Rural landowners retain the right to sell their property...


January 03, 2000

Rural landowners retain the right to sell their property

After reading The Sun's article on Arthur Tracey's efforts to sell his land in Parkton ("Farm sale plan to pay debts sparks conflict," Dec. 27), I must express my feelings regarding the downzoning of additional farmland.

I think this is just another example of the unconstitutional taking of property without compensation.

Mr. Tracey is correct. The easement money the county and state offer is less than the market value of the acreage. Those who take easement payments are, for the most part, professional people who do not rely on the value of the property for their retirement or estate.

What right does a local government have to tell a property owner he may or may not do with a 19th century structure situated on his land?

Will that government compensate the property owner for the hardship of maintaining that old building?

Is the Hamlet Farms Community Association comprised of residents who live in developments that were once farms? Are these folks NIMBYs?

Baltimore County's long-range plan seems to be to crowd the masses into town centers, leaving the pristine beauty of the county's remaining land for the affluent.

However, the county government does not publicly address the growing crime in these town centers.

The County Council should concentrate on maintaining safe communities and let farmers benefit from the true value of the land they have struggled for years to maintain.

Phyllis Ensor


In response to The Sun's article concerning Arthur Tracey's efforts to sell his farm, I would note that many of the same people who oppose the selling of this farm land should realize that the land on which their houses are built was once part of large farms.

As long as Mr. Tracey's farm is zoned appropriately, why should his rights as a land owner be selectively restricted?

I support Mr. Tracey's right to sell his land and to have it used to the same extent that every other parcel of land in the area has been used.

Those who want to protect pastoral views should buy their own farms -- not rely upon Mr. Tracey to subsidize the protection of rural scenery for their delight.

Ernest Price


Why didn't the city pursue slumlords long ago?

I would like to know why Baltimore City housing officials do not prosecute slumlords such as James Stein who have numerous housing violations ("Experts fault enforcement of city's lead laws," Dec. 24).

They seem to do nothing until there is a big write-up in The Sun.

Where were these people for 15 years while Mr. Stein was reaping profits as a slumlord?

Jack Dibbern


To sell a used car in Maryland, one must obtain an inspection certificate, which is granted only after a thorough examination of the vehicle.

But after following The Sun's coverage of the Stein/Dangerfield real estate scandals, I find it interesting that an old house in whatever condition can be sold -- even if it is unfit for human occupancy -- with title transferred, no matter how many violations have been issued.

Isn't there something wrong here?

Howard Cohen


Kane's column a holiday classic

Gregory Kane's column "Keeping Christ in Christmas" (Dec. 4) should stand alongside the classics of Charles Dickens and O. Henry as perspectives on the true meaning of the holiday season.

Most of us may not be able to effect or expedite a pardon for prisoners, however fervently we may wish we could.

But it's well within everyone's power to resolve to practice, or better yet, to strive to live such values as justice and reconciliation.

They may very well bring us a little closer to a world that manifests the angel's promise of "peace to all those on whom his favor rests."

Anne H. Kidwell


Don't press Santa Claus to serve anti-gun agenda

I found KAL's cartoon depicting a grotesque Santa dropping firearms to be in incredibly poor taste (editorial cartoon, Dec. 23).

The Sun is known for its liberal and significantly anti-gun rights philosophy.

To use a season many religions celebrate, and to select a rendition of Santa to further that agenda displays poor judgment and worse taste.

I am disappointed, but certainly not surprised.

Paul A. Burke


Before telling us how to live, Curran should become ethical

It wasn't very long ago that state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran was in the newspapers and on television, pontificating about the morality of the average citizen having guns.

The attorney general admonished us all to support his near-ban on guns, on grounds of virtue and righteousness.

Imagine my surprise, then, that this same attorney general apparently has very adjustable morals when it comes to abiding by the terms of the contract that he and the state made with Peter G. Angelos about the fee Mr. Angelos would make from the state's tobacco settlement.

As an attorney, Mr. Curran should have considered the hefty fees before he and the state signed the agreement.

As someone who likes to preach to citizens about right and wrong, he should learn the difference between the two.

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