On November 17th, the Frederick Planning Commission voted to cease the Planning Commission’s involvement with the Frederick County’s County Commissioners plan to review the 2010 Master Plan and to support the existing 2010 Plan without changes. For more information please see the two news articles below.
Frederick News Post Coverage: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display_Comments.htm?section=a1&storyID=128474#postComments
At the January, 2010 meeting of the Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals, they voted to overturn the Planning Commissions denial, citing that the Health Department violated the church’s due process. The Planning Commission appealed this decision and in March, 2011 the court upheld the decision made by the appeals board, which will allow the church to go before the Planning Commission again. SCA will let our members know when there is a date for the new hearing before the Frederick Planning Commission.
Please click here to read the article in the Gazette.
S.C.A.’s Position Statement
SCA opposes the construction of the Global Mission Church based on its size and subsequent environmental impact, increased traffic congestion, and further development of agricultural land.
S.C.A. learned in May 2009 that the Global Mission Church planned to construct a 138,025 sq. foot mega church on Frederick County agricultural land bordering the Agriculture Reserve near Interstate 270. Access to the church would be from Route 109 in Montgomery County and require a bridge across endangered Little Bennett Creek. S.C.A. and other organizations hastily rallied against the planned church because it was so out of scale with other rural churches, it threatened the environment in a sensitive area of the county and it opened the door to other large scale developments on agriculture land.
S.C.A. and others met with Executive Isaiah Leggett who originally supported the church to discover why we had not been notified about the church plans. Since the church was being built in Frederick County the approvals for the road and bridge in Montgomery County were essentially automatic decision by staff members without hearings or opportunities for opposing actions.
S.C.A. and other organizations hosted a strategy session at Stronghold Mansion on Sugarloaf Mountain on September 17 to outline plans to oppose the church. We packed the hearing room on October 14 before the Frederick County Planning Board and provided vital testimony against the construction of the large facilities on land reserved for agriculture. The Planning Board denied the application but the Global Mission Church appealed the decision. After another long day of testimony the Frederick County Appeals Board voted to uphold the appeal and sent the matter back to the Planning Board for further review. The Frederick County Attorney sued the Appeals Board to rescind their action and the matter is still to be determined by the courts. S.C.A. continues to monitor the situation and is prepared to regenerate public and legal opposition if the construction of the mega church is allowed to move forward.
Summary of Action
- S.C.A. learned plans were well underway to build 138,027 church complex on Frederick County agriculture lands with access to scenic route 109 in the Agriculture Reserve of Montgomery County
- July 8, 2009 organized testimony against the church before the Frederick County Planning Board. Due to number of attendees the meeting was postponed until July 15
- July 15, 2009 Planning Board heard long day of testimony and postponed decision for three months to give all sides opportunity to build their cases.
- September 17, 2009 S.C.A. and other organizations sponsored a strategy session at Stronghold Mansion on Sugarloaf Mountain that was well attended by residents from Frederick and Montgomery County
- S.C.A. officials met with Global Mission Church leaders on two occasions with an unsuccessful offer to help find another site for their large facility.
- January 8, 2010 Frederick County Board of Appeals held another all day and most of the evening hearing to determine if the Global Mission Church appeal should be upheld with the result that the matter was returned to the Planning Board.
- Office of Frederick County Attorney filed a suit to have the Appeal Board decision rescinded.
- The Global Mission Church petition is now a matter for the courts to determine and S.C.A. is keeping a watchful eye on each development
- S.C.A. has alerted appropriate Maryland State officials to step in if approval is granted to construct the mega church.
- S.C.A. joined others to prevent the rezoning of two parcels of land connected with the G.M.C. site that would take away existing environmental protection.