Frederick County Council members say the vote they are scheduled to make Tuesday isn’t about whether to allow the Church of Scientology, or its teachings, to come to Frederick County.

The vote is about whether the 40-acre Trout Run campus in the forest of the Catoctin Mountains, with its rustic lodges and cottages, is so historically significant that it should be listed on the Frederick County Register of Historic Places.

If the council votes to add the property to the register, Narconon will be able to move forward with its plan to open a substance abuse treatment center on the site, off Catoctin Hollow Road near Thurmont. This would upset many members of the community who have been clear that they do not want that to happen, given Narconon’s connection to Scientology.

But the council members say that’s not what this is about.

The council is set to vote on the topic at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, but which way the decision will go, or whether the council will actually vote, is up in the air.

Council President Bud Otis said last week it is his hope that the council will make a decision Tuesday. Still, he said at the time that he had a few more questions for county staff.

Considering the record

The council vote is key because Narconon will not be able to operate on the site if it is not listed on the historic register.

The property is zoned in a way that does not allow certain uses. But the county’s board of appeals decided in October 2013 that Narconon could operate on the site under a special exception for a “group home” as long as the property is on the historic register.

After holding two meetings on the topic, the Historic Preservation Commission recommended to the council that the site be listed on the register.

The council has held two public meetings on the topic so far, and decided to postpone the vote and close the record at its last meeting, April 21. The council received new information from the applicant that day, so a few members of the council said they wanted more time to review the documents.

M.C. Keegan-Ayer, the council vice president, said she also wanted time to look back at the historic commission’s meetings on the topic.

Keegan-Ayer said Thursday she got the information she was seeking about the commission meetings Thursday, and she was planning to look at it that night.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater said last week she planned to meet with Keegan-Ayer to review the information, as she had some questions about the commission meetings as well.

Otis said that he has spent the last month considering the history of the site and its effect on the county.

Councilman Kirby Delauter is the only elected official who declared his stance on the topic in April. He said at the last meeting on the topic that it is pretty clear that the property should be designated historic.

The rest of the council declined to comment about their opinions at this time.

The county gave The Frederick News-Post all testimony the council received on the topic between April 7, the first public hearing, and April 21. It includes the following:

  • Information the applicant gave to the council April 21, including a response to a resident’s comments about the applicant’s plans for the site, and a document detailing the state of deterioration of each building on the property.
  • A letter from a Narconon representative meant to correct the public record on false statements. The letter explained the history of Narconon, why Narconon chose Frederick County, the transparency involved in the process of coming here, the company’s plans for the property and the legitimacy of its program.
  • A letter from the client’s historical expert explaining the historical significance of the property.
  • More than 25 emails, and a few phone calls, from community members and others from across the nation, to the council. Most of them stated they were against either Narconon or the historic designation, but some were in support of the plan.

Scope of the vote

Kai Hagen, a former county commissioner who opposes granting the historical designation, believes the council should be able to consider more than whether the property is historic when voting.

At the last meeting, Michael Chomel, a county attorney, advised the council to make its decision considering only whether the historic commission was correct in recommending the property for the list. If the commission was correct, he said, the council should approve the property for the list.

Chomel read the county ordinance on the topic, which states that the county’s elected officials “may designate boundaries” for a property if it is historic in specific ways defined in the ordinance.

“So it’s really a limited role of yours in the process,” he stated.

Hagen points out the word “may” in the ordinance, stating that word allows leeway, compared with the word “shall.”

“Nothing in the law dictates what the County Council is able to consider, or what is a reasonable basis for making their decision,” he said.

Council members Jerry Donald, Fitzwater, Keegan-Ayer, Otis and Billy Shreve said last week they will consider only whether the site is historic when making their vote.

“Trying to bring too many issues into it is just muddying the waters,” Fitzwater said.

Shreve said he has been ready to vote on this since April.

“This really simple decision has been clouded by a lot of outside influences, and it has made a mockery of the council,” Shreve said.

Next steps

If the council votes to place Trout Run on the historic register, it will still be months before Narconon can operate on the site.

The applicant will work on county and state approvals concurrently, said Bruce Dean, the attorney representing Narconon. The county still has to approve the site plan, and then the property owner has to go through Historic Preservation Commission approvals of all exterior renovations it has planned.

The earliest date the historic commission could review proposed renovations would be in early July, said Denis Superczynski, a county planner.

