Tense scene as Mt. Airy Town Council votes to punt on Greentree development project pending design changes
Council responded to public's voice
On Monday evening in a crowded chamber thick with tension and ripe for protest, Mt. Airy’s Town Council surprised many by voting against advancing the pre-concept plan for the controversial high-density Greentree development project.
Now, the responsible developers will presumably be required to edit their proposal in accordance with the feedback provided by the Council members and citizens who spoke with vigor at the meeting during public comment.
Of the roughly ten citizens who spoke, all but one or two were vehemently opposed to the plans as currently constructed, describing how the proposed neighborhood of townhomes mixed with a commercial application or two would be inharmonious with Mt. Airy’s small town feel and would worsen already burdensome traffic problems.
One man who commented cited the “enormous backlash” the project and others like it have drawn, and warned the Council members that if they do vote for it there will be many who are motivated to vote them out of office come the next election, which earned applause and hoots both in the room and out from the hallway.
One woman came prepared with numbers, quantifying for the Council the municipal challenges the development would create in terms of water and sewage and fields for play.
**Only one man spoke in favor of the project, explaining how the plan as it was being presented had already been modified in an effort to compromise with the public, featuring a 40% decrease in the number of units such that now there will be a more reasonable four per acre.**
After public comment, Councilman Domotor spoke and requested that the developers remove a chunk of the townhomes from the design and otherwise find a way to work in more single family homes off Main Street and open space more generally.
Then Councilman Munder lectured at length to say in summary that the project as it is now complies with all the applicable codified ordinances and purpose statements, basically revealing that he would vote yay as he believes it necessary to keep the town viable from a future population standpoint.
Council President Poirier jumped in, recommending a tweak here and there, advocating for changes that were less significant when compared to Domotor, probably in the hopes that those smaller changes wouldn’t require the plans to go back through a workshop and public involvement process.
Councilwoman Reed underscored how she thought the process had already been followed, a statement seemingly indicating a desire to move forward.
Eventually, Poirier called for a vote and, surprisingly, all but Munder voted not to move forward with the plan.
Afterwards I spoke with protest organizer Nicole Moon, and she was encouraged by the outcome, seeing it as evidence that the Council members had heard the public’s voice and frankly were inclined to accommodate it in an effort to retain their posts.
**Later this man was identified as being a land surveyor and civil engineer who represents the developer for the project, meaning, not a single individual spoke in favor of the Greentree development project plan during the meeting
Maryland Muckraker is a completely independent conservative blog covering local issues by me, Ethan Reese. After spending nearly a decade in corporate Baltimore in marketing technology, figured I’d have a go at writing. Since then I’ve contributed articles to FOX’s OutKick, PJ Media, and Rare Politics, as well as being named a Writing Fellow with the America’s Future Foundation.