What is this just-released MoA?

The 24 pages of a draft Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is a proposed binding contract between the City and state agencies needed to allow state funds to flow to the hotel project while that project looses the wrecking ball on the state’s last remaining 19th century tannery site. It’s to be a four party agreement among Continue reading

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“We’re not going to move forward on hotel” — Gov Hogan in FNP interview

Governor Larry Hogan has made his clearest statement yet that he will stop
state funds going to the downtown hotel conference center (DHCC) project. Such projects have been “disastrous” for state taxpayers in the past, he said. Continue reading

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Hotel tax based rehab fund finds no favor with City officials — clash with HPC, Preservation Maryland

Preservation Maryland’s proposal for a downtown hotel-tax based fund as “mitigation” for the demolition of the Birely Tannery is proving a divisive issue. Historic Preservation Commissioners at their  January 11 meeting spoke enthusiastically of the scheme and voted unanimously to draft a letter in support (see transcript below) The letter will be discussed at the Jan 25 meeting, this Thursday at 6pm. Continue reading

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Preservation Maryland’s betrayal of its mission — letter

Letter to Meagan Baco at Preservation Maryland: “… I and quite a number of others here think Preservation Maryland’s performance with respect to the Birely Tannery has been a disgraceful sellout. Your outfit has in this matter gotten itself into an unprincipled alliance with people who give only lip service to preservation. Continue reading

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DHCC taxes proposed for funding historic district rehab — a peanuts proposal

The Frederick News-Post (FNP) reports a proposed scheme under which some of the hotel tax collected at the Downtown Hotel & Conference Center (DHCC) would be used for a special fund to rehab other buildings in the historic district. This rehab fund would constitute the ‘mitigation’ to compensate for the loss of the Birely Tannery building which project sponsors want to demolish to make room for the conference center portion of the hotel complex.  Continue reading

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City permitting staff talk about first DH&CC site plan from Plamondon — many problems

City planning staff have raised a bunch of questions about a site Sketch Plan (Plan) for the DHCC submitted November 22 by Bohler Engineering of Towson on behalf of Plamondon. Over thirty problem points were raised by City staff for discussions which began at the City Annex on West Patrick St this week. The issues raised range from large problems difficult to remedy to small matters rather easily fixed.   Continue reading

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Abandoned by the City, what future for the HAC?

City officials are now denying any responsibility for the downtown Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC.) In submissions to the State Attorney General’s Open Meetings Compliance Board they insisted the HAC is a ‘private body’ of the County Chamber of Commerce and any City or public officials who attended its closed door meetings were merely guest attendees, not real members. Continue reading

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State AG’s Compliance Board chides City over Hotel Advisory Committee but punts on declaring clear violation

The State AG’s Open Meetings Compliance Board says the City of Frederick has sent “mixed messages” about the status of its Downtown Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC.) And, it says that there is an apparent “factual disconnect” between the City’s claim that it is a private ad hoc committee under Chamber of Commerce control and the entity by the same name that the City has designated to “perform substantive functions” under the leadership of a chair whom the mayor said he had appointed. Continue reading

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Frederick County delegation to Annapolis — please encourage Governor Hogan and Board of Public Works to withhold state-$s for City’s boondoggle hotel LETTER

Delegate Kathy Afzali and colleagues:

Recent developments confirm the good judgment of the majority of the Frederick County delegation in opposing state funds for the City’s boondoggle hotel. The case against state support is stronger than ever.

1. New proof that City officials knowingly minimized competition

In September this year an October 2013 report by the City’s lead consultants Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) surfaced showing that the City Continue reading

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Mark Gaver’s arrest on fraud charges — what it means for the hotel project OPINION

Downtown hotel proponents are in denial about the importance of the fraud indictment of Mark Gaver, the City’s first Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC)

Mark Gaver

chair. Consider that scores of people might have been asked by Richard Griffin and the incoming Mayor McClement to head up the City takeover of the Chamber of Commerce’s push for the downtown hotel, and who do they choose: not a senior salaried officer, not an accountable elected representative, not a hotels professional, but a smarmy crony ‘businessman’ who was everywhere. A brilliantly wrong choice. Continue reading

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