THE CARROLL County commissioners made a bad decision when they rezoned the Rash brothers' Woodbine farm for housing and a golf course. It's sprawl that adds undue pressures for county services already stretched thin by poor planning.
But transforming the farm into a subdivision through the comprehensive zoning process does not create the troubling legal precedent caused by the commissioners' earlier decision to rezone the farm outside that process.
It's a step in the right direction, even if it doesn't bring the commissioners to the conclusion that makes the most sense.
The spot rezoning led to a court challenge that last month overturned the county's decision.
South Carroll residents may be able to appeal the outcome of the comprehensive rezoning process. But the two decisions by the commissioners appear to be procedurally distinct.
Unfortunately, the county commissioners have continued to insist that the new comprehensive zoning maps are mere guidelines for their unfettered decisions.
They intend to rezone land for industrial use that the maps show for less-intensive use. They could amend the maps to reflect the court ruling, if they chose to do so.
But this is what county citizens voted for in 1998. Two elected commissioners make all the decisions. When they don't like decisions of other boards and agencies, they can reject them.
That's what they did with the land-use Master Plan that accompanied this round of rezoning.
Once developed, land can't be returned to farm or conservation use. That can't be reversed, even with a new set of commissioners.
County commissioners could exhibit some strength of character by delaying project approvals until the legal issues are clarified. Sadly, their history argues against that kind of reason.