The letter written by Kristen Burger, president of the Sparks Glencoe Community Planning Council in the North County News (Oct. 11, "Councilman Huff's CZMP decisions only benefit 'chosen few'") begs for rebuttal. It contains untruthful and inaccurate claims. The council assumes that it has power to express its agenda on development and total environmental protection to all the citizens of the 3rd District and in particular, the Hereford Zone. They do not represent most of the people in the Sparks Glencoe area and very few in the North County. In the past years they have had a very cozy relationship with former Councilman Bryan McIntire downzoning vast acreage outside the Sparks Glencoe area without the consideration of individual property rights, causing great anger by the owners affected.
Current Councilman Todd Huff made it quite clear in his platform while seeking office that he supported a balance of property rights and land preservation. This promise was utilized as he formulated decisions during the CZMP process. Many people in the North County are land rich and cash poor and should be able to sell a lot or two to realize income. Mr. Huff's decisions represent reasonable compromises in most cases, as well as long hours meeting with people who had direct interest in each of the CZMP issues. Input from the Planning Board was also considered as his decisions on 47 of the 71 issues were as the board recommended.
Mr. Huff worked with communities, neighbors, property owners and developers to create compromises that were fair.By allowing some upzonings for property owners who have committed to place the majority of their land in preservation to have better tax incentives, Mr. Huff has preserved property rights and protected hundreds of acres. By my estimate, Mr. Huff did not grant upzoning on many of the upzoning requests. Upzoning of the Obrecht property is justifiable as it is to the south of the Urban Rural Demarcation Line where large development should be according to the Environmental Sustainability and Agriculture Act with access to city water and sewers. Upzoning the Archdiocese property was limited to only acreage that will be used for a future cemetery.
Ms. Burger states Mr. Huff's actions "undermine clean water initiatives and pave the way for further degradation" of the watersheds. This statement is overstated and inaccurate. Mr. Huff was the lead sponsor of Bill 21-11, adopted by the council on April 4, which authorized a deer cooperative program on county parkland to protect these watersheds from extreme over-population of deer, which leads to the destruction of the understory of trees, shrubs and plants. Additionally, Mr. Huff spent countless hours with Sparks Glencoe and other community representatives to resolve the tubing problems on the Gunpowder River.
Mr. Huff was reared in the Sparks Glencoe area and his family still resides there. This obviously gives him a greater understanding of that area's needs and that of the Hereford Zone than the recent transplanted "newbees.". He has made the Hereford Zone a high priority recognizing we have been neglected for a long time. He has combined his efforts to add seats, air conditioning and renovations to our schools, to locate additional recreation and park space, to upgrade the Hereford Library, and to develop a project for a new senior center.
Councilman Huff's strategic direction and priorities are very compatible to the mission and objectives of the Hereford Community Association. We are indeed fortunate to have him as our representative. We all should be applauding him.
Paul Cummins, president
Hereford Community AssociationCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun