Housing proposal fight is about zoning rulesIn response to...


April 06, 1997

Housing proposal fight is about zoning rules

In response to your March 16 article entitled, "Residents oppose housing proposal," as one incorrectly "quoted," I desire to clarify some of the points presented by your reporter.

Foremost, the tension from the affected neighborhoods is not with the Taylors' right to develop their properties. Our legal appeal addresses the apparent circumvention by the Department of Planning and Zoning of many county regulations, including: Question B provision of the County Charter, which restricts the authority of permitting Doncaster Road to connect onto College Avenue to the County Council, not the Department of Planning and Zoning.

The failure to require the land owner to submit a conceptual plan of development of all contiguous land holdings.

We find ourselves frustrated, as multi-generational residents of Ellicott City and neighbors of the Taylors' land holdings, by the lack of opportunity to share a early dialogue about the proposed development and the total failure of fair notice regarding the dramatic change of a property this size.

Many of our issues are being shared and voiced by other neighborhoods, as apparent by the increased frequency of land-use articles within your pages.

Russ Strough

Ellicott City

Curb billboards, curb freedom of speech

On March 14, I read the article on billboard appeals by Lyle Denniston.

Advertisers and manufacturing of cigarette and alcohol are advocating the appeal of the ordinances that restrict the placement of billboards to areas where minors are unlikely to see them.

The concerned companies have as much right as the next company to place advertisements in highly traveled areas. If that area happens to include children, so be it. The companies are only trying to make their product known to the community. Their advertisements are not directed to children; you have never seen a billboard with a 12-year-old boy and a cigarette.

I myself am 16. My parents are divorced and I drive from Howard County to Ocean City every other weekend. I have seen many billboards on my trips, advertising everything from restaurants to soda. I am not influenced at all by these supposed attempts to brainwash children.

We have no right to tell the cigarette and alcohol companies where they can and cannot advertise. This is America, where everyone has freedom of speech, not to mention freedom of opinion. If you don't like what they are doing, don't attack them, counter them. It's your right to put up billboards of your own, wherever you like.

Gordon Brooks Trimper


Sickness frustrates officers, too

I feel compelled to respond to Jamie Haider's letter of Feb. 23, "Justice Takes a Sick Day."

What she experienced on Jan. 29 in District Court was unfortunate and unjust. Typically, if the defendant is sick or unable to proceed with a case on the trial date, the case may be postponed at the discretion of the judge. It is also common practice in traffic court for judges to postpone cases for defendants who fail to appear without so much as the courtesy of a notification.

Police officers are and should be held to a higher standard, however, and in assuming her responsibility, Officer Burnham notified the court of her illness on Jan. 29. The judge could have postponed Officer Burnham's cases. The officer could not have given her caseload to a substitute, as only she can testify under oath as to her observations and actions.

Officer Burnham responded to this incident, conducted an investigation and cited the individual who struck the woman's vehicle.

The officer could not prevent an illness, however, and the judge chose to dispose of the case in the simplest and least equitable manner. No one will understand how this decision will adversely affect you financially, but please know that police officers understand and share your frustration with court decisions such as these.

If you need clarification on judicial procedures or if you require further explanation, contact the District Court or the State Judicial Review Commission.

Robert D. Castor

Ellicott City

The writer is vice president of the Howard County Police Officers Association, Inc.

Paying for failures at Alpha Ridge

Surprise, surprise. Residents of Howard County are paying for the county's screw-ups. Ever since the Alpha Ridge Landfill in Marriottsville was built 25 years ago, it has caused nothing but problems.

The newest idea from Howard's elected officials is that residents living near the landfill should pay for the city water hookups into their homes. Why did they put the dump so close to an up-and-coming area where new families were buying their first homes? Why pay if it is not our fault?

The price for front-footage water hookup would be 50 cents per foot per year. That becomes absurd when a person has to pay for 400 or 500 feet of front-footage. The housing lots out here are at least three acres each. That's a lot of front-footage. This is not Columbia.

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