Leaders to blame for excessive growth It was...

Carroll Letters

May 19, 2002

Leaders to blame for excessive growth

It was encouraging to see Ed Wheatley, of Carroll County's Planning & Zoning Commission, finally take individual responsibility for his role in mismanaging growth in the county, albeit unintentionally ("Work to solve issues about county's growth," letter in Carroll Sun May 12). His role and that of Commissioners Dell and Frazier, who appointed him, has been critical in exacerbating the growth challenges facing Carroll County. Contrary to Mr. Wheatley's "fuzzy" portrayals of the facts and figures enumerating the fictional number of construction permit applications or the failure of Carroll's Concurrency Management plan, he has glossed over the reality surrounding Carroll's poorly managed growth.

First and foremost, Carroll County continues to subsidize and encourage additional residential development outside county Priority Funding Areas (PFA's or towns). Residential development outside PFA's adds to the burden of Carroll's lagging infrastructure and greatly increases the probability of future tax increases to support sprawl and its effects. ...

Few people seem to be aware of this, but the Carroll County government actually subsidizes the impact fees charged to residential developers, encouraging sprawl at the expense of valued economic development and sustainable infrastructure. The county's current impact fees, which are lower than what the state recommends, do not begin to cover the fiscal impact of new residential housing on schools, roads, water, etc., which are already overburdened. ...

Before growth can ever be professionally managed, Carroll voters will need to realize that they already enjoying the 4th highest property tax rate in the state (Baltimore City and County are one and two, respectively). These high taxes buy us near last place in school funding per pupil, limited police protection and no public trash removal, fire or emergency rescue services.

Mr. Wheatley's assertion about inflation somehow affecting the number of housing permits is fantasy. His very own Planning & Zoning Commission, together with the majority of the Board of Commissioners, agreed to hold new housing starts to 1,000 a year countywide under their version of a "building moratorium," yet oversaw the approval of over 1,400 new residential construction starts last year alone. ...

Let us remember that this is the same group of officials who publicly supported the now infamous Zoning Ordinance Review Committee (ZORC) ordinance, which almost successfully overhauled Carroll's zoning laws as we know them; forcing the Maryland State Planning Department to act in the citizens' interest. ... In closing, it is clear that Mr. Wheatley is right about one thing: Growth in Carroll County is indeed coming from outside the county. As to who is responsible for mismanaging its impact, we need look no further than our current elected and appointed officials for the answer of where to place the blame.

Ross Dangel


Thanks for assistance with veterans' market

As chairman of the Disabled Americans Veterans Flea Market that was on the Kmart parking lot May 4, I would like to thank Kmart and the Westminster Fire Department. I also would like to thank the public for their great support. I would also like to thank all the members and auxiliary members for all their help -- 100 percent of all funds raised is used for Veterans Services the local chapter does.

William Boyd Rau III


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