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October 30, 2009

How Does Your City Grow?

Joe Charlebois

Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your city grow? Paraphrasing the old nursery rhyme gets to the point of what the future of Frederick County and its municipalities will face as it continues to grow. The quintessential issue – we as citizens of the city and/or county need to address – is how we will define growth over the next 20 to 30 thirty years.


As a community with hundreds of years of history, a vibrant historical district, productive farmlands, and a sense of community that other Maryland counties can only dream about, we need to proceed with the smart growth plans put forth in planning sessions from years ago.


We need to elect leaders who aren’t afraid of growth. We need to elect leaders who have vision, who have a sense of the future and how to balance growth with prosperity.


I don’t want to see Frederick County turn into Montgomery County’s twin. Montgomery County has sprawled every which way with no sense of community.


The planned annexations of the Crumland, Thatcher and Summers farms are well planned in the sense that these properties are closely aligned with the growth of City of Frederick. These properties fill in gaps or are adjacent to existing city property and desirable to attract large employers with planned facilities similar to the State Farm Campus.


There is a false assumption by the county commissioners that growth will halt if these annexations are denied. Growth will continue all around Frederick if we don’t plan appropriately. The city can grow both through residential and commercial means with the Crumland and Thatcher farms annexations.


I voted for many of current the county commissioners based solely on the fear of unplanned and unlimited growth and the potential affects that would have on our beautiful and vibrant community.


However, when I see how the City of Frederick has planned to grow through controlled annexation, I am satisfied that they are doing what is in the best interest, not only of city residents, but more importantly to maintaining Frederick County as a farming community.


If controlled growth through annexation – whether it is Frederick, Thurmont or Brunswick – is removed as a tool of proper planning, then I’m afraid that Frederick County will be either bypassed as a corporate destination or eventually developed in a scattered and hodgepodge manner.


A county should first and foremost stay out of the legal process of annexation by the municipalities within its borders. It is the legal right of the municipality to do so.


The county should encourage the growth of its municipalities outwardly under a controlled process. This will centralize the resources needed to allow for growth and will minimize the affects and effects to the county as a whole.


Montgomery County is an example of uncontrolled, decentralized growth. Yes there is a Rockville Town Center, but it has just become a ‘town center over the past few years.


Frederick County deserves better from its elected leaders. The county commissioners should keep their noses out of the municipalities business – especially when the growth is contiguous to the existing boundaries.


Growth is inevitable and anyone who tells you that we can keep the status quo and grow with existing space is not looking out for the best interest of the residents of this beautiful county.


Being a proponent of gradual and well-thought-out annexations does not make that same person an enemy of our agricultural commerce and heritage. On the contrary this method of growth brings sprawl to a crawl.


Yes, there will be more neighbors over a larger geography, but that was going to happen anyway.


If we want to continue to be seen as an ideal place to live, work, play and worship, we must be able to attract Fortune 500-types of corporations with easy access to the airport and the Interstates 70 and 270. This can only be done through common sense growth, such as the annexation of the farms in question.


Tuesday, in the Frederick City election, select the candidates with the foresight and common sense to provide properly planned growth.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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