Also, the applicant is still working out issues with the septic system on the site with the state, Dean said.

The estimated timeline for renovations is about four to six months, given ideal weather once permits are pulled, said Yvonne Rodgers, Narconon’s East U.S. executive director.

“We have done some emergency repairs and look forward to getting the construction started before the elements further deteriorate these beautiful historic structures,” she wrote in an email.

State licenses

Narconon’s team of professionals is researching the licensing criteria to operate in the state and is working with Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on exactly what will be needed for the treatment that Narconon will provide, Rodgers said.

If Narconon is considered by the state as a drug and alcohol treatment program, it will need to get a license from the state. The state defines the treatment programs to include outpatient programs, residential programs, corrections programs and DUI/DWI education programs, according to Christopher Garrett, communications director for the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

If Narconon is considered recovery housing, there are no regulations that address that term, Garrett said.

Narconon has asked for the state’s requirements for licensing, but has not formally submitted an application, Garrett said. It takes the Office of Health Care Quality up to eight months to review the initial application for drug and alcohol treatment programs, he said. This includes reviewing policies and procedures, the program service plan, fire marshal inspections and other documents, and then inspecting the location, Garrett said.

The plan is to have the licensing steps and renovations occur concurrently, Rodgers said.

“It is Narconon’s goal to open within four to six months on the site,” she wrote.

Follow Jen Fifield on Twitter: @JenAFifield.

(36) comments


The 'narCONon Reviews' and 'Reaching for the Tipping Point' web sites I have mentioned as a source of documented information on narCONon have been under a strong "Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS)" attack for the past two days.

These are primary sites for documented information critical of narCONon, and their way of doing business. One of the latest projects was documenting all of the 911 calls to police from, or about, narCONons around the country. And there are a lot of them.

Can't imagine who would want to restrict access to this critical information. Especially with a vote coming up today.


Quote from Pickanotherid;

From the article: "The Narconon program is secular, church representatives and Narconon representatives have said, and welcomes people regardless of faith or religious background."

Then why are Lawyers for narCONon arguing in court that narCONon is a "faith based” healing program i.e. they're trying for first amendment protected status while claiming to not be a religion?

Cited as "Exhibit 1, 12(b) Motion at pg. 23, ln. 10-11" in

And why does the IRS list narCONon as a "Scientology related entity" in the once secret 1993 Closing Agreement?

Scientology, and it's front groups like narCONon, are noted for telling lies and half truths to get it's ways.


Quote from Pickanotherid;
"You're deliberately missing the point, which is Narconon Eastern U.S. Executive Director Yvonne Rodgers cited a report that has zip, zero, and nothing to do with narCONon's capabilities, or lack there of, to do with drug rehab.

That study had absolutely nothing to do with drug rehab, so why is it being cited except to create the impression it supported narCONon's ability as a drug rehab?

And even though it was included in the EPA summary document, the study itself was not conducted by the EPA. Which is another impression she is trying to create to deflect from the fact FASE, another Scientology entity, was involved in the study, which on it's face creates a conflict of interest.

If narCONon wants to be accepted, they need to allow INDEPENDENT, peer reviewed study of it's methods and outcomes."


From what I have read there is no doubt in my mind that Trout Run is not historic. Also, there is no doubt in my mind that Kirby, who stands to make millions off of Narconon, will vote for it, so he can get the work. Billy will go along with Kirby, they always stick together. Tony, he has been with Billy and Kirby right along, like he has no mind of his own. The rest, I don't know what they will do.


Do you make this STUFF up as you go along? We already know your stance on this ISSUE which has served up more FICTION than FACT. Can you admit your ulterior motive for a NO vote is confined to your religious convictions against the Church of Scientiology, which you have claimed you know about but have yet to provide or produce anything more than, speculation, innuendo and pages ripped from the National Inquirer?

While you can reasonably USE Delauter and Shreve and Tony as battering rams against Narconon and your DISTRACTIONS, predicated on FALSE rhetoric, what's to be gained by Frederick County and its best interest?

Instead of playing with your version of domestic PROPOGANDA, why not tell US what, if anything, YOU have on RECORD, that might reasonably have the County reconsider where it is headed under current circumstance?

