County Council redeems itself by just saying no to Wal-Mart

3 CENTS WORTH

August 05, 1992|By Russ Mullaly

With the unanimous decision to not change the zoning of the land at routes 40 and 29 for Wal-Mart, the Howard County Council has redeemed itself in the eyes of many county residents.

I'm sure quite a few Ellicott City residents breathed a big sigh of relief.

The nightmare in traffic that could have come about by allowing Wal-Mart to build not one, but two, stores on this property, has probably been averted. Route 40 traffic has been getting heavier lately as it is, with the opening of the Enchanted Forest retail complex, and the increased westward growth.

It is easy to imagine what the situation at Route 40 and Ridge Road would be like.

It is a difficult intersection now even with only one building on the north side of Ridge Road, combined with traffic from the Golden Triangle Shopping Center, the Emissions Inspection Station, the post office, O'Donnell's Auto Sales, a small office park, and residents of River Mills.

But Wal-Mart aside, the real story here is the action of the County Council.

It appears that they carefully examined the facts, listened to the people who would be directly affected, and made the right decision for the county.

They looked past the alleged tax advantages, which usually end up costing the county more, and did the right thing.

Thank you, council members! We were beginning to give up hope that the council would listen to residents' concerns. We certainly hope that this may be the start of similar decisions to come.

For example, it is probably inevitable that development in some form or another will take place in the area of Marriottsville Road and Route 99, the Waverly Woods II proposed location.

But does it have to be of the magnitude that Donald Reuwer and company desire?

Too much expansion of this sector could have an adverse impact on the quality of life of the area. As expressed by concerned residents, it would be a strain on the roads, utilities, and school populations.

This, too, is another area the County Council needs to study fully, weighing the possible tax advantages, as well as the concerns of the residents.

With this glimmer of hope from the council, there may be hopthat residents will continue to be listened to and their views respected, rather than only the voices of the developers and big business.

Perhaps there's renewed hope for some sort of resolution of: the Route 100 debacle; the dangerous precedent of building on county parkland (which appears to have started at Rockburn Park for a new school); and the disgraceful situation that was allowed to occur at St. Mary's Cemetery.

The matter of the cemetery is something that can be addressed by the County Council since, besides the sheer immorality of it all, there is history involved with the site. This was land once held by Charles Carroll and given to the Catholic Church for the purpose of being a cemetery.

The Howard County Council has shown itself in the past to be progressive in getting laws passed for the good of county residents, in some instances passing laws that were the first of their kind in the whole nation.

Isn't it time for this spirit to come forth once again?

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