The fate of a Scientology-affiliated drug rehabilitation center outside Thurmont will go undetermined for at least one more month.

The Frederick County Council voted Tuesday night to delay a decision on the site, also known as Trout Run, for at least one month.

Council member M.C. Keegan-Ayer made the motion to allow the council to review new information about the site. At the council’s last meeting on the issue April 7, members voted to postpone their decision for two weeks.

The council is considering adding Trout Run to the county’s historic register. The Board of Zoning Appeals will allow the property owner to alter the site, which would not be permitted under current zoning restrictions — only if the owner acquires a historic preservation designation from the County Council.

Denis Superczynski, a county planner and member of the county’s Historic Preservation Commission, said at the Tuesday meeting that county staff received a “substantial amount of material” from people who wanted to register their opinions with the council.

Members of the public who spoke at the meeting ranged from concerned neighbors and Narconon drug rehabilitation program graduates to an environmentalist, a teacher and a substance abuse coach.

They spoke not only on the justification for a historic designation, but also on the preservation of the property, the owner’s intentions for the site and the effectiveness of Narconon’s drug treatment program.

After hearing over a dozen different opinions on the matter in an unscheduled public forum, representatives of the property owner and Narconon were allowed 20 minutes to speak.

According to Bruce Dean, a Linowes and Blocher attorney who is representing the property owner, an appeal period was open to those who disputed the use of the property as a drug rehabilitation center in October 2013.

Dean said the council needed only to consider the historic nature of the site, not its use. He asked the council to look to the opinion of the Historic Preservation Commission to guide their decision.

“The persons that are nominated and appointed by this county to determine whether a property is or is not historic are fully vetted,” he said.

Councilman Jerry Donald said he still does not think Trout Run deserves the historical designation because the site is not rare.

“On the same hill, just running through, you’ve got Misty Mount, Greentop, Camp David, Gambrill Tea Room, Mar-Lu-Ridge; Fort Ritchie had some of these. That’s on the same ridge, just going through this county and this state,” he said.

The details and proportions at Trout Run “differ significantly,” said Kate Kuranda, senior vice president at the Frederick firm R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates Inc.

“These private camps are a document of an aspect of early 20th-century history that I think is important on a local level,” she said.

Michael Proffitt, of Frederick-based Proffitt & Assoc. Architects, has been working with the property owner to develop a renovation plan for the site. He said the buildings at Trout Run have “extensive rot” as well as mold and water damage.

Dean said those buildings could not be repaired without the historic designation from the County Council, which he was hoping to have Tuesday, and approval from the Historic Preservation Commission.

“We have been asking the county since December to do this, and they delayed it and they delayed it and they delayed it,” Dean said.

When the time came for a vote on the matter Tuesday night, Keegan-Ayer moved to give the council time to digest the information presented by the property owner and their representatives.

Council members Kirby Delauter, Tony Chmelik and Billy Shreve voted to make the decision Tuesday night.

Council members Donald, Keegan-Ayer, Jessica Fitzwater and council President Bud Otis voted to postpone the decision.

The owner of the property is Social Betterment Properties International, the real estate arm of the Church of Scientology.

Leaders of the Narconon program, which uses rehabilitation methods developed by the Church of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, want to open a “residential drug rehabilitation center” at Trout Run, on Catoctin Hollow Road.

The buildings would be renovated to allow 12 live-in patients to stay on the property. The site would feature five other beds for medical treatment and withdrawal and accommodate eight staff living on-site and eight staff living off-site.

The council has yet to determine when it will re-examine the issue. The record has been closed to public comment.

Follow Sylvia Carignan on Twitter: @SylviaCarignan.

(38) comments

Guy T. Ashton

Okay, something doe not make sense here- " The Board of Zoning Appeals will allow the property owner to alter the site, which would not be permitted under current zoning restrictions — only if the owner acquires a historic preservation designation from the County Council." If a site is to be designated as historic, then modifying the site would be contrary to the designation! The intent of a historic designation is to MAINTAIN the property as it was!!

Furthermore, at least on the Federal level, historic designations are NOT permitted for religiously affiliated groups except under extraordinary historic circumstances- it is an issue of separation of church and state. Granting historic status for the Hoover stuff (that's okay) would be rescinded (at the Federal level) by property ownership by a church.

