Wanting growth to be orderly isn't UtopianBrian Sullam...

LETTERS

November 12, 1995

Wanting growth to be orderly isn't Utopian

Brian Sullam wants you to know that Carroll County is not Utopia. No surprise here.

In his commentary of Oct. 29, Mr. Sullam states some rather strong, unsubstantiated opinions regarding growth in our county and contends that "it is no longer so easy to achieve the good life in Carroll." We beg to differ.

We believe this to be the best county in Maryland in which to raise children, while enjoying the cultural diversity offered by the nearby metropolitan area, the local towns and the surrounding farmland. Further, we believe that, with a concerted effort and proper planning, the good life can be achieved in Carroll County for this generation and many more to come.

We take particular offense to Mr. Sullam's remarks concerning Hampstead, its citizens, the new mayor and the new council of which we are members.

Mr. Sullam asserts that the Hampstead mayor and council have an agenda to "stop future development." In fact, we campaigned on a platform of responsible, managed growth.

We do not oppose new development in an attempt to close the door behind us.

We oppose poorly planned developments which disregard the need for adequate schools, sewer and water facilities and roads required to support them. We believe that the growth should occur only when the needs of the citizens, as well as those of the developer, are assured. Developments should be constructed at a reasonable pace, so that our vital services are allowed to keep up with demand.

Mr. Sullam states that our council has heeded "the voters by supporting a lawsuit challenging a development their predecessors approved."

Yes, the council has taken the steps necessary to enter the lawsuit in which a group of concerned citizens, including Stephen Holland, have challenged the approval of such poorly planned development in our town.

But the council has limited the scope of the town's participation in this lawsuit to defending the Town Code, which gives any Hampstead taxpayer the right to appeal a decision of the Planning Commission. The validity of this code has been challenged by the developer in his effort to prevent the citizens of Hampstead from exercising their legal right or appeal.

Mr. Sullam further states that, in entering the lawsuit, the town is taking on an "expensive and protracted legal battle."

In truth, all legal expenses generated by the original lawsuit will continue to be paid for by the citizens who brought the appeal. The only expense to the town will result from defending the taxpayers' legal right to appeal.

Despite Mr. Sullam's assertions, most rational citizens understand that growth throughout Carroll County is inevitable. But it need not be at the expense of our children's education or the public's health, safety and right to "achieve the good life in Carroll."

Controlled growth not only preserves the quality of life for those who already live in Carroll County, but also ensures that future residents who move into new developments have the opportunity to send their children to schools that are not severely overcrowded; to drive on roads which are safe and relatively clear; to have a adequate supply of clean, healthy and nitrate-free water, and to live in a county where the natural resources and scenic beauty are protected.

No one expects to find true Utopia in Carroll County. But we should expect to have a say in what happens in our JTC communities, and not be left at the mercy of developers, unresponsive planning boards and rampant growth. Planning for future residential development is not "dangerous" to Carroll County. Bad planning is.

Stephen A. Holland

Lawrence H. Hentz

Hampstead

The writers are town councilmen in Hampstead.

Substance abuse fight involves all

The Carroll County prevention community is grateful for the careful scrutiny you gave to the statistics released with the 1994 Maryland Adolescent Survey, and Brian Sullam's comments in his column of Oct. 1. We hope the entire community read and absorbed his wake-up call.

It is the entire community, after all, that needs to decide this problem is their own, or worse news will follow.

We believe you are right on target that parents and schools should regularly address this topic. Children are using more illegal substances and they are using them earlier than ever before.

Parents must understand that their job of protecting their children begins even before birth. Education about the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs is an education that begins at home and is continued through formal schooling that starts in public school in kindergarten.

However, it is not only schools and families that should be on alert. This subject should be addressed in every business, in every church, as part of every recreational program, in private as well as public schools, and all governmental agencies.

Does your business have a policy regarding alcohol and other drug use? Does your family? How often is it discussed?

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