1. Thank You! Donations and Elections
MANY THANKS to those of you who made end-of-year donations to the Sugarloaf Alliance; we are working to support preservation in the greater Sugarloaf Mountain area. Stemming from that goal, we also are working to improve transparency in Frederick County government, and we hope these efforts will benefit all Frederick County citizens now and in the future. The donate button at our website is still live and lonely in the new year; stop by anytime!
At the end of 2022, the Sugarloaf Alliance held an election for one-year positions as Officers on the Board of Directors. Thanks for voting; all serving Officers were re-elected. Sugarloaf Alliance Officers are: Steve Black, President; Sue Trainor, Vice President; Johanna Springston, Secretary; and Nick Carrera, Treasurer.
2. SUGARLOAF PLAN UPDATE:
Planning Commission Listening Session 1/18
On Wednesday, January 18, beginning at 6:30pm, the Frederick County Planning Commission (FCPC) will hold a special meeting to begin its "new phase of work on the Overlay.” Back in November, the County Council passed an amended Sugarloaf Plan, but they remanded the Overlay to the Planning Commission. The 1/18 meeting begins the new public phase of consideration.
The “Overlay" is the legislation that would add “teeth” to the advisory Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan. Click here to read the Plan, the Overlay text and more.
According to information sent by Kimberly Golden Brandt (Livable Frederick Director in the Planning Office), the 1/18 meeting will begin in the first floor hearing room at Winchester Hall with a brief presentation of the Overlay. The meeting will then be adjourned and participants will break into small groups for discussion. Sugarloaf Alliance is asking for more details about the small group process.
This appears to be an “everybody needs to show up” moment. The development interests certainly will. Sugarloaf Alliance is preparing strategies and support documents for those of us speaking for preservation. Please let us know if you plan to attend; you can reply to this newsletter.
Participants are asked to register with the county so that they can assure adequate meeting space, although they say they will accommodate anyone who shows up and wishes to participate. Here’s the link to register.
3. Speak Your Mind Opportunities: 1/9 and 1/10
Monday, January 9: As published in the Frederick News-Post, County Executive Fitzwater will hold a discussion for District 1 budget issues on January 9 at 6:00 p.m. at the Brunswick Town Hall (1 W Potomac St, Brunswick, MD). District 1 stands to be directly impacted by the Sugarloaf Plan that will be re-addressed later this month by the Planning Commission, and the final shape of the Plan will impact the budget for District 1and the county. Consequently, Sugarloaf Plan issues will likely be raised on January 9, in discussing the coming budget for District 1. Jerry Donald, Council Member representing District 1, also is expected to attend.
4. County Council Considers Discontinuing Call-In Comments
The Frederick News-Post (FNP) reported on 12/20 that the County Council considered a proposal to discontinue all call-in comments, but postponed a decision until a later date (tbd). Continuing live call-in comments but discontinuing recorded voicemail comments also was discussed.
According to the FNP article, council members in support of keeping the option pointed out that “(b)eing able to call to give comments is especially important for people who cannot make it to the 5:30 p.m. meetings, whether because of a lack of transportation or child care, a disability, a language barrier or something else.
“'We generally have a responsibility to encourage as much public participation in all the ways that we can to meet the folks where they’re at,’ said Councilman Steve McKay, a Republican who represents District 2.
"Councilman Jerry Donald, who was the most outspoken for ending public comments by phone, said people who can’t attend meetings should send their comments by email or call their council member if they have a question or concern."
The Council introduced the call-in option as a Covid accommodation. Many of you used the option this past year to express your point of view about Sugarloaf Plan issues. If you’d like to share your thoughts about options to offer comments by calling into Council meetings or by calling and leaving comments in a recorded message for replay during the meeting, here’s how to reach the Council Members:
Email or call Council Members
Steve McKay (District 2), SMcKay@frederickcountymd.gov, 301-600-1034
Mason Carter (District 5) email@example.com, 301-600-1034
Jerry Donald* (District 1), JDonald@FrederickCountyMD.gov, 301-600-2336
Kavonte Duckett, Vice President (District 4), firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-600-2336
M.C. Keegan-Ayer (District 3), MCKeegan-Ayer@FrederickCountyMD.gov, 301-600-1034
Brad Young, President (At Large), email@example.com, 301-600-2336
Renee Knapp (at Large), firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-600-2336
*The Sugarloaf Mountain Plan and Overlay area is in District 1 represented by Jerry Donald.