Something in this whole discussion with the lawyer and the county- or the FNP's reporting- is not correct.


Ok, I will say this, and I already know what I will hear back.
Frederick county should buy it.
Thurmont city should buy it.
It is a valuable peice of history.
Use it or lose it.


I hate Scientology as much as the next Thetan but what does this have to do with the historic preservation process. This place has been "almost: on the list for years and when it went up for sale a couple of year ago, I was suprised it was not already on the list.

Let's just move on.


What does this have to do with the historic preservation process?? If the property is put on the historic preservation list, the Church of Scientology can have their rehabilitation center. If is not put on the list, they can't. Simple as that. If you are for the rehabilitation center, vote YES, put it on the list. If you are against the rehabilitation center, vote NO. It has everything to do with the historic preservation process.


But to know what a Thetan is you must have belonged to the Church of Scientology.


OR, knows enough about Scientolgy, that you apparently don't, to make an informed decision other than a conclusion you have drawn from speculation and best GUESSED censorship.


This has gone through a multi-year planning and historic preservation process and the simple question before the council is whether or not to list the place in the historic register. Any objective student of local history knows the answer is yes. It's time to stop viewing everything in the prism of Blaine, Jan, Billy, and Kirby and forming an opinion based on what each of those may or may not think about whatever the issue at hand is. Speaking of ... this particular issue is making some on the council look quite disingenuous, and this time it's not the usual suspects.


This newspaper should be ashamed of itself for its fearmongering on the irrelevant Scientology angle. Would the paper have done the same had the owners been affiliated with some other group? Suppose the center was affiliated with Catholicism. Would that have merited a scary headline? Baptists? Sunnis? Jhols? Jains? Republicans? Libertarians? John Birchers?

The propery is either historic or not historic based on the guidelines. The ownership is irrelevant to the story.


pixiedust, I would agree, but when the Catholic Church tried to buy land, for a church in Middletown they were given a hard time too.


Because they were Catholic? Some other religion wouldn't have been given a hard time? Is that your claim?


It is my claim.


Mr. D., I used the search function to search for "Middletown Catholic Church" and scrolled through more than 250 hits -- lots of obituaries -- dating back to 1998. Absolutely nothing that sounds like what you described.


It predates 1998.


This area is up for grabs on Historic. There is alot of it here, Nobody realy wants historic in everything since it limits alot. I worked with this nationaly for a while in other states. But here in Frederick, what we saw happen to Prospeck Hall was simply low down.
Property can be developed with out historic registration.
Raddison hotels did it for many years, buying historicaly significant buildings and getting federal funds to upgrade while turning the building into comercial property, BUT the buildings and areas stayed intackt. That is not the case here.
As to Trout run, Not a good idea. unless you want it develped as Radison hotels did, That is how Radison started by the way


So why can't the property/buildings be repaired without the historic designation? I don't believe this. Nothing is impossible. Sounds like someone wants to avoid repairs in accordance with current/modern building codes. I would want my friends in a modern facility meeting current codes and not in an "old" building restored to prehistoric building codes. Geez, would fire alarms and smoke detectors be exempt from historic buildings?


Good point, Rockfish.


Rockfish, the present zoning on the property precludes the Church of Scientology from putting in a drug rehabilitation center. The only way they can have the rehabilitation center is to have the property put on the historic preservation list. Sounds counterintuitive but that's what the problem is for the Scientologists.


Historic means very little when money comes in around Frederick County, Case in point ,
"Prospect Hall" with a massive history behind it, Including George Washingtons prescense and time there.
Along with it being a farm of slaves, And because Matan wanted to build apartments there it is now destroyed. Totaly gone.
This is a disgrace.


With the exception of the main house.


Which is now up for sale, That all was changed this past year.


That is a disappointment, it is a beautiful estate and truly historic.


I wonder if any of the involved parties have seen the documentary about the Church of Scientology ("Going Clear"), or have researched the widely held negative opinions about this organization. The "church" was created by a mentally ill liar and exists for the purpose of making cash. Many have left the church only to tell stories of mental and physical abuse. It is characterized as the worst kind of cult. I am aware that this has no bearing whatsoever on a decision to give historic designation to a property, and that the church already owns the property, but does Frederick County want a drug treatment center run by this organization in its back yard?


mr. bruce dean has also represented a bevy of other developers in zoning ‘deals’ during the blaine gang years of the last and infamous Frederick BoCCommissioners!

i can remember seeing mr. dean's familiar face during many zoning hearings over the last 3 years.

