A proposed bill by Frederick County Democratic Councilmen Jerry Donald and Kai Hagen is an unwarranted government land grab that is in essence, land confiscation via unnecessary government regulations.
The bill places an additional, needless regulation/restriction on all land bordering waterways (rivers, lakes, ponds, streams). This affects a large swath of private properties and farmland countywide. Any such unnecessary regulation infringes on property rights, can wrongly restrict an owner’s land use and can hurt property values, causing undue harm. All for no credible reason and without compensation to landowners.
This bill is unwarranted, unfair to landowners and represents government overreach. Citizens are speaking up because should the government unnecessarily reduce the property rights of some citizens, it erodes the rights of all citizens. To defend property rights, speak up by emailing the County Council at: councilmembers@frederickcountyMD.gov before Aug. 25.
The proposed bill arbitrarily changes an existing county water buffer regulation (with a buffer range of 100-150 feet wide depending on land slope) to increase it to 100-175+ feet during any subdivision process of waterfront land. An additional 25+ foot buffer restriction deeper into private property is indeed outrageous when there’s not a shred of vital evidence specific to Frederick County waterways to prove a countywide pollution problem exists, meriting more countywide regulations to private land. However, there’s ample, specific evidence proving no countywide water pollution issue exists to justify this regulatory action.
For example, the most recent county stream survey indicates 92 percent of streams don’t have high levels of nitrogen/phosphorous pollutants. A Maryland Department of Natural Resources study rated Frederick County waterways at the highest level of “improving” vs. “degrading” in reduction of nitrogen/phosphorus. No waterways were “degrading.” Moreover, the existing 100-150 foot buffer this bill seeks to needlessly increase, already exceeds or is consistent with federal government guidelines (which suggests 35-100 foot buffer widths for water quality purposes) and with other localities and states. Moreover, numerous layers of federal, state and local pollution reduction regulations also exist making Frederick County waterways some of the most protected in the nation.
Everyone agrees water buffers are beneficial, but there needs to be a reasonable balance where buffers are big enough to benefit but not so big to infringe on property rights. This balance has already been successfully achieved in Frederick County. There is no need for this land grab buffer expansion bill.