A new non-profit group called the Local Food Hub is now connecting small-scale farmers with larger-scale purchasers, who often buy in bulk from industrial farms for their one-stop-shop convenience. To connect large businesses with family farm producers, the Local Food Hub and many similar groups around the country are aggregating the produce of numerous small farmers to sell in bulk. This creates a much more efficient connection between local farmers and establishments like schools, hospitals, and jails. Read more…
NY Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof recalls the character and soul of the nutty, family farm where he grew up. He discusses the lack of soul in today’s modern industrial agriculture, which continues to replace family farms. Although more efficiently run, Kristof says these industrial farms are producing lower quality produce with more pathogens. Read more…
Dear Honorable Commissioners,
I live in Frederick County on Sugarloaf Mountain Road near the site of the proposed Mega-Church. I cannot understand why Frederick Co. would want to site a Mega-Church here. In the past, Frederick County has done much to preserve this west side of 270 near Urbana to kept the area zoned agricultural. I understood that this acreage was rezoned to be a cemetery. I welcomed this idea of a cemetery here and was looking forward to the quiet neighbors that would not pollute our environment, crowd our schools or tie up our roads. The proposal to build a Mega-Church, instead of a cemetery, near Sugarloaf Mountain must be stopped. It’s presence would destroy the integrity of the region in this pristine area which includes the an Agricultural Preserve and the Stronghold Park itself.
· The increased impervious surface from such a large parking lot so close to Little Bennett Creek (once know as a pristine trout stream) would pollute the Creek and eventually pollute the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay is a Maryland State treasure that must be protected.
· The huge septic system could (or would) leak into our aquifer and pollute our only source of drinking water.
· Route 270 is currently in a state of gridlock much of the time. The increased traffic would only increase the length and number of traffic jams that always occur near Exit 22. Currently most traffic reports mention the traffic jams at the “270 weigh stations” – only a short distance away. Frederick County residents don’t want to be stuck in any additional traffic jams. Shouldn’t this Mega-Church be located closed to its parishioners?
· Any 85’ structure would damage many pristine views of Sugarloaf Mountain.
· The Light Pollution would reduce the visibility of the night sky that the residents of this rural area treasure.
· As tax exempt organization, Global Mission Church will add $0.00 in tax revenues to either Montgomery or Frederick counties to offset costs for services which will be demanded by property users.
It would vastly reduce the quality of life of those of us who already live there and reduce our land value. It is an inappropriate use of this land.
Please vote against it.
Dear Planning Commissioner,
I am writing to ask you for a no=vote on the Global Mission Church proposal before you.
As a resident of the Agricultural Reserve in Montgomery County, I have a real appreciation for wise land use planning. We enjoy the benefits of living in a pastoral, agricultural landscape, which is possible because our county leaders decided 28 years ago to concentrate new urban and commercial development near existing transit corridors.
Daily we see the benefits of combining land use and transportation planning in Montgomery County. There are wonderful new developments near the Metro, which allow residents throughout the county to enjoy biking, hiking, and apple-picking along the rustic roads that wind through the Agricultural Reserve.
I frequently hike Sugarloaf Mountain with groups of people from the city, who remark on the beauty of the patchwork fields and forested areas, that are in view from the trails winding around Sugarloaf. I tell them that this is a result of gifted county planners who have worked to preserve this refuge for future generations.
I realize that you have a desire to accommodate new development in Frederick County. Why not follow the land use plan that has protected our Agricultural Reserve in Montgomery County?
-This would allow the large 138,000 sq. ft. facility to be located near already developed transportation corridors.
-This would protect the watershed from the negative impact of a large multi-building facility, & its impervious surface.
-This would direct the increased traffic flowing from the religious facility to existing infrastructure that can accommodate it.
-This would allow Frederick County to provide the spiritual benefits to their residents, without damaging the surrounding Sugarloaf Mountain countryside.
Sugarloaf is a National Natural Historic site. Please don’t destroy the surrounding agricultural area with this massive development.
Thank You for your attention,
A National View of Agricultural Easement Programs, published by the American Farmland Association.
Farm Viability in DeKalb and Other Urbanizing Counties, published by American Farmland Trust.