The vote was unanimous.
Frederick, Md (KM) Changes to Frederick County’s rezoning ordinance were approved Tuesday by the County Council. The changes, which were adopted unanimously, would add availability and location of land, planned future transportation systems and public facilities, and environmental or historic resources as criteria for the Planning Commission and the County Council when deciding rezoning requests.
Prior to the vote, Councilman Phil Dacey introduced an amendment to exempt two pending rezoning cases before the county. Their applications would be “grandfathered,” meaning they would operate under the old rules. “Simple fairness allows that these applications which were filed 17-months ago., scheduled for a hearing and canceled. Because of the COVID, they were not able to get the hearings through,” said Dacey.
The amendment also received support from Councilman Kai Hagen. “It’s not about sympathy for the developers, or support for the development. It’s what is right and fair,” he said.
Councilman Jessica Fitzwater had similar comments in support. “It’s simply about this very strange time that we’re in, and the impact that has had on the timing on legislation and these rezoning hearings,” she said.
Council Vice President Michael Blue was in opposition. “I do understand and I do appreciate Councilman Dacey’s amendment. It makes a lot of sense. It really does. It is about fairness, but I’m just leaning in the other direction,” he said. Blue also expressed confidence that hearing will be held next month on the two rezonings. They were previously scheduled for earlier this year, but were canceled due tot he COVID-19 pandemic.
Expressing strong opposition was Councilman Steve McKay, who said it undermines all the work done to enact the Livable Frederick Plan. “This is our first big bite at the zoning ordinance,” he said. “And we’re going to say ‘naw, forget all that.. We think it’s fairer to this one applicant to grandfather it all away,'” he said.
The amendment was voted down by the Council.
By Kevin McManus