It’s designed to make sure the Board’s membership is ‘fair.’
Frederick, Md (KM) Legislation regarding the makeup of the Monocacy Scenic River Citizens Advisory Board is being prepared for the 2018 Maryland General Assembly Session. Frederick County Delegate Kathy Afzali (R) , whose putting it together, says landowners on the Frederick County side of the River feel their views are not adequately represented. “And it gave the local property owners the feeling that somehow they were being left out, and looked like a potential future land grab,” she says
According to the Frederick County Government website, the Monocacy Scenic River Advisory Board was created in 1978, and consists of ten members: five appointed by the Frederick County Council, and five appointed by the Carroll County Commissioners. Their task is to provide advice and recommendations to both County Governments on land use, land development proposals and resource management issues that impact the Monocacy River.
Delegate Afzali says the Board is supposed to have two members from both counties who own properties contiguous to the River, two who do not own land next to the River, two from the local governing bodies and one from a soil conservation district. While Carroll County has done that, she says Frederick County has not.;
She says her bill would have representation from individuals who own properties along the Monocacy, as well as other interests. “I guess there are people that have concerns about the pollution in the River, and this is very important. We want to have healthy waterways,” she says. “But, unfortunately, the way the county put the board to together, it didn’t represent all of the stakeholders in the health of the River.”
Afzali says it’s unusual for the state legislature to intervene in a local matter such as this. “It’s not always good for the delegation and state to step in in local matters. But I think it’s highly critical that we weigh in this particular case, and make certain that there is a diverse group on any future river board,” she says.
While researching this issue, Afzali says there is no law which requires the two counties to set up a Monocacy Scenic River Citizens Advisory Board. “If you’re going to establish this river board that you don’t have to establish but want to establish, at least make it fair,” she says.,
In addition, Afzali says we can protect the health of the Monocacy River, and safeguard private property rights. “We have to understand that if somebody owns property on a waterway, they want that water to be healthy,” she says. . “That has to do with their property values and what they’re looking at each and every day as they’re looking out a window.”
By Kevin McManus