Smart growth, stormwater fees and a growing senior population were among the issues that candidates for Frederick County executive dissected during a Thursday forum.

The event hosted by The Frederick News-Post gave roughly 60 crowd members the opportunity to pose questions to Blaine Young and Jan Gardner, who are competing with each other to become the first Frederick County executive. The candidates found common ground on certain issues, such as the increasing needs of seniors in the community, but differed sharply over growth policies, as they have throughout the campaign.

The conversation grew specific, as the rivals went back and forth about several housing projects approved during Young's time as county commissioner.

For example, Gardner, a Democrat, and Young, a Republican, differed over whether the 1,250-home Monrovia Town Center development was appropriate for the area. Gardner said Monrovia was not traditionally slated for high-density development and is outside a priority funding area, regions targeted by the state for school and road funding. 

Young blamed the state for the density of the Town Center plan; Maryland smart growth policies take away freedom to build large-lot developments served by wells and septic systems, he said.

"I do not subscribe to the notion of smart growth, where everyone lives on a postage stamp," he said.

Gardner said the current board of commissioners has placed less burden on developers for funding infrastructure like schools and roads. These costs will fall instead to taxpayers, said Gardner, who accused Young's board of "turning over the keys to managing growth to the development community."

A recent analysis completed by a local education advocate found that with all the development that has been approved, county residents will have to pick up the tab for $110 million in school construction costs, she said.

Young countered that during his board, developers have made $468 million in commitments for expanding county infrastructure, such as schools, fire stations and libraries. Gardner asked Young if the money was in the bank. Young said it was not, but the developers would have to pay before they secured a building permit.

"I think you've been confused into thinking that development is paying its way," Gardner said.

"It is paying its own way," Young said.

The candidates agreed that the county should work toward meeting the needs of seniors in the community. Young said he would expand the senior property tax credit to reach individuals who make up to $100,000 each year. He said when he speaks to older voters, they "ask about tax relief more than anything else."

Young also said he would follow up on the senior needs assessment completed last year.

Gardner said sitting commissioners have not taken action based on the assessment. First, vacancies should be filled on the Frederick County Commission on Aging, which should then move forward to develop an action plan based on the needs assessment, she said. 

Gardner also said she disagreed with the current board's action to sell the county-owned nursing and assisted living center.

The candidates also agreed that the estimated cost of state water cleanup mandates are not affordable for Frederick County residents. Young said during his term, local leaders have formed partnerships with other counties to examine the science behind these requirements and determine whether local jurisdictions are being asked to bear an unfair burden. If all else fails and state officials don't back down, the county might have to take them to court, he said.

Gardner said she doesn't think threatening a lawsuit is the correct approach. She said she would work with the state and show that the county is making an effort to improve water quality. One way of doing this would be by increasing local stream setbacks, which were reduced during the current administration, she said.

Correction: Due to a sources error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the source of a recent analysis Gardner sited about school construction funding.

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.

(29) comments


If you're living on 35k a year you're a liberal no real republican could live on 35K in a single month.


My how fast Mighty Moe Young has fell from grace after bowing out the governors race in 8/13 Young is now facing near certain defeat.


PLEASE, disregard the "who would get your vote" poll! EVERYONE needs to vote and ensure that their like-minded families and friends vote!

Young's not going to go away or go down without a slimy, ugly fight. And he's going to use his dirty money to get his side of the vote out.

This is NOT a done deal. It won't be done until election day is completed.



Oh, gosh.
People who research such things claim the impetus behind "smart growth" versus larger lots for homes is driven by the younger generations' apparent preference for urban lifestyles. They grew up being ferried in vans to where the attractions were and now choose walkable/bikeable neighborhoods with mixed amenities i.e., Market Square on 26. Will today's McMansion neighborhoods be tomorrow's ghost towns? Homeowners hope not. But notice the trends, how the thirtsomethings embrace the single level brick ramblers of the 50's they only ever passed by and viewed from a window, how it's re energizing established modest neighborhoods. Smaller is green, smaller is chic, and postage stamps are increasingly reserved for only the most special of mail.


There has been an explosion of campaign signs through out the country with Blaine Young's name on them. Not so many in residential areas, but excessive throughout the county landscape. I hope the developers are happy to see their donated dollars being put to use.

This is a bit off topic but I can't help but wonder if we will be still seeing these signs long after November 4th? I suspect if Young wins he will make certain they are removed, but I wonder how he will react when he loses? Someone as childish and petulant as he is will most likely leave them up until forced to remove them.


I suspect that the $100,000 number for the senior homeowner property tax credit is more about assets than income. You need to understand that retirement assets (IRA, 401(k), etc.) are not counted as assets for the tax credit. But most people who have such assets have to take distributions which count as income. The required minimum distribution is a percentage of the account value. The RMD percentage increases as people get older.

Because of the appreciation in the stock market in recent years, anyone with a respectable exposure to equities in their retirement accounts will have seen their RMD increase. Consequently, it is possible -- indeed, it is likely -- that some people who qualified for the tax credit before do not qualify now. Because they are wealthier. A 75 year old with $500,000 in an IRS has an RMD of $21,834. Bump up the value to $800,000 because of market gains and the RMD becomes almost $35,000.

