In the Best Interest of Frederick
The Frederick County Council held public comment during the 2/26/19 county council meeting on the 2018 Revised Monocacy River Plan. Many citizens from Frederick, Carroll and even Adams county came out and waited their turn to offer public opinion on the Revised 2018 Monocacy River Plan in a meeting that lasted well over 2 hours.
Proponents of the plan included the Frederick County Farm Bureau, the Frederick County Realtors Association and even a representative from the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, along with many property owners along the Monocacy including current and former River Board Members.
Opponents of the plan included residents from Frederick city and county who felt the revised river plan failed to address the need to manage and maintain the quality of the water which is used for agriculture, recreation and pubic water consumption. Some commenters though accused local farmers of seeking to hang onto the land to simply make “big bucks” later when selling. The Monocacy is already guided by numerous federal and state regulations for clean water and Chesapeake Bay protection. The Monocacy River Plan is a guideline requested for rivers deemed Scenic Rivers by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Currently, counties who share a scenic river work on the river plan together to best serve the needs of all stakeholders. While Carroll county was an active participant and has already passed the revised river plan in the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, some in Frederick feel as the river passes more thru Frederick county, that Frederick should have greater influence on the plan.
The Monocacy River is also home to several water treatment plans that serve Frederick City and County, which have had breeches most recently during the excessive rain received since May of 2018 and leaked raw sewage and debris into the river waters. While north of the city of Frederick the Monocacy is primarily farm land as it is a flood plain and does experience flooding, Paddlers on the Monocacy will often tell stories of the debris and bleach smell found close to Frederick City when overflow from the water treatment plants occurs.
At the end of the public comment period, the County Council closed the issue for public comment and will debate the plan in next county council meeting. The Council noted they are awaiting an opinion on the revised plan from the County Attorney before discussion of the matter. At next week’s meeting, the Council will determine what choice is in the best interest of Frederick County. The 2018 Revised River Plan puts in writing protections to the property rights of owners, preventing Frederick County from taking the land not by legally purchasing the land, but thru a bureaucratic death by a 1000 papercuts in mandatory regulations and requirements placed on residents by their county government. The alternative to passing the revised river plan would be to revert to the previous plan and allow the river plan to be rolled into the all-encompassing Livable Frederick plan for the county where property owners would likely have very little control in how they can maintain their property along the river.
While the time for public comment is closed, residents can still urge county council members to approve the revised 2018 Monocacy River Plan. A plan 2 years in the making that includes all stakeholders to river management along the Monocacy River. Property rights are a core American principle all citizens place great value upon. It is hoped the current county council also deems upholding property rights is in the best interest of Frederick County.