Farragut Deserves Support
The board of the Howard County Housing Alliance applauds and supports the courageous position taken by Councilman Paul Farragut on the creation of moderate-income housing units in proposed mixed-use areas. Mr. Farragut's proposal is reasonable and doable, as density bonuses are a proven method of allowing developers to create affordable housing and still make a profit.
Even those who cannot accept the premise that housing is a basic human right should, at least, be able to recognize that the provision of affordable housing is essential to the economic health of the country.
Despite the valiant efforts of housing advocates like the Howard County Housing Alliance, there has been far more talk than action with regards to affordable housing in Howard County. The failure of the Moderately Priced Dwellling Unit legislation was a triumph for the NIMBY's, not for the county. . . .
Barbara M. Peart
The writer is chairwoman of the Howard County Housing Alliance.
Your recent editorial (July 22) charges the County Council/Zoning Board members with being shortsighted on the affordable housing issue, primarily because they rejected moderate-priced housing legislation earlier this year. Some of the members are responding to citizens who are tired of granting benefits to developers, such as the rejected proposal to award density increases as a reward for building affordable housing. It is because of citizen input that Paul Farragut proposed a new alternative during the comprehensive rezoning process. . . .
Mixed-use zones are essentially small-scale versions of Columbia acres compared with 14,000 acres). The proposed densities of three or six units/acre will be higher that the overall 2.3 units/acre average of Columbia. Mr. Farragut's proposed zoning regulation change (not legislation, as stated in your editorial) would require 5 to 10 percent moderate-income housing upon exceeding the 2.3 units/acre threshold.
. . . Efforts like this should have been in place 10 years ago. . . .
Remember when McDonald's left the Columbia Mall because could not hire workers at an affordable wage? Do you know any "entry level professionals" who still live with their parents because they cannot afford to rent near their place of employment? Do you live in a townhouse complex where rental units are occupied by three to four different individuals (hogging all the parking spaces)?
The answers to these questions emphasize the lack of affordable housing Howard County has. Howard County Councilman Paul Farragut has proposed a requirement of affordable housing in the mixed-use zone in exchange for density increase. . . . I feel that if the county offers a benefit such as increased density, it can ask for something in return, such as the provision of affordable housing. By allowing the mixing of land uses, affordable housing will be located near employment, transportation and shopping, thereby assisting employers to attract employees.
Ecker Playing Both Sides
. . . It seems to me that Howard County Executive Charles Ecker is a very shrewd politician. He rallied with the non-smokers and is trying to get a law passed to eliminate smoking in public places such as taverns and restaurants. As a non-smoker I too liked the idea of eating and drinking in a smoke-free environment, even if I still feel it is not fair to the smokers.
Then Mr. Ecker made brownie points with the smokers of the county by stating that he will veto the bill if it carries any exceptions to his bill. . . . If Mr. Ecker really does care about second-hand smoke, isn't a law banning smoking in some areas better than vetoing a bill and settling for nothing. . . .
Linda M. Hess
Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker's position on a smoking law has reached the level of fanaticism. The amendment he opposed . . . regarding a person's behavior off the job bespeaks of a personal crusade rather than that of being a representative of constituents. I suspect that soon he will turn his fanaticism on the auto industry, the manufacturing industry, the alcohol industry, and last, of course, the food industry. . . . Joyce C. Robinson
Pendergrass Bridged Gap On Districts
I have been watching the County Council's struggle to pass a new councilmanic redistricting plan with much interest.
Council Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass deserves a great deal of credit for her leadership in helping to produce the plan that won approval.
Redistricting is an inherently contentious process. Ms. Pendergrass was able to pull together different viewpoints to come up with a plan that not only followed the legal criteria, but also took into consideration common sense ideas of community unity and fairness.
Partisan politics usually dominate the drawing of new district lines, but Ms. Pendergrass was able to lead her colleagues to a bipartisan conclusion.
The entire county should be grateful for her leadership.
I'm an eighth grader who lives in Howard County. I just want to say my opinion about the 1993 All-Star Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards:
I think Mike Mussina should of had a chance to pitch the last out in the game. Sure the Toronto pitcher got the guy out, but Mussina . . . should have gotten to pitch. Cito Gaston had to have one of his players be the hero. To Mike Mussina (Number 35), we love you!