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As Long as We Remember...

December 5, 2013

Facts The No-Growthers Donít Want You To Know

Blaine R. Young

For the fifth consecutive year, Frederick County has issued fewer than 1,000 new dwelling permits. The last time the housing market in the county was this slow was the period of 1967 – 1971.


Reality is much different than the misleading information the no-growth crowd is putting out there. These people would have you believe Frederick is being covered in concrete and asphalt. It’s just not true.


In fact, based on estimates from the most current approved Frederick County Comprehensive Plan, nearly 90 percent of Frederick County is designated for Agricultural and/or Resource Conservation, while approximately five percent of land in Frederick County is designated for residential growth. And of that five percent, there is about two percent of the land designated for residential development that is not yet developed.


The majority of the undeveloped land designated for residential development is located in and around the City of Frederick and the southern and eastern parts of the county.


Growth in Frederick County is exactly where it should be, around Frederick City and in the southern part of the county. Our growth plan is right in line with the state’s Smart Growth initiative. We are focusing our growth near major arteries and making sure these developments are hooked up to public water and sewer services.


Ultimately, the biggest factors determining whether or not growth occurs is the economy and supply and demand.


Just because a housing development has been approved doesn’t mean it will be built. If the economy is bad, few new homes are purchased and built. Likewise, if the market is not there for the development, it won’t be built. If people don’t have money and they can’t get loans, no homes will be built. It’s not complicated. History proves this over and over again. It’s Economics 101.


The no-growth advocates have been trying for years to scare people and manufacture some sort of a land crisis in Frederick County. The facts prove them wrong time-and-time again.


In just the last two years (2011-2012) Frederick County acquired 2,735 acres of new land preservation easements. It was projected that there would be 300 new students entering the school system but in actuality, the school system saw the number of new students go up by only 40 students.


Once again, the facts do not support the scare tactics of the no-growth crowd.


What Frederick County needs is more taxpayers, not more taxes. Home building in Frederick County is at its lowest level since the 1960s. To say growth is out of control is just not true.



Here are some fast facts


·       Frederick County is Maryland’s largest county in size – 664 square miles;

·       31% (132,000) acres of Frederick County is covered by forests;


·       Frederick County currently has 33,569 acres of public park & natural resource lands; and


·       Currently 52,802 acres of land are in some type of agricultural and/or land preservation program. 47,520 acres of the total is permanently protected; and


·       The state of Maryland requires counties to maintain 30 acres of open space per 1,000 people. Frederick County is currently at 41 acres per 1,000 people, far exceeding the state standard.


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