Livable Frederick Coalition Formed

Sugarloaf Mountain

It says it wants to keep Livable Frederick grounded in its original principles.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – A citizens group called the Livable Frederick Coalition has been formed in opposition to the proposed Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan. That document calls for rezoning almost 20,000 acres from the Monocacy National Battlefield to the border with Montgomery County to prevent it from being developed.

“They downzoned almost 20,000 acres of land,  removed some employment and commercial zoning on the west side of I-270 at Maryland 80,” says Rick Weldon, President and CEO of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. “Something like 600 acres that could be used for jobs and economic opportunity.”

Weldon is one of the members of the Livable Frederick Coalition.

Also listed as a member is Hugh Gordon, Association Executive, Frederick County Association of Realtors. “I’m concerned about the property rights of individuals and whether or not they understand the changes that are occurring to their properties,” Gordon says.

On May 18th, a number of residents testified before the Frederick County Planning Commission about the Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan. Some were property owners who were concerned about rezonings  of their lands , and they claimed they weren’t aware of it until the night  of the hearing. Another resident said the plan’s boundaries and overlay are correct,  and it may be the only chance to protect that area.

The Sugarloaf Mountain area has been protected from large scale development, and Weldon says Coalition also wants to continue to protect that unique area. “Sugarloaf is a critical part of the quality of life that makes certainly southern Frederick County special,” he said. “And there are thoughtful ways to do that, including that original plan draft from a couple years ago that did exactly that.”

Weldon was referring to a plan for the Sugarloaf area drafted before the pandemic began in 2020 which he said  had a good mix of land preservation and limited residential and commercial development.

Gordon also said he and other Coalition members also want to keep the area around Sugarloaf Mountain protected. “I think we all appreciate the fact that this a jewel, it’s a gem in Frederick County, and that’s really not the issue,”: he says. “The issue is the individual property owners and how all these changes are affecting them.”

Weldon says the Coalition is calling for balance and good judgement when it comes to the Sugarloaf area. “We intend to use our collective voices to be heard by both the Planning Commission and the County Council to return back to the principles that County Executive {Jan} Gardner initially laid out,  that more thoughtful, reasoned approach to land use planning,” he said.

The Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan is before the Planning Commission.

By Kevin McManus