Frederick Commercial Sales Jump 66% during 1st Quarter

The sale of Overlook Manor Apartments and Lafarge North America’s quarry holdings boost 1st quarter commercial real estate sales.

Frederick’s commercial real estate market came out of the gate in 2014 with a strong first quarter.  On a dollar volume basis, commercial real estate sales for the first quarter of 2014 increased over 65% from the same time period of 2013.  The total number of transactions, which is a better measure of overall activity in the market, continues to increase at a slow but steady pace.  The total number of commercial real estate sales transactions increased about 10% over the first quarter of 2013.

There were two large transactions–the sale of Overlook Manor Apartments ($23, 050,000) and Lafarge North America‘s quarry operations ($17,205,000)–that contributed to the large dollar volume increase during the quarter.  Watch for an upcoming MacRo Report post on the top five deals of Q1 2014 to learn more.

Following are some statistics tracking the first quarter performance of Frederick’s commercial real estate market for the past several years.  Given that the number of quarterly transactions occur in the dozens rather than the hundreds, sales per square foot for each different market segment have a pretty wide range between high and low prices.  This small sample size renders a price per square foot average statistically meaningless, so we are reporting median prices per square foot instead.

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo.

MacRo Assists Tenant in Leasing Office/Warehouse Space on Bailes Lane

MacRo is pleased to announce the lease of 19,500 SF office/warehouse space at 295 Bailes Lane, Unit C, Frederick.

This unit is a combination of 1,500 SF of office space and 18,000 SF of high-bay warehouse space, which includes 3 docks and 2 drive-ins.

The tenant, Showtime Sound, is expanding from its current facility in Frederick.  Showtime Sound is a full service event production company providing audio, lighting, video and staging for any size event or venue.

Rocky Mackintosh represented the tenant in this transaction.  Tony Checchia of Frederick Land Company represented the landlord.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or rocky@macroltd.com.

What is this thing they call a Comprehensive Land Use Plan?

In the world of real estate, it is not “what you see is what you get!”

Very often in my meetings with prospective land buyers and property owners, I find that many tend to make very broad assumptions about the possible future uses and development potential a tract of vacant land may have.

This also goes for neighboring property owners who discover (often after the fact) that the vast amount of pristine open space they have been enjoying from their kitchen window for the last several years is on the verge of receiving final approval for a substantial mixed use land development project.

I often sit in public hearings (as I did just last night) and hear local residents come out in protest of a site plan that has been proposed. In many cases I feel bad for those speakers as some claim that they were not aware that a nearby property could be developed. 

Privately owned land that has laid vacant for years may have been master planned for development for years. But for many that vacant period can lead some to believe they are entitled to see that property remain the same for as long as they live there.

In all of these cases it comes down that ancient Latin phrase Caveat Emptor.  Very familiar to lawyers, real estate professionals and others engaged in the business of transferring property.  In English it translates to Let the Buyer Beware.  

“Beware of what?” some may ask. 

The “What” is something most residential Realtors are not familiar with, as well as a surprising number of commercial real estate brokers, if they are not engaged in the land use arena of real estate development. 

It is known as the comprehensive land use plan, which is the foundation from which all land use decisions are based upon at a local level in Frederick County, Maryland. 

Every property owner and would-be resident of a community should understand the purpose of the county’s comprehensive plan and the impact it may have on nearby property in their community … and all real estate agents/brokers who sell and/or lease any type of real estate should make it part of a disclosure package given to their customer and clients.

Not unlike a majority of jurisdictions throughout the nation, this document is supposed to be influenced and developed from several parties on a local level:  residents, county planners, nearby communities and municipalities … and of course, local elected officials.  But there is also a significant amount of direction that is driven by the State of Maryland Department of the Environment and its office of Planning which mandates that such a plan be developed in the first place.

It’s meant to be a twenty year road map for state and local governments to use to deal with the inevitable population growth in the region.  This includes the proper mix of housing, commercial development, traffic patterns, public utilities, schools, parks, police protection, etc. over that period.  Additionally in recent decades there has been a strong push to carve out and create corridors of open space, protect prime agricultural land and other areas targeted for land conservation. 

