At the end of a four-hour public hearing Wednesday night, the Frederick County Planning Commission unanimously agreed that development guidelines for the Monrovia Town Center are consistent with the county's comprehensive plan.
The vote came after hours of cross-examination and final pleas from residents opposed to the development's construction. They had concerns about traffic, overcrowding of schools and public safety, but wondered if their concerns were falling on deaf ears. Residents also argued that an 18-year DRRA is "bad public policy," but planners disagreed.
The development rights and responsibilities agreement will now go to the Board of County Commissioners, where the majority of members have previously expressed support for the project.
"I really wish you were listening to us," said Mary Brandenburg, of Monrovia. "I really wish I could believe you cared."
Meaghan Holahan, of Monrovia, shared Brandenburg's sentiment.
"The truth is we trusted people we shouldn't have," Holahan said of elected officials.
Holahan said she canned her original speech before the meeting began because she felt her opinion would not change the opinions of the planning commission. Others felt the same way, even though commissioners said they still care about the concerns of the community.
"I promise you I care about what I do," Commissioner Dwaine E. Robbins said at Wednesday night's hearing. "I promise you I come prepared to make decisions."
Those sentiments were shared by Anthony Bruscia and the rest of the commission before the final vote Wednesday night.
On March 19, the Frederick County Planning Commission gave the green light to a revised zoning map for the Monrovia Town Center development.
The recommendation came after the Board of County Commissioners asked the developer to make changes. Monrovia Town Center developer Roy Stanley agreed to modify the plans.
The relationship between Stanley's attorney, Rand Weinberg, and Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young was questioned Wednesday night by some Monrovia residents. They wanted to know about a dinner the men had before a public hearing in January.
Young defended himself Wednesday, noting his transparency and his meal choice.
"For the record, I had sweet and sour chicken and egg drop soup," Young said, explaining that the men only discussed their children and not the development.
The proposed development was downsized from 1,510 homes to 1,250 homes. Of the 1,250 dwellings, half would be slated for residents older than 55. Also included in the changes: Multifamily or two-over-two dwelling types will not be permitted. The homes will be 70 percent single-family detached houses and 30 percent single-family attached/townhouses. There will be no access to Weller Road from the development, including a park area and high school site.
Even with the changes, residents in opposition were not happy with the plan, which will now be reconsidered by the Board of County Commissioners.
Follow Cara R. Anthony on Twitter: @CaraRAnthony.