I'm for the Narconon deal, ONLY because YOU and the likes of your religious convictions have yet to provided FACTS that might readily change history currently in the making. It's a BUSINESS decision that needs to be made, and not one founded on SPECULATION.

After all, YOU are the one who called me an "atheist" by virtue of my continued inquiry of YOU to produce FACTS instead of more FICTION. How much further will you attempt to stoop to make a lie, by repeating it over and over again.

In the face of rising County heroin addictions, what's another drug and alcohol rehabilitaion center to the landscape that's rotting around it's own foundations?

I'm not a Delauter, Shreve or even a Tony fan or advocate. They remain the downfall of Charter Governance, but what does that have to do with conducting BUSINESS instead of playing the same games they put into practice years ago?

YOU should have called the ball after saying "I don't know what they will do" and called it a day. My bet is on County governance, within the framework they have been challenged. PETTY is something I can't bring myself to accept as the right or left way to go.


Mav, say something sensible!


Quote from Pickanotherid; " Folks, what you see MARVERICKinc7 doing here is a classic example of what Scientology calls "dead agenting".

"Dead agenting" is described by Scientology's creater, L Ron Hubbard, as a technique for countering negative accusations against Scientology, and it's front groups, by diverting the critical statements, and making counter-accusations against the accuser. In other words, "attack the attacker". Hubbard defined this PR (public relations) policy on "dead agenting" in a 1974 bulletin titled "Series 24 - Handling Hostile Contacts/Dead Agenting".

Note that it very pointedly does not include addressing the actual points of criticism.

You need a new play book Maverick, everybody has already seen this one."


“This really simple decision has been clouded by a lot of outside influences, and it has made a mockery of the council,” Shreve said.

Not as much as you have, Billy.


No kidding. That one broke my irony meter.

Craig Hicks

Mr, Chomel needs to STOP telling County Council Members how to vote. He is interfering with their rights as elected officials to make decisions on behalf of their constituents. It is inappropriate for a county employee to exercise this sort of influence over our legislative process.




It seems to me Mr, Chomel is trying to limit the scope of any future law suit that the Narconon or Church of Scientology might bring against the County. As an attorney, he will have to defend that decision.


NO, as a County employee, he'll be defending the County on what "MIGHT" happen should a NO vote be taken by County Council. How much more SPECULATION can you invent that's intended to support your skewed religious convictions and not best business practices?




Quote from Pickanotherid;

"Oh, playing the "bigotry" card now are we? For anyone not familar with $cientology and narCONon supporters word usage when actual facts fail them, and they fall back on ad hominem attacks, I've put together a short thesarusus for your use:

$cilonese = English
"false allegations" = "any statement made by someone who was actually there"
"debunked falsehoods" = "verified facts we want everyone to ignore"
"bigot" = "anyone who can see the truth about $cientology/narCONon"
"bigotry" = "exposing the truth about $cientology/narCONon"


I don't see his remarks as telling them how to vote. I see him advising them on the appropriate basis for their vote. He points out that they have the latitude to affirm or deny the recommendation of the historic commission.




Both the HPC and BZA decisions should be null and void, their decisions should be carefully examined because they were not fully informed about Narconon's ties to Scientology and L Ron Hubbard, were they intentionally mislead, or was some back room deal made? The BZA decided in one meeting to grant the change in zoning, how could they of had time to do any research about the "Narconon" program? They couldn't.

This decision about the property whether it is historic or not is irrelevant really, what is relevant is the fact is how the HPC decides what constitutes an historic property. Any decaying property could pretty much be classified as historic according to the guidelines they use.

Bruce Dean saw this historic designation as a way around the resource conservation zoning, that's all.

The HPC's decision seems at odds with itself. If they grant the historic designation they will be destroying the historic nature of Trout Run because it makes the Resource Conservation zoning Null and Void, did anyone think this through on the HPC, seems like they cut their nose off to spite their face, who makes a decision like that? Should we trust the HPC decision's, I think not.

Trout Run was given the resource conservation designation to preserve the historic nature of Trout Run. You grant the historic designation and will destroy the history of Trout Run.

M.C. Keegan-Ayer, the council vice president, said she also wanted time to look back at the historic commission's meetings on the topic.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater said last week she planned to meet with Keegan-Ayer to review the information, as she had some questions about the commission meetings as well...yes you are both looking where you need to look.

Narconon can't sue they really have no legal grounds in which to sue the County. What grounds are they going sue the County on?

