Letter: Don't vote until there's clearer maps

January 31, 2012

Dear President Boniface:

The League of Women Voters (LWV) works to protect the citizen's right to know and to promote citizen participation in government decision-making. We believe that a democratic government depends on these principles.

At the request of the County Executive, the Harford County Council has introduced Bill 12-01, "2012 Master Plan and Land Use Element Plan." LWV of Harford County understands the importance of these plans. Our one concern is that the public, as well as the County Council, have not been provided with maps of sufficient clarity and detail to enable proper consideration of the information portrayed in them. This concern applies to all maps in the document including the Community Area maps.

Citizens do not become engaged with matters they cannot understand. So we are especially concerned about Community Area maps and the impossibility of accurately identifying where the various lines of demarcation are meant to be. When citizens cannot tell where their homes are located on the map, then the map itself becomes meaningless and useless to them. They fail to participate.

For Bill 12-01, our interest is to promote citizen participation in government and insure that citizens have the information necessary to do so. Therefore, we respectfully request and urge that no action be taken on this bill until the public has been provided sufficiently detailed maps to allow reviewers to locate their homes or other property on the map to see what is planned in their community and where.

We recognize that the County Council cannot develop these maps. We are providing copies of this letter to the County Executive and Department of Planning and Zoning who prepared the Plans, and requesting them to provide revised, detailed maps needed by the public for informed decision-making.

Sincerely,

Sandra Tracy, President

League of Women Voters of Harford County

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