Carroll Life Defends Itself over Bypass

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 19, 1995

Carroll Life has been the target of Westminster officials in recent weeks. We have been accused of wanting to turn Route 140 into an Interstate 795, of preventing a flower beautification program, of wanting to demolish 19 businesses with our upgrade proposal, and now of conspiring with the State Highway Administration. When our integrity is questioned and attacked, it is time to respond.

The Carroll Life group had meetings from May through November at the Westminster VFW each Thursday. These meetings were open to any elected official, county or city planners and business owners. We made no secret that we were working on a proposal to make 140 function as the bypass it was built to be 30 years ago. Our members include owners of small businesses, homemakers, teachers and factory workers as well as other private citizens who organized for a common purpose -- to stop an unnecessary bypass. We have worked since last spring contacting citizens concerning the bypass and have collected more than 1,300 signatures supporting the upgrade of Route 140, instead of a bypass.

The proposal we submitted to the SHA was built upon two existing plans already considered viable by the SHA. The proposals are not new. They were given as viable plans just as the bypass plans were given at a public meeting last spring. The businesses that were affected by these proposals were notified of them just as homeowners and property owners in the proposed bypass route were notified.

Not being able to cross 140 was a concern of then-Mayor Benjamin Brown, with whom Carroll Life met publicly and privately. We tried to address these concerns by asking the SHA to look at utilizing overpasses and underpasses at all intersections. Mayor Brown also asked that the SHA look into whether this would be feasible.

Would the newly appointed mayor and city officials rather see 31 families and businesses destroyed instead of taking a look at other solutions? The hard truth of the matter is that whatever solution is found, someone will be affected.

We maintain that a man's home is his castle and the interest of family homes should come first. The flower beautification program is a good idea, but not spending $75,000 to $100,000 in tax money on an area that may be upgraded is a prudent decision. Would appointed officials rather see 445 acres of woodlands and seven acres of wetlands and natural environments be destroyed rather than see a grass strip in the middle of 140 paved for additional lanes? As Carroll County citizens we have a great love and appreciation for the natural environments of our creator.

A man's home is his castle and family homes should come first.

Since we are not and have not voted to be within the Westminster city limits, it seems wrong that an unelected mayor should be telling the SHA what to do with our properties. Carroll Life will be part of a focus group the SHA has formed to study a solution to the 140 problem -- how to make the existing road function.

We welcome all parties to the table to discuss solutions. We have submitted not only the names of the members of our group, but those of downtown and Route 140 merchants and a deacon from a local church. We call upon our county and city planners and elected officials, as well as citizens, to step back, take another look and keep their minds open to new ideas. We ask the press not to print misleading information or to add any particular slant. It does not serve the citizens of this county to do so.

We hope the public will see that our group is made up of people with integrity. We are not politicians trying to make a name for ourselves. We are ordinary citizens, just like you, trying to protect our homes, our quality of life and our environment for our children and grandchildren. It is our hope that others who attend this focus group will do so with a willingness to find a solution.

We will have more public meetings in the future. We offer our hands in a working relationship with our elected representatives, city and county planners and all appointed officials. Whether they choose to work with us or continue to attack us as some have done is up to them. We will let the public judge whether they wish to find a solution to Route 140 using the existing roadway, or just add fuel to the fire and oppose the will of the citizens of this county.

Linda Hagan

Westminster

This letter was submitted by the board of Carroll Life.

How Many Stores Does Carroll Need?

Slightly less than 10 years ago, when I moved out to Carroll County from the Pikesville/Sudbrook Park area, it was mainly because I wanted to get away from the congestion found on Liberty and Reisterstown roads.

At the time of my move, the Eldersburg area had two major food stores. Shortly after the move, a third one, Martin's, was added. Within the past year, George's has been sold to another owner. All three of these very adequate stores are within about one-half mile of each other.

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