Council To Consider Changes To Wood Waste Recycling Bill

The panel voted to table it on Tuesday.

Frederick, Md (KM). Legislation which would allow wood recycling operations as a permitted principle use as a special exception in general commercial zones is expected to be taken up next month by the Frederick County Council

The measure was drafted following complaints received earlier this year against Rick Bussard, who operates a business along Green Valley Road near Baldwin Road in Monrovia, which grinds up wood into mulch, and sells  it to the public. The company is located partly  in the general commercial zone where it’s not permitted.

Wood waste recycling is allowed in areas zoned agriculture and general industrial as a special exception.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Kirby Delauter expressed hope the bill would pass. “We got an anonymous complaint–which I would never accept,” he said. “If somebody’s not going to put their name on something, they’re not serious about it. And all that does is breed neighbors against neighbors, and things we shouldn’t be involved in up here.”

Part of the Bussard’s business is located on general commercial, and rest is agriculture. The County has allowed Bussard to continue to operate his business, and it says the Office of Economic Development has been working with this company to keep them operating in Frederick County. But Councilman Billy Shreve, whose sponsoring the legislation,  said the only “help” the county has given Busasrd is the recommendation he move his business. Shreve described his bill as  an either-or situation. “If you vote no, you vote to shut him down. If you vote yes, you vote to let him continue his business. It’s that simple,” he said.

While saying they support keeping the business operating, other Councilmembers said this bill is not the answer, noting it would apply to all wood waste recycling businesses which want to operate in general commercial. “I’d like to see the problem solved, but I don’t think that this particular bill solves it,” said Councilman Jerry Donald. “It’s too broad a brush to put it in the simplest terms.”

The general commercial zone allows such uses as department stores, pharmacies, restaurants and day care centers. Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer said wood waste recycling would be very incompatible with the permitted uses. “This would allow a wood recycling business next door to a day care center; next door to a Burger King or a McDonald’s with an outside playground,” she said.

But Councilman Delauter said the county has a similar operation in Walkersville. “You just mentioned about having them next door to a McDonald’s or a Burger King. Right now we have one next to a school. That’s the one the county operates,” he said.

Councilmembers voted to table the bill, and ask all involved to bring back other solutions to this problem, such as the use of grandfathering, a floating zone and a special exception. The Council is expected to take it up on August 22nd.


By Kevin McManus