I and a group of No Narconon Trout Run Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/NoNarcononTroutRun/
members went to the court hearing yesterday, held on Social Betterment's appeal of the Frederick County MD Council's veto against Social Betterment Properties' attempt to get a land use exception by applying for a place on the historic registry - despite the property not being historic. Their appeal claims the reason why the council vetoed it was due to discrimination against Scientology religion. Bunch of baloney.
It was a lot of fun and the judge could not have been better choice. We were not allowed to have cell phones on or record the hearing and note taking was difficult since most of us were a party to the case, so Tony Ortega did a short article here which he updated later on after we spoke b phone. See second link below.
Further down are links to some local and state media reports on the court hearing.Scientology’s appeal on rehab zoning fight in Maryland to be heard today
By Tony Ortega @ the Underground Bunker - Jan 4, 2015
"We’re hoping to get a report today from some correspondents on the scene when Scientology’s administrative appeal in Frederick County, Maryland is argued in a court of law."http://tonyortega.org/2016/01/04/monday/Update From Tony Ortega and Mary McConnell
[..] UPDATE: We just had a telephone conversation with Mary McConnell, who gave us some basics on how the hearing went today.
First, the news. Judge Nicklas did hear oral arguments from the two sides today, and gave himself 30 days to render a decision. Mary said she found the hearing to be a lot of fun as Judge Nicklas proved to be knowledgeable about the subject areas in general (including drug rehab) and in the case facts in particular.
Mary said that SBPI’s attorneys (SBPI is a subsidiary of the Church of Scientology) tried to convince the judge that this was really a zoning case, but he wasn’t having it.
“They kept trying to make this a zoning case, but he was on their game and said he knew it wasn’t a zoning matter,” Mary says.
The dispute is really about whether the Frederick County Council acted properly when it voted not to put Trout Run on its list of historic places, even after its own Historic Preservation Commission recommended that it be added.
SBPI tried to convince Judge Nicklas that the council had always, in the past, simply accepted the recommendation of the commission. This was the first time it did not put a place on the historic list after the Commission recommended it. SBPI seemed to imply that the council had an obligation to follow the commission’s suggestion.
But Mary says Judge Nicklas resisted that argument. “He’s not falling for that,” she told us. “He pointed out that they may follow the recommendation. They argued over the word ‘may’.”
The other side, meanwhile, tried to keep things focused and simple. “The county’s attorney was clear: This is a legislative issue, not a zoning one,” Mary said.
We asked Mary how the judge reacted when SBPI’s attorney brought up the notion that the Church of Scientology had been discriminated against.
“He totally ignored it,” she said. And perhaps also telling, when SBPI brought up what had been said in public meetings to the council about Scientology invading the county and being a ‘cult,’ the judge pointed out more than once that the people who had made those statements were respected members of the community. Oops. [..]
More at http://tonyortega.org/2016/01/04/monday/#more-27734
Other media reportsJudge hears dispute over historic designation that would have allowed Narconon center
Frederick News Post By Danielle E. Gaines email@example.com
Jan 4, 2016http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/courts/judge-hears-dispute-over-historic-designation-that-would-have-allowed/article_2d463bc7-5ba3-5c51-a400-a6f52581d01a.html
Among what the ^^^ article discusses is this interesting back and forth:
[..]Testimony at the public hearings relating to the designation was also debated Monday.
Kneeland ( Social Betterment Attorney ) said the council’s final vote was an attempt to appease the “whims and fears” of the community. She read statements — from letters sent to the council and the public hearings — about the Church of Scientology and Narconon that she felt were derogatory.
“Those reasons to motivate a decision are improper. An agency is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion,” she told Nicklas.
Kearney (County Attorney ) said it should be expected that those testifying at a council meeting without an attorney may introduce irrelevant ideas in their testimony, just as happens in court, she said. That doesn’t discredit the council’s analysis of the property’s historic significance, she said.
Kearney said Social Betterment put its own plans at risk when the organization bought property not already zoned to allow a Narconon center to open.
“They took on a project that didn’t have a good prognosis,” she said at Monday’s hearing.[..]Don't we know that!
One would think that they would learn from their mistakes...
In the NBC article below, they provide an un-linkable video, which gives more details and is much more balanced. Watch Scientology's OSA, National Affairs Office Sylvia and John Stanard walk away with theyr attorneys, without giving comment The guy at the end being interviewed is my friend Mark Long who along with myself and others are Interested Parties who SBPI wants to boot from the case. Judge didn't take oral arguments or rule on those Motions but allowed us sit up in front on the county attorney side as parties to the case.
Frederick Co., Scientology-Backed Group at Odds
By Mark Seagraves, NBC Washington
The Church of Scientology is taking the Frederick County Council to court over plans to build a drug rehab facility. On News4 at 6, Mark Segraves reports lawyers for the church say fears about Scientology influenced the council. http://nbc4dc.com/MeLyzSZ
Here are a few of us No Narconon Trout Run members who arrived early at the court house. We all left smiling, as well