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As Long as We Remember...

September 22, 2011

There They Go Again

Blaine R. Young

Here we go again. Our so-called “Friends” of Frederick are at it once again. That’s right; they have renewed their well-worn misinformation and scare tactics.


Like we haven’t seen it all before and figured them out for what they are. These so-called “Friends” are still reading yesterday’s newspapers. They are the last soldiers fighting the war on growth. Someone needs to send these so-called “Friends” a memo informing them of what the rest of us already know: there is practically no growth going on in Frederick County right now, or anywhere else for that matter.


The Board of County Commissioners is looking at the Comprehensive Plan in exactly the way four of the five sitting commissioners advertised they would do during last year’s campaign. We promised people who had property rights stolen from them by the prior board that we would give them a chance to ask to have those rights restored. That is it.


This Comprehensive Plan review is not about opening up new areas for growth, expanding growth areas or giving people “spot zoning” that never appeared on the map before. It is wholly about restoring what people had until very recently. If the last board can steal someone’s property rights with the stroke of a pen, the current board certainly should be allowed to restore them the same way.


Nonetheless, Janice Wiles and her band of cohorts have decided to make a political issue out of our promise to let people petition to restore their property rights. In fact, she is not content to keep her political machinations at home here in Frederick County. She has enlisted the help of the governor in promoting her interest and those of her so-called “Friends.”


I’m sure that Gov. Martin O’Malley knows, as does Ms. Wiles and the rest of us, that a full slate of candidates ran for county commissioner a year ago and, as their primary campaign focus, they applauded the Comprehensive Plan and zoning map as adopted by the prior board. Those people said that the down-zonings were appropriate, proper, and “for our own good.”


The voters disagreed. Resoundingly! And thus, four of the five of us have kept our word and are giving people an opportunity to ask for their property rights back.


Ms. Wiles and her cronies have more up their sleeves. It isn’t a coincidence that at the same time they have contacted the governor’s office about our Comprehensive Plan, the state has now started a debate on two new statewide growth initiatives.


One is PlanMaryland, which is the governor’s pet executive branch policy to centralize more land use decisions in Annapolis and remove them from the jurisdiction of the counties and the municipalities. The other is the governor’s proposed septic system bill, which would essentially end all well and septic development in Frederick County and other non-urban counties.


It looks like Janice Wiles and her “Friends” intend to team up with the liberals in Annapolis in an effort to further deprive people of their long held and cherished property rights.


The timing must be political, as there is certainly no reason to be attacking growth at a time when we will be lucky to have 500 to 600 building permits issued this year in our county. Remember, the Comprehensive Plan that was approved by the last board and is so beloved by Ms. Wiles and her “Friends” calls for around 1,500 homes per year to be built in Frederick County. That’s right, her plan called for 1,500 homes, and we may only do one-third of that. And yet, fighting yesterday’s battles on growth seems to be the best these “Friends of Frederick County” can do for their neighbors.


If they truly were our “Friends,” they would be spending their time and resources seeing what they could do to get some more of their neighbors back to work.


One thing has not changed at all since last year when I traversed the county on a daily basis during the campaign and spoke to thousands of residents. The concern is jobs, taxes and the growth and spending of government. As I told people then, and I will say again now, one way to pay fewer taxes is to have more taxpayers. I would like nothing more than to see one part of the last commissioners’ board Comprehensive Plan come to fruition. I would love to see 1,500 homes built next year, and this board intends to do what it can, through regulatory reform and tax relief to encourage people to build homes here, move here and contribute to our quality of life.


After all, that is what “friends” are for.


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