Frederick County Council To Consider Bills Dealing With Roads

They were formally introduced last week.

Frederick, Md (KM) Two bills dealing with roads were formally introduced last week by the Frederick Council.  Public hearings will be held at a future date, and the Council will take a vote to approve or reject them sometime after that.

One measure would set up a rustic roads commission which would administer the rustic roads program and develop procedures to designate roads as rustic. Any recommendations would be forwarded to the County Council for a final decision.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Council members heard from Russell Rice who lives on Buck Lantz Road. He asked how many houses could be built on the road before it’s no longer considered rustic. “A lot of stone roads have very few house on them. Buck Lantz has 42 property owners on the entire road, two and a quarter miles long. 22 houses are on the stone part; 12 houses on the tar and chip part,”: he said.

“They’re building a new house—actually be 23 on the stone part–and there’s potential for at least a dozen more houses be built. My question is how many houses—ten, 15, 20, 25, 30 houses–on a stone road is too much,” Rice continued.

During previous discussion of  this bill, Councilman Steve McKay recommended a process be added to remove roads from the Rustic Roads Program.

Another bill introduced last Tuesday would amend the County’s Code of Public Law to repeal an article setting up the County Roads Board. The panel was established in 1939 to assist the county engineer and the Board of County Commissioners with planning road programs. But over the years, according to the background from Tuesday’s meeting, a lot of the Board’s activities were taken over by the County Commissioners who have fiscal responsibilities. With advances in technology, the quarterly meetings of the County Roads Board became less and less critical. Also, county staff and elected officials were more accessible due to e-mails, and other forms of electronic communications, according to the background material.

The Chairperson of the Roads Board, Barbara Wyatt, told the Council the panel was established at a time when the County was receiving federal funds to build roads. “I feel that roads is a huge activity,”: she said. “Right now, we’re in perhaps in 1930 on the brink of even more roads development and improvements because of the tremendous growth in our county.”

The County Roads Board also oversees the Rustic Roads Program which would be turned over to a proposed rustic roads commission if both bills pass.

Both bills are sponsored by Council President Brad Young on behalf of County Executive Jessica Fitzwater.

By Kevin McManus