It's concerned about a campaign contribution to a county commissioner.
The discussion over 8300 new homes planned for the Monrovia is heating up. Members of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion say they're worried about that many homes in their neighborhood. which they say it could increase traffic on Route 75, which can't handle it, and overcrowd area schools.
RALE President Steve McKay also says he's worried about a campaign contribution to Frederick County Commissioners' President Blaine Young during the 2010 election. McKay says the developer of the Monrovia Town Center, his wife, and four limited liability companies gave a total of $24,000 to Young's campaign. Two weeks later, the developer filed an application for the project. "When you can so specifically tie a contributor with a development application, that may make a world of difference legally, but I don't think it makes a wit of difference to people on the outside looking in who say 'hey, that's a conflicted situation.'" McKay says. He notes it's legal, but it's not ethical. RALE asks in a news release whether there's a conflict of interest when Young accepts money from a developer whose application he will preside over.
Commissioner Young says those accusations have been made before. "Obviously, everything I do is in accordance with the letter of the law. I've raised over a half-million dollars. There's no secret to that. They know what I have raised and what I have not raised because, by law, I have to report it."
RALE also says the large number of homes in the Monrovia community will have an impact on roads, especially Route 75. "The current Board of County Commissioners are going forward with these plans. But the funds still aren't there to improve that road," McKay says. He also says the state has said it does not have the money set aside to improve Route 75. "In fact, the county has even acknowledged in their highway needs inventory documents and their other infrastructure planning document that because of the development in the Monrovia area--Landsdale and Monrovia Town Center--that they need to spend $262-million for starters to improve Maryland 75."
He also says schools will be overcrowded even more, as many kids are already attending classes in portable classrooms. While there are plans for a new elementary school, McKay says that's not enough. "There planning for one new elementary school versus four elementary schools' worth of demand they're creating with all this development, and that's a problem," says McKay.
But Commissioner Young says plans are in place to provide the infrastructure. "Such as the addition to Urbana Elementary School that we hope to have under construction before we leave office, which we should, which will add 300 seats," he says. "Through the Landsdale agreement, not only did we get all the impact fees, school mitigation fees, money for infrastructure with roads, we got an elementary school site. And there's multiple proffers that we're working with Monrovia Town Center to acquire, such as a new site for a high school, a site for a fire station which would have a component of a police substation, money for roads."
Young also says the county's comprehensive plan for years has said that the major growth in the area will take place near the city of Frederick, and the Urbana, Monrovia and New Market region.
RALE also brings up other points, such as the theft and vandalism of signs in opposition to all of this growth, and the community versus the developer, with an online petition drive nearing 1,000 signatures, and 600 names on paper petitions.
An appeals hearing on the Monrovia Town Center is scheduled for Wednesday, October 23rd at 6:00 PM at Winchester Hall.