Read Past Columns:

by Jack Lynch, Editor


Bulldozer Blaine Young

Remembering my Revolutionary Ancestor - Abraham Faw

Why Not the Best?

A Tree Grows in Frederick for Anne Frank

The Tragedy of Kai Hagen

Frederick County's Gunslinger Slate, Fire from the Lip, shoot from the Hip!

A Visit to Tangier Island

Historic Snowfall, Road Salt, Watershed Protection and the Chesapeake Bay

Will It be Progress or Retrenchment in Frederick County?

Is This the End of Frederick Smart Growth?

A Series of Links Follows from the Air It Out with George political commentary website:

Chesapeake Blues on Tangier Island

July 4, 2008

Mass Burn

Appalachian Blues on Hillbilly Highway

Buying a Congressional Seat in Maryland's First District - Coming to the Sixth District?

Democratic Candidates on American Foreign Policy

All the King's Horses!

Campaign in Song: Bushie Head Out the Mixing Bowl

Democratic Campaign's Vertical Treadmill on Space Mission

A Bit of Olympic Political History

Obama for the Chesapeake Bay?

Politics is Personal: Repeat Three Times

Prediction: Bad News for Obama, The End of Post-Racial Politics

American Exceptionalism on the World Stage

Obama Speaking on March 18th - Political Equinox

Yee Haw! On to Pennsyltuckey!

American Blackface: Tragic Octoroon

Key to Success - Lesson for Frederick:

Republicrats Yes, Middlecrats No

Too Many Promises ...Loaves and Fishes

Identity Black and White in Frederick

Mashup 1968 - 2008: On to Texas, Out with Clinton?

Fat Tuesday!

Symbol, Sense and Substance

Eight More Years

The Dollar Bubble

Judging a Candidate By Their Website

Baby, We Were Born to Bun!

The subsequent links are again from older dates of The Frederick Citizen:

A Rememebrance: Beijing Spring, Interrupted

County Officials and Public Communications

The Snallygaster in Frederick County

Fourth Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Frederick City Growth

American Promised Land - American All

Black Frederick and Matters of Race and Politics

Dumping on the Chesapeake Bay

Common Sense Writ Large

The Next Mayor of Frederick

Democracy in Action!

Ottawa: About a Greenbelt, Transit Oriented Development and Government FiatCountering Alderman Imhoff's Growth Beliefs

An Alternate View of Frederick CityGrowth Policy

An Acorn in the Bucket

Monocacy River Part II

Monocacy River Part I

New Market Regional Plan Affirmation

43 More!

Fish and Life

Talking Trash

Strike Three, Smoking Out!

A Green Fund Too Far, Or Not Far Enough?

Growth Back to the Future

Revisiting an Iraq War Opinion Four Years Later

Second Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Unrepentant Cady

Sour Grapes and Fine Wine

There's Hope for Good Government

The Democratic Fifth

The County of Feel Good

Hypocrisy Indeed

The Alliance

The Growth Machine Slate

"The Issues are Bipartisan" - David Gray

The Importance of Jan Gardner's Campaign

Form Follows Function

Route 15 Scenic Walmart

Frederick Blue

The Curtain Rises

Housing Growth, Not Smart Growth, Not Progressive Planning

Understanding Lennie Thompson

Frederick's Tale of Two Rabbi's

Wellhead Protection

Make Believe, or Desperate Duncan?

A Progressive Concept Approved...then Defeated!

Hog Wild

Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

We're No Gwinnett County

"An Election, Not a Selection...!"  Indeed!

A Potpourri of Thoughts and Issues...

Now That the Smoke Has Cleared


How am I to Decide on Mayor of Frederick?

Doomed To Repeat It

Frantic Orthodoxy

Stealth Candidate

Another Perfect Day for Bananafish

This Summer Election

Building Issues

Just Powers

Death Defying Election?

In the Heat

Horse Sense for Frederick County?

Kudzu and Million Dollar Homes

Bartlett's Ozone Trip

Let the Games Begin

Blood in the Water

Coffee Klatch

Archaeology in Frederick

Bizarro World

Mr. O'Malley's March

Playing All the Cards

Who are Your Friends New Market?

