Law change poses threat to county's future What is the...


October 28, 2001

Law change poses threat to county's future

What is the future of agriculture in Carroll County? The question reverberates after the knockdown punch of Ordinance 01-11 signed by Commissioners Dell and Frazier. How much sympathy is floating around for farmers with land often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions who just received a windfall of something like $40,000 for each newly created lot.

The new ordinance allows the transfer of lot rights from higher-density conservation zones (already a joke) to the lower-density agricultural zones, even if the lot rights were unbuildable in the conservation zone. Has there even been a calculation of how many more lot rights this ordinance will establish?

I am not talking about saving a scenic view. I am talking about saving the largest industry in Carroll County. I worked on a dairy farm when I was younger. It's hard, honest work that keeps a person in touch with the land. There appears to be a new division among farmers: land speculators who want more lot rights recognized and those who want to be able to continue farming and want to see farming here for future generations. Increased development will make farming more difficult, strain the agri-business structure and will accelerate infrastructure demands. Agri-business threatens to topple as preserving 100,000 acres takes on an apple-pie idealistic sheen.

Who will pay the price for the windfall to land speculators? Carroll County taxpayers - large-lot owners, small-lot owners, no-lot owners. As county debt increases and state support dries up, where will the funding come for agricultural preservation? Don't count on the state for continued support when two of our commissioners just increased the cost of preserving farms.

State funding support for ag preservation, for roads, for schools, for parks should mean more to county citizens than a windfall for large lot owners. Sept. 17, 2001, may be remembered as a sneak attack that brought down agricultural preservation in this county. A retired dairy farmer is one of the co-signers of this ordinance that moves us toward a Howard County landscape. How many thriving farms remain there?

Greg Becker


Two commissioners seem to be a bit alien

Carroll Countians seem surprised at the headlines that covered an Alien-ET cult group [accused of planning murder-for-hire plots]. These people are not the only life form from outer space. Look around you. Doesn't it seem in the realm of possibility, based on their track record, that a couple of our Carroll County Commissioners have lost contact with their mother ship? I sincerely believe it can be found parked by a recreational lake in the southern part of the county. Unfortunately they have also lost contact with their constituency.

If you stumble across their flying saucer please do not do it any damage. Maybe after the next election they will leave our atmosphere and return to their home planet where every citizen is oxygen-deprived.

I hope all citizens will be observant and keep an eye on these politicians to watch for their antennae to rise. It is expected they will point in the direction of some South Carroll landowners and any developers that happen to be in the vicinity. Hopefully, when they leave our planet, they will take a select few of our legislators in Annapolis with them. No, I take that back. I wouldn't want an interstellar war on my conscience. Staying in the Republican party can be an excessive burden at times.

Jack Winder


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