FredCo Commits to Strong, Transparent Sugarloaf Region Plan
Frederick County's Planning Board has just taken a step to restore public confidence in the land use planning process governing the "Livable Frederick" Master Plan.
One piece of that plan, the Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan raised major concerns with residents when the draft plan was released in July. The plan included long awaited formal protections for the area surrounding the mountain - but also included a 500 acre carveout in the previously protected area, seemingly to allow the landowner to proceed with heavy development of farmland (see circled area in the map above). The inexplicable change in the plan was protected by a non-disclosure agreement - worrying residents on both sides of the County border that the planning process lacked transparency and that the county was willing to trade short term gains over the long term protection of this treasured landscape behind closed doors.
The Planning Commission has just voted that, for purpose of discussion, the eastern boundary of the Sugarloaf Plan Overlay will be restored to the earlier boundary, i.e., running along I-270 bringing the 500 acres carved out in the draft plan back under the protections being discussed for the Sugarloaf region. The Commission went further to say that any future cutout must be discussed openly.
The Frederick County Planning Commission has taken an encouraging first step to restore confidence and ensure transparency going forward. Sugarloaf and the surrounding farms and open space are acutely important to the whole region. The next step is a legacy protection plan that reflects that fact - offering strong protections in a transparent process. We, with your help, will be watching closely to make sure that happens.
Please take two minutes to thank the Planning Commission and urge continued caution as this planning process moves forward. Click "start writing"