Some Candidates Bypassing This Hot PotatoRecent attention...

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

September 18, 1994

Some Candidates Bypassing This Hot Potato

Recent attention has been given to building a bypass around Westminster. It has been proposed without any area input from citizens for its final destination.

Many ideas have been proposed by the state that do not meet the needs of the citizens but follow the county's objectives. County records show the bypass route has already been decided and its purpose is a marketing tool to attract business to the airpark. This being an election year, county politicians have been very evasive on this issue. . . .

The county planners are trying to justify this bypass and at the same time adding traffic lights on Route 140 for streets that go nowhere. The new lights are adding to the problem but the bypass is not the solution. This bypass will only save commuters a couple of minutes and cost anywhere from $250 million to $1 billion to complete. This is not cost effective when upgrades to Route 140 will eliminate problems for all county citizens. . . .

Larry Deboy

Westminster

Each month in Carroll County, meetings are held to discuss and make decisions on projects and issues that are important to all of us, such as new roads, housing developments and #F environmental issues. Many of these meetings are open to the public, as they should be. Probably the most important meeting is the Carroll County Planning Department meeting, which is held on the third Tuesday of each month. At this meeting, almost every subject you can imagine is discussed.

But even though these meetings are open, not many people, outside of those who have vested interests, attend.

In other counties and states, these types of meetings are held in the evening when it is convenient for the public to attend. The newspapers in these areas publish an agenda of topics to be discussed and voted on, in plain English. People are encouraged to attend and voice their approval or disapproval on every subject. After the meeting, the local newspapers print an easy-to-understand summary of all issues approved or disapproved, and sometimes explain how these decisions will affect all citizens.

This does not happen in Carroll County. The planning department meeting is held during normal working hours, when most employed Carroll countians are working at their jobs, which may be in Baltimore. . . . It is up to the government to make things accessible to the public, not vice versa.

The newspapers in Carroll County make some effort to announce these meetings and to publish agendas, but seldom do we see articles or editorials explaining in detail and plain English how the important projects will affect the lives and lifestyles of us all.

Other states, such as Vermont, have "town meetings" on a regular basis. If the public votes "no," the government and

planners must revise their plans to suit the public.

When I requested that the Carroll County Planning Department meetings be held in the evening, I was told "that's not possible. The meeting is too long; it would be inconvenient for board

members to be there." But that's not the way it should be. . . . The time has come for Carroll County to conduct really "open meetings."

Ken Davidson

Westminster

Please, no beltway around Westminster . . . Agricultural preservation is important to Carroll countians. . . . The legislature could put dollars back into preservation. The farmers need to have every encouragement to withstand the pressure of selling out to developers. We have all seen bypass roads cause farmland to change to developed land with developer pressure on farmers and county zoning for variances. . . .

I think that Carroll countians would be more likely to put up with existing morning and evening heavy traffic than to see rural Carroll County disappear.

One alternative emphasis might be to encourage transportation of people by buses to Baltimore and Washington subways. Commuters could be picked up at their homes with school buses (or other private contractors) earlier and later than school and taken to a location to be shuttled to Baltimore and Washington. . . . Surely cheaper than the many millions of dollars contemplated for beltways and bypasses. . . .

Why not make a few cloverleafs at two-lane roads crossing two-lane roads? Drivers are more courteous on two-lane roads. They don't expect to go 75 mph. . . .

The Carroll Life organization is reaching out to the community for support in opposing the building up of Carroll County that takes from its rural character. Call at 848-0179 or 848-4302.

Jacquelyn D. Loats

Westminster

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