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Letter: Howard County growth tears are far from 'tiers' of joy

Agriculture

Early in December, the Howard County Council will cast its vote on the virtually unknown growth tiers of "Plan Howard 2030," a general plan for Howard County, as required by the statewide Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 236), dividing all of Howard County into new development tiers.  

For the eastern half of Howard County, this means locking in higher density housing development and continued overcrowding of schools, roads and facilities, for decades to come. But this new growth in the eastern half of the county must come at a cost.  Landowners in western Howard County will be paying that price, seeing their land values, development rights and constitutional rights stripped from them and allocated to this new unbalanced, continued eastern development growth.  

Throughout Maryland, Senate Bill 236 is being slipped in under the guise of saving the Chesapeake Bay, passing blame on the Bay's troubles to failing septic systems in rural lands. But, one look into the Chesapeake Bay Foundations 2011 research results show septic systems are the smallest contributor to the Bay's problems, and that wastewater and industrial runoff from cities are some of the largest.

So who wins with Senate Bill 236 and the implications on Howard County? The Bay? No. The eastern half of Howard County?  No. The western Howard landowners? No.

Who's left? Those in elected office.

Greg Fox, Howard County council member for District 5 (representing western Howard County) has heard the cry of his district and is, at minimum, calling for a re-designation of certain lands in tier 4 to a tier 3, which would have little effect from the current zoning.

So, you in eastern Howard County who are tired of everything overcrowded, send an email to your County Council person today and tell them to vote down adopting the new Senate Bill 236 development tiers in Howard County, and turn the "tiers of overcrowding" into tears of joy for better, balanced growth for Howard County.

Scott Cissel

Woodbine

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