This post will finish out the commentary on the OpEd banter recently printed in the Frederick News Post.
The commentary discusses the newly adopted County Comprehensive Plan and the impact that governmental actions (or inaction) has on the value of land and commercial real estate.
The focus in Part 2 of this series was directed at how the demonization process is starting up again on the development community as we get closer to the November election for a new Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). Clearly Janice Wiles and Jack Lynch are hoping to garner support to re-energize the Forces of N.I.M.B.Y. (Not In My Back Yard). It will be interesting on how well that sells this go round, as the current plan is so full of restrictions and hurdles, it really does not even allow our growth to meet the BOCC’s own projections. The math is very clear on this, but something for another post.
I also gave impressions of how the business community has reached a point where many members just don’t feel they can trust our BOCC to be consistent with follow through on policies and commitments … While some of this is of course is not their fault as edicts do come from higher powers at the state level, the core problem lies with our BOCC. And let”s be clear, this is really a problem at the level of our elected officials, as a large majority of our county staff are truly dedicated people who want to do the right thing by our community; it”s just that they are lead by a pretty dysfunctional body.
And this is where local real estate attorney Krista McGowan truly Hit it Out of the Park last Saturday (), when she slammed back a rebuttal to Ms. Wiles’ totally false allegations about Land Stewarts, the land developers of the least favorite step child of a generation of County Commissioner Board’s … that being Lake Linganore. Among other things Wiles stated that Land Stewards “honored none of their commitments” made to Frederick County to fund school improvements. I will not even try to paraphrase Ms. McGowan’s article, as it is just too well done and she tells it like it really happened. Please read it.
Because the BOCC could not come to agreement among themselves on what to do with the Land Stewarts’ situation, in the end the developer was forced to give the property back to the bank … mostly due to the tremendous loss of value of the real estate that the BOCC’s lack of action created.
While I can offer up several other examples of similar situations within the County, this is so classic that anyone can see how a government’s lack of consistency and unwillingness to stand by commitments made by them or their predecessors can create a very heavy climate of distrust. Unless turned around, this could become a cancer on the viability of our County.
Footnote: I have been told by certain powers that the Frederick News Post that there is a good possibility an article I submitted may show up sometime this weekend in the paper. While it focuses on a unique solution to the city/county budget crisis’s, if you dig deeper with it, you will see that it also could offer a terrific way to deal with our governments’ credibility problem. I”m interested in knowing your thoughts.
Have a nice weekend!
The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland.