Updated: Dec 12, 2022
People who call Mount Airy home have one thing in common. Whether living within the Town limits, or in the greater 21771 zip code, and whether they grew up here, or moved here
recently – they all love the “small town charm” and sense of open space.
Now, the very essence of small-town living is being threatened by over-development. The Town Council and Planning Commission are in various stages of review for multiple developments which would forever change the face of Mount Airy and the surrounding area, and start making it look more like Rockville. When looking at the “pre concept” plans developers have submitted, the question to ask yourself is, “Does this look like the Mount Airy you know and love? Or does this look like something that should be built in Urbana, Laurel, or Gaithersburg?” The Citizens Against Mount Airy Overdevelopment (CAMO) believes any proposed developments should be fully scrutinized and should include meaningful input from the public to assess the impact on, and benefit to, the entire community.
CAMO is a volunteer group of community members that have been actively engaged in organizing and speaking out against the new developments since they became aware earlier in 2022. Since that time, CAMO’s private Facebook Group page has grown to nearly 1400 members, and the new website www.keepmountairysmall.com was launched in November 2022.
As an organization, CAMO envisions Mount Airy as a thriving community that values open space and preservation of small-town charm. Working towards this vision, CAMO informs, educates, and mobilizes citizens to work collaboratively and promote transparency in Mount Airy government, and activities related to growth and development.
CAMO members have been researching the Town’s zoning codes, scouring town council
meeting minutes, reviewing town charter and other town government documents. To promote transparency in government, they have reviewed documents obtained by Public Information Act requests for notes and minutes from closed door meetings between Town Council and developers, as well as other relevant information related to the functioning of the Town Council. They have received pro-bono consultation from engineers, hydrogeologists and other knowledgeable professionals who share the concern about protecting the Mount Airy small-town charm and pushing back on these developments.
Based on this work, CAMO has developed position statements on specific issues of concern.
As a result of their research and observations, the group has concluded that land developers
and their representatives, have too much influence over the Town Council and Planning Commission. Developers have made disingenuous and unrealistic promises with no independent review of their pre-concept plans, and little questioning by town leadership.
Developers, and their representatives, have also meddled in the town government process by suggesting specific language on zoning and codes to push the approval of their developments. Developers and large landowners stand to make a tremendous profit on these projects, but have little regard to how they would forever change the face of the town.
Members of Citizens Against Mount Airy Overdevelopment, and others sympathetic to their
cause, have been attending Town Council and Planning Commission meetings to make their
concerns known and have been sending e-mails to express their concerns to the Town Council members. This is making a difference. If you would like to learn more, or get involved in helping save Mount Airy’s small town charm from over-development, subscribe to our website, see our Support Us page, and consider joining our Facebook group.
Together, we can help keep Mount Airy’s small town charm!