Plan to add 2,600 homes in Monrovia ignites info campaign

Pam Abramson moved from Montgomery to Frederick County. She\'s concerned about too much development. (Frederick News-Post)

Some people make a plan to act; a plan made Pam Abramson act.

When the Monrovia resident discovered 2,600 houses, more children and commercial development were planned for her community, she and her friend Amy Reyes went into action.

In January, they founded RALE, Residents Against Landsdale Expansion.

Abramson and her husband moved to Monrovia four years ago to get away from the crowded life in her native Montgomery County, but close enough for him to commute to his job in Gaithersburg. She gradually left her teaching work in the Montgomery County public schools to be at home full time with their daughter.

“Having a child is what prompted me to move out,” she said.

Monrovia had a setting like Darnestown, where Abramson grew up, she said: a place for bike riding and nature exploration. In the 1970s, she watched Montgomery County change in ways she hoped to see Frederick County avoid.

“It was like, poof … plop a shopping center down here.

“They didn’t listen to the people (in Montgomery County). They didn’t involve the people,” she said. “Now, in my opinion, it’s overpopulated.

“My whole thing has been the scale of development,” she said.

Several months ago, she and Reyes became aware of the Landsdale and Monrovia Town Center developments, which together will put 2,600 houses on 1,160 acres, and add 280,000 square feet of commercial space in the Monrovia area.

Abramson and Reyes discovered that many neighbors knew little about what was happening. The two knocked on doors, printed fliers out of their basements, put up signs and created a Facebook page, www.face book.com/RALE.Monrovia.

She and Abramson believe they have done some good since the county has scheduled open house information sessions with several neighborhoods affected by new projects. The first was in Monrovia last week.

“It would have been nice if the county had done this same ‘open house’ before Landsdale was approved,” Reyes said in an email. “Seems like the cart put before the horse.”

They were not looking for a fight, but that is what they got. Someone has been taking RALE signs from private property and hacked into personal information on Facebook and email accounts, Abramson said.

“That’s just dirty,” she said. “It’s been a little bit scary.”

“I guess we are hitting a nerve with someone who feels we are a threat,” Reyes said.

“Our goal is to inform and involve the public,” Abramson said. “We don’t want to use this to divide the community.”

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