Frederick County Board of Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young says he does not regret labeling residents who oppose plans to build 3,220 homes in southern Frederick County “chronic whiners,” who spew lies, complain and don’t want new people moving into the county.
Young (R) said Tuesday that he needed to write the opinion piece that appeared in The Gazette on March 14, as well as in other media, to end the “scare tactics” emanating from the “overly agitated number of refugees from Montgomery County and other areas” who want to shut the door on others.
Young said he has no regrets about the piece because he needed to state the fact that growth in Frederick County is not out of control.
“I feel very comfortable with what I wrote,” he said. “I’ve only heard positive things. This piece wasn’t targeted at anyone in particular. It was targeted at a broad spectrum of people that continue to say ‘Growth is out of control,’ when they don’t have the data or facts.”
Young said the letter also was a chance to defend himself from the verbal attacks launched at him from many of those same residents.
“Certain groups have run boycotts against my business, and they attack me. They attack my family,” Young said.
He is the co-owner of the Yellow Cab company in Frederick.
Young, who is running for governor in 2014, said he stands by his comments in the letter such as “... it’s looking more and more like the same old scare tactics employed by rabid anti-growth people just spewing the same tired NIMBY arguments: ‘I’m here, in paradise, and I don’t want them to let you in.’”
Young may be comfortable with what he wrote, but some Monrovia residents were offended.
“I am offended at being called a whiner, complainer and refugee, because I stand for something I believe in,” Amy Reyes of Monrovia said in an email.
“Irresponsible growth, that’s what this whole argument is about. I did not or never would I state that no one has a right to move here or live here. That would not only be rude but bold, considering I moved here in 2011 from Virginia.”
Reyes is the co-founder of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, or RALE, a group recently formed to fight the development plans.
The development plans in the area include:
• The Monrovia Town Center on 457 acres of farmland on the east side of Ed McClain Road and west and east of Green Valley Road and Md. 75 in Monrovia. The development will include 1,510 homes, 280,000 square feet of commercial space, 4 acres for a new fire station, a 25-acre park and 51 acres for a new high school.
• The Landsdale Planned Unit Development, on the west side of McClain Road, north of Md. 80 in Monrovia, will include 1,100 homes on 396 acres. A 13-site will be set aside for a new elementary school.
• In Urbana, another 610 homes are slated for construction on 181 acres on the southwest side of Md. 355 adjacent to the Urbana Community Park on the western edge of the community. The development also will include 2 million square feet of business space.
• Additional development in Urbana includes 73,000 square feet of commercial space, 38,000 square feet of restaurant space, 35,000 square feet of retail and 2,110,000 square feet of office space.
Reyes said Young’s letter fails to address school overcrowding from the planned development.
“So hopefully, the next time Blaine Young wants to rebut or comment, I hope he sticks with the questions that need to be answered,” she said. “Not name-calling and assumptions on people or their feelings.”
However, Young did address current capacity issues for all county schools in his piece.
“Now, let’s look at the facts concerning the school system and the rate of growth of the student population,” he wrote. “How many new students joined our children in the entire public school system last year? Forty. That’s right, forty more students in the school system this year than last, spread out over 62 schools.
“An average of less than one new kid per school. And this in a school system that has systemwide capacity at every level (elementary, middle, high) and is at less than 90 percent capacity overall. And this is not just a one year anomaly — it is a trend.”
Vicki Senires, a resident of Monrovia for 20 years, said Young sounded like a “bully” in the piece.
“... Has no one else noticed that the very head of our [board of commissioners], Mr. Blaine Young, is himself his biggest fan?” Senires asked in an email. “... He is very quick to dismiss anyone who disagrees with him. In his open article he sounds like the bully that he is becoming to be known as in the county.”