Frederick County Council Extends 90-Day Deadline For Proposed Sugarloaf Plan

It will now have 20 extras days to make a decision.

Sugarloaf Mountain ((Photo from Stronghold Corporation)

Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Council will have a little more time in considering the proposed Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan. In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Council decided to extend the deadline to approve, modify, remand or disapprove the plan.

County Attorney Bryon Black recommended this action to the Council. He said there was some confusion over when the plan was officially turned over the Council after it was approved by the Planning Commission. “Because you’re running into your end of October deadline date, we’re asking that you grant this extension for up and including October 31st which will take in the most conservative approach would be a 20-day extension so you don’t run afoul of  the land use article,”

Under the land use article, the Council must make a decision on the plan within 90 days after it receives it from the Planning Commission, or the version adopted by the Planning Commission goes into affect. Black said the law does not stipulate how the plan is delivered to the Council. He says the plan was adopted by the Planning Commission on July 13th, but not physically received by the Council until July 21st.

“At this point, I think it’s best that we just go ahead and vote on this to give ourselves those extra 20 days,” said Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer. “Even though we are going to be through with it before that time frame, it does allow us that wiggle room because there is no  clear definition of when the clock started.”

The Council is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Plan on September 27th, and is expected to vote on it by October 18th.

Also during their meeting on Tuesday, Councilmembers  listened to citizen testimony on the plan. Steve Black, who lives on New Design Road in Adamstown, objected to calls from opponents to remand the proposed Sugarloaf Treasured Management Plan  back to the Planning Commission. He said comments presented to the Planning Commission and the Council by citizens would count for nothing. “You would be saying to all of the citizens who took the time to speak at these events and write in that their statements don’t really matter because you need to go back to the Planning Commission,” he said.

Sue Trainor expressed her concerns about property along Route 80 and Thurston Road which has been carved out of the Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan. “It’s a secret. But it’s public policy. You’re setting a boundary for a public policy plan. We should know who is involved in proposing that boundary,”: she said.

Trainor also wanted to know what plans are being considered for that property.

The plan, which covers about 20,000 acres of land from the Monocacy National Battlefield to the Montgomery County border, also sets up I-270 as the boundary line between growth in the east, and preservation in the west.

By Kevin McManus n