Being a Good Neighbor

July 24, 1992

Howard County Councilman Charles Feaga is taking aim at a Carroll County proposal to establish a shooting range on a parcel that sits on the border between the two counties. But the gentleman farmer isn't turning this into a nasty skirmish. Mr. Feaga just wants Carroll officials to consider the noise the range is likely to create and to alter the plans to take into consideration residents in his district.

Some have already said Mr. Feaga should stick to minding things on his side of the border. In fact, the councilman's approach is well justified and reasonable. Relations between counties have grown increasingly interdependent in recent years. Officials from the various jurisdictions are increasingly turning toward cooperative ways of solving large-scale problems.

Even now, Baltimore area counties are working on plans for regional solid-waste management and compliance with the state's reforestation laws.

When one county considers doing something on its border that will affect residents in a neighboring jurisdiction then, of course, the concerns of the neighboring county should be considered.

A shooting range at Hoods Mill Landfill, just 1,000 feet from the Howard County line, not only creates a potential noise problem, it could very likely increase the risk of accidents and lower the value of nearby properties.

To Mr. Feaga's credit, he is not trying to tie cooperation on the shooting range issue to any ongoing efforts on waste management and reforestation. Still, it is yet to be seen how much ill will can come from this situation. As one official close to talks on regional cooperation said, "Little slights have a way of becoming big slights."

Hunters and gun enthusiasts in Carroll County may be pushing hard for a place where they can practice and enjoy their sport. But Carroll officials need to carefully consider not only the interests of those at home, but also those across the border. It's part of being a good neighbor.

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