Little to be gained from Lowe's proposal I oppose...


May 06, 2001

Little to be gained from Lowe's proposal

I oppose Lowe's coming to Montgomery Road for many reasons: quality-of-life issues (traffic, noise, pollution, early-hour deliveries, 25 tractor-trailers a day making deliveries) and economic issues (residential devaluation; no true need for another home improvement store -- why risk putting a small competitor out of business and creating yet another vacated commercial property in our area?). There is no benefit to bringing Lowe's to our community other than the YMCA (a quasi-public institution which receives grants from state and county funds) profiting nicely to fund an expansion, and Bethel Baptist Church getting signalized access (which is merited) and a few extra acres for recreation.

I support both the YMCA's expansion and the church getting signalized access -- just not at the cost of compromising the quality of life and the economy in our community! Instead of a Lowe's, we suggest an alternative land use, one that would bring the greatest good to the greatest number. Using Montgomery Road as a site for the proposed Northeast Elementary School (NES) -- which is scheduled to open September 2003 and is in dire need of a decent site -- would do exactly that. The benefits are numerous: The land would remain residential; our children would attend a school in our immediate community; Ellicott Mills could share ball fields with the elementary school, thereby increasing its limited recreational resources; the YMCA would be convenient for potential after-school care for both schools; and the elementary school would be centrally located among other elementary schools, spacing out resources geographically.

Last week, the school board granted preliminary approval to another site for NES (i.e., the county-owned "Horse Farm" on Route 108) to begin feasibility testing. If successful, NES would be located directly across the street from Waterloo Elementary! There will be a Public Hearing on May 24 for the NES on this Horse Farm site.

A portion of the county-owned Horse Farm property has been temporarily removed from the county's surplus property list because of the prospect of using it for NES. The school board has the right of first refusal, and if it exercises it, the land will go back on the list to be sold and developed.

I propose the county use the revenue of this potential land sale to fund the purchase of the Montgomery Road site for NES, since the council has the power to add to the education budget if it finds a source of revenue. Another scenario would be to swap the county-owned land near Waterloo for the Montgomery Road site. If you agree, attend future Zoning Hearings regarding the Montgomery Road site; contact both the County Council (email: cmerdon@co.ho. and the Board of Education (email: boe@mail.howard. regarding all nonzoning issues as they relate to this alternative. And while you're sending emails, contact the Montgomery Road Citizens For Responsible Growth (email: to let them know of your support for this alternative land use.

Diane Goodridge

Ellicott City

Credit Januskiewicz for posing questions

The April 26 Columbia Council meeting appropriately devoted time to thanking council members for their past year's work in dealing with important issues.

Many issues will continue to challenge the newly-formed council and Columbia residents.

Thanks to Vincent Marando's initiative, the council and Columbia residents will soon receive the report of the Governance Committee which has been studying Columbia's Home Association's governing policies and procedures. Hopefully, the committee's work will result in a modification of some of the inappropriate procedures which will better serve Columbia lien payers and result in a more smoothly-runnning Columbia staff, Board of Directors and Columbia Council.

Two issues which outgoing council member Cecilia Januskiewicz (C.J.) tried to resolve exemplify the poor management of Columbia staff and the sloppiness in dealing with issues on the part of some council members. As advocate for Columbia lien payers, C.J. asked Columbia staff, attending the meeting, whether they had acted on her recommendation to do something about the large legal fees paid to Mr. Bamberger et al. regarding the assessment rate issue. That is, Mr. Bamberger had assured Lanny Morrison and his supporters that we were required to change our assessment rates in accordance with state law, even though the Attorney General's office had told him months earlier that this was not so.

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