Howard County executive asks builder impact fees Remarks don't pacify Waverly Woods foes

October 24, 1991|By Mike Coram

Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker has called for impact fees amounting to $6 million a year on commercial and residential development to raise money for roads.

"We grew too fast in the mid-1980s to 1990 and did not build roads and other needed infrastructure," he said this week.

Mr. Ecker, who earlier said he might seek impact fees, called for them Tuesday night while addressing a standing-room-only crowd of more than 250 people at Waverly Elementary School about the controversial Waverly Woods development.

The citizens had come to voice their opposition to development of the 682-acre tract off Marriottsville Road as a golfing, commercial and residential village and to hear why Mr. Ecker and his planning office support the project.

Mr. Ecker said development would provide jobs and generate tax revenues to subsidize county services because businesses pay a disproportionate share of taxes compared with the services they use.

He noted that Howard County, once among the fastest-growing subdivisions in the United States, has been in an economic decline since before he took office in December 1990.

"Only 1,297 building permits were issued in 1990," he said. "And so far -- through September -- in 1991, we have had 1,427 permits."

Mr. Ecker said impact fees, a monitoring system and a proposed county adequate facilities ordinance would apply to Waverly Woods and would ensure the kind of "planned, managed, controlled and directed growth" the county needs.

"If the schools and roads are at an acceptable level" two or three years into the future, then you can build, Mr. Ecker said. "If not, you can't."

Mr. Ecker made no converts.

"An adequate facilities ordinance is really inadequate," one resident shouted at him. "Since you came into office, building has been going on like crazy."

David Stough, leader of a community group formed to oppose the Waverly Woods development, called on citizens to launch a campaign to defeat the project and to limit development elsewhere in the county.

Mr. Stough said the campaign would include telephoning council members, registering people to vote, pelting Mr. Ecker with letters and seeking the support of other citizens' groups.

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