Voting by threat is coercion..were the BZA and the HPC coerced into their votes? Seems like they were since they were never told the full story as who was behind Narconon.


But aren't your INTENTIONS the same as "voting by threat and using coercion" as a means to have council vote as you would have them and predicated on a false notion that the FULL STORY behind Narconon, has yet to be told, when you wouldn't know anything about the STORY in the first place, other than by ennuendo, speculation and heresay?

Null and Void is a strong legal term that can only be determined by courtroom dispositions of fact and not the fiction you are willing to accept under the guise of your own ulterior motives to sway a Council decision to the one YOU want most, or a NO vote based on religious ethics, rather than business protocols?

Your argument against BZA and the HPC could hold water, if it were not for the fact NO ONE has yet to produce known facts to the contrary since 2003. The more questions you have asked US and put on the boards, the easier it is to CONCLUDE you have no real knowledge of this deal struck by BZA and HPC. You're pandering to MYTH rather than HISTORY.


Actually Mav you are the that keeps alleging that Scientology is a religion, it is not a religion it is a business as stated by L Ron Hubbard himself. Given the past record of Narconon "drug rehab" centers I am surprised you are playing dumb in this whole matter? I not against Narconon because it is tied to religion, I am against Narconon because it is tied to a business whose MO is to lie and mislead people to make even more money. How can you be so daft in these matters, you are usually very intelligent when it comes to your comments but not concerning Trout Run, here you are starting to sound unglued.

While L. Ron Hubbard (and Scientology organizations) make numerous claims to be a bona-fide religion, it can be shown that the claim is really being made for business purposes. Religious status affords many advantages, among them being a positive public perception, a legal shield for Hubbard's shabby science and false medical claims, and most importantly in the United States, tax-free status and Constitutional protection from Government scrutiny. Hubbard redefined the business of Scientology to be the religion of Scientology, cynically wrapping a cloak of subterfuge around a set of procedures that were originally sold as an alternative mental healing therapy. Unfortunately for Hubbard, he failed to amend previous claims regarding the efficacy of Scientology processing, it's "scientific" underpinnings, or that Scientology is not based on religious principles. Scientologists are bound by Hubbard's instructions to not alter his previous statements. Therefore there are some rather glaring inconsistencies between the present religious claims and Hubbard's earlier statements.
Quotes are presented in cronological order to show the progression of Hubbard's statements moving from the clinical to the religious.

Scientology is business and deal was struck with Bruce Dean to find a way around the Resource Conservation Zoning, he found it, have the property declared historic. The HPC and BZA were never informed of Narconon's ties to the business of Scientology, and they should have been and you have just given me a great idea for blog.


Quote from Pickanotherid;
"You're deliberately missing the point, which is Narconon Eastern U.S. Executive Director Yvonne Rodgers cited a report that has zip, zero, and nothing to do with narCONon's capabilities, or lack there of, to do with drug rehab.

That study had absolutely nothing to do with drug rehab, so why is it being cited except to create the impression it supported narCONon's ability as a drug rehab?

And even though it was included in the EPA summary document, the study itself was not conducted by the EPA. Which is another impression she is trying to create to deflect from the fact FASE, another Scientology entity, was involved in the study, which on it's face creates a conflict of interest.

If narCONon wants to be accepted, they need to allow INDEPENDENT, peer reviewed study of it's methods and outcomes."

jill king

Billy Shreve was absent.

Must not have been to ready to vote.


If I were a Republican, I would not stand for Billy's not showing up for votes.


AND, if you were anything else, other than REPUBLICAN, wouldn't you draw the same conclusion that Delauter and Shreve don't represent the Frederick population as anything more than gound beef.


Narconon has always been "the bridge to the bridge" to Scientology. Something families trying to help a loved one in crisis paying $30,000 for un-proven and painful detox are never told.
What happens to them instead is nothing less than mind control and physical torture minus any medication (Former 'student' Colin Henderson and or death (Stacy Murphy


Would your opinion change if the intended use of the property was to employ wounded veterans to repair American flags that were damaged in battle and fostering exceedingly cute orphaned kittens?

I certainly hope not.


Imitation is flattery but not historic. If you built a Colonial Williamsburg style home in the 80's imitating everything from trim to paint, its lovely, but NOT historic.
This is precisely what Mr. Akers did at Trout Run when he imitated architecture at Ft Ritchie and the CCC built Tea Room at Gambril. Trout run is a well funded and lovely period knockoff.
See the video links of the former caretaker and resident on YouTube.