The state requires that this plan be updated periodically at a local level to keep up with changes in demographics, socioeconomic trends, the economy and other matters that may significantly influence the dynamics of a complex plan.

A comprehensive land use plan is what lays a foundation for where certain zoning designations are placed — what I’ll call the allowed “here and now” uses.  So a property can be zoned for an agriculture use, but “master planned” for a future residential mixed use development in the comprehensive plan.

As an area grows and maximizes the current zoned area, the “master plan” will provide good cause for a possible change in zoning to accommodate that growth in surrounding areas.

So it is important to understand that there is a very clear distinction between the long range outlook for a region provided by a comprehensive plan and the allowed “here and now” uses of a zoning designation.

Frederick County’s current comprehensive plan was adopted in the final year of the Jan Gardner administration of the Board of County Commissioners in 2010.

The state mandate at the time was for the local governments within the county plan for an increase of 36,000 new households by 2030.  How they got there was pretty much up to the county.

A significant component of such a gargantuan effort requires a collaborative planning effort among the county, its twelve municipalities and other jurisdictions such as Fort Detrick.

In Frederick County, due to the very polarizing and significant influences of the growth verses no-growth advocates (interestingly it is hard to find anyone who will openly state that they are a hard-line Growther or No-Growther), this process can and has become more of a political football which has often left out many key players.

So for one to think that politics have not driven a zigzagging course in recent years is just naïve.

For example many have forgotten the fact that there was minimal communication, and much less collaboration on the part of the Gardner Administration with these other jurisdictions, as they set forth to craft a plan that was completely unrealistic in being able to meet the 36,000 unit target.  It included the removal of future development land use designations from about 400 properties in the Comprehensive Plan.

At the time a very restrictive Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) was imposed that left many zoned properties locked in a development no-man’s land … not to mention the fact that the nation had just been introduced to one of the worst economic recessions in 70 years.  With all that said many did not take notice of the inadequacy of the 2010 plan.  

Once the change over to the Young administration took place, a different view was taken of the comprehensive plan.  The APFO was reformed to provide a “pay-go” provision for development projects and many of those properties that were down zoned were revisited and restored the zoning that was taken away just a few years earlier.

At the end of the day as the dust is settling on the last Board of County Commissioners in the Frederick County, there appear to be about 21,000 qualifiable future housing units* now in the development pipeline. 

With historical absorption rates (building permits issued per year) of between 1,000 and 2,000 units per year not expecting to change over the next 16 years, it is very realistic to expect that the county will still fall short of the state’s 36,000 housing unit target.

Some believe that the personal leadership styles of both Gardner and Young have burned bridges on both sides of the debate over growth in Frederick County … and now with both throwing their hats in the ring as candidates for this coming November’s race for the first ever County Executive position, we can all be assured that the topic of growth will still be on the table.

So I suggest a bit of Caveat Emptor to all Frederick County voters as this election season heats up!

The authors: Rocky Mackintosh is President of MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He also writes for TheTentacle.com.

* according to statistics supplied by Rodgers Consulting.

MacRo Brokers Sale of Residential Office Building and Commercial Lot

MacRo is pleased to announce the sale of 611 and 613 West Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland 21701 for $450,000.

The property included a 2.4 acre commercial lot with a 2,200 square foot residential office on the Golden Mile corridor.  The sale closed on April 1, 2014.

Rocky Mackintosh and Kathy Krach represented the seller in this transaction.  Tom Poss of  Long and Foster represented the buyer.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or rocky@macroltd.com.

MacRo’s Commercial Real Estate Field Guide

What does the legalization of marijuana have to do with a commercial real estate glossary?  Just ask the State of Colorado!

MacRo Commercial Real Estate Glossary

A glossary of terms seemed to make sense as a follow up to Property Virgins–Commercial Real Estate Version.  Familiarity with the lingo makes navigating a search for commercial property far more effective and a lot less hazardous, particularly in commercial leasing.

A good glossary should be a living document.  It’s fascinating to watch the English language morph in response to societal zeitgeist.

Take for example the swelling social pressure to legalize marijuana.   Pot, ganja, weed, toke, blunt–there are numerous slang terms for marijuana.  But I recently read a new one directly related to the cultural shift of legalizing pot:  trimmigrants.

