As a citizen and landowner I feel totally betrayed by our county government and our two commissioners, Richard Yates and W. Benjamin Brown.
As members of Carroll County Landowners Association, we have tried to let the commissioners understand how we feel. Mr. Yates attended one of our meetings and seemed very receptive to our problems as landowners. I guess we were given a real "snow job," or perhaps we thought he really cared.
When there were vacancies on the planning board, I approached Mr. Yates. We set up a meeting for Aug. 22. It was my understanding that there would not be an appointment before that time. The morning of Aug. 22, the headlines read, "Two planners may be replaced today." What a shock to all of us. But Mr. Yates came through again and assured me the appointments would not be made that day. So only three days later they were appointed.
Our group turned in five resumes. We selected five Carroll County landowners. All were caring folks who would be fair and honest to all of county citizens. Evidently, they weren't important enough to be interviewed by the commissioners.
I feel, and rightly so, that Messrs. Brown and Yates had already decided on their appointments of Baile, Ridgely and Dannelly long before Aug. 22. Many in our group could have saved a vacation day.
If Messrs. Brown and Yates think Mr. Baile represents the majority of the farm community, they haven't been listening to the citizens, or maybe they don't want to. Mr. Baile's family has their land in farm preservation; consequently they have received equity from their property because of this. That's the big difference; most landowners have not.
Farmers are, by nature, very passive, but the tide is turning. The Carroll County Landowners Association is turning things around. The ag community has joined together to help each other through hard times. We are proud to be landowners, and it is our desire to once again make the county we love a place to be proud of.
There have been recent reports on the opinions of some #F members of the Agricultural Preservation Committee, which is currently working on one segment of the Carroll County Master Plan that no one has, to date, mentioned that the "conservation" zone be re-evaluated. This is not true.
I attended the original county charette at which the committees were established to review the facets of the new master plan and suggested that the so-called "conservation" zone be revised. The densities permitted in the "conservation" district, at one lot per three acres, are far greater than what is permitted in the agricultural zone at one per 20 acres. The areas currently zoned "conservation" would be more appropriately named "development zones."
The intent of the conservation zone is to protect valuable natural resources in the county because these areas are so located as to include important stream valleys, erodible soils, reservoirs, flood plains and wetlands.
Baltimore County currently permits only one lot per 50 acres in the Resource Conservation 2 zone. This zoning has done much to protect northern Baltimore County from over-development and currently worthy of consideration in the current review of our master plan.
If this county is indeed serious about the protection of its natural resources and the preservation of a viable agricultural community here, it must address the current over-zoning in the conservation zone which is indicative of sprawl development.
A more logical choice would be to zone these valuable lands with the same permitted density as the ag zone, with perhaps the option of allowing the landowner a choice of subdividing lots varying in size from one to 50 acres. Right-sizing the densities in the conservation district will displace development to the community planning areas (i.e., towns), as it should be.
There is certainly room for more debate on the conservation zone. I do not wish to have discussion of it stifled by the comments of a few land speculators and developers. I welcome debate on this issue in future meetings of the master plan committees.
eil M. Ridgely
"Right now, we can't guarantee a response, and we cannot handle the population," says Dennis Beard, president of the Sykesville-Freedom Volunteer Fire Department in the Sept. 24 edition of The Sun, noting the Freedom District's concerns for adequate fire protection.
Maybe someone should duplicate that quote in five-inch-high letters and place it over the front entrance of the county office buildings that our commissioners and planning commission members use.
They claim not to receive Mr. Beard's personal correspondence hand-delivered to them. Perhaps it will take a few deaths or an embarrassing first response by Baltimore or Howard county fire departments before the burdens of Freedom's growth rate become painfully evident to county officials.