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5 Key Takeaways from the November 7th Council Meeting

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Mount Airy, MD

Council unanimously recommends that the Beck Development goes back to the Charette phase.

Quite simply, the Council did what was right and what the Town Residents wanted. Going back to the charrette process allows Residents’ input, and is supposed to include conversation, root out problems, and debate and find solutions. We got what we wanted, so please plan to be involved in the Charette process.

At least some of the Councilmembers are listening – Pre-screening Review Proposed for new Developments.

During the Beck development discussion, Councilman Domotor introduced the idea of a Pre-screening Review for new developments that would include water data and be EARLY in the pre-concept phase of the development process. CAMO has been calling for a mechanism like this and we strongly endorse this idea. While all of the Councilmembers spoke at least somewhat favorably of this idea, Councilwoman Reed expressed concern and questioned whether there would be legal repercussions if the Development process is changed. Our understanding is that as long as regulations/rules/processes are not unconstitutional or against state law, a municipal government has the right to make any changes as it sees fit. The Town Council simply has to have the political will to do so.

A new police station is a priority all of a sudden and could quickly become another hot button issue.

The Council began the discussion of finding a permanent home for the Mount Airy Police. By the descriptions of their current temporary facility, it is clear they need a real police station to operate from. The biggest question, before we figure out where, is how to pay for it (more on this below). Councilwoman Reed stoked fears of raising taxes, while obviously knowing that a proposed Police Station is in the new Beck Pre-concept plan. The Beck Developer may be dangling another carrot (in addition to connecting Center Street, which is not guaranteed).

We were given a preview of the bureaucratic mess we’ll have if the Mayor is removed as CFO.

The discussion on how to pay for the Police Station gave us a live action preview of what stripping the Mayor of his financial powers would look like. Instead of the Chief Executive leading us through and finding the right solution, it would fall to 5 individuals with 5 different ideas and sometimes 5 different agendas. Thank you Councilman Munder for pointing this out. Charter Amendment 2022-2 must be voted down right away. Stop wasting time and resources!

New Ordinances and Ordinance changes are delaying the 2023 Master Plan… which is now the 2024 Master Plan.

Councilman Domotor asked the Town Administrator David Warrington about the latest report indicating that the Master Plan would most likely be completed and approved in 2024. When asked if this was the original schedule, Planning Commission Chairperson Roxanne Hemphill spoke up from the audience, “No.”. And then, “Wanna know why?”. Councilwoman Galletti indicated, “Yes.” Commissioner Hemphill candidly said, “Too many ordinances that have come in that we’ve had to work on. Ordinances and text amendments and we can’t move forward until we get all of those things figured out. And then we have to review our portion of the code book because there are… very serious inconsistencies in our code book." Commissioner Hemphill publicly illustrated what we all know: Even if we wanted these gargantuan development projects, we’re simply not ready for them.

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