The graphic to the left is a screenshot of a definition of the word on Urban Dictionary.

Quick, before you click on Urban Dictionary–teenagers write many of the definitions, so if you click on the link prepare to be extremely offended and/or mildly amused.

(Teens of course are fluent in slang, but since Al Gore handed them the internet they are practically reinventing the English language. Urban Dictionary has posted 7,500,000 new English slang words in just 15 years, receiving an average 2,000 new submissions every day.  Compare this to the 20-volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, which currently lists about 175,000 words.  Urban Dictionary is an etymologist’s dream.  And every parent’s friend, as it makes an EXCELLENT resource for decoding teen text messages.  Have fun dropping those terms around the house and ruining them forever for your teen.)

Fun fact:  since Colorado legalized marijuana use, premium warehouse spaces are leasing at as much as $1,000 per square foot!  For those of you who don’t shop regularly for warehouse space, that’s about $993 per square foot MORE than a warehouse in Frederick typically leases for.

But what does any of this have to do with a commercial real estate glossary?  Bear with me…

Every industry regardless of size has its own set of ever-morphing colloquialisms and acronyms, and commercial real estate is no different.  A new business owner seeking commercial space should know the difference between a NNN lease and a modified gross lease.  A gymnastics school or auto repair shop searching for new space needs a clear-span warehouse.

And a marijuana distribution facility needs…well I don’t know much about the warehouse spaces coveted by hemp harvesters…but if Maryland goes the way of Colorado, no doubt a commercial cannabis cottage industry will spring up overnight.  And with it, a whole new vocabulary weaving into Frederick’s CRE lexicon.

High bay, core factor, CAM, flex space, sandwich lease, sunk costs, TI–all of these terms and more are defined in MacRo’s Commercial Real Field Guide, handily downloadable here.

And rest assured…at MacRo, we won’t let the grass grow under our feet…the MacRo Field Guide will be frequently updated to reflect any tectonic cultural shifts that color the language of Frederick’s commercial real estate world.

‘Cause we got your back, bae.

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo, when she is not otherwise occupied trying to figure out what her teens are saying on multiple social media platforms.  

MacRo Bokers Sale of Multifamily Portfolio in Hagerstown, MD

MacRo is pleased to announce the sale of a multifamily portfolio in Hagerstown, Maryland.

This three building, multifamily portfolio consisted of 16 apartments with parking along with a detached 4-car garage; located in downtown Hagerstown.

Steve Cranford, Vice President of Commercial Sales & Leasing at MacRo, Ltd., was the agent who coordinated the transaction between the Seller, Ridenour, LLC, and the Buyer, Dimitrov, LLC.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of commercial properties, contact Steve Cranford at 301-788-4373 or steve@macroltd.com.


MacRo Sells 6.31 Acre Lot at the Manor at Holly Hills

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the sale of lot 203 at the Manor at Holly Hills.  This 6.31 acre property is open and sits on a high knoll with a scenic view.  The lot is located in the middle of a subdivision and backs up to a horse farm.  The property is located at 9759 Ormonds Terrace, Ijamsville, MD 21754.

The sale closed on April 4, 2014.

The Manor at Holly Hills is a one-of-kind community situated on 185 idyllic acres just east of Frederick City.  Careful planning went into preserving the beautiful organic features of the land, including rugged rock outcroppings, rolling hillsides, and mature forests.

Rocky Mackintosh, President of MacRo, Ltd., was the agent who coordinated the transaction between the seller, the Manor at Holly Hills, LLC and the Buyer.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or acquisition of land, and/or the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or rocky@macroltd.com

 

Time is Money: The Cost of Doing Nothing with Commercial Real Estate

Like us humans, nothing is static … not even a solid building that appeared it would last forever. 

As a property owner approaches retirement, many issues should be considered as to what to do with his improved piece of commercial real estate. If you are at that point in your life, have you got it all figured out?

I am often called upon to assist people in assessing the options that lay ahead as they face the next stage of their lives.

Sometimes such a change is part of a well thought out plan, while others come about due to unforeseen circumstances.

