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 Jack Lynch, Editor
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A Potpourri of Thoughts and Issues...

November 22, 2005

by Jack Lynch

Today’s column includes a variety of thoughts on various issues.

Open Letter to the Board of County Commissioners

History will take note that the first full page ad of an Open Letter to the BOCC by a collaboration of citizen groups that will have run yesterday in the FNP.    It will also be rerun on Thanksgiving Day. 

The letter asks for a regional traffic impact study that is done appropriately and professionally, it asks to halt the future planning process and use the undeveloped land already planned in the 1993 plan, and it asks for adherence to the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

Friends of Frederick County and the Frederick Regional Action Network’s Open Letter to BOCC of Frederick County listed over 550 names of citizens who want the New Market Region plan scrapped.

The Board has responded a little bit to objections, but remains stuck with some elements of the plan that are unjustifiable, such as including the Gladhill and other similar properties in the growth areas.  Commissioners Cady and Lowell remain committed to high growth.  We need to remind them of the upcoming election next Fall and how these decisions will affect our votes.

We do take note of the new planning process suggested by the BOCC, to first do a region’s comprehensive plan before allowing any rezonings,  and then only accept rezonings that fit the new comp plan.  That could improve the process.

Mt Airy Citizen Website Attacked

The problem with free speech is that somebody might say something truthful that you don’t want advertised.  Taking a look over at the citizen driven Mt Airy Forum website, it is obviously an attempt to bring some awareness to the community of the secretive development forces underlying their public meetings and local government, and it is no surprise, that some folks just don’t like that much sunshine on these affairs.

You’ll find notes of meetings, which should be changed to include the writer’s name, I believe.  The lack of identification has been one criticism.  But overall, this is an informative and exciting new initiative in Mt. Airy.  Stayed tuned to it!

Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership

I have immersed myself in local water quality efforts early and often, by participating as a citizen activist at this newly formed regional partnership of water suppliers and government agencies, including signatory  and endorsement by  Frederick County and City, and I have found it highly technical, but an invaluable effort. 

The water quality threats present, although in minute amounts, are significant for the future, and present some unusual challenges.  Chemicals found in personal hygiene products, hormones and new bacterium, all pose water threats to populations over time.

The vital research and recommendations that emerge from this group over the next decade will be a foremost priority for the water supply needed to maintain and sustain our regional megalopolis.  It may even portend the end of the viable growth in water resources, if these contaminants depend on restraint on land use to contain their impacts.

As soon as the 2005 Annual Report is released, I will link it on this page.

 

Government Accounting Office Attacks Government Chesapeake Bay Program - Report Here

As a believer in the need to affect every area of our lives in order to reduce pollutants to the Chesapeake Bay, for doing so also improves both our air and water upstream too, it makes me sad to see the Congressional Accounting Office having to vilify the Bay program in government for lack of accountability and failure.  But perhaps, this will be the wake up call to get the program working and the Bay actually cleaned up.

The investigation came at the bequest of our local Senators, who would like to see clear advances in water protections and more funding to provide the needed restraints on pollutants.

There is absolutely no justification for the fudging of reports with projections and models that are inaccurate in demonstrating successful clean-up efforts, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Bay Journal and others have reported this previously.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Response to GAO Report

Who Should Care about the Monocacy River?

Here in our own Monocacy watershed, where we would like to communicate the message that the river is the place where we can achieve improvements, and that everyone is a part of the problem and also a part of the solution, we see our local Farm Bureau having taken a stand that in 2006 they want to insure that only those individuals with properties contiguous to the river will be allowed to serve on the Monocacy Scenic River Board.

And, I am frankly one of the folks they’d most like to keep from attaining a position on the Monocacy Scenic River Board.  As a citizen I have been showing up to these open meetings for about three years, and have been attempting to be placed on it officially by the BOCC of Frederick County, but farm and property rights interests have been threatened by my support of a development setback along the sensitive soil and forest buffers of the river, of which 70% are already protected floodplain.

It is an atavistic and reactionary move on the part of farm interests.

What we should be doing together is to educate the public on the overuse of lawn fertilizers and chemicals.  Of the trash that runs down storm drains.  Recycling efforts could also be stepped up. 

Let's keep the public engaged.

Hear More Here!