Hayden and Honeygo

April 30, 1992

One campaign promise that Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden has tried to keep is his pledge to bring the county's suburban sprawl to a crawl.

That's why Mr. Hayden has proposed a three-year building moratorium for 3,000 acres in the Honeygo area just north of Perry Hall. The ban would stop construction of all but 300 of 12,000 planned new homes. In addition, other building in the area would be put on hold.

Clearly, the executive has heard the dismayed cries of residents who say development in their part of the county has far outpaced the provision of basic services such as roads, schools, sewers and recreational facilities. The residents are particularly alarmed that all seven elementary schools in the Perry Hall area already are over capacity.

Yet, while Mr. Hayden's heart was in the right place, his head must have been somewhere else. His proposed building ban came out of the blue last month, without input from the county council. The council members, their noses out of joint, repaid Mr. Hayden for his political faux pas by indicating earlier this week that they will probably kill the proposal. Take that, Rog.

The business community, which naturally opposes the moratorium, also has criticized the executive for apparently not having much of a plan beyond halting development for three years. The business leaders ask, what happens when the three years are up? Are we back to where we stand today?

The administration's answer is that the three-year break would give the county time to create a comprehensive Honeygo plan that would include both development and infrastructure.

Perhaps the administration would be wise, after riling the county council, to try a different tack by crafting a comprehensive plan with the help of the council, the communities and the business interests. Once that job has been completed, then county leaders might agree on a sensible moratorium that would give Perry Hall residents the breather they clamor for.

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