A plot to stop growth and drive farmers out ...Well, I see...


September 08, 1996

A plot to stop growth and drive farmers out ...

Well, I see that our two tax-and-spend commissioners are at it again. The stacking of the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission with low-growth people is another peg in the demise of the farmer in this county.

First, they take away your property rights without paying for them.

Then, they fail to provide for services and allow rampant growth all over the county; build educational monuments to ignorance; saddle farmers with a $5,000 per lot impact fee; inflate the country work force beyond belief and jack up taxes to pay for their failures (past and present).

Now on a dubious low-growth program, they stack the boards with members with ties to the Sierra Club (which caused a depression in two states over saving an endangered species which turned out not to be endangered after all), and with close ties to a no-growth town manager and a farmer who has no vested interest in his property because he already sold out his property rights.

They do not want our land. County Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown's idea (at a meeting with the Carroll County Landowners Association) that we should just sell our valuable farms to other farmers is ludicrous. He also tried to dodge the blame by pinning it on the real estate and banking industry, which provide the few jobs in the county.

Now to the positive side. The people who are working on the new master plan have an opportunity to correct a few wrongs with the old master plan.

First, they can change the policy on agricultural zoning from not changing the zoning of a property when it is developed to one which changes the zoning of the property that is developed. Even though the hundreds of new houses that were allowed under the old master plan were built on agriculturally zoned property, the zoning was not changed to reflect the new use.

Second, they can determine the areas of most dense population and turn them into towns or cities or special areas (whatever you want to call them) to tax citizens for the services they require.

Third, the new planning and zoning board (or Board of Education) could figure out a way to reduce the education budget. The building of new schools should be standardized, not some architect's monument to himself. Maybe some of the excess funds could be spent on teachers, books and materials.

Fourth, the county needs to come up with a progressive property tax that taxes new houses at a higher rate than older ones to raise the revenue for the new services that they require. The $5,000 impact fee doesn't do that.

Fifth, provide payment (transferable development rights) to the farmers who have had their property rights taken from them.

Your editorial was correct: The commissioners should have taken their time about appointing the members to the planning and zoning board. Instead we get more of the same same, old dictatorial and arrogant attitudes despite promises.

Lynn Pipher


I see homebuilder president Gregory S. Dorsey and Greater Westminster Development Corp. head James H. Dulany IV are opposed to the efforts of Carroll County commissioners Richard T. Yates and W. Benjamin Brown in removing one of the detriments to managed growth in Carroll, that is planning commission member Robert Lennon.

If they're opposed, Messrs. Yates and Brown must have been on the right track. These guys will only be satisfied when all the county is paved over.

Gene Edwards


Well here we go, as the never-ending escapade of the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission moves in yet another new direction. The citizens stand in shocked silence. What new twist will come forward to change the face of this county?

It was time for David Duree to move on, as most citizens will agree he had deserted us awhile back with the approval for 240-plus homes in South Carroll out of the view of the taxpayers.

Now here comes Robin Frazier to do battle with the citizens. We pray she will be kind to us. Please don't overcrowd our schools and roads. Please don't overextend our incomes. Please save what's left so we can live in a country-setting. As another 152 housing units come on line in South Carroll, we pray for relief.

Michael Willinger


... We didn't need to 'plot' on growth, Brown replies

Upon returning from medical leave, I was amazed to find that Robert Lennon's removal from Carroll's planning commission was being widely portrayed as an effort by Dick Yates and me to "get" the gentleman. A review of recent history, and a little math, will clearly show that there was no need for Mr. Lennon to be removed in order for us to further our growth control aims.

At the time of the 1994 election, Carroll had experienced 25 years of rapid and largely unconstrained growth. Our planning commission had come to be universally viewed as a rubber stamp for land developers.

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