City DED expunges ‘Hotel Advisory Committee’ now a ‘Project Advisory Team’

The City’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has determined that the downtown hotel project no longer has an ‘Advisory Committee.’ This crew is now deemed to be a mere ‘Project Advisory Team.’ Continue reading

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Behind-closed-doors-hotel committee — TEXT of complaint to the State Attorney General’s Open Meetings Compliance Board

COMPLAINT: City of Frederick Mayor Randy McClement’s hotel advisory committee (HAC) I submit, has been breaking state law for six years — a public body meeting behind closed doors. Maryland’s Open Meetings Act requires state and local public bodies to hold their meetings in public, provide adequate notice of meetings, and compile and release agendas and minutes of the meetings. Although they can go into closed session when discussing confidential topics, meetings of the City and County, political ‘sub-divisions’ of the State, must generally be notified to the public, documented and open. Continue reading

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City claims HAC ”not a public body within the meaning of the Open Meetings Act”

City spokesman Patti Mullins has emailed us saying: “The Downtown Frederick Hotel Advisory Committee is not a public body within the meaning of the Maryland Open Meetings Act. It is therefore not subject to any of the Act’s requirements, including those relating to advance public notice or meeting documents. Not all of the meetings had prepared agendas, and no official minutes were kept for any meeting.” Continue reading

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State law broken by Mayor’s hotel advisory committee (HAC) meeting behind closed doors for six years

Mayor McClement’s hotel advisory committee (HAC) has been breaking state law for six years — a public body meeting behind closed doors. Maryland’s Open Meetings Act requires state and local public bodies to hold their meetings in public, provide adequate notice of meetings, and compile and release agendas and minutes of the meetings. Although they can go into closed session when discussing confidential topics, meetings of the City and County, political ‘sub-divisions’ of the State must generally be notified to the public, documented and open. (Closed ‘smoke-filled rooms’ of similar cliques in New York and Chicago associated from the 19th century on with crony racketeering — cartoon nearby) Continue reading

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A pathetic Historic Preservation Commission — OPINION

The performance of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) last Thursday night in approving demolition of the Birely Tannery was pathetic. The commissioners were snowed by the shoddy Plamondon/City sales pitch. They fell head over heels for the garbage-economics of ‘impact analysis’ and its claim of great new wealth and employment arising from the dust of the Tannery building. They showed no interest in querying falsehoods peddled by the applicants, no curiosity about alternatives, and, worst of all, no fidelity to their core responsibility for preserving historic sites and structures. Continue reading

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Four reasons not to vote to demolish — speaking notes for HPC17-490 2017.09.14

Commissioners: demolition of the Birely tannery must be voted down for four reasons.

1. Demolition would bring on a very bland glass front for some 250 feet along Carroll Creek when there’s an opportunity for developing a point of interest 100 feet along and 12 foot down that tells the story of 19th century tanning and also of the history of floods and flood control. The plan hogs far too much of the Carroll Creek frontage for the proposed hotel complex.

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Financial studies of hotel too old to rely on for $31m public support — former hotel CPA

from Matt Seubert to HPC — Dear members of the City Historic Preservation Commission: I’m a retired CPA.  During my 20 year career I spent 5 years working for a publicly traded hotel REIT in the capacities of accounting manager and assistant controller.  The company I worked for owned upscale resorts, full service hotels, and boutique hotels.  Prior to this I worked for nearly three years with Marriott International in their now dissolved Senior Living Services Division.  I have experience in hotel valuations and purchase/sale transactions.  Continue reading

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HPC violating law in HPC17-490, inviting a law suit on appeal if demo allowed

HPC17-490 is a first. According to City staff it is the first time in the history of the Historic Preservation Commission that a contributing historic resource found to be of ‘unusual importance’ has been proposed for demolition. The unprecedented nature of this case leaves the Commission without any routine set of procedures for hearing it. (This piece has been submitted as a formal submission in HPC17-490.) Continue reading

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HPC staff cave, recommend approval of demolition of Birely Tannery

The City’s historic preservation staff have caved. They are now supporting demolition of the Birely Tannery that they previously said is a ‘contributing resource of unusual importance’ to the historic district, and a building and site found eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Plus the last tannery in  the state going back into the 19th century. Continue reading

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City’s lead consultant JLL advised 2-stage procurement so many hotel developers could compete for DHCC

The City disregarded advice from its lead consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) on structuring of its procurement of the downtown hotel/conference center (DHCC) to maximize competition, it is apparent from a newly released report. The consultants, paid some $335,000 for their advice, recommended a two-stage procurement in a nine page report titled ‘Downtown Frederick Hotel’ dated October 11, 2013. Continue reading

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