County Councilman Steve McKay, a Republican who represents the southeastern part of Frederick County, wrote in a Facebook post in February that the lawyer for a local developer leveled “bogus” and “garbage” ethics complaints against him.
The lawyer, Soo Lee-Cho, represents Frederick-based CBM Consulting for its Gordon Mill development, which is expected to be 610 units in New Market — a municipality in McKay’s district.
On Wednesday, the Frederick County Planning Commission is scheduled to vote whether to approve subdivision and site plans for the Gordon Mill development, on 280 acres across Boyers Mill Road from Deer Crossing Elementary, in the Lake Linganore area.
During a Frederick County Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 15, Lee-Cho asked McKay to confirm his home address after he voiced concerns about the development.
In responding to Lee-Cho and confirming his address, McKay said of the development, “It doesn’t impact me. You allege that, but it doesn’t.”
“I didn’t allege that, sir,” Lee-Cho said.
“Well,” McKay said, “that’s what I saw in your correspondence with the county attorney.”
In an email to Senior Assistant County Attorney Kathy Mitchell on Feb. 7, Lee-Cho wrote that McKay believed the development would hurt the area where he lives.
“His intention is to most definitely ‘affect the disposition or decision of this matter’ before the Planning Commission and it is a matter that he has vehemently argued (very publicly through social media outlets) will negatively impact others’ property interests, which evidently includes his own,” Lee-Cho wrote.
She wrote that McKay’s testimony “raises not only an appearance of impropriety, but constitutes a direct conflict of interest.”
McKay wrote in an email to the News-Post that Lee-Cho’s claims were “absurd.”
“I have never once considered the impact of the development on my home,” he wrote, adding that his house is four-and-a-half miles from the development, placing it outside both a traffic-study area and the school feeder pattern for the adequate public facilities test. “My concerns have always been related to the impact of the development on the roads and schools serving the New Market area.”
“I take ethics seriously. As a private citizen, I lobbied the county and state representatives on ways to toughen the ethics laws for Frederick County in the state code,” McKay wrote. “When someone raises ethics issues about me, it bothers me. When someone raises spurious ethics issues about me, trying to silence me, it pisses me off.”
The Frederick County government has opened its annual Balancing Act survey for people to decide how they would spend a portion of the county’s tax dollars.
Frederick County’s government divisions, schools and agencies have requested in the county’s next budget a total of $108 million more than what they received this year.
In Balancing Act, people can share how they believe the county should allocate $50 million of those budget requests.
Farmers can apply through March 31 for Frederick County government grants meant to help them expand or diversify their businesses.
Since 2021, the county has awarded roughly $1.1 million for 42 agriculture projects through the Agriculture Innovation Grants Program, according to the county government. The grants have helped create 128 full-time jobs and 112 part-time positions.
Twice a year, the county awards grants of $5,000 or more for agriculture businesses to use for research and development, production buildings, major fixtures or processing facilities, a news release from the county states.