Ex-newspaper editor joins race for Carroll commissioner

Dean L. Minnich to focus on quality of life, growth

January 04, 2002|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Dean L. Minnich, a former editor and veteran columnist at Carroll County Times, will run for county commissioner this year.

"My focus will be on quality of life issues," he said. "We need people who can insist on taking the longer view, on controlling growth and ensuring that we have adequate schools, roads and all public facilities in general."

Although Minnich, 59, is running as a Republican in a Republican-dominated county, he described himself as an alternative to Carroll's current leadership.

He called a contentious zoning law, passed by the commissioners in September, an example of poor leadership.

"We need to follow a solid master plan and stop fiddling around with planning and zoning laws," he said. "We've seen the unfortunate and unnecessary consequences when the long-term plan is altered or manipulated to the advantage of investors and insiders and to the detriment of the public at large."

The law allows landowners to transfer development rights from their conservation land to their agricultural land, meaning they can develop one residential lot for every 3 acres instead of one for every 20 acres, as is normally allowed in agricultural zoning. The law also changes the method for calculating the number of lots available on conservation land and yields greater development potential to landowners. Opponents say it will prompt widespread development on the county's rural lands.

Minnich lives in Westminster and retired as the Times editorial page editor in 1994 but has continued to write a column twice a week since. He said he would discontinue the column now that he is seeking public office. He also has served as president of the county's Chamber of Commerce.

Minnich joins incumbent Republican Julia Walsh Gouge and Green Party candidate George W. Murphy III in what many expect will become a crowded field by the March filing deadline for the election.

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