Take for instance the case of a wonderful individual I had the pleasure of working with not too long ago.  He dutifully ran a second generation family business on a substantial piece of commercial real estate he inherited nearly 50 years ago.

In its heyday, the business with a strong following of loyal customers was the envy of many nearby retailers.

As the years passed and times changed, the business could  live on its reputation only so long without finding that the new and creative competition that entered the market eroded his sales.

Maybe it was his sense of loyalty to the old family tradition of the way things had always been done, or maybe it was an unwillingness to try new things.

Whatever it was, my client slowly came to realize that while he was real estate rich, he was becoming cash poor.

At the point I was called upon for some advice, I found a property that looked tired.  The business had suffered such that my new client had deferred the maintenance of his commercial real estate so much that many would be customers chose to drive by instead of stop in for a look.

Of course the appearance of the property now only added to the decline in the business, which had shifted to operating in the red.

Sometimes when one can be so close to a situation that the obvious is not apparent … and that can go on for decades.

In my client’s case, while he grew very attached to the legacy that he wanted to continue for as long as he was physically able, he was now really feeling it in his bank account.

His primary asset was fatigued yet unencumbered real estate.  None of his children were interested in carrying on a loosing enterprise.

Several options were considered:

1.         Refinance the property and reinvest in giving the property a face-lift in hopes it will bring business back to those heyday years.

2.         Sell the assets of the business and lease the property to an energetic entrepreneur.

3.         Sell the real estate and lease the commercial real estate back from the new owner, who will commit to invest in making major improvements … the face-lift that is needed.

4.         Sell the entire package of real estate and business and reinvest the proceeds into another investment that generates passive income … stocks, bonds, mutual funds, investment real estate or any combination thereof.

As we walked down the path of each scenario with my client’s financial adviser and attorney, it was determined that a refinance was too much of a risk at his age.

Option two offered my client the ability to step away from the business while continuing to own the real estate; however the question arose as to how to deal with the tremendous amount of deferred maintenance.  While MacRo could find a tenant who was willing to pay rent that would provide my client with a reasonable income to live on, did my client really want to be a landlord?  Answer: No!

Option three was not appealing, as it meant my elderly client had to find the energy to start fresh in a property he no longer owned … not easy when the property has been in the family for nearly 100 years.

As hard as it was for my client to make the decision, he knew that if he just stayed with the status-quo and made no decision, the suffering business and the depreciating real estate would only eat away at his retirement nest egg.

In this particular case the second generation retailer came to the conclusion that the risks outweighed the possible rewards in choosing any path other than selling the business assets and the commercial real estate that housed it.

Within a period of just eight months an enthusiastic young business minded couple found the opportunity just too hard to pass up.

Today the old commercial building has been restored and given an exciting new look, and with the original business name incorporated into a new retail enterprise, my client could not be more proud that his family name lives on in a thriving new Frederick County, Maryland business … and he is living comfortably on a very low risk investment portfolio and enjoying a life with freedom to travel and enjoy his grandchildren.

Have you thought about your options as you approach a time of change in your life?  Maybe the team at MacRo can help.

Please contact us for a confidential meeting.

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been active in the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades, having served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012 to name a few.  Many of his articles also appear in  TheTentacle.com 

 

3 Signs Your Commercial Real Estate is in Trouble

It’s always interesting to tour properties of prospective clients…be it a flex warehouse to lease, an office building for sale, a retail center or a tract of agricultural land.

Property owners, like commercial real estate, come in all shapes and sizes … and for the former all sorts of mindsets.

Most property owners consider their real estate holding as assets, which, of course, is the way it should be. And like all assets, they do require attention. Just like an investor in the stock market keeps an eye on his/her holdings, the owner of any kind of real estate should do the same.

While many pay close attention to their property, others may not as much as they should.

While the title of this post is “3 Signs Your Commercial Real Estate is in Trouble,” most problems that arise are not from the asset, but from the owner.

Consider the following:

1. Neglect.

Consider the investor who bought a stock decades ago and threw the certificate in the drawer and later discovers later that it peaked at double its value a few years back and now it has no value at all.

Property owners must pay attention to their real estate investments … some properties require much more than others, but in these days of volatile economic conditions, it’s not a safe bet that the targeted value will be there in the future.

