The following was addressed to Harford County Council President Billy Boniface. A copy was provided for publication.
The League of Women Voters of Harford County believes that an open, responsive, democratic government depends upon citizens being informed and active participants at all levels of government.
Therefore, the League of Women Voters of Harford County is concerned that citizen's rights will be lost if Sections 267-58 C (4) and267-59C(7) of the Harford County Code are revised as proposed in Bill 11-48 "Gas Station Reforms."
At present, home owners whose properties or drinking water wells could be adversely affected by expansion of a particular gasoline station have the right to bring their concerns to be heard and considered by the county council acting as the Board of Zoning Appeals. The council is then required to take into consideration that citizen testimony before deciding whether or not to approve the gasoline station's request for expansion.
The proposed changes in Bill 11-48 from "nonconforming" to "permitted" use will significantly reduce the ability of Harford Countians to protect their property rights and perhaps their health and quality of life by eliminating their rights as citizens to participate in these decisions. Furthermore, the bill forbids the county council from imposing any conditions on the expanding station in response to citizen concern.
The league is requesting that the council vote down Bill-11-48 so our county residents can continue to participate democratically in decisions which have the potential to adversely affect their property and well-being.
Sandra Tracy, President
League of Women Voters of Harford County