From: Charles A. Aston
"Clustering" is the new battle cry among some of our elected officials and a handful of well-intentioned but naive folks who believe our current 3-acre zoning is inherently evil.
They state that it iseating up land which clustering could protect from heavy development. The planned density would be one house per 5 acres. Cluster zoning would forever prevent development of the remaining open space.
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? In my experience, you never get something for nothing, and a deal which seems too good to be true usually is.
Think about it. Developers approve of clustering, but they'll lose money because lower density means fewer homes to build. How strange they have suddenly become so altruistic.
Perhaps they know something we don't. Zoning can be changed with patience and political contributions. They'll ultimately get what they want: development of every inch of space!
Their current pressure to change 3-acre zoning is a fine example. In the past, all a developer had to do was request a variance and it was routinely granted. There is absolutely no guaranteethat the open space will remain.
Clustering will save open space?That reminds me of that classic, oxymoronic phrase for the Vietnam War: "It became necessary to destroy the village to save it."
Elizabeth Bobo realized what was happening to the county and initiated a growth cap. She was defeated by Charles Ecker's slick, well-financed campaign. There was a huge party at Rouse Co. headquarters the night of the election. Do you wonder what they were celebrating?
Who willbenefit from clustering? Not the current residents of Howard County,that's for sure.
CROWDING WORRIES STUDENT
From: Megan DeBone
The question about building new schools bothers me. Ithink it should not be a question of whether or not there will be enough money, but how can we definitely secure funding for the construction of the proposed schools.
Being a student myself in the HowardCounty school system, I am a witness to the overcrowding of schools.Gov. (William) Donald Schaefer's warning about having no money to give to local jurisdictions because of the state budget concerns me.
The funding for the new schools may have to come from another source. That source could be from money for roads and other projects. That could be a problem, too.
Superintendent Michael Hickey's proposal is to open at least four more schools in the next few years. If the schools are not built, the problem of overcrowding will be overwhelming. I am already in classes that have 36 or 37 people in them. They were designed for 26 to 27 people.
How are teachers supposed to teach to their full potential when they have so many extra students? Students need individual attention with their work. They need one-on-one every once in a while. The ratio of teachers to students is only one to 36.
Everybody seems to claim "children are our nation's future." Therefore, the school system must be ready to teach the children ona more one-on-one basis. Everyone flourishes with individual attention. If we want to secure Howard County for the future, more schools must be opened to reduce overcrowding.
Furthermore, with the continuous building and developing of housing plans, more families are arriving. Waverly Woods is going to contribute a lot more students to theschool system.
Where will the county put them? In the already overcrowded schools? Personally, I feel that the need for more schools is extreme. I don't feel comfortable learning in the atmosphere I am in now.
I can only imagine how awful it will be in a couple of years. The Howard County school system is supposed to be highly rated. The only way to maintain such a reputation is to search harder and workharder to find alternatives to be financially secure in the buildingof new schools.
(The writer is a sophomore at Centennial Lane High School.)
JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE
From: Roger D. Hall
Another article about the misunderstood social studies teacher turned developer, Donald Reuwer, was published in the Howard County Sun Sept. 29 edition ("Waverly Woods: dream or nightmare?" by JamesM. Coram). Rather than concentrating on cute quotes by Reuwer and favorable bits of information about the proposed Waverly Woods project,why not publish some hard facts and real information!
Here is a list of questions that should be answered honestly and correctly by Reuwer and the county executive.
1. What will be the projected tax revenues generated on a yearly basis by the proposed Waverly Woods project?
2. What are the projected costs to the county taxpayer for the necessary human services on a yearly basis, such as:
a. emergency services (i.e. police, fire, ambulance)?
b. sanitation services(i.e. garbage, recycling and operation of water and sewer services)?
c. public transportation to service the area?
d. public works (i.e. road maintenance, street lighting and snow removal)?