Don't Develop River Hill

Readers write

March 15, 1992

From: Jeffrey S. Young

Columbia

Recently, the Rouse Co., a Howard County developer, has placed advertisements to promote its newest "development," River Hill.

River Hill is currently a farm located near the intersections of Routes 32 and 29. The property backs to one of Howard County's few remaining environmental areas, a fact which Rouse is using in its ads.

In these days of ecological awareness, I'm sure that the marketing department at Rouse is trying to ride the times. However, if the Rouse Co. had anything in mind besides the making of money, perhaps River Hill would become part of the small environmental area mentioned in the advertisement. I am offended that a developer would have me believe thatwildlife will abound in this new "development."

By "developing" the River Hill Farm, the Rouse Co. will destroy the habitat for thousands of animals, and to distort this reality by using such an ad campaign is scandalous.

I have no doubt that those who move to River Hill will have an opportunity to hand feed wild animals, as the ad mentions. Those animals that are not displaced by the bulldozers and backhoes, that are not displaced by the loss of grazing land and trees, will be only too happy to take a sandwich from their new neighbors.

I have wonderful memories of this part of Howard County. In the lastfew years I have become friends with the proprietor of River Hill Farm. He and his wife have lived and worked on the farm operating it asa shooting preserve until, in 1990, the Rouse Co. forced them to abandon the operation.

At present, the couple operates the farm as a boarding kennel and dog training facility. Hundreds of Howard County residents have used this farm for dog training and field trials. It is the only resource of its kind in Howard County and a resource that will be sorely missed.

Animals are no reason to delay progress? Perhaps. Then I ask: What does the Rouse Co. intend to do with the River Hill farmhouse and servants' quarters, built in the 1750s and stillwell maintained? I suppose that we can find some reason to say that these buildings are not of historic value, all in the name of "development."

History is not important? Then I ask a question that must affect us all: How will this new "development" affect your commute? River Hill Farm borders Route 32 to the south. At this point, Route 32is a two-lane road. While the state has plans to widen Route 32, it seems that the Rouse Co. will not wait but will burden county residents with the traffic caused by another 200 single-family homes along an already overburdened road.

"Development" also destroys a limitednatural resource that becomes more limited as "development" progresses. In order for "development" to proceed, our tax dollars must be spent, and we are powerless to stop this process.

It is time to let our legislators know what is important to the people who live in the county as well as what is important to developers. Let them know withyour letters and phone calls; let them know with your votes.

GOP PLAYING POLITICS

From: Wanda Hurt

Columbia

It is amazing that in this year when it is increasingly evident that we must raise new revenues in order to balance the budget, yet maintain basic services and offset any greater cuts in aid to our counties, that many of our Republican legislators continue to play party politics.

Heeding to their call of "no new taxes," it would seem that they would support other revenue enhancers that would not put an additional tax burden on their constituents.

Recently, several bills have been brought up in the House of Delegates that would have added significant revenues to the state.

Some examples are House Bill 254, Weights and Measures-Registration, special fund revenues that could increase by $880,000beginning in fiscal year 1992; House Bill 314, which would increase local revenues by raising the maximum fee that a county board of health could charge for any well-drilling permit from $40 to $80. All four Republican delegates voted against these bills.

Del. Virginia Thomas was the only member of the Howard County delegation who supported these pieces of legislation.

I could go on listing additional revenue bills that Dels. Kittleman, Flanagan, Morgan and Madden voted against, but the rule of the editorial page is to keep it short.

SUPPORT OUR SCHOOLS

From: Buddy Roogow

Ellicott City

As we have gone through the school year and into another budget cycle, it is an appropriate time to comment on the state of the public school system in Howard County.

Never has the education system been racked with such controversy. Money is tight; the teachers have not had their contract honored. Job actions have been threatened, and, obviously, morale is low. The effects on the country, while not yet apparent, will benoticeable long into the future. What can or should be done about it?

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