The panel also heard to testimony on senior tax credits, fee waiver for volunteer fire & rescue companies.
Frederick, Md (KM). The Frederick County Council held hearings on a five bills Tuesday night, including one on wood waste recycling. The legislation drafted by Councilman Tony Chmelik would allow these types of operations in areas zoned general commercial. They are currently permitted on agriculture and general industrial properties.
The measure was written following complaints filed against Rick Bussard, who owns a wood waste recycling business along Green Valley Road near Baldwin Road. Part of his property is located in an agriculture zone, and the other part is in general commercial. The County has informed him of the violation, but he has not been fined. “I don’t know all the bills that’s written up. I don’t understand all the legal writin’ about it. I’m looking to move the business anyway. I’d like the county to leave me alone until I move,” he said.
Councilman Kirby Delauter said he understands Bussard’s frustration. “This whole thing was just so unnecessary. I really want to apologize for people dragging you in here 18 months to do something that have should taken 18-seconds to decide through a grandfather clause,” he said.
Ray Barnes, Chief Administrative Officer, who was speaking on behalf of the County Executive, said the administrration is opposed to this legilsation. “We don’t think a temporary wood waste recycling facility is an appropriate use in the general commercial district,” he said. General commercial is usually set aside for retailers.
If approved, a wood waste recycling operation in a general commercial area would be a temporary permitted use with a special exception. The minimum lot size would be five-acres, and it would have to have 80-feet of road frontage. Conditions would be put in place to regulate noise, dust and screening. No active grinding would be located less than 150-feet from the property lines, and no less than 250-feet from a nearby residential structure.
The Council took no action on the bill.
Citizens were also invited to comment on legislation to exempt volunteer fire and rescue companies from fees imposed by the Divisions of Planning and Permitting, and Utilities and Solid Waste Management. That would include new construction, renovation, alternations and demolition. In addition to fire and ambulance halls, the exemption from fees would also include community centers and training rooms and other uses.
Chief Administrative Officer Ray Barnes, speaking for the County Executive, testified in opposition. “There are a number of other non-profits, charitable organizations that are also engaged in building and so forth,” he said. “We do not think that we should be extending this type of exemption of permits and county fees to everyone.’ Barnes also says the county has an existing policy in place for volunteer fire and rescue companies when it comes to permit fees for new construction.
Councilman Billy Shreve, whose sponsoring this bill, had this response. “If there are other organizations out there and want to be part of a bill just like this, I’ll be happy to put it forward,” he said.
No action on this bill was taken by the Council.
Two bills on computing the senior plroperty tax credit introduced by Councimen Jerry Donald and Kirby Delauter were combined into one piece of legislation. It would increase the percentage adjustment which is applied to determine the property tax credit fr seniors. Both elected officials discussed combining their two bills prior to Tuesday night’s hearing. “And it was a very quick and easy negotiation. I think we both conducted ourselves in a manner that we wanted to come up with something and we did,,” says Councilman Donald.
“It was just easier to blend the two bills,” says Delauter. “Instead of having two bills, it’s much easier to blend those two bills.”
Those who make $30,000 or less would be eligible. “We took the threshold for the combined gross income down to $80,000. It was actually up from $70,000. It was $85,000. We just took it down to $80,000,” Delauter says.
Paricipants must be at least 65 yerars of age by the end of the calendar year preceding the taxable year. Their net worth, not including the value of the property on which the credit is being sought, along with a qualified saving plan or individual retirement account, must be less than $250,000.
There was no action taken on the bill by the Council.
By Kevin McManus