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NEWS
October 20, 2011
No doubt many will write decrying a proposal to increase Maryland's gas tax. They will assert that taxes adequate to maintain our transportation system would impose an unacceptable burden on our citizens. However, they are complaining about a symptom, not the disease. They should be complaining about land use policies promoting sprawl and transportation decisions that starve public transportation, leaving our citizens with no alternative to continued addiction to gasoline. Those meeting their transportation needs by walking, biking, using the bus or rail aren't vulnerable to oil-price driven increases in the cost of gas or proposals to increase gas taxes.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 1, 2013
Much of the landmark Inner Harbor developments are in the neighborhood of three decades old (Harborplace turned 30 officially in 2010), which lands them somewhere short of historic. Unfortunately, the project's genesis is fading even as many of the pioneers behind it, from James Rouse to William Donald Schaefer, have exited the stage, too. How many remember what the Inner Harbor looked like before there were shops, an aquarium and other tourism attractions? A half-century ago it was rotting warehouses and piers.
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NEWS
September 23, 2011
Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young's recent commentary in The Sun ("O'Malley's Smart Growth power grab," Sept. 19) demonstrates how someone who is losing an argument on its merits will summon scare tactics to oppose it: I call it the boogeyman strategy. Maryland has been developing land at a historically rapid rate. The long-term consequences of that impact on agricultural land and waterways threaten Maryland and the thousands of jobs that accrue from those valuable resources.
NEWS
Lionel Foster | January 3, 2013
A few months ago, during my first trip to Houston, I did what anyone whose knowledge of Texas is defined almost entirely by movies and television might do. I bought cowboy boots from a man with a handlebar mustache, went to a honky tonk, got thrown off a mechanical bull and mastered the "Boot Scootin' Boogie. " If I hadn't gone back to Texas last week, this story might have ended right about there, but during my second trip, with my cowboy itch already thoroughly scratched, I paid closer attention.
NEWS
November 2, 2011
A war on rural Maryland? We've been under siege for decades. But the enemy is sprawling development pressure, not government policies. ("Rural leaders rebel against O'Malley's statewide growth plan," Oct. 27). I should know. The Bay Bridge empties directly into my county. PlanMaryland, the state's new thinking about how to manage its future growth, is a positive step. It seeks to have rural towns absorb a greater portion of new residents, and in the process revive those towns, save tax dollars, preserve our farms and forests, and cut down on our endless commuting time, among other benefits.
NEWS
December 6, 2002
IN THE BALTIMORE area, regionalism spawns much more hot air than concrete action. Water and sewer systems and transportation planning are largely regional efforts, but that's about it. A few years ago, there was talk of tax-base sharing, as in Minneapolis, and regional land-use planning, as in Portland, Ore. But that draws little support -- then and now. "They'd string me up," Julia Walsh Gouge, a Carroll County commissioner, says. Yet development rapidly sprawling over Maryland's farms, forests and wetlands is one of the state's greatest long-term problems, affecting the vast majority of Marylanders.
NEWS
December 4, 2002
AT BALTIMORE'S Mount Washington Elementary School this fall, 11-year-old Will Glasgow stays for the sixth grade, a possibility created by a community effort to form a middle school to stem long-standing middle-class flight. Along North Avenue, developer Wendy Blair briskly sells out Spicer's Run, 86 handsome new brick townhouses that go for as much as $190,000, to unsubsidized buyers who choose city life over the suburbs. From a station under the Atrium -- pricey apartments carved from the old Hecht's store on Howard Street -- more than 30 police officers, many on bikes, wage quality-of-life battles as the city renews its west side, even issuing citations for public urination.
NEWS
October 31, 2011
Who among us believes that sprawl - that is, the destruction of farms, forests and other open spaces to accommodate far-flung development coupled with the neglect and abandonment of older neighborhoods and urban centers - is a cost-effect, environmental-friendly and ultimately sound strategy for future growth in Maryland? If you are raising your hand right now, you may well be sitting in the Pikesville Hilton where the Carroll County Board of Commissioners are today hosting a "summit" attacking Gov. Martin O'Malley's PlanMaryland initiative.
NEWS
April 16, 1991
Having encountered a formidable roadblock in the General Assembly in its quest to rein-in development sprawl, the Schaefer administration wasted little time seeking another approach: clamping down on unfettered growth by requiring local cooperation in land-use controls if counties want to obtain state money for schools, roads, parks, water and sewer plants.While this is an entirely logical -- and sensible -- way to proceed, the administration has blundered in pursuing this proposal so quickly after being rebuffed in the legislature.
NEWS
May 4, 2006
Maryland's latest poster child for sprawl is called Terrapin Run, and its fate is now before an Allegany County Circuit Court judge - a review that we hope that it does not survive. The project is a natural but terrible product of cheap mountain land and the growing willingness of Washington-area workers to commute as far as 100 miles away in their desperate search for more-affordable housing. Right next to Green Ridge State Forest 50 miles west of Hagerstown along Interstate 68, Terrapin Run ultimately would put 4,300 homes and a shopping plaza on 900 acres of land originally zoned for agriculture and conservation.
