Preserving land for the future should be priority...


March 26, 2000

Preserving land for the future should be priority

Carroll County must wake up to environmental accountability in maintaining the integrity of the Liberty watershed.

As citizens and consumers, it is our responsibility to prevent government and industry from irresponsible and self-serving goals under the auspices of tax revenue and home rule.

Their goal will be accomplished by land-use changes and subsequent development of industrial land around Liberty Reservoir. These land-use changes are running rampant in Carroll to cover up the mistakes of previous planning and zoning debacles in other areas.

This precedent will allow Baltimore County to do the same.

We, as residents, must voice our opinion and be heard in this matter. Baltimore City is correct in its efforts to preserve the watershed and its buffer of land. Carroll County must sign off on its original agreement, get its additional water, solve water woes, and move on. Leave the land alone. We like it like that.

Now the goal, it seems, is to use Piney Run as leverage, to abandon Liberty Reservoir. Thereby Carroll will supposedly intimidate Baltimore into giving Carroll much-needed water, along with the ability for Carroll County to do as itdeems fit for the land along the watershed border.

What a joke, with Carroll County's vacillating ideology about land use in Carroll, we want to further our decline with some imaginary principle about self-governing land. Let me be frank. Carroll County is a dismal failure at planning and zoning, and should be embarrassed for the legacy it leaves.

Let's not kid ourselves into thinking that Piney Run is a viable water source for south Carroll. The county has long abandoned that idea and allowed development to run rampant on that area. Realistically, Carroll County does not have the resources to develop Piney Run as a water source.

Carroll has irresponsibly taken allocated monies from the Piney Run watershed to develop water towers at Springfield Hospital Center in an effort to solve a long-term problem with Band-Aids. Are we living in a vacuum? The state may not even authorize permits. I question the close proximity of these towers to each other. As to their long term use and the failure of one if not all, a well is a well and ground water is tricky at best.

We must question why it is so important to create industrial land along our border and why its tax advantages are needed. Is it to centralize additional revenue to expand county government, to satisfy a pet project, or build schools in non-growth areas?

Our elected representatives' efforts have shown a total disregard for the last best vestige of open space in the Baltimore/Washington corridor, called Carroll County.

Past and present, "the powers to be" have manipulated the borders of Carroll County into an unplanned, disorganized quagmire, leaving at its center an enclave of protected land.

It is our task to put this madness to rest. We must free ourselves from the hands of selfish and misguided representatives. We must look at and avoid the mistakes of other counties.

Marcel J. van Rossum


School issue is bigger than north vs. south

We, as citizens of Carroll County, recognize that our common interests and goals debunk the spin of north vs. south as simply that, spin, intended to divide Carroll County.

I did not say citizens of south Carroll County because even though many glibly tout a line that this is a north/south issue I find no such lines when the tax bills are mailed.

Nor do I find such in the many discussions between those who live in the north and those who live in the south, which focus on alternatives and unlawful taxation and combined efforts to counter elaborate ludicrous redistricting plans which almost everyone recognize as an effort to pound a round peg into a square hole.

Many find themselves between a rock and a hard place -- supporting the new high school but clearly unable to accept the redistricting plans as an acceptable solution nor the unjustifiable taxation of building without possible state participation.

The "solution" attacks their children, their communities, their way of life and their wallets.

We are frustrated that once having the facts, there has been no true forum where citizens, staff, commissioners and the Board of Education can come together and synergistically arrive at an acceptable solution for Carroll County. We are all willing to bear our portion of the pain in any process if we feel that our voices have been heard and all valid proposals scrutinized.

Lay aside arguments of where the school should be built and ask the question as citizens of Carroll County, why in our right minds would we pay the full price of $38 million for a school if we didn't have to. Why did we pay full price for Cranberry Station, $11 million, when we didn't have to? Why would we let history repeat itself when the ink on the history is not yet dry?

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