From: S. D. Bovi
In response to Mr. Bernard Bartos (Howard County Sun, Readers write, "Bring on Wal-Mart," March 15), I say, "Stay away, Wal-Mart!"
I am one of "those who are retired and on a limited income," and I feel that my needs to shop in discount warehouse-type stores are more than adequately met in Howard County.
We have Caldor, K mart, Burlington Coat Factory and now Ross, which recently opened in Dobbin Center and advertises "brand names and designer fashions at 40-65 percentsavings."
I feel the shopping needs of all segments of society should be met -- yes, even "two-income yuppies and teen-agers" who are probably keeping our economy alive. The only new stores that are opening are discount stores!
I strongly lament the demise of stores ofthe caliber of Hoschild-Kohn, Stewart's and Hutzler's. Even on a limited income, I like to shop at a "class" store on occasion.
Obviously, Mr. Bartos' present residential location would be unaffected by the mammoth-sized traffic problems a large regional store like Wal-Mart would create at the Ridge Road and Route 40 (where the west-bound traffic presently divides into five different routes).
Consider further the tons of garbage, pollution and so on such a store as Wal-Mart (requiring in excess of 1,500 parking spaces) would generate.
If Wal-Mart must come to Howard County, why doesn't its battery of real estate consultants, attorneys and landscapers look at other areas that would more than take care of its needs (the empty GE space, for example).
I believe the Planning Board was correct in its present classification of the North Ridge Road prosperity as Planned Office Research. This zoning classification should not be changed.
BRING IN WAL-MART
From: Edwin R. Strakna
In reference to the brouhaha concerning the opening of a Wal-Mart in Ellicott City, my family and I are among those who favor the Wal-Mart in our county. I could recite many reasons, but my main point is that with all of the residential building that has occurred in that part of the county, thereis hardly any real country setting to speak of, and the suburban clutter has done more to clog the roads than a large retail structure could.
May county residents, myself included, have found the shopping on U.S. 40 to be crowded and inadequate. The K mart and Caldor chronically run out of specials, and Saturday shopping is sometimes a nightmare. Therefore, many of us go off to do our major shopping outsideof Howard County -- our money benefits Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George's counties. It is not unusual to encounter county residents in far-away shopping centers.
I say that the Wal-Mart will do more to attract residents who currently shop outside the county. I wold say it will siphon off people who usually go to Pace, Price Club, etc., than from local small businesses. I think that mostof the objections stem from fear of the unknown.
REJECT TRASH PROPOSAL
From: John M. Hansen
Due to prior commitments, Iam unable to attend the public hearing scheduled for March 17. Please accept this as my testimony concerning Council Bill 36.
I strongly urge the members of the council to reject Council Bill 36, a bill which provides for the establishment of annual garbage collection charges for residential and non-residential properties.
According to the county executive, "the purpose . . . is to establish charges and fees . . . in order to defray the costs . . . of collecting garbage in Howard County."
Yet nowhere in the bill does it suggest to whichagency or to what purpose(s) the funds collected would be applied. Nor does it suggest what percentage of said costs the bill wishes to "defray."
Members of the council, let us face the truth about Bill 36. The bill is a less-than-subtle attempt by the county executive toraise revenues without having to confront the words: tax increase.
Nor is it sufficient to suggest that the bill is simply a user fee,one common in other jurisdictions. The fact is that the residents ofHoward County have long understood that garbage collection is one ofthe necessary services supported by property taxes. To suggest a "user fee" at this point is simply a shell game.
The issue is not whether property tax increases are necessary to maintain the vital services and the quality of life we currently enjoy in Howard County. If such is the case, then let Charles Ecker have the courage to propose them and make the case for them. If said case is a compelling one, then let the members of this council have the courage to vote "aye."
Members of the council, the issue here is courage and simple honesty.Like the emperor of old, Bill 36 has no clothes. I urge you to recognize that fact and vote accordingly.
NOT ANOTHER GOLF COURSE
Howard County citizens should be made aware that our County Council is about to buy the Brooklyn Bridge with taxpayers' money.
Have Mr. Donald R. Reuwer, Dr. Bruce T. Taylor et al. got a deal for you.