Letter: Family with deep roots in Catonsville area frustrated by opposition to development of property

Letter to the editor

January 06, 2012

I am writing in response to all the letters about development in the Catonsville area.

My family has been in Catonsville for about 60 years and lived through its major development without fighting the expansion of residential housing.

Prior to 1982, our view was rolling hills and open land; now our view is residential development.

My family's attitude has always been, if we don't own it, then we can't fight it. People have a right to utilize their land as they see fit, as long as it complies with local zoning.

Currently, we are trying to develop our property and have run into issue after issue brought about by those who have built new homes over the years. We are basically land locked and have been the victim of major development along the South Rolling Road corridor for the past 55-plus years.

The biggest problem is a portion of our land was taken over by the state to install a large sediment pond to capture water created by the widening of Rolling Road back in the 1980s. By the way, the pond does not function correctly.

Development was the reason for the widening of South Rolling Road.

I have heard comments similar to those in the Catonsville Times, such as "You will ruin our view" or "We don't want to see houses. We like it the way it is now" and, best of all, "The land is beautiful. It's where we walk our dogs there and our kids play."

s this not trespassing?

What about "I love trees"? Were trees not cut down to build all of these homes?

People have to understand that when land is zoned residential, it is taxed residential.

If we could retrieve agricultural zoning and reduce taxes significantly, then we could operate agriculturally, such as pig or horse farms, making the land usable once again.

I am sure this would involve a fight as well. Our zoning changed because of all the development in the area.

I would like to thank the residents of Highfields, who have been supportive and good neighbors.

Our zoning is currently DR-2 and DR 3.5. This means we could easily subdivide our over six acres into 12 lots. However, opposition has put a limit on the number of lots, which does not work in the current housing market.

Opposition also caused the family to lose a significant purchase contract on the land we own when an easement needed for storm water management was denied.

The builder proposed a design that would have been aesthetically pleasing and a positive effect on the area with minimal traffic impact.

I find it disheartening that a family, which has offered support in the building of the new homes adjacent to their property and whose parents were very involved in the community, is being controlled in relationship to the land in their possession for over half a century.

Terry Healy


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