New developments should pay their way
A recent poll commissioned by The Sun ("Slow the growth, state's voters say," Nov. 9) accurately read the pulse of Howard County residents' concerns about too-fast growth. Some of those residents put their concerns on the line at the Planning Board's hearing on the planned expansion of Turf Valley ("Turf Valley developer ahead after round 1 of zoning fight," Nov. 13).
There is good reason for the county's adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO), designed to forestall growth until adequate infrastructure is in place. Chief among the burdens created by new developments is traffic congestion. Left unsaid by the developer and the county planner at the hearing was that the traffic mitigation of widening Marriottsville Road is not even at the planning study stage with the State Highway Administration, and will be in place no sooner than 2015.
New developments create a host of demands on infrastructure from roads to schools to water to public safety. Who pays? Mature communities have already paid for their infrastructure at reduced rates. New infrastructure costs more and is subsidized by older homes.
If Howard County cannot adhere to the prudent cautions of APFO, but instead seeks exemptions for new developments, other measures should be considered to put a brake on growth. New developments should at least pay their way. It's time for the county to consider a dual tax rate that eliminates the subsidy for new development. Let's provide property tax relief for older homes and require new developments to be responsible for the full cost of their increased burden on infrastructure.
The writer is a member of the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board with the chief executives of the six metropolitan jurisdictions. His views are his own and do not express those of the board.
To our readers
The Sun welcomes letters from readers. All letters become the property of The Sun, which reserves the right to edit them. Letters should be fewer than 200 words and include the writer's name, address, and day and evening telephone numbers.
howard.letters @baltsun.com; by mail, The Sun, at 30 Corporate Center, 10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 820, Columbia 21044; fax, 410-715-2816.
We want your opinions
The school system is considering a proposal to ban the sale of candy and limit the sale of soda from vending machines; eliminate certain high-fat, high-sugar a la carte items; and prohibit the sale of candy at after-school events. What do you think of this plan?
Send e-mail responses by Thursday to email@example.com. A selection of responses will be published Sunday. Please keep your responses short and include your name, address and telephone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.