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As Long as We Remember...

February 1, 2017

Extending Monocacy River Banks Without Compensation

Guest Columnist

Kirby Delauter


The newest government overreach coming from the Jan Gardner Administration is the Monocacy River Management Plan, also known as the “Monocacy River Land Grab.” This socialist experiment is being spearheaded by an appointed board and from behind the scenes by the county executive.


If you think the County Council will do anything to thwart this over reach, just remember that Ms. Gardner “owns” a majority of the council.


Thus if she wants something, the 4-3 Democrat/Independent majority will guarantee that she gets it. They will talk and deliberate in public meetings like they actually care about the issue, but in reality, all decisions are made behind closed doors long before they get to public forums.


As for the Monocacy River Land Grab, it is an egregious government overreach that tramples personal property rights. The concept of possession was formed as a means to avoid civil disorder. When you own property, it is yours, not the governments, not your neighbor’s, not a sightseers, and not an appointed board. It is yours.


The usual way of acquiring an interest in property is as the result of a consensual transaction between parties, usually a buyer and a seller. For example, a sale or gift. If a transaction is not consensual between parties, then it would be considered theft. Now that we’ve determined the basics of property rights and the fact that in America our Constitution protects those rights, I will now explain why this Monocacy River Land Grab is all wrong.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines flood zones within waterways in the Unites States. Along the Monocacy River, FEMA has designated areas typically based on elevation differences to outline the “ flood plain,” or areas prone to flooding during what is considered a 100-year storm event, or a storm of such severity that is happens only once every 100 years. Property owners know this and understand why it exists.


The Monocacy River Land Grab Board has decided that from an environmental standpoint, it would be a good idea to draw a big red line through properties that border the river and designate this area within this red line as a “River Buffer Zone.”


This red zone is much larger than FEMA’s 100 year flood zone. The county board did this with no input from property owners, no public hearings and with direction from county staff.


Once the word got out that this was happening, the property owners became outraged, and for good reason. In one case a land owner has 29 acres, this new red line plan took 26 of his 29 acres. Several land owners had the red line shown through their houses. And all landowners want to know what this would do to their property values?


I agree that this is outrageous, overreaching and a violation of personal property rights. It needs to be stopped right now.


I’ve sent an email to the county executive requesting this be stopped. Her reply was that it is not her doing, she has no role in this and she will review it once the unelected board makes their recommendation to steal your land.


My email to her was clear. She does have control; she does have a role; and this land grab needs to stop, now.


Two years ago I asked for a ruling from the county’s Ethics Board to see if – as a council member – I could bid on county projects, just as my company has done for 60 years. The Ethics Board determined that “yes” in fact, I could do so with no ethical violation.


County Executive Gardner swiftly, the very next day, issued an Executive Order over ruling the Ethics Board and prohibited me from bidding on county projects.


On January 2, 2017, I’ve requested that she issue another Executive Order and over rule this Monocacy River Board and stop this Monocacy River Land Grab. By the time you read this, we will have an answer as to whether she will issue this order. She replied to my email stating she has no role in this effort. That is a bold faced misrepresentation; she controls all county staff. She can order Tim Goodfellow, the county staffer who is advising this board, to cease working on this project. She refuses to do so.


She can issue an Executive Order, just as she did to harm my business, yet she refuses to do so. She refuses because – from behind the scenes – she is pushing this plan. If she were not, she would do the people’s will and listen to the landowners and farmers who will be affected by this disastrous plan, and put a stop to it.


Don’t be fooled by Ms. Gardner and the 4-3 Democrat/Independent majority on this council. They are, in fact, big time think tank liberals, who believe they know what is best for you and your land. They are using environmentalism (the new socialism) to control every aspect of our lives. After all, who doesn’t want clean water? Who doesn’t want a “protected river?” Who doesn’t want sunshine, rainbows and unicorns? They use this environmental platform to take your rights in the name of clean water. It is bogus; it is wrong; and it needs to be stopped, right now.


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