Key seat on board to be filled

December 30, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

The Carroll commissioners will point to the direction they want county government to take on environmental issues when they fill a key seat on the county Environmental Affairs Advisory Board.

A decision could come today.

Incumbent chairman Franklin L. Grabowski, a civil engineer and member of the Izaak Walton League who joined the board when it was formed three years ago, would like to be reappointed as the environmentalist member. His term expires tomorrow.

Opposition could come from Commissioner Donald I. Dell. Mr. Dell would not comment last week on how he will vote on the appointment. But Mr. Grabowski chaired the committee that wrote the forest conservation ordinance Mr. Dell would like to abolish.

Mr. Dell told county residents at the advisory board's annual hearing on the public's environmental concerns that he is "a little concerned about overprotection" of the environment.

He explained later that he thinks professional environmentalists and interested citizens sometimes support measures "that lead to overkill."

His example of overkill: a draft section of the forest conservation law that would have imposed a daily fine of 30 cents a square foot on violators. The commissioners changed the fine to a one-time penalty.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy supports Mr. Grabowski for a second term, which leaves Commissioner Julia W. Gouge with the swing vote. Mrs. Gouge did not return several telephone calls in the past week seeking comment.

Mr. Grabowski acknowledged that if you put the "green" community at one end of a continuum and unrestricted development at the other, he would lean toward the "greens."

"I'm not a tree hugger, but I am sensitive to the environment," he said. He is an engineer whose job with STV Lyon Associates Inc. involves protection of water resources in development projects, which gives him an understanding of the complexities of the permit process.

A recent Environmental Affairs Advisory Board meeting illustrates: Mr. Grabowski proposed a compromise that would have allowed a company planning a construction project to bypass an expensive environmental assessment if it placed the remaining forested acreage in a permanent easement.

When the forest technician who represented the company protested that his client might want to build on that forested land, Mr. Grabowski quickly calculated the slopes and reasoned that they were too steep to be suitable for construction.

Charter members of the board have pioneered what the board does and how it works, said Vice Chairwoman Gwenn Bockelmann, a Realtor who represents the housing industry.

Ms. Bockelmann said Mr. Grabowski "is an excellent, excellent chairperson. He has a good grasp of the environmental platform we've been working under."

Ms. Bockelmann's term also expires tomorrow. She said real estate sales have picked up recently and she doesn't have time to serve a second term.

Board member Dr. Arthur Peck, who represents the community at large, praised Mr. Grabowski as an effective member. "I don't always agree with his point of view, but he doesn't always agree with mine," Dr. Peck said.

Mr. Grabowski moved to the Hampstead area eight years ago with his wife, Jacki, a State Highway Administration employee, and their three children.

He said he likes to hunt and wants to preserve the county's atmosphere. To that end, he would require newcomers to adapt to farmers' needs rather than vice versa.

Mr. Grabowski said he has two disappointments in his service on the board: He had hoped the commissioners would tap board members' expertise on environmental issues, and he hates to see transplanted Carroll Countians not get involved in local government.

Farm Bureau representative T. Edward Lippy's term on the board also expires tomorrow. Mr. Lippy could not be reached for comment yesterday on whether he is seeking reappointment.

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