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Letter: Compelled to respond to Burger's letter about Todd Huff

After reading the newsletter recently published and distributed by the Sparks Glencoe Community Planning Council, the letter to the editor by Kirsten Burger, (Oct. 11, "Councilman Huff's CZMP decisions only benefit 'chosen few'") in not accurate and unfair..

After reading the newsletter recently published and distributed by the Sparks Glencoe Community Planning Council and the letter to the editor by Kirsten Burger, (Oct. 11, "Councilman Huff's CZMP decisions only benefit 'chosen few'") I feel compelled to respond in the interest of accuracy and fairness.

I recognize that those who passionately hold to a belief are often blind to the views and concerns of others who hold differing positions. Such is the nature of those that wish to lead others down the path to their beliefs. We are seeing this phenomenon all too often in Washington today. However, I don't believe that their passion, entitles them to misrepresent the facts, past or current. I am sorry to say that the aforementioned correspondence is an unfortunate example of both.

To her first major point, that past Councilman McIntire with the active support of the SGCPC was able to downzone thousands of acres in the 3rd District. She believes that this was in the interest of all the current residents. What she fails to mention, however, is that this was done without any notification to the affected land owners. The desirability of living here is obvious, and it is equally obvious that with the arrival of each additional family, that very openness is compromised. It is also understood that land use impacts the environment (water supply, traffic, schools, wild-life etc.) and zoning is a key part of the very complicated land-use picture.

It should be equally clear that when each resident purchased their land (I have been here 36 years), we were investing in the future, no only for our children, but for our retirement. This investment was ours; we paid for it and worked much of our lives to keep it.

Suddenly, it was taken from many of us without even being given the opportunity to protest. Ms. Burger also fails to mention that much of the land that was downzoned had no real meaning since its current use is in violation of the downzone, but the current density was grandfathered in. These tracts were caught up in the process when they were grouped in with tracts that the SGCPC targeted for downzoning.

This regional zoning approach without regard for current use not only drastically distorted the true nature of each community; it minimized the cost to the SGCPC. This blanket downzoning process not only misrepresented the impact of their program, it also misrepresented the actions of the SGCPC and Mr. McIntire to those not intimately involved with their inappropriate theft of property values.

If the seizing of subdivision rights was essential for the public good, they should have been purchased througha voluntary or a condemnation procedure. While some large tracts had the option of selling their rights through land preservation programs, smaller tracts were excluded from these very beneficial solutions.

To her second point, that Councilman Huff is not sensitive to conserving the beauty of our environment, nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Huff was challenged with the impossible task of dealing with the wrongs previously perpetrated on his constituents, and, in some circumstances, allowing for controlled growth while simultaneously maintaining the best possible environment for us and our children to enjoy. After a detailed review of all the zoning decisions Mr. Huff made, it is clear that he analyzed each case and then made a valiant attempt at achieving balance. He did not yield to any special interest, land owner, developer, or conservationalist.

This does not mean that I agree with every decision he made, but he gave each decision a careful analysis and made impartial decisions based on the facts before him. This is all we can ask of any elected official and indeed what we should expect from them all.Thank you, Todd Huff.

John Andrews

Monkton

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