Mixed Use

Beijing Spring, Interrupted

Passion, People and Politics in Frederick City

Millennium project

A Frederick Leader of Distinction

APFO Under Attack

State Lands Sale

Frederick Water Sourcing

Frederick Water










The Frederick Citizen Logo

August 24, 2011

Plan Maryland

by Jack Lynch

Starting point:  If Maryland counties had used their authority and power to their ultimate public good, our growth impacts would have been moderated and our planning for sustainable development would be completed and not a concern.  Instead, we all know the sad truth, we’ve lurched out of control and at a pace that will ruin the very economic climate (if not already, as any businesses that need to travel regionally will tell you, it requires excessive time, money and productivity costs) well into the future if we do not moderate the baser instincts of local officials.

You need to actually read the Plan, rather than allow the boilerplate of local officials determine your insights into the proposals:  Here  

Governor Martin O’Malley’s recent comments that he would use his executive authority to implement Plan Maryland likely sounded draconian to some in the state, but upon review of the actual draft plan, and more importantly the extensive planning process and public input processes, it appears much less an act of executive power, but rather a logical extension of public and governmental will towards the good public planning outcomes we all hope to enjoy and pass along to our children and grandchildren.

It is a flexible framework generated from three years of discussions and review by fifty stakeholders and several thousand participants, as well as a series of public presentations and feedback opportunities.

The effort is being made because of the fractions and impacts of a lack of clear coordination and productive consensus between local governments and state and shared regional goals, it is a realization of a failure of market forces, and a shared interest in managing resources for the overall good.

The plan announces its moderate goals, that neither:  land conservation, development, or business should become the primary driver of the planning process at the detriment of the other elements.

A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.

Oh how the deeply disturbed, dark doom wearing disparagers of public debate have leapt to action to declare this document the death knoll of local control and planning, calling it invasive and overbearing, the officials saying that their local control will be usurped.  But it is not true; the counties are blaming the victim they’ve created. But we’ll be in a political game they say, allocation of money will control us, well, isn’t that the same case today?  Don’t needs get prioritized annually, funds distributed for schools and roads by larger goals than what a county wants in order to promote its own internal vision?

First things first, let’s get straight who actually holds the greatest responsibility for managing limited resources and stop the bleeding of impacts that cost public coffers.  The County Commissioners will tell you that it is their prerogative to decide land use.  Well OK, but…those decisions not only affect public costs both inside and outside the county, but they are made in a vacuum, they do not take into account any regional concerns or needs.

Take an extreme scenario as an example.  Frederick County Commissioners decide that because of traffic and illegal immigration, it would be good to build a wall around the county.  Now maybe the wall does not actually close off highways, but rather turns them into toll gates, so traffic gets through, but slowed, and charged. 

First, the movement of goods and the economics of business are impacted.  Second, the other jurisdictions are going to react in the same way, walls and tolls.  Now everyone gets caught up in a hodgepodge of impacts.  Rather than impacts that promote the overall good, the impacts hurt the public overall.  Is that any way to run the state?  No, it would become an utter mess, one the US sorted out soon after the colonial period and the Confederation of states.

Interstate commerce was so important to the overall benefit of all that it has been designated inviolate and open only to national law.  The same rational has been evident for many years in planning.  If a county wants to develop in areas without adequate roads, schools, water and sewer, then it should not dump the costs of those impacts on the state as a whole.  The overall good of the public is better served by the administration of a state level plan, rather than local mandate.  It is clear and logical.

Consider the simple fact that Maryland has consumed land over the last thirty years for growth, equal to the amount of land that it developed over three hundred years.  And the state is on track to further impact beyond the twenty-five percent of land already developed, by increasing by another million population, and a half million acres.  The per person land requirement has increased by fifty percent over the last couple decades.  The impacts of septic growth have grown by a third. We are on track to pave over another PG and AA County land area in pursuit of a quality of life?

The simple fact is that we cannot sustain a quality of life in the state of Maryland if we continue in this manner and at this rate.  The other simple fact is that the proposals are not much different than state guidelines already in place.

The loss of productive farmlands, forests and the degradation of water quality have been witnessed by our poor growth models and sprawl development, if it proceeds, our supposed commitment to an environmentally improved and economically productive Chesapeake Bay is as a bad joke.

Here are the stated goals of the Plan Maryland vision:

    • Support compact development and high quality of life
    • Stop the spread of development across farmland and natural resource conservation areas
    • Assure the sustainable sue of natural resources and maintain water quality and supply
    • Align these goals with a quality of business growth and economic opportunity
    • Make state and local government partners in assuring overall public goals and management