Planning Commission

The Frederick County Planning Commission met Wednesday to hear from members of the public about their thoughts on the development restrictions that are expected to become part of the county’s plan to preserve Sugarloaf Mountain and the area surrounding it.

The Frederick County Planning Commission on Wednesday held a workshop meeting about the development restrictions that were part of the county's plan to preserve Sugarloaf Mountain and the area surrounding it.

It was the county's first meeting about the Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan since October, when the County Council voted to pass the plan but remand the parts of it dealing with development restrictions back to the Planning Commission. 

Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan

(16) comments

Boomer631B

Think the government should stay out of the private lives of how landowners want to deal with their own property.

mrnatural1

On the surface that sounds good Boomer.

In fact, there are places in America where that is true. It is almost always very remote, rural land -- like for example, West Texas. The only concern out there might be serious violations of environmental laws -- like operating an unlicensed landfill that leaches poisons into the aquifer. Otherwise, it's pretty much anything goes.

Typically though, there are other people living nearby. Those people have rights too. The trick is balancing the rights of all involved. The higher the population density, the stricter the P&Z regs must be.

The goal should be to allow the property owners as much leeway as possible, without causing a reduction it the quality of life of their neighbors and others.

What is reasonable depends -- literally and figuratively -- on which side of the fence one is on. A landowner might have an opportunity to make a lot of money by building a shooting range; motocross track; dragstrip; CAFO hog farm -- or, by selling to a developer (assuming the zoning may be changed. It's understandable that if a developer is waving $$Millions in the landowner's face, they may quickly forget about the rights of their neighbors and other Frederick County citizens, but they still exist, and must be taken into account.

Conversely, sometimes the landowner's plans are perfectly reasonable and their neighbors' objections are baseless.

Bottom line, there's usually more to it than what a landowner wants.

shiftless88

I wish they would invite Stronghold to present their future plans

Boyce Rensberger

Why did Stronghold refuse to attend an official meeting to discuss their interests?

FrederickFan

At least Hagen is gone. He killed the whole overlay plan by proposing a big hole in the middle around Sugarloaf Mountain - which made absolutely no sense and gutted the effort to preserve the area. Hope the planning commission recommends a rational plan that protects the mountain and the area around it as originally proposed.

kaihagen

Not accurate, if you care. I supported all the earlier and stronger versions of the overlay. The problem was that none of them received four council votes, and it was incrementally compromised to get a version that was still worthwhile and could pass.

FrederickFan

Kai, you admit you proposed a plan to not preserve or protect thousands of acres of land around Sugarloaf Mountain effectively killing the overlay and the entire goal of the plan. This compromise as you called it was no compromise. I call it a failure to protect thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive land.

stevemckay

FrederickFan - before making such statements, it would be helpful if you would explain to us all how exactly the overlay would have protected those lands so much better than the RC zoning that those lands already have. HINT - not much. The compromise that you so heartily derided would have remove RC zoned land from the Overlay, effectively removing Sugarloaf Mountain from the overlay. I know that on the surface it seems counter-intuitive ... until you embrace the fact that RC zoning is already our MOST restrictive zoning and provides nearly all of the protections that overlay was designed to provide. Would it surprise you to know that most of the ardent supporters of the Plan agreed with the necessity of this compromise. Would it surprise you to know that CE Jan Gardner, prior to her last minute attack on the compromise, had actually agreed with the idea of removing the mountain from the overlay. Lastly, would it surprise you to know that the objectives of the Sugarloaf Plan - from the outset - were far more oriented toward protecting the lands SURROUNDING the mountain, rather than the mountain itself, because it was widely acknowledged that the mountain was being well cared for. I wonder what else would surprise you ...

TheLorax1

Fan your spin doctoring isn’t working. Everybody knows that Stronghold jumped in bed with the developer. (I still have no clue why. Maybe just bc they both hated the overlay). Stronghold’s threat to close the mountain was too political hot. Nobody was willing to say ‘Fine. Close.’

mrnatural1

Thanks for setting the record straight, Kai. [thumbup]

It's a never-ending battle around here...

TheLorax1

Sorry FF … your’s is the 80mph drive by version of events.

Stronghold made a threat and Council members were left trying to find levers to pull to get the plan to the finish line. Hagen was not alone in his efforts.

Maybe if we all knew why Gardner approved (ordered?) the March ‘21 plan boundary revision it would be clearer just what the County wants….

…maybe KO will return and help explain the mystery…I do so miss Zachary’s pithy tweets

Greg F

Put it to a vote and let us see if it all gets shot down like Thurmond folks did. I think Stronghold would find out they aren't as powerful when up against the peoples' willpower vs developers kickbacks and extortion attempts. Let them close it down. They'll be the most hated people in the state, if not region.

Plumbum

Do you or don’t you know the difference between Thirmont and sugarloaf?? Huh? Do you or don’t you? Huh?

TheLorax1

All the usual players were there…

But no Stronghold people. I guess extortion worked once … why change course.

Pleasant surprise to see new Council Member Carter in the room. He’s showing a level of interest and involvement that’s hard to not like.

mrnatural1

That's good to hear Lorax, thanks!

mrnatural1

One word: Referendum.

One person, one vote -- regardless of how much land they own or control. American democracy.

The overlay should be expanded to cover the entire county. That would eliminate a lot of meetings and workshops. [cool]

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