Linowes Opens Frederick Office
June 21, 2011
Press Release

Linowes and Blocher LLP, one of the Washington region's leading full-service real estate and business law firms, has announced the opening of its Frederick, Maryland office. The Frederick office, located at 8 West Third Street, will be primarily overseen by new Partner, Bruce N. Dean, formerly of locally based McEvoy & Dean. Mr. Dean, a City of Frederick resident, has been practicing in the areas of land use and commercial real estate development for nearly 25 years in Frederick County and western Maryland. In announcing the opening of the Frederick office and the addition of Mr. Dean, Linowes and Blocher’s managing partner, Richard M. Zeidman, said “Linowes and Blocher has a strong regional brand in the areas of land use, zoning and real estate transactions, and with the continuing rapid growth of Frederick County, when the opportunity came about to add a Partner of Bruce’s caliber to our firm and strengthen our local presence, we jumped at it. We couldn’t be more excited about the future of this area.”

Mr. Dean has guided real estate developers and owners through the development and approval process in the development of corporate office parks, residential subdivisions, commercial retail centers and mixed-use projects throughout the region. Mr. Dean also represents developers and banks in complex real estate and business transactions. In joining Linowes and Blocher, Mr. Dean says “Having access to the wealth and depth of expertise that Linowes and Blocher has will enable me to expand my practice in Frederick County, the municipalities of Frederick County and into western Maryland.” In addition to his real estate practice, Mr. Dean is currently President of the Frederick County Land Use Council of the Frederick County Builder’s Association and has numerous other strong ties to business, civic, charitable and religious causes in the area. “The commitment of Linowes and Blocher and its attorneys to the communities they work in outside of the normal work day is another important reason for me to join forces with the firm”, says Mr. Dean. “It is a great fit for me and my family."

Among those joining Mr. Dean in the Frederick office will be Bob Dalrymple, a senior partner with Linowes and Blocher who has represented many clients in the Frederick region for the last 25 years and who is a life director of the Frederick County Land Use Council, and Debra Borden, an associate with the firm and a Frederick County resident, who currently serves on the Frederick County Charter Review Board and who is on the Board of Trustees of Frederick Community College. For additional information on Linowes and Blocher, visit You can reach Mr. Dean, Mr. Dalrymple or Ms. Borden at: 301.620.1175.


Sounds more like an advertisment to justify the credibility of the Linowes, Blocher lawfirm and their latest acquisition of another partner, Attorney Bruce N. Dean. to advance, as with this advertisement, the land acquisition of Trout Run with the name Scientology attached to its future use as a residential drug rehabilitation center for the Frederick Region that continues to be plagued by heroin addictions, and over doses from one day to the next.

Connect the dots to see if any member of the public, without a vested interest in this deal, showed up at this latest UNSCHEDULED PUBLIC FORUM. So this "substantial amount of material county staff received as of late, hasn't been of record for the last two years and sitting on the shelves of County Planning and their Historic Presevation Commission? What is it that Atty.Dean is or is not saying when he decries "The persons that are nominated and appointed by this[Frederick] county to determine whether a property is or is not historic are fully vetted" (aka subject to appraisal or correction).

So, what are the other component parts that continue to delay this decision? Assumptions, religious convictions, innuendo of bad behavior found in the news media, or just territorial rights to keep everything in Frederick the same as it was
150 years ago. How much tall grass has been allowed to grow from one Civil War preservation site to the next, where nothing but a memory is allowed to exist in perpetuity. They are HISTORIC by default, When are we going to start developing property that is private and of no use to the public other than to watch it crumble under its own ancient deteriorating weight?

What are we more concerned about; the rumors, alternative religious beliefs or the fact that addictions can be rendered to neutral, for a while, through the art form of REHABILITATION that no one has yet to detail other than calling it a PROGRAM. Why is it that local governance can't make a simple business decisions based on personal PERCEPTIONS and not business practicallity?


from a FNP article, december 2011:

Lawyer moves to bigger firm, but stays in Frederick office
Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011

Bruce Dean was used to being his own boss.

