HAC chair Robbins resigns, says hopes the “politics” holding up the project can be resolved

Earl Robbins (Frederick News-Post picture 2013)

The longtime Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC) chair Earl Robbins resigned effective the end of 2017. And Mayor Michael O’Connor is not looking to replace him, spokesman Patti Mullins tells us. Robbins was honored by the Mayor & Board in a ceremony at their regular meeting in City Hall, Thursday March 1 — presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by Mayor Michael O’Connor. Continue reading

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Save the smokestack

Any serious mitigation plan for the Birely Tannery would look to save some significant component of the building. Why not the splendid brick smokestack?

At more than 40ft the equivalent of nearly five stories high, nicely tapered from 4 ft at the base to 2.5 ft at the top, (my rough estimates) minimally decorated, it is a substantial and distinctive brick structure in its own right, although its footprint is modest. It soars well above the roofline of the three story north wing of the tannery. Continue reading

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State agencies still open to comment on Birely Tannery mitigation plan

“We welcome comments from the consulting parties and it is not too late for comments to be considered by DHCD (state Department of Housing & Community Development) and MHT (Maryland Historical Trust.)” So writes MHT’s Beth Cole, administrator project review and compliance who is coordinating the state historic preservation regulator’s effort to craft a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on a Birely Tannery ‘mitigation’ plan with the City. Continue reading

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Mayor challenged to clarify five aspects of hotel deal — letter from 22 citizens

The Honorable Michael O’Connor
Mayor of The City of Frederick
City Hall
Frederick, MD 21701

Dear Mr. O’Connor:
In your inaugural address you spoke of embarking on a “new commitment to civic engagement” and of the need to “restore faith in public institutions.” You have said the city will follow the principles of “open government.” Nowhere is this needed more than in the conduct of the downtown hotel project. Transparency and candor are urgently needed in respect to: Continue reading

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How they deliberately avoided competition in procurements of land and hotel developer

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the City Hotel Advisory Committee’s lead consultant in this procurement, foresaw the land valuation problem mentioned by Andy Stout in the previous report. And they proposed a procedure to avoid that problem, along with a way to get real competitive bids for the hotel development itself. Continue reading

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How will City set price for hotel land and who will bear mitigation cost?

Archeologist Andy Stout raises the troublesome issue of how the City has set the price it pays for the Randalls’ site, and who is bearing the costs of mitigation. In an email to the Mayor, City aldermen, and others, Stout calls for the price of the hotel site to be renegotiated. Continue reading

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Spare us your “symbiotic relationships” — Letter to Editor, Frederick News-Post

Time to halt government funding for ridiculous project

Your editorial published Feb. 4 proclaimed the city’s endless downtown hotel project to be “in a symbiotic relationship” with the historic district. Gawd! Continue reading

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Current state of the City-Maryland Historical Trust MoA “still a deliberative process”

“The MoA negotiation is still a deliberative process amongst the signatories and it is not yet a final document ready for signature.” That’s how City of Frederick/Maryland Historical Trust dealmaking was characterized  Monday afternoon, Feb 12, by Beth Cole, administrator, project review & compliance officer at the Trust.  Continue reading

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Downtown hotel & conference center “will now be privately financed” – a baseless claim

Supporters of the City-sponsored downtown hotel make the misleading claim that public funds — taxpayer money — will only be used for associated ‘public infrastructure’ and that otherwise the project will be privately financed with no call on taxpayers. For example, the latest City ‘One-Pager’ project summary states: Continue reading

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Griffin attempt to rush approval of City-state MoA fails at Mayor & Board

Griffin

Ricard Griffin made a crude move this week to rush through Mayor & Board approval of an incomplete  agreement with state agencies over a ‘mitigation plan’ for demolition of the Birely Tannery building and site. Griffin put his signature to a thoroughly misleading Executive Summary for the Mayor & Board workshop today (Feb 7) which falsely claimed that two state agencies had accepted a draft Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Continue reading

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