Petition Closed

Stop the discrimination against Engedi Estate

This petition had 787 supporters

Engedi Estate, a wedding venue in Emmitsburg, MD, was shut down by the Frederick County government in 2014 due to unsubstantiated complaints from a small group of people intent on doing everything in their power to stop all activity on the property (complaints that were non-existent prior to Engedi's attempt to re-zone from Agricultural to Country Inn in spring of 2014).

Noise and traffic were the primary matters raised by the opposition, both of which have been completely proven to be non-issues. An official sound check performed by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department in the summer of 2014 proved without a doubt that the noise level from Engedi was not in violation of the Frederick County sound ordinance. In fact, a decibel reading from music at a much higher volume than had ever been played during an event was unable to be picked up over the sound of the livestock on one of the primary complainants’ properties. In regards to traffic and safety; from the first event held at Engedi Estate in 2007 to date, there is not a single record of a traffic issue or traffic violation resulting from any event held at Engedi Estate per the Frederick County Sheriff's Department.

Over the past 2 and a half years, the Frederick County Government has based their treatment of Bert and Debbie Newcomer, owners of Engedi Estate, solely on the falsehoods and misrepresentations presented to them by a small, organized group of people, many of whom live miles from the venue. This summer, Larry Smith in the department of zoning and permitting denied the Newcomers' request for the 12 Temporary Outdoor Activities Permits that an Agricultural zoned property is allowed per Frederick County law when other venues in the county were immediately granted that right after being shut down for non-compliance in many areas concerning zoning, permitting and public safety (Engedi Estate has brought its facilities into complete compliance with Frederick County law. All necessary structures are legal, permitted and inspected).

It is apparent that the Frederick County Government, specifically the office of zoning and permitting, is biased and acting in the interest of a few loud complainers whose complaints have been proven completely invalid. Without public input, they will continue to discriminate against Engedi Estate and deny them their rights.

"When we conceived the idea of an event venue, it was our heart’s desire to create a small business that would allow our daughters to stay home and raise their children in an economy that so rarely provides that option. It was never our intent to create any disruption or hardship on our neighbors and community, and we have gone above and beyond to ensure that." - Debbie Newcomer, Owner

While the Newcomers have obtained legal counsel and plan to appeal the county's decision, they need your help! Please sign this petition in their support and stop the blatant discrimination of Engedi Estate by the Frederick County government.

If you would like to contact the Frederick County Government directly in support of Engedi Estate, please write to:

Larry Smith, Zoning Administrator:

Steve Horn, Planning and Permitting Division:

Jan Gardner, County Executive:

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