Citizens and citizen groups vs Frederick County Board of Commissioners (November 2011)
FRIENDS OF FREDERICK COUNTY V THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (NOVEMBER 15, 2011)
Friends of Frederick County, Audubon Society of Central Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and 29 individual Frederick County residents filed a lawsuit in the Frederick County Circuit Court challenging the validity of the County’s rezoning efforts to grant selected properties the right to greater development. The complaint (filed November 15, 2011) charges such zoning action is unlawful. It will harm the environment, waste taxpayer funds and if implemented, will result in higher taxes to pay the cost of new schools, roads, and other facilities needed for the additional development.
The efforts by the Board of County Commissioners to amend the 2010 Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map are unlawful for three reasons:
- First, the County has no authority to rezone for the purpose of increasing the value of selected properties.
- Second, the zoning of individual properties requires an adjudicatory hearing with right of cross-examination to establish that there has been a mistake in the original zoning, or a change in the character of the neighborhood. These requirements are not met.
- Third, although labeled “Comprehensive” zoning, the legal requirements for comprehensive zoning are not met, including studies as to the impact of greater development on the environment and public facilities.
Frederick County responded to FoFC’s complaint by moving to dismiss on the grounds that the court has no authority to interfere with the legislative process. On June 28, 2012 the motion of the county to dismiss our case was granted. The dismissal was without prejudice to our refiling after the BOCC makes their final rezoning decisions. The court found that because the matter was still in progress the facts were uncertain as to what was being done during this process and final decisions pending. Therefore the matter was too speculative a matter for declaratory judgment at this time.