NEWS
By Tom Horton | January 3, 2013
We who make our living lamenting the lack of progress on improving the environment must applaud when progress does rear its head, even as we refrain from clapping too hard. A decade ago, there wasn't much of anything hopeful to say about septic tanks from the bay's standpoint. I called them "outhouse technology in the 21st century" and "a 50-year-old grossly polluting waste system. " Septic tanks had mostly fulfilled their original purpose of protecting human health where central sewers weren't available by filtering bacteria in household waste through the soil.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | May 29, 2012
Just beyond the entrance of the Maryland Live Casino, row and row of video slot machines clang and beep and flash, beckoning would-be gamblers to insert bills - or even a credit card. Sprawling across a space larger than three typical Wal-Marts, the casino at Arundel Mills Mall, scheduled to open June 6, also features gaming consoles hooked into video feeds of real-time dice rolls, roulette wheel spins and card deck deals. "We are really concentrated on turning it into a really dynamic environment," said Joe Weinberg, managing partner and president of gaming forthe Cordish Cos., the Baltimore-based development firm that built and operates the casino.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | March 21, 2012
Gov. Martin O'Malley's bid to boost the "flush" fee every resident pays moved to the full House Tuesday, as did a measure requiring Maryland's largest counties and Baltimore city to start raising funds for curbing polluted storm runoff from streets and parking lots. The House Environmental Matters Committee voted to approve HB446 , which would double the Bay Restoration Fund , aka the “flush tax.”  The additional funds would help the state's Chesapeake Bay restoration effort by financing the completion of upgrades to the state's 67 largest sewage plants, so they discharge less bay-fouling nitrogen into creeks, rivers and the bay. The committee rejected a late administration bid to increase the fee beyond $5 a month per household that had been proposed, on average, in the governor's original bill.
BUSINESS
By Marie Marciano Gullard, Special to The Baltimore Sun | February 19, 2012
Rick and Mickey Price live on a 340-acre farm in northern Baltimore County. Their rambling, two-story farmhouse sits high and exposed on the land's crest, with acres upon acres rolling softly below and the nearest neighbor over a quarter-mile away. While their house has an old-homestead, Colonial feel, it was custom-built just 11 years ago. The couple's story is inextricably intertwined with the house, which along with their marriage, is a study in new beginnings. "Dick, his first wife and my late husband and I knew each other for over 40 years," said Mickey Price, 79, explaining that they were all involved in the Maryland South Delaware district of the Optimists.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | February 14, 2012
Gov. Martin O'Malley appealed to lawmakers Tuesday to adopt his "moderate" and "reasonable" proposal to curb development on septic systems, warning that unless sprawl is reined in the state's "Christmas future" would include loss of farmland and forests and a lifeless Chesapeake Bay. As expected, his bill, SB236 , has drawn flak from developers and some rural politicians who charge it would stifle growth and cripple local economies.  But...
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | January 24, 2012
Undeterred by accusations he's waging "war on rural Maryland," Gov. Martin O'Malley has revived legislation aimed at curbing sprawling development built with septic systems. The governor's septics bill, part of his legislative package  introduced Monday night in Annapolis, tries a new, more complex "tiered" approach.  It replaces his controversial proposal last year to ban large housing projects using "onsite sewage disposal," which officials say is a growing source of the nutrient pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay. The new plan would take off on Maryland's 15-year-old Smart Growth policies and impose increasingly stringent restrictions on the use of septic systems the farther new housing would be built from existing cities, towns and unincorporated communities.   It's an approach recommended by a 28-member task force he appointed to study the issue after legislative leaders shelved his earlier bill.  It remains to be seen if the new proposal will quell the outcry from developers and rural and suburban officials that septic limits will kill growth in their communities.  Instead of banning such development outright, the bill would encourage counties and municipalities to put more growth on centralized sewer systems, while discouraging septic-based construction on farmland and in watershed areas where officials say it's likely to pollute streams and the bay. State officials point to data...
NEWS
By Elise Armcost | November 17, 1996
JAMES HOWARD Kunstler, the country's most passionate critic of suburban development, recently warned that slowing sprawl will be like slaying the seven-headed Hydra.Too many people have a stake in holding on to the formula for ugly commercial strips and cookie-cutter subdivisions."Any change in a rule about land development makes or breaks people who seek to become millionaires," Mr. Kunstler, author of several books on the subject, wrote recently in Atlantic Monthly. Those who figure to be on the losing end will rise up one after the other, like Hydra heads, to defend the status quo.BacklashIt is happening already, though the backlash against sprawl has yet to make discernible impact on the ugliness of the national landscape.
NEWS
By Neal R. Peirce | September 7, 1999
FEW communities in today's America are exempt from hot debate over urban sprawl and its destructive impacts. The most recent: Little Rock, Arkansas, home state of the late King of Sprawl, Sam Walton, and the hometown of President Clinton.This revolt didn't start, as most do, among middle-class environmentalists. Its genesis was a multiracial coalition, grounded in low-income and working-class neighborhoods. Folks who believe anti-sprawl is a natural sister to such other issues as affordable housing, living-wage jobs and campaign finance reform.
FEATURES
By Donna M. Owens, Special to The Baltimore Sun | January 12, 2012
Rebecca Yenawine and Mark Carter are accustomed to awe-struck looks when visitors cross the foyer of their 19th-century rowhouse in Reservoir Hill. The four-story brick Victorian, built circa 1870, is sprawling — some 6,000 square feet. And with six bedrooms, four baths, 14-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and a prominent spiral staircase, the space evokes grandeur and elegance. Yet despite the home's loftiness, the couple has managed to create a sense of warmth and intimacy.
NEWS
December 5, 2011
Promoting more people, visitors, guests to places in rural areas without connection to public infrastructure (no city water, sewage system, trash removal, recycling, public transportation, sometimes power grid etc.) will generate an tremendous negative impact to the economy and even more for the environment ("Suburban farms meet opposition as they look to change business," Dec. 2). New uses for farms is like urban sprawl but on the social event level — social event sprawl. New use for farms should be allowed only when fully connected to public infrastructure.
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