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August 28, 2019

A Good Example of a Bad Plan

Jennifer Baker

Adamstown residents attended last week’s Frederick County Council meeting to discuss plans for the Eastalco property and the Livable Frederick master plan proposals for that tract of land along Manor Woods Road.


Eastalco began operations in Frederick County in 1970 as an aluminum smelter. At full capacity, there were 861 employees on the 2200-acre property. Sadly, Eastalco closed operations in 2005 due to increasing electricity costs. Efforts to locate a less expensive supply of electricity failed in 2007. The buildings were razed in 2011.


Aluminum smelting requires 13 kilowatt hours to separate 1 kilogram of aluminum for use. When electricity costs increased by 40%, the smelter was no longer profitable and a decision was made to close.


Since the closure, the property has been left dormant as the company decided to sell the entire 2,200 acres as a single tract for development instead of selling it in separate lots.


In the current Livable Frederick master plan, the Eastalco property is proposed as a new town for growth. Upon learning this, Adamstown residents decided to voice their concern over the new designation for growth in the area.


The questions asked by those attending the meeting are the same questions many ask all over Frederick County every day. These include:


·         How will the infrastructure handle the additional traffic?


·         Will schools be able to accommodate the influx of additional students?


·         Can the fire service cover the additional calls new growth would generate?


·         When was this proposed and why was I not made aware of plans for where I live?


County residents have asked these questions for decades. In Livable Frederick, citizens were told they would be a part of the plan and the plan would reflect the community. Instead Livable Frederick has become smart growth renewed, with the bonus of county government now controlling all you see, hear and do in the county.


Livable Frederick may have originated as a community-based plan in theory. It has since become an agenda-driven document that allows council members to add amendments catered to personal political interests. If approved, Livable Frederick will touch many aspects of county life without a vote by the residents. What recourse will county voters have later to remove or update Livable Frederick?


Adamstown residents though have seen the flaw in a master plan that seeks ideas more aspirational than practical and subject to the current political power in charge.


Planning and zoning officials have suggested they could remove the new town designation from the property. Removal of the designation still leaves the property with no defined purpose other than growth and owned by an out-of-state corporation trying to steward a large property at a distance.


Perhaps, Livable Frederick should be rejected and taken back to a master plan that does not seek to control all of life for county residents.


Any master plan that takes away rights from residents at the whim of the political majority in power at any given time should not be passed. County residents would prefer a tax decrease instead of the proposed cooking classes.


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

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