As I have written in earlier blog posts, problems with real estate are usually not the fault of the property, but the one who owns it.

Yes, there are those acts of God that happen — earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. And yes, in today’s world one should be aware of crime and sudden economic shifts, but in most cases external factors that negatively impact value can be anticipated. Consider the case of highway relocation and changing traffic patterns, or the exiting of a major retailer in the area. These are circumstances where with proper attention, there is plenty of advance notice.

We always recommend that certain maintenance issues be tended to, such as addressing a serious tenant issue, adding a fresh coat of paint, applying for a zoning change, or taking a bush-hog to a field of thorny brambles.

That rundown property usually traces back to the ownership.

2. No “Staying Power.”

Growing up in a real estate family (father and grandfather brokered and invested in DC area in the middle of the last century!), the phrase I used to hear over and over was “If you’re going to make it in real estate, you have to have Staying Power!” Well, not much has changed over the last 75 years in that category.

Commercial real estate can be purchased with the best laid plans, but whatever a real estate investor may think is a worst case scenario … it can always be worse. Of course the opposite is also true … and HOORAY! when that happens, but what if it doesn’t?  After what we have seen in the overall real estate market since 2007 with short sales and foreclosures in the news all the time, you’d think that today’s investors would have learned something … not always the case.

So, have a plan and a back up plan and a back up plan for the back up plan … not only to cover the service the debt, the real estate taxes and insurance, but also the regular maintenance and improvements as needed. If you don’t … well, one way or the other you’ll more than likely pay the price.

3. Reality Bites.

I can usually tell when things are not going well for a client, and my job is to do the best I can to either assist in turning things around or developing an action plan to make the problem go away.

It doesn’t really matter how or why things went bad, it’s all about what is going on now — the market conditions. The challenge is to find the target market for that particular piece of real estate and plan out the best way to position it compared to the competition from other properties that are on the market.

In some cases, the best plan of action is not feasible, because the owner may not be able/willing to comply — either for financial reasons or irreconcilable differences within the ownership to name a couple.

Sometimes the plan is simple … set a price and put it on the market … or if there is not a sense of urgency, my staff and I may recommend that we wait out the market, knowing that certain conditions will be changing for the positive in the specific area that the property is located.

We may also recommend that certain maintenance issues be tended to, as outlined in “Neglect” above.

All this stated, some property owners are either naive to market realities and unable to accept market conditions or have become so fixated on what they want to believe is the market value, that they can’t face the true picture. My experience has shown that anxiety over a difficult personal or business financial dilemma or a sentimental attachment to the property most typically stand in the way of accepting the real world situation.

A “perfect storm” of poor commercial property stewardship–one that continues to make the headlines in downtown Frederick–is the now infamous Asiana building.  In this case, it seems that the owners really just don’t care what anyone thinks. They apparently have the just enough staying power to cover the minimum requirements of ownership by paying the property taxes, yet have neglected the property and probably have no concept of reality.

That bites!

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He served as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012.  Many of his articles also appear in  TheTentacle.com 

 

Building on the Foundation of Charter Home Rule

A forum of panelists urge a strong and unified effort by the first county executive and council to build a sturdy structure upon the new county charter.

So the framers of Frederick’s new charter constitution completed their job, and the voters approved it by a wide margin, but how will the processes of comprehensive land use planning, zoning text amendments and other real estate development approval matters be addressed by our new government?

Well, the answers sure aren’t in that 23 page document!

This was the focus of the forum offered to members of the Frederick County Building Industry Association on Wednesday, March 11, 2014 at Dutch’s Daughter Restuarant. Also invited were all candidates for the county’s upcoming first primary election for county council and county executive seats.

The program was hosted by the local office of Linowes and Blocher, LLP, a regional real estate and general practice law firm.

The panel of speakers consisted of Bruce Dean, C. Robert Dalrymple and Lisa L. Graditor representing the firm. In addition Frederick County Government attorneys John Mathias and Kathy Mitchell were available to provide their perspective on county staff preparation for the transition.

