Growth, noise aren't measures of success I have lived...

Letters

September 09, 2001

Growth, noise aren't measures of success

I have lived in the Baltimore-Washington area for over 20 years now and have watched the road traffic, road building, and air traffic increase significantly.

Most recently I have begun to noticing a river of jet airplanes passing directly over my house, beginning at 6 a.m. each day. Being a person who likes to both sit on his outdoor deck conversing with family and friends and also one who likes to sleep with the windows open during the summer months, to enjoy the sounds of the night, this is particularly annoying and effectively prevents sleep and blocks conversation.

Having had enough of the increasing noise disturbance, I searched and found the Web site for the BWI airport (www.bwiairport.com), with the intent of notifying BWI officials about my concerns, and also to make suggestions on what could be done to improve the situation. When I looked carefully through the Web site all I found were prominent pictures of Gov. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Townsend and boastful statements about how the BWI airport has been the fastest growing airport in the nation. Can the measure of our success as a people and community be measured through increases in air traffic and yet more growth in an already densely populated region that suffers from congested roadways? If you agree with me that there are other things in life with which to measure success, please express your concerns to your elected officials.

Anthony O. Frank

Columbia

County has much for first-time home buyers

I was stunned to hear, at a recent community meeting, that Howard County is short of "starter stock" housing -- that is, units that are priced and sized in such a way that they can be a family's or individual's first home purchase.

Where I live, in the Stevens Forest neighborhood of Oakland Mills, "starter stock" housing is plentiful. Traveling around Columbia's villages of Owen Brown, Kings Contrivance, Oakland Mills, and Hickory Ridge, one sees no shortage of realtors' signs. By checking the prices of homes in these areas, they seem to be attainable as first home purchases. Plus, just like in other parts of the county, the signs don't stay up for long.

Of course, all the villages I just mentioned are among Columbia's older villages, and some would have citizens believe that those areas aren't "hot" areas of the county to live. Nevertheless, the housing in these areas is of good quality, the prices are a bargain, and the Howard County quality of life is present.

This is not to say that problems do not exist in some of these areas. They do, but the best way to confront the negatives is with a great dose of the positive. There is no reason why Columbia Association, Howard County, and the local real estate community should not promote Columbia as just as great a place to live as a brand new development anywhere else in the county. This is especially true in the case of marketing to the first-time homebuyer.

To be sure, housing prices in Howard County are a concern. But there is no inalienable right in Howard County to a brand new, 1,400-square-foot, $180,000 town- home. Developers and developer interests would like to convince you that there is, but they are wrong. The bottom line is, Howard County is a great place for homebuyers of all price ranges to shop, and while the situation isn't yet ideal, there are many great values to be had.

Bill Woodcock

Columbia

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