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As Ulman enters race, he needs to curtail redlining [Letter]

2:24 PM EDT, June 13, 2013

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Listening to the speech that Ken Ulman made on Monday, June 3 I was struck by his passion for Columbia. It is the same passion I have felt living in Columbia for 40 years. I too have loved this planned city that treats people equally.

As proud as I am seeing one of our own named to the top of the ticket I am imbued with a sense of unease. One of the reasons many people came to Columbia was to live in a well thought out and carefully planned community. Columbia was the antidote to the hodgepodge exemplified by routes 1 and 40 and to escape the insidious and unethical practice of redlining!

Fast forward to 2012, when I learned of a process allowed by the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning that effectively circumvent the land use, planning and development controls that are critical to maintaining Columbia. Overriding these rules and allowing development that will lead to blight in our villages and exacerbate congestion on our beautiful interconnecting parkways.

It seems ironic that it is called a "redline." Developers can put a redline round a piece of property and to circumvent public input and build what they like with little or no say from legitimate stakeholders. Using the redline in this fashion undermines the basic premise of what makes Columbia special. We will become a planned community without planning?

If the County Executive is true to his own rhetoric, I call on him to curtail this process and require developers to permit their projects through the proper planning process.

Brian England

Columbia