ROLE of REGULATORY AGENCIES? OBLIGATION TO ACCOMMODATE CITIZEN and BUSINESS REQUESTS?  ALREADY in PLACE, NEED GUIDANCE, MORE FOCUS?

I congratulate and thank people willing to serve on local boards and commissions.  The “sense of place” that we celebrate in Frederick is because of decades of commitment by these volunteers.  We don’t win accolades like Best Place to Live without work.  So, while I may not always agree with a decision, I won’t criticize their overall work.  Often, the boards and commissions take the heat for errors or oversights by the elected officials who may have missed something or are grateful to push the “hot potatoes” back to the volunteers.

I propose an annual conference of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen with all regulatory boards plus my new Code Enforcement Board and the Neighborhood Advisory Councils.  The purpose of these conferences is to promote better communication, have the boards tell the elected officials what obstacles exist and recommend legislative updates that will ease their work. 

A couple of current headlines could have been avoided if the elected officials had acted differently: 1) Downtown Hotel / Birely Tannery Demolition – If the Mayor had worked with all interested parties to get together from the beginning, obstacles could have been avoided and a more collaborative process would have eased the process.  2) Demolition on Magnolia Avenue – Some saw this coming and don’t see any legislative protection.  It is possible for the Mayor to sign an Executive Order placing a hold on any residential demolitions until the Board of Aldermen review existing regulations on residential demolitions. A possible change could include no demolitions until the Planning Commission approves the new house.