While I oppose the senior homeowner tax credit on philosophical grounds, if we must have one for political pandering purposes, let us at least include all assets in the asset test. Stop omitting retirement accounts.


Jan 66.4%, Young 21.8%. While I'm excited to see these numbers it would do every Jan supporter well to remember it isn't over until the close of voting on November 4th. Please do not become complacent or think there is no need for you to vote. EVERY vote counts and Jan is counting on you to give her your vote.


The gloating by the Blaniacs will be unbearable if they win.

A perfect example of how money and name recognition matter more than policy/character for a lot of voters is Ellen Bartlett beating Carole Jaar Sepe in the primary. Never should have happened. Same if she beats Jerry Donald.

Bartlett has no business being on any ballot, save for scarecrow in West Virginia.


Blaine's stoic, deer in the headlights expression last night says it all. He knows he is defeated. Jan was like a cat toying with a mouse. Any rational person who is not an ideologue can see she is the superior candidate.

There is no way Blaine should win based on the issues or quality of the debates which Jan wins hands down every time. IF he wins, it will be absolute proof that money matters more than policy or character in winning elections. Same goes for the rest of the Blaine slate IF they win.

Republicans for Jan Gardner!


"I do not subscribe to the notion of smart growth, where everyone lives on a postage stamp," [Young] said.

But... but... but...yesterday he was bragging about providing Fredco taxpayers with postage stamps. He is flip flopping on postage stamps.


Just keep opening your mouth, Blaine, you are doing a fine job. A fine job of insuring Jan wins the election that is.


I will vote for Jan Gardner based on what she's done and what she says she will do. She's guided Frederick county before. She's been transparent, ethical and a team player. She'll make a great County Executive.

I vote against Blaine Young based on what he's done:
Eliminated county support from Head Start.
Cut funding for Meals on Wheels.
Froze funding for our schools though MOE, which actually reduced school funding after inflation.
Outsourced county jobs at more expense than employing local citizens .
Attempting to sell Citizens and Montevue at a loss over the objections of taxpayers and the courts.
Insider dealing with developers and land use attorneys.
Accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from individual developers whose plans he later approved.
Repeating his pay to play scheme with multiple developers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in unethical (soon illegal) donations.
Approving development (MTC) in areas not planned for water and sewer, roads or schools, over the objections of the majority of county residents.
Granting developers hundreds of millions in infrastructure and county tax breaks through DRRAs and TIFs.
Spending tens of thousands of taxpayer money on lawyers to oppose state regulations as a campaign ploy to impress his conservative base.
Increased taxes for the county overall.
Increased budgets each year he's been in office.
The largest budget in county history.

What does Blaine say he'll do next? I don't care. He's done too much damage already!


right now jan's leading the online poll 60.9 to blaine's 24.9.

he sure knows how to lie and then display his 'charming' smile.

it's not going to help you this time at the voting booth, blaine.


Where can I find this?


to the left of the story. Has to be the full version, not the smart phone version. But if youre using the smart phone version, click on the button for "full" version


Thanks Kelly, if it had been a snake it would have bit me[smile]


For some reason Republican-leaning readers prefer paper or something. As mentioned elsewhere, these aren't scientific polls, and they may not even accurately represent who does the voting hereabouts. Note that even someone contributing to this forum needed direction to locate the poll. Vote for your candidate. Assume nothing.


"I do not subscribe to the notion of smart growth...," Moe Young said.

This buffoon has never subscribed to anything "smart."


The B-person doesn't believe in smart growth... no surprises there!


Frederick veteran My neighbor's are democrats one a retired DR the other a business owner, pay all , yes democrats as is Clinton , wealthy,not repubicans a re they.?? same junk U write.One tract mind, open your eyes and mind today. Angry vet.Oh extra ignored not true, I know too.Why lie.

Comment deleted.

he knows how to type. what youre seeing is his online persona. he does it because he knows people will react. very clever if you ask me


You're correct in your perception of dcg/etc Kelly, but don't you think it is pathetic that he craves attention so much that he must stoop to acting as an ignorant fool?


I get lazy and dictate to my phon esometimes and the results can be hilarious. Also considerable annoyance to correct. You don't have to pass a literacy test to subscribe.


Extra ignored U wrote icome over 65 is 35,000 per person 70,000 for 2, Oh yes can and they live fine off that 70,000 .DAH Frederick vet, not true we pay up front,not U I'm sure.Not a real representive of Veterans.All retires I know pay all,no finance.

Extra Ignored

The source is Median Household Incomes by Age Bracket: 1967-2013 not per person income. A household with $70,000 in income is way above median.


Blaine Young - Liar! (Misusing 'age-restriction' for obtaining APFO clearance approvals for higher density development):

Extra Ignored

Something for android users to click.


Republicans earning 100k annually in retirement are also struggling to keep the lights on, pay RV payments and vacation home mortgages they need government assistance as well.

Extra Ignored

The median income for people over 65 is $35,000. How many seniors will Blaine Young make loose their homes because he insists on giving seniors with incomes of up to $100,000 property tax relief.

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