Towson leaders lack direction, will or incentive to preserve open space [Letter]

July 31, 2013

I am sure all our elected officials work very hard to develop the Towson community. The excavation, construction and announcements of future plans attest to their efforts.

I appreciate Councilman Marks effort's at downzoning, saving parks and recreation areas. In spite of his efforts, somewhere in our governmental structure it was decided that Towson, our at-one-time residential community, should become a commercial destination community.

Are we becoming a brick-and-mortar monument to politicians and developers?

We have just been billed $39 additional tax per single family home for stormwater remediation. If we would stop covering every square foot of available space with buildings or parking lots we would have less to remediate. Maybe we could discover the natural color of the Chesapeake Bay untainted by runoff from our concrete and macadam obsession. The same government taxing to remediate is allowing and encouraging the development which necessitates the remediation.

When do we say enough grocery stores, high-density residential, convenience stores, shopping centers, unneeded additional office space and multiplex movie theaters? Between Chesapeake and Pennsylvania avenues in Towson there is empty office space, empty retail space and an empty multiplex movie theater — do we really need more?

No, Councilman Marks, I do not know a private property owner willing to donate land for a park. I do know a government that was looking for a park on which to build a fire department.

Our county has an assessable tax base of over $71 billion. Would it be possible to raise the tax rate a few cents to build a fund to buy land that could be set aside as open space? How about a bond issue to finance the acquisition of open space? Bond issues give the citizens the right to vote whether we are willing to pay to preserve open land.

There are ways and there are reasons to preserve open land. It appears we lack the direction, will, or incentive.

George L. Good


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