Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 02, 2006

The overselling of Aberdeen

Aberdeen Mayor S. Fred Simmons told the people in Monmouth, N.J., "You can have a bay view, you can live on the golf course or live in the woods where no one can find you" ("Annexation: selling point," June 25). He had better look again.

There are no "bay views" in the area around Ripken Stadium. Only a couple of people will be able to live on the golf course.

By the time he finished selling Aberdeen to developers, there will be no woods left that could obscure a doghouse let alone provide significant privacy for a single-family home.

Simmons goes on to say, "We're going to build what people want. It's going to be market-driven."

I think what the people of Aberdeen want is for city expansion and housing development to proceed at a slower and more thoughtful pace.

Simmons is right about one thing, however. Development will be "market-driven." It will be driven by developers who create the market.

These developers are not going to build what the people want. They are going to build houses that they think they can make people want.

According to the paper, Harford County officials claim they want to "meet some of the [New Jersey] workers' needs."

If that's the case, they should get a plan in place that will ensure the completion of much-needed new schools within the next five years because those workers are not going to be happy with a significant number of our schools.

They should get a plan in place that will improve public transportation throughout the county and provide frequent daily MARC train service to and from Baltimore.

They should get a plan in place that protects the environment and expands the acreage dedicated to conservation and public recreation.

They should get a plan in place to hire the teachers, firefighters, and police officers we need without an exponential increase in property taxes.

They should get a plan in place that puts people before politics and the community before developers.

That will not only help meet the "[New Jersey] workers' needs," it will meet all our needs.

I am not against annexation in principle. I think annexation is an appropriate means for protecting large tracts of Harford County from the greed of developers.

Annexation might be a good idea if we had a council and mayor who could work within a democratic structure to find that balance between necessary growth and protection of our environment and quality of life.

Annexation might be a good idea if we had a council and mayor who did not equate a marginal electoral majority with intellectual and moral superiority and popular approval.

But we don't have them.

Along with many of my fellow townspeople, I believe in progress. We just don't happen to think that "progress" means untrammeled growth. We don't think that "progress" necessitates the destruction of fragile wetland, forest buffers and valuable ecosystems. We don't think that "progress" is about replacing a unique and historic small town with an edge city like Columbia. Or Monmouth, N.J.

Ellen B. Cutler

Aberdeen

Aberdeen planning is inconsistent

It was very considerate of Mayor Simmons et al. to share information regarding the development plans for the Wetlands and other city projects with the people of Fort Monmouth, N.J. Unfortunately, they have not provided the same courtesy to the residents of Aberdeen and the surrounding communities.

Nearly six months worth of Planning and Zoning Committee meetings and one Public Hearing held at the June 19 council meeting have provided few (and constantly changing) details other than the acreage involved (200 in the beginning, 523 at the finish), the zoning requested (Integrated Business District in the beginning, R3 High Density Residential at the finish) and vague suggestions as to the type and quantity of the homes to be built - 2,000 to 3,000 units that could be condos, villas, or townhouses.

The plan for an indoor tennis facility on Beards Hill Road at Maxa Road is news to the citizens of Aberdeen. A senior/community center, sports field, and nature trails have previously been mentioned. Maybe there's room for everything.

The residents of Aberdeen have often asked city officials to do something about traffic congestion in the west end of town, but to no avail. There are eight traffic lights between the Ripken Stadium/Wetlands area and the Route 22 gate to Aberdeen Proving Ground (four if you go via Maxa, Beards Hill, and Paradise roads).

A five-minute commute to the APG gate would be fantastic. I live much closer to the gate, and it takes me five minutes - but not during morning rush hour. What's the plan? New roads? Widen the existing roads?

I ask the mayor, City Council and planning officials of Aberdeen again, as I have asked before, to include formal presentations of these plans at regular council meetings or special workshops, with adequate public notice, for anyone who might be interested.

Karen R. Heavey

Aberdeen

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