The battle over whether the county should sell two government-run care centers continues.
The city of Frederick’s Planning Commission decided Monday to hold off on making a final decision as to whether the county should be allowed to subdivide the land where Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living are located. The subdivision would allow the county to sell the centers.
For more than an hour and a half Monday, residents spoke against the subdivision and the sale, many saying that the private company’s services would not be affordable to the low-income residents who are currently served under the current program.
The commission will address the decision again at a May 12 hearing.
This is the second time the commission is considering the subdivision.
They approved the subdivision in April.
But in November, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals considered an appeal of the decision submitted by residents and voted to vacate the commission’s decision and remand it back to the commission for consideration.
The county has now appealed the zoning board’s decision, and the appeal will be heard in Circuit Court. A court date has not yet been set.
The Board of County Commissioners voted in June to sell the property to Aurora Health Management LLC, which is now operating the centers. The sale has not been finalized.
The zoning board, and the residents who originally appealed the commission’s first decision, said that the commission made three errors subdividing the land, the most contentious of which is that they failed to consider the effect the subdivision, and the sale, would have on county residents, under the city’s land management code.
John Mathias, the county attorney, said the commission was correct in its decision to subdivide the land, and the plan does comply with city code.
Commission Chairwoman Meta Nash said she needed more time to look through the public testimony, specifically testimony that includes a county report that has analyzed the community’s needs.
“That one is giving me a pause,” she said.
Many of the residents who spoke against the subdivision had asked commission members to hold off on their decision due to the pending court case, including former Alderwoman Carol Krimm and County Commissioner David Gray, who voted against the sale when it came before the commissioners.
Krimm said that the change in ownership should be considered in the commission’s decision.
“There is no plan for low-income residents,” she said.
Any decision would cause tremendous confusion, said Leslie Powell, an attorney who has represented residents against the sale.
“This is a serious issue,” Powell said. “It deserves serious consideration.”
Mathias said that while residents’ issues are important issues, “they are not subdivision issues.”
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