Good DevelopmentReading your June 4 editorial, "Keep...


June 20, 1993

Good Development

Reading your June 4 editorial, "Keep Greenspring Valley Green," I felt the necessity to question The Sun's impartiality and purpose in opposing this obviously worthwhile development.

Since I am a long-time employee of the Charlestown Retirement Community, I am admittedly somewhat biased toward this proposed development.

However, as a resident of the valley area, I am also concerned in maintaining the integrity of the pastoral beauty of this area.

The land in question is directly across the street from a large retail-commercial development fronting Falls Road and would not constitute a departure from what has been previously allowed to be built within this area.

In fact, this project would serve as a transition from the existing commercial zone to the residential-agricultural area along Greenspring Valley Road.

The loss of trout streams purported by The Sun is both irrational and untrue. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has strict requirements protecting existing waterways which would prohibit any development in the stream areas. These regulations along with stream setback boundaries would ensure the preservation of these streams.

As for the issue of increased traffic, one must remember that the residents of a retirement community are just that, retired. They would have little impact on the traffic pattern at rush hours.

Persons employed at the site are traveling against the flow of traffic and would not exacerbate the present traffic.

Visitors to the Charlestown site have consistently commented upon the extensive landscaping and pastoral quality of this project. That same quality would be extended to this proposed development.

Buffer areas would be created along the Greenspring Valley Road, as well as neighboring properties, which would minimize any alterations to the present greenery. Through selective plantings, these areas would actually be improved from their present state.

I believe that The Sun's opposition is not in the interest of preservation of this undeveloped site, but more to protect the interest of the elitist powers residing within the valley attempting to maintain the status quo.

It would be a shame to deny a project which would allow approximately 1,500 elderly citizens to experience a quality of life in an environment which is both architecturally and ecologically pleasing, due to the objections of a handful of wealthy families reluctant to allow others to enjoy the benefits of the surroundings which they have enjoyed.

Jeffrey L. DeBois

Owings Mills

Farmer Bashing

I read with some irritation Tom Horton's column "On the Bay," June 5.

Since "farmer-bashing" in regard to returning the bay and its tributaries to the good old days is a popular topic, I would like to make a few points in defense of the 7/10ths of 1 percent who are the state's largest business, providing food and fiber far beyond what is consumed locally.

I am a real farmer who has lived on and enjoyed the Patuxent River for more than 70 years.

My first earned income was from crabs (soft 5doz., hard 2doz., no females, no undersized). They were easily caught in clear, algae-free water.

Our land in Calvert County fronts the river between Hunting Creek and Lower Marlboro and was once prime spawning ground for white and yellow perch, rockfish, herring, shad and other species.

Now, with 55 percent of the "fresh" water entering the Patuxent being treated effluent laced with chlorine, the spawning environment is very poor.

Back 30 or 40 years ago, when this watershed abounded with farmers, the fish population was so great that even with gill nets by the thousands, from March until October there were fish for the catching.

Aquatic plants abounded and gave protection for crabs, feeder fish and other marine creatures to escape from hungry hardheads.

Today, many of those farms are large-lot residential developments with individual septic systems, and farmers are in very short supply. Those farmers who are still in business have adopted professional methods and use best management agricultural practices such as: no-till planting, strip cropping, sod waterways and other practices designed to keep nutrients on the crops for which they were intended.

We farmers are being arbitrarily blamed for large percentages of nitrogen and phosphorus in the bay systems.

Recently, I attended a public meeting in Prince Frederick on nutrient management, a subject farmers have taken seriously for years. After all, our profit, if any, is derived from the fragile combination of nutrient and water. We have the soil. This turned out to be another meeting with the pie charts indicating that the farmer is the villain.

It certainly appears that the farmers, with our 7/10 of 1 percent of the population, are being made the scapegoats for the other 99.3 percent.

John A. Prouty


Folk Hero Perot

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