Fair Board Seeks State Bill To Future Prevent Historic Overlay On Its Property

They made their request last Saturday to the Legislative Delegation.


Frederick, Md (KM)  Earlier this year, the Board of Directors of the Great Frederick Fair successfully fought off an attempt to place an historic overlay on their property along East Patrick Street in Frederick, which would have strictly regulated any improvements to the property. Now, Fair Board officials want to keep that from happening again.

“We are here to ask for a state legislative action that would give us protection from historic zoning restrictions coming forward,” said Maurice Gladhill, the Treasurer of the Fair Board.

He says the Frederick County Farm Bureau supports this position, and the Maryland Association of Fairs backs similar legislation.

The proposal to extend an historic overlay on the Fairgrounds was voted down by the Board of Aldermen earlier this year.

Gladhill says the fight against the imposition of these restrictions was costly. “But the Fair is not wealthy, does not have a lot of money to devote toward public hearings and attorneys, and going through the processes that an historic overlay on our property would have entailed,” he said.

He also added that the Fair Board does take good care of its buildings. “We work to maintain our facilities and keep them in good order. And we take serious consideration of the historic nature of those facilities,” Gladhill said.

He says Fair officials would like to devote their time and money to carrying out the Fair’s mission, which is supporting the agriculture sector and educating the public about agriculture.

The request drew this question from Delegate Karen Lewis Young. “If, in fact, you received the decision that you wanted on September 1st by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, I’m not sure why you’re asking us to take legislative action at the state level,” Young asked.

“None of us can envision what the future’s going to bring,” Gladhill responded. “We feel that the process was almost stacked against us from the very beginning. And if it wasn’t for the significant public outcry at the last second, this overlay would have been placed on us beyond our control.”

Delegate Carol Krimm said this bill might raise some concerns among local governments. “It is the policy of the State of Maryland that local government does have control over their land use decisions. And that has been part of Maryland State Government for a while. So this would definitely that would cause some concern,” she says.

Delegation Chair Kathy Afzali said lawmakers would be in “further contact” with the Fair Board on this issue.

By Kevin McManus