’m not all that sports-minded,” he said in a phone message Friday morning.

He prefers to watch rather than play, he explained. But given golf’s debut in the 2016 games — the first time in 112 years — and the fact that he could “actually play it,” that was McClement’s sport of choice.

And while President Barack Obama gets worked up watching gymnastics, McClement named swimming and the decathlon as his viewing events of choice. Of course, the fact that swimming events have boasted big wins from Marylanders Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky increased his interest in watching the sport.

“It definitely gives it a little more spark,” he said.

Removing Taney
bust on hold, again

It looked like all systems were a go Thursday as the city Historic Preservation Commission was slated to make its long-awaited decision on removing a bust of Roger Brooke Taney from Frederick City Hall.

The aldermen voted last fall on the resolution to relocate the bust from outside the city government building.

A new home for Taney was recently (finally) found with the grandson of the bust’s architect. An application was submitted to the HPC to remove both the Taney bust and the adjacent Gov. Thomas Johnson bust from the city hall courtyard. The Johnson bust was to be relocated to the Rose Hill Manor Park and Children’s Museum, according to the application.

Then, the long-delayed push to remove the bust was put on hold, again, announced through a city statement sent Thursday afternoon. The hearing and vote on the proposal have been postponed to a later, unspecified date, the release stated.

The reason for the latest hold-up? Turns out, the Maryland Historic Trust has to approve the application to remove the busts before the HPC can weigh in.

A historic preservation easement on the entire city hall property means the state agency must give its blessing for any changes to the property’s exterior, according to an agreement signed between the two groups. The city shared a copy of the easement agreement with The Frederick News-Post on Thursday.

City officials knew state approval was required but mistakenly thought it could happen concurrently with the HPC review, according to Patti Mullins, city spokeswoman. The application to the state group is “in the works,” Mullins wrote in an email sent Thursday, but the timeline is still TBA.

A number of people still commented on the proposal Thursday during the general public comment section of the HPC meeting.

Taney is best known for writing the opinion in the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision during his time as the fifth chief justice of the United States. The 1857 decision said that African-Americans could not sue in federal court because they were not entitled to the same rights as U.S. citizens.

Planning Commission
leadership changes

The city planning commission on Monday elected Barbara Nicklas as its new chairwoman. The special election was held after former chairwoman Kate McConnell resigned last month.

Commission members are appointed by the mayor and serve five-year terms. McConnell’s current term began in February 2016 and would have expired in February 2021, according to the city website.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, McConnell said her decision to resign was personal and “a timing thing.” McConnell works as a planner for the Loudon County Department of Planning and Zoning. She also serves as chairwoman of the city’s Historic Preservation Designation Committee, a subcommittee of the HPC that has been involved in studying properties for possible historic preservation overlays.

An overlay is an extra level of regulation on top of zoning requirements already in place. If approved, any major exterior changes to the property, including demolition, would require review and approval by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission or department employees.

The overlay process has sparked opposition, including by the property owners who object to the fact that they have no say in the HPC-initiated preservation process. McConnell’s name has also come up as part of those concerns through emails sent to me about the recent proposal to add a designation to the Frederick Fairgrounds property.

The planning commission also makes a recommendation on all proposed overlay applications, sparking a few comments that McConnell was essentially “double-dipping” by participating both in the origins of the process on the designation committee and again as part of the planning commission.

McConnell said these issues played no role in her decision to resign.

As part of the special election Monday, commissioner Arlene Perkins was elected vice-chairwoman, and alternate member Katie House became a regular member. The city will now look to fill the alternate position on the commission.

Did you apply to serve on the HPC?

Since the city last month advertised to fill a vacancy on the Historic Preservation Commission, I have been trying, without much luck, to get information about the applicants.

I don’t typically ask for applicants to open commissions or city employee jobs, but the HPC is a special case. I hear often from supporters and opponents of the commission about representation issues in the group — the lack of a representative of the development or real estate communities, for example, or more people who actually live in the Frederick Town Historic District.

There are opinions aplenty on the HPC, but who actually stepped up to the plate with an application? If you did, or know someone who did, or just want to talk more about who should be on it, email me at nlavin@newspost.com.

Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @NancyKLavin.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

(4) comments

garden whimsey

I don't understand by Taney takes all the heat for the Dred Scott Decision. Wasn't it voted on by all members of that Supreme Court session and it was a group decision? Didn't Taney's name get attached to it because of his position as the head of the court?


we need people with guts in high places to realize that these busts stay where they presently located.i would hope the state lets them alone,but i have little hope in that happening.i bet if you ask present students in our schools who was george washington and abraham lincoln they do not know what they did forThe United States.


yeah , lets rewrite history


A lot of red tape by those with no money invested. Time to get rid of the Historic

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