After 14 years of running his own practice with one other attorney, the land-use and real estate development lawyer from Frederick decided to move six months ago to a much larger firm.

As a partner with Linowes and Blocher -- a Bethesda-based firm with about 50 attorneys on staff that does a lot of real estate work in the D.C. area -- Dean is not looking back.

"Linowes and Blocher is kind of like the New York Yankees for this kind of work," Dean said from his office on West Third Street in Frederick. "This is the sort of opportunity that doesn't come along twice."

Dean, 49, has been in Frederick County the entire 25 years he has practiced law. He has raised four children and takes pride in his work over the years.

"I would never do anything I thought would hurt Frederick County," he said. "I feel like I am fully invested in Frederick."

Dean said he had no desire to leave and was glad his new firm was looking for someone to expand its client base into the county.

Dean is a known figure in the county when it comes to land deals and real estate transactions. Among his accomplishments, Dean was the man behind getting a Wegmans store in Frederick. The deal took seven years to complete, he said.

The one drawback had been that outside companies looking at Frederick County for development might not know him by name.

"A company coming into town will know Linowes and Blocher," Dean said. "It makes it much easier for them to find me."

This is critical as development plans continue to pop up in the county.

"There is no question land-use and development is going to be an issue in Frederick County for the rest of my lifetime," Dean said. "We all have to be smart about being what the client wants."


AGAIN, with the advertisement and selling Attorney Dean to the public instead of the land project that remains in contention, without the dirt and details that already exist but have yet to be shared with the public


There's a whole lot of apples and oranges here. These issues need to be disconnected. First historical designation should simply be based on the merits of the site based on its history. The past. it should have nothing to do with current or future use. Secondly, it should have nothing to do with getting around zoning restrictions. In fact zoning restrictions should be tighter from the aspect of not lessening the historical significance of a true historical site, i.e. preserving the historical legacy.

Whether Narconon can be or should be allowed to operate a rehab center is a separate issue and should be treated solely within the legal framework for such a center.

Lastly, if there is a zoning issue such as allowed usage of the site that should be handled on its own merits. That would include any potential exemption or change to zoning. This would allow include the insuring compliance with any restrictions resulting from historical designation which should be determined and justified independently.

There is a smell coming from this issue that I don't like. It smells like owners improperly trying to get around zoning restrictions and it sounds like government representatives trying to maneuver on both sides of this issue for the wrong reasons. It stinks. Bring integrity and honesty and that should guide the decisions and if something like zoning needs to be fixed, do it for the right reasons.


"There is a smell coming from this issue that I don't like. It smells like owners improperly trying to get around zoning restrictions and it sounds like government representatives trying to maneuver on both sides of this issue for the wrong reasons. It stinks. Bring integrity and honesty and that should guide the decisions and if something like zoning needs to be fixed, do it for the right reasons."



Assistant County Attorney Chomel instructed the Council that it must decide the issue, solely on the basis of Trout Run's historical value, to exclude any consideration of the facility's planned use or the "back story" of Scientology or Narconon (Social Betterment Properties International).

Nonsense! This is an elected, policy-making body. It has the right and the duty to consider all aspects of the case; including the validity of Chomel's opinion or that of Bruce Dean, his paid "experts", and the two reformed addicts flown in by Scientology from Louisiana and Michigan.


There are two things that bother me about Trout Run being declared historical. First, the Church of Scientology is only interested in making this historical so they can renovate for a drug rehabilitation center. They are obviously not interested in whether Trout Run is truly historical. "The Board of Zoning Appeals will allow the property owner to alter the site, which would not be permitted under current zoning restrictions — only if the owner acquires a historic preservation designation from the County Council." "Dean said the council needed only to consider the historic nature of the site, not its use." "Dean said those buildings could not be repaired without the historic designation from the County Council, which he was hoping to have Tuesday, and approval from the Historic Preservation Commission." So, without the historical designation the current zoning code will not allow for renovation, which is necessary for their potential use.

The second issue is why has this turned into a political issue? I see Kirby, Tony, and Billy on one side. I see Jerry, Jessica, Keegan-Ayer and Bud on the other side. Normally, a Republican would be conservative and not want this to be designated historical, without good reason. To me the fact there were a few people that fished at Trout Run does not make it historical. i agree with Jerry Donald. Note; "Council members Kirby Delauter, Tony Chmelik and Billy Shreve voted to make the decision Tuesday night."

