County citizens' group schedules meetings on Howard's future

First session, April 19, to focus on growth

April 09, 1999|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

With two broad reviews of Howard County's future in the new millennium already under way, a third group has announced a similar effort.

The Howard County Citizens Association (HCCA), a venerable group of about 100 people that enjoyed a resurgence 11 years ago, has a meeting scheduled April 19 -- the first of several, according to Geoffrey Silberman, its president.

The group, said the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory electrical engineer, "tends to play a watchdog role, making sure government hews to the rules it sets out."

That gives the group a slightly different focus than those employed by county officials in crafting a new 10-year General Plan and by Howard County -- A United Vision, a group working on ways to bind residents together after years of rapid expansion.

But Silberman's first meeting is scheduled at the same time and right down the hall from County Executive James N. Robey's first budget presentation to the County Council, which could hurt attendance -- although Silberman is hoping for spillover from Robey's speech.

"Our intent is seeing as many folks involved as possible," Silberman said.

The first meeting will involve a panel discussion on growth featuring John Taylor, a slow-growth advocate; Carol Filipczak, a past president of HCCA; and a state official representing Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Smart Growth program. Meetings next month and in June will cover education and environmental issues, Silberman said.

"It's a bunch of decent, concerned people," Taylor said, although he strongly opposes, for example, the group's support of large mixed-use developments outside Columbia. He agrees with HCCA's opposition to the widening of Route 32 through western Howard to Interstate 70, however.

The group's meeting in Ellicott City will be held at 7 p.m. in the George Howard Building's Ellicott Room at 7 p.m. Robey will be delivering his speech at the same time in the nearby council hearing room.

Pub Date: 4/09/99

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