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Sugarloaf Alliance joins the Planning Commission in strongly urging the County Council to approve the Sugarloaf Plan’s Rural Heritage Overlay Zoning District.


The Sugarloaf Plan, approved by the County Council in October 2022, is a preservation plan, not a development plan.


The Sugarloaf Plan boundary, approved by the Council and twice by the Planning Commission, protects the areas from development on the west side of I270 between the parks, Sugarloaf Mountain and Monocacy National Battlefield.


The Sugarloaf Rural Heritage Overlay Zoning District is essential:

- to provide regulatory authority and protection for the waterways, woodlands, soil and other natural resources in the Sugarloaf Plan area;

- to accomplish the urgent actions advised by Frederick County’s Sustainability Commission and Climate Emergency Mobilization Work Group for protection of the County’s water supplies, air quality, farmlands, and forests; and

- to support and fulfill the preservation goals of the Livable Frederick Master Plan which proposes an overlay zoning district to protect the vulnerable Sugarloaf area from development.


Frederick County has long designated the area west of I-270 for agriculture and open space.


The Livable Frederick Master Plan emphasizes protection of three major green infrastructure areas – Sugarloaf, Catoctin Mountains and South Mountain – and three stream valleys – Monocacy, Catoctin Creek and Potomac River.

The boundary of the Sugarloaf Plan and the Overlay Zoning District provides protection from development for half of these areas.  


The Urbana Community Growth Area, as noted by the Planning Commission, is and has long been only on the east side of I-270 and the I-270 corridor is between I-270 and MD-355.


Concentration of development where the County has focused infrastructure – water and sewer, roads and schools - on the east side of I-270 is fiscally responsible.  


Consideration of employment, industrial including data centers, or residential development on the west side of I-270 is premature, in light of limited and reduced State funding for I-270 and Route 15 improvements.


The Council will have future opportunities to assess the land use effects of climate change, work patterns, fiscal issues and population shifts and adjust the County’s area plans and zoning ordinance as may be required.


Sugarloaf Alliance joins the Planning Commission in strongly urging the County Council to approve the Sugarloaf Plan’s Rural Heritage Overlay Zoning District to protect this essential green infrastructure area from land uses that will adversely impact the area’s natural resources and the County’s sustainability.


Here’s what the Planning Commission had to say this past October when they voted to approve the Overlay District (for the second time) and send it back to the Council:


- Commissioner White: "We listened to an awful lot of people and a lot of thoughts on all sides and still came to the same kind of conclusions…. This was considered almost from scratch….”


- Commissioner Hicks: “I want to make it clear that, from my perspective and I believe the Planning Commission’s perspective, it was indeed Stronghold who opted out of this process and decided to discontinue the dialog that we wished to have with them.”


- Commissioner Rensberger: “I think we also uncovered… that there was bad information - disinformation - out there about the Plan.” (Regarding the portable sawmill) - “Someone scared him; I don’t know who." (Regarding the auto repair shop) - "Somebody, peddling misinformation, put fear in him.” 


- Commissioner White, adding to the “approve” motion: “Do pass!”


- Commissioner Rensberger: “We mean it!”

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