It makes me wonder, did the old Blaine gang receive campaign contributions from these attorneys, perhaps even from the Church of Scientology.


Excellent points.

I will add that personally, I am sick unto death of Delauder and Shreve attempting to throw a monkey wrench into nearly every decision that needs to be made by the Council. Chmelik is simply reaffirming my concerns that he too doesn't genuinely care about the residents of Frederick County, all he cares about is blindly following the other two mindless fools.


Bruce Dean and his paid puppets (or "experts" as he instantly deemed them at the meeting) made the claim that the Trout Run site is "rare" and "historic". He said that the Historic Preservation Commission agrees and that the County Council should just go along.

Well, if this site is so "rare" and "historic", how come nobody knew it until they saw a paycheck waiting for them? Where was the HPC just two or three years ago, before this out-of-state "religion" (or is it a real estate holding company-- Social Betterment Properties International ?) found the unique historic charms of little, old Thurmont, that they are now, suddenly, interested in preserving?

Bruce... your "experts"... Historic Preservation Commission: If you had just said something BEFORE!




They are asking to set up a business in the heart of our forest and watershed. The stream is one the purest sources of our community's water. The stream itself, a historic fishery in the natural landscape. What will extreme levels of Niacin, and an unknown brew of anti-toxins and heat and septic discharge from an over-filled capacity facility do to the region's greatest resource? You decide. Here are the Health Department Inspection Reports of Narconon Facilities elsewhere.


Actually no it is far from "paralysis by analysis", it is more like we actually have 4 very intelligent members on the County Council who are not going to just willy nilly vote for stuff just because, often times before with the BOCC that just because had some money somewhere lurking in the because. Nope we finally have 4 people that are listening to the public and the public has brought fourth may concerns for them to hear.

Case in point as to the other three, Kirby Tony and Billy as to how unintelligent they are, especially Billy.

Billy's comments were puzzling about being open for business, made me wonder if he actually understood that this Rehabilitation Center is not actually a business that will generate any taxes for the county and in fact will be costing the taxpayers money because of the tax breaks they will receive, this Rehabilitation Center is being operated by a religion, Scientology, Scientology is tax exempt because Scientology is recognized as a charitable, pro-society ("bona fide") organization, not only in the United States of America but also in many other countries around the globe.

Not sure how a tax exempt Rehabilitation Center is considered a business? See how unintelligent Billy is?

Also there is this: Oberhansly v. ABLE; Narconon International; Narconon East US; Narconon Freedom Center; et. al.
Instead of a nice rehabilitation center, professional health care staff and counselors, and round-the-clock medical staffing, as promised by "Joe" the intake counselor at Narconon Freedom Center, when the Plaintiff arrived, she found dilapidated facilities which were cited by the Calhoun County Health Department for violations, a single nurse, and staff who had, for the most part, been recruited from former patients who had recently completed the Narconon program and were frequently "quarantined off" because of their continued use of alcohol and illegal drugs. You must read the entire complaint to get a full picture of life at Narconon Freedom Center.

and this: Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
Case Number: CV-00054
Date: January 21, 2015
Plaintiff's Attorney(s): Jeffrey P. Ray. PC
Defendant's Attorney(s):
Disposition: Ongoing
The plaintiff in this case alleges breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and consumer fraud. Despite promises to the contrary, Narconon Freedom Center failed to acquire preauthorization for the client’s stay or to provide a physical exam. Other complaints include deceptive advertising and false representations about the program’s success rates.

And this: McHenry v. Narconon Louisiana New Life Retreat; ABLE; Narconon EUS; Narconon Int.;
The plaintiff in this case alleges that she found Narconon New Life Retreat (Narconon NLR) through an internet search that turned up There she found a 1-800# and got connected to Lance at a fake referral service. Lance described himself as an 'independent' volunteer drug counselor and referred the plaintiff to Jeff Gordon at Narconon NLR.The usual bait and switch ensued. Plaintiff alleges she was promised a 76% success rate and extensive addiction counseling for her son. Instead, she claims, her son received Scientology doctrine and practices for which she paid $27,000.

And a whole bunch more


Truly a majority our county council has become just like Montgomery's in the early years "paralysis by analysis." So disappointing.

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