One of the first lessons a student is taught before they can become a REALTOR® is the definition of "Bundle of Rights". When purchasing real estate you receive the right of possession, control, exclusion, enjoyment/profit, and disposition.
Property rights are protected by the constitution but are also subject to statutory codes determined by individual States. The land use decision and planning process entails a delicate balancing of interests. The decision makers need to consider significant impacts and alternative mitigation measures.
Currently, the Frederick County Planning Commission draft of the Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan is out of step with and unrepresentative of the Livable Frederick Master Plan. The local government planners have seemly abandoned the notion of balance and placed its thumb heavily on the scales in favor of their objectives while giving short shrift and little credence to the regard of the property owners in maintaining their own property interests.
A major regulatory overreach in the draft plan proposes to rezone parts of 125 parcels from Agriculture to Resource Conservation which will harm the use and values of the affected properties. It is also shocking that one of the significant justifications for this zoning change is Environmental Significant Areas, (ESA), which are defined by (MDE) Maryland Department of the Environment with words, such as, imprecise, generalized, and hypothetical. On the Frederick County Government website, it states in the Ecological Environment report pg. 5-2 " ESA .... are not to be used in any type of regulatory means either by the Counties or the State."
MDE has also stated ESA maps are not to be published to the public and are only available upon request.
The plan also proposes a restrictive overlay on nearly 20,000 acres and a majority of the properties resembling a homeowners association with unnecessary stringent regulations. This would have a devastating impact on many residents, farmers, and longtime Frederick County establishments, such as:
Stronghold Inc., the storied non-profit owner that has preserved Sugarloaf Mountain, Lily Pons Water Gardens, and The Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm. The overlay removes all grandfathered uses and the stringent restrictions will affect how these property owners and establishments can operate.
The planners and individuals in favor of the proposed stringent regulations and changes have blurred the lines and falsely claim that the current layers of regulations, agriculture, and resource conservation zoning in place will not preserve the area. When in fact this area is the least developed region in Frederick County and the last development built happened in the 1970s. This supports the fact the current zoning and layers of regulations are working to preserve the area.
Those of us who study history are aware that one of Karl Marx's steps on his path to utopia was the abolition of private property. His path included free education; centralized, and controlled mass communications; and a move to put businesses in the hands of the State for the good of society.
Contrast that to the philosophy of one of the founding Fathers of the United States, James Madison: It "is not a just government .... where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest."
Bit by bit our property rights are being eroded via arbitrary seizure for the good of society.
If you own property in Frederick County NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP before the STLMP sets a precedent for other area plans that will becoming to your neighborhood soon!