Whoa! "Narconon's team of professionals". What are you talking about! The historic "expert" failed to do do due diligence giving blanket opinions without evidence of investigation. I'll give Dean his do, he has a law degree, which seems like a requirement fulfilled anointing him "professional". So FrenPee, to what "professional" team are you referring with your errant characterization? You don't have to answer, you can pretend its rhetorical.

Nothing, NOTHING, about this site is historic. No dwelling, no events, no people. A rich DC Cadillac dealer around 1946 bought a private camp ground, that a politically connected White House staffer bought probably to curry favor or advance the staffer's career, to "entertain" his wealthy clients and friends.(Heaven knows what went on out in those boonies.) He made some improvements. The political staffer, having set up a tent city for the arrival of the president, was disrespected by said president, who left the place after only staying a few hours and likely returned to his own camp ground IN VIRGINA (his summer White House). Now that might be a place with some historic creds, but do we Virginia taking action for a plaque there?Failed dreams of White House staffers are not historic. DC is riddled with them.

Any historic recommendations made are based on, to be charitable, "faulty" and incomplete research and thus conclusions. Evidence has surfaced establishing that the Historic bodies clearly failed to perform due diligence on the stories about "historic" allegations presented to them. Closing fo the record is not set in concrete. The council closeth, the council can openith and well they should.

As instructed, each member of the council his free, nay in fact, must vote to deny the designation. They may do so without explanation.
Any threat of suit is bullying. Voting by threat is coercion. If the NarConOn sues, they sue. The county will have to defend.

And the lady's threat to open in 4-6 months come heck or high water (no pun intended), can be counted on. They will proceed regardless of government requirements. They are already making "improvements on deterioration". What investor puts money in a place before the final go ahead? It will be a blitzkrieg. Fait acompli. Prediction, they will go ahead absent historic designation. That is who they are and they roll.


SO, what, if anything more, have you provided to this commenting site than more heresay, assumptions, and anecdotal tales of the past.

IF this is who THEY really are, didn't you draw this picture based on SUPPOSITION and more TABLOID speculation? Next time you USE the term "Evidence has surfaced" why not provided the dirt and details you CLAIM to have without showing your hold cards first?


You have been well trained, Mav!


Quote from Pickanotherid;

"Another paper often cited by narCONon is, "Drug residues store in the body following cessation of use: Impacts on neuroendocrine balance and behaviour – Use of the Hubbard sauna regimen to remove toxins and restore health published in Medical Hypotheses (2007) 68,868–879 by Marie Cecchini and Vincent LoPresti"

This paper was submitted to "Medical Hypotheses", and is an insult to medical research. It was financed by Scientology front group FASE, and its principal author, Marie Cecchini, is a Scientologist with a vested interest in promoting narCONon. These conflicts of interest are carefully concealed.

The journal "Medical Hypotheses" does not publish research, but provides a forum for speculative theories. The standard of evidence required is consequently extremely low, and is not peer-reviewed. While the paper looks almost respectable when you only look at the abstract, the full text reveals just how bad the reasoning and evidence presented really is."


The first lodge was built in 1932 and all the rest of the stone buildings were built after 1945.


The first stone buildings on the Trout Run site were NOT built in 1930, as stated in the article bubble. They were built in 1946, according to the second caretaker, who knew the original caretaker. Copy and paste this link to see an interview with the second caretaker of Trout Run telling the date the stone buildings at Trout Run were first built in 1946.


The text doesn't say that any stone buildings were built in 1930.


Historic or not, a vote againt the designation is most likely a vote to just "let it rot." Copies of architecture are everywhere, and valued in context. The Barbara Fritchie house here is a copy. Many buildings evoke a "style" but weren't actually built where/when the style originated. St. John's Church is Grecian but was never closer to Greece than E. 2nd. St. The buildings at Trout Run would be restored with historic designation. What is that worth to the larger community? Questioning the word "may" reminds me of President Clinton questioning the meaning of "is." Buildings decay while this is argued. Buildings continue to decay without this designation opening the way to re-purposing. These are the choices.


I vote to just let it rot, wasn't bothering me before, will not bother me in the future, let it rot.

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