Who's to blame in planning commission dispute?


March 16, 1997

In recent press statements, Joseph Mettle of Eldersburg has stated that his anger with me was that I had an argument with him over a planning commission decision he made. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Mettle is one of seven planning commission members. If you examine the records, He has voted as part of a three-member "no growth" cabal. Not once has his negative vote been a deciding vote.

A county employee upset by the actions of Mr. Mettle and fellow commission member, Grant Dannelly took a very daring step.

The employee gave me a copy of e-mail correspondence that was highly critical of two county commissioners.

The employee was highly incensed that both Messrs. Dannelly and Mettle were secretly working against the very commissioner who appointed them.

I gave copies of the e-mail correspondence to Thomas Hiltz, chairman of the planning commission, the state's attorney and the press.

I gave Mr. Hiltz the responsibility to pass it forward to the ethics commission for review.

I feel certain that the disclosure of this material influenced minds against the appointment of Ms. Fairbank to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

There is an old saying in politics and life, "Always go home with the person that brings you to the dance."

Messrs. Mettle and Dannelly, plus the loss of a good position for Ms. Fairbank that was hers to lose, had to learn a basic political truth the hard way.

Hobart D. "Hoby" Wolf Jr.



I have read with interest the past few days about a "meeting in Taneytown where the usual South Carroll crowd spoke."

I couldn't for the life of me figure out what meeting, or to whom was the reference since I haven't been in Taneytown since last August when I was invited by planning commission Chairman David Duree to introduce the newly formed Freedom Area Community Planning Council to the planning commission.

I had been elected to chair FACPC just two weeks earlier and Mr. Duree, a proponent of the community council idea, thought it would be a good opportunity to speak briefly about the goals and aspirations of the council.

Several members of FACPC also traveled to Taneytown including Wayne Schuster, Dan Hughes, Ed Overton, Mike Burgoyne and Nimrod Davis.

Together, we shared our desire to work more closely with the county planning department and planning commission. We were given this opportunity at the end of the published agenda.

Suddenly, after reading a letter to the editor by Carroll County Commissioner Richard T. Yates and remembering something that Hoby Wolf said a few weeks ago about being Mr. Yates' "unofficial-official researcher," it occurred to me that this must be what the references are about.

Apparently, Mr. Yates or Mr. Wolf have scoured the minutes from last year's planning commission meetings to count the number of times specific individuals have commented.

Unfortunately, Mr. Yates' letter failed to mention that we were invited to the Taneytown meeting to do exactly that.

Maybe the "unofficial-official" research should include more of the salient points and not just the ones that would support a specific point that's being attempted, in this case, justification for elimination of night planning commission meetings.

Maybe Mr. Yates as county commissioner should do his own research and come to his own conclusions.

I, too, have all the minutes from last year's meetings and, in fact, spoke more often than even the sanitized minutes would suggest.

I don't recall any counts on the number of times that land speculators, developers, lawyers and homebuilders commented during last year's meetings.

Maybe I should do a count, but do you really care? Has the First Amendment been revised and I'm not aware of it?

Carolyn Fairbank



Well, there they go again. The same small handful of citizens who have done nothing except whine, complain and personally attack the farmers and individuals who don't agree with their no-growth agenda, almost all of whom have moved into the Eldersburg area in the past few years.

They move into the very area designated by our past planners as the growth area and then become outraged every time a house is built or a new business is established.

They call themselves activists, but has anyone ever seen any of them helping at the county fairs, master gardener program, volunteer fire department or for that matter any volunteer work that advances our county in a positive direction? Has anyone ever heard them say anything admirable about our county?

They fought and complained vigorously at the planning meetings to have all their names included on certain work teams for the revision of the master plan, but after the county acquiesced to their demands to put each and every one of them on a work team, only a few attended for even the first meetings. Even those few quickly dropped out.

Their most recent complaint is against Commissioner Dick Yates, who has clearly voted consistently in support of their no-growth views.

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