When it comes to the Monocacy River, officials in Frederick and Carroll counties are still trying to reach a compromise.
That is, a compromise on the river’s management plan, which aims to preserve the water quality of the river and serve as a guide for how local officials should protect it.
Frederick County Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D), Carroll County Board of Commissioners President Stephen Wantz (R) and other officials met last week to discuss differences between the plan Carroll County passed last November and the one Frederick County passed in April.
A June 5 memo from Carroll County’s water resources supervisor, Byron Madigan, outlined those major differences.
First, the river “corridor” definition “remains too broad and open to be accepted by the general public,” according to the memo.
The memo also details concerns about parts of Frederick County’s ecologically significant areas, stating that maps and listings of potential locations/resources could be “too much information to include for a small section within the plan” and that it would be better to provide an explanation and link to the agency that handles that topic.
Other areas of concern include changes to connecting trails and bike paths around the city of Frederick, and how the views of property owners along the river would be protected.
Keegan-Ayer said it was unlikely her colleagues would consider revising the ecologically significant areas section of the river plan, but added she would discuss those with fellow council members.
She said she is meeting with staff in the county’s planning department Tuesday to try to “wordsmith” some definitions and parts of the plan, including the river corridor.
But that definition can’t include any reference to distance from the river, Keegan-Ayer said.
“The distance changes, depending on the topography of the land,” she said. “When the riverbanks are steeper and higher, the river is contained more within the actual riverbed itself. When the banks are lower, when they’re shortened, when they’re closer to the river itself, the river spills out over the banks and then that part of the land that goes under the water.”
Wantz and Madigan could not be reached for comment by phone Monday. But Harry Sellers, president of the Carroll County Farm Bureau, said Monday that any joint plan must protect the rights of property owners.
He said he hadn’t reviewed the plan since Carroll County passed it in November.
Keegan-Ayer and Frederick County Council Vice President Michael Blue (R) both said, however, there is no deadline to craft a single plan between the two counties.
But Blue expressed a need to try to compromise.
“It’s not law, it’s not legislation, it’s a plan,” he said. “Let’s get the majority of concerns handled. We’re not going to get all of them handled, but let’s get the majority of them handled. Let’s get it done, and put it to rest.”