General Plan Out Of Touch

Readers write

August 11, 1991

From: Ridgely Jones


The 1990 General Plan projection of 2,500 housing units per year is out of touch with reality.

The General Plan was worked on in the years 1987, '88 and '89. The economic conditions in that time framewere not the conditions that prevail today.

The massive indebtedness of the federal government, which increases monthly, makes it highly unlikely that Howard County will get the financial assistance for capital improvements that it has received in past years.

The financial condition of the state is also progressively getting worse.

It is inevitable that a larger share of the cost of infrastructure will have to be borne by the taxpayers of Howard County.

We are at this time faced with the financing of roads, schools, etc., caused by the thoughtless, pell-mell growth of the '80s. To take care of this over-growth will require raising taxes in addition to heavy borrowing -- all of which has to be paid for by the taxpayer.

Howard County will continue to grow. However, this growth should be at a rate the county can afford. As it stands at this time, the people of the county are being asked to finance a growth plan that will result in a diminished quality of life for all.

The General Plan as written is not compatible with the economic conditions of today. We need to take another good look at this plan: we need to grow more slowly.


From: Donald Dunn

Ellicott City

As one of the more than 500 residents of the Waverly area, I was invited to attend a presentation of the development called Waverly Woods. I was particularlyinterested in learning the details of how the developer was to blendthe housing, employment center and golf course.

Because of a few rude people constantly interrupting this public meeting, the developer was unable to make the planned presentation. As a result, the taxpayer-citizens who are interested in jobs and golf recreational facilities for this county have been deprived of this information.

To theresidents of the Waverly Community, I would like to make a few points:

1) The need for public golf courses in Howard County has been adequately documented through at least six different studies. The presence of a golf course in the Waverly community will no doubt result in a better quality of life.

2) Jobs are important. The employment center planned for an area now bounded by a landfill, buried transcontinental gas lines and the major east-west traffic artery of Interstate 70 sounds like a proper application for this less than desirable residential parcel. The resultant economic growth will make needed improvements in the county tax base.

3) Growth and development will continue in Howard County. The growth needs to be well-managed. The benefits to the community in terms of overall improvement to the quality of life, economic growth and environmental awareness can only occurthrough reasoned feedback in fostering the resolution of problems like roads and schooling.


From: John Powers

Ellicott City

It is almost an axiomatic truth that innovations andgrass-roots movements begun on the political scene in California take 10 to 15 years to leaven the lumps of government in the East, and sometimes similar events occur at like intervals at opposite ends of the country.

It was about 15 years ago when a developer in my former hometown of Santa Barbara, seeking to gain the approval of the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors for an oversized and outrageously high-density development project, offered to build the county of Santa Barbara a public golf course in exchange for the necessary approvals.

That was not all, though; that was just to whet the collective appetite, a sort of public relations hors d'oeuvre.

The principal appeal to county officials was the prospect of lots and lots of tax money moving in the direction of county bank accounts if theplans for this high-density project were approved in virgo intacto.

The appeal to the local homeowners was (you guessed it) that the project would be designed and executed so that it would enhance neighborhood property values.

What the proponents of the Santa Barbara development neglected to mention, or glossed over in their public statements, were the very obvious negative impacts of such high-density developments: greatly increased local traffic with attendant congestion, accidents and air pollution with no provision by the developers for the project to bear the cost of road improvements (they thought thecounty would like to pay for it all); the creation of an impossible situation with the local schools at every level, which were already filled to capacity; an overburdened water supply, sewage service, police and fire protection.

Taken all together, these impacts would have added up to a very serious deterioration in the quality of the environment.

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