Invited guest panelists included yours truly (Rocky Mackintosh) and Howard County Executive Kenneth Ulman, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic gubernatorial ticket with Anthony Brown, Maryland’s current Lieutenant Governor.

While more unanswered questions came from the gathering than were raised, the majority of attendees found the discussion very worthwhile.

The opening discussion centered on how and why Frederick County chose to switch from the existing Board of County Commissioner structure to that of Charter Home Rule.

Ed Waters of the Frederick News Post provided a good narrative of the core principles of the transition to charter in his March 12, 2014 article.

Being the panelist who served as an appointed member of the Charter Board, I explained that the general concensus of the members of the Charter Board was that the legislative and executive functions of the current commissioner form needed to be separated. In addition due to the fact that with a majority of the current board being only three votes, history has shown that there have been very severe swings in policy from one administration to another. This issue, in and of itself, seems to have brought predictable inconsistency to county regulations, which has caused a lack of confidence in government by the business community and other constituents.

County Executive Ulman provided critical insight into how important it is for all of the candidates, who are eventually elected to their respective offices, need to recognize that while they each will come to office with their own agenda, it is important to realize that they will be the first charter elected body … and with that comes a significantly higher responsibility.

What could that be, you may ask?

Well, consider that the Frederick County Charter Board, like “Ben and the Boys” who drafted a similar document for the fledgling “U S of A” some 238 years ago, authored a constitution that only served as a framework from which policies and procedures for the operations of government are to evolve from responsible elected officials.

And without a strong willingness of collaboration among the eight (one county executive and seven council members), who will fill those sacred seats, to develop a smooth set of policies, our fragile new government could very well set a precedent for a mega “Cluster #?!#” that may continue for decades to come. Lack of cooperation from this first group of elected officials could create the unnecessary expansion of the size of a government bureaucracy that has risen in some other counties in Maryland, such as Montgomery and Prince George’s.  Mr. Ulman expressed great pride in Howard County, as he believes it was able to avoid this problem.

I’d like to think that with all the polarization that Frederick County has experienced over growth (an issue that is worthy of a special MacRo Report White Paper for our Spring/Summer newsletter) our community is still small enough that our newly elected officials can put our differences aside for a while to focus on the primary task at hand … bringing order to our new form of government.

The hosts of Linowes and Blocher raised a number of specific land use and real estate related issues that will require cooperation among the newly elected executive and council.

For example, for those who follow the technical side of site plan, zoning and land use planning processes, consider the following questions raised by M. Dalrymple:

1.  How will zoning text amendments be initiated? With the separation of powers, the County Executive can only recommend a change, leaving sponsorship to any one of the seven council members.

2.  How will work programs be established for master plan (comprehensive plan and region plan) updates? Will it be through the budget that the County Executive sends over (funding specific region plans) or will the Council propose in its budget funding for staffing based upon which plans are up for review?

3.  How will local map amendments be made? The charter states that the Council will be the ultimate decision maker, but without having any allocated staff to delegate the public hearing and assembling the record functions to, they could be spending countless hours considering very complex zoning matters. Dalrymple stated that “having a seven-member council perform this zoning function seems to me to be overwhelming and a train-wreck waiting to happen.”

4.  With the County Executive controlling all of the staff that would be analyzing zoning matters such as text amendments along with public water and sewer issues — to name a few, how will the Council, being the body that approves/enacts, be able to evaluate all of these matters?

5.  Can the County Executive veto a master plan (region plan) action by Council? How about a veto of a zoning text amendment? Will the executive have the power to veto a piecemeal rezoning?

Challenging questions for sure! And there will be many more as things unfold.

As scary as all this may appear, it was the sage wisdom of County Executive Ulman who made it clear that the citizens of Frederick County did in fact make the right decision to make the switch to Charter Home Rule.

At the end of the day all these issues will be worked out, he said. The degree to which a smooth transition occurs depends on who the citizens of the county select in November.

So as you consider the candidates who knock on your door this spring, please realize that this time the election will be more about selecting a collaborative body that can draft smooth and efficient policy, than one of worrying about the typical issues that polarize and divide our community.

Stay tuned, my fellow Frederick Countians!

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He served as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012.  Many of his articles also appear in  TheTentacle.com 

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