PlanMaryland forum Oct. 31, but won't be open to all

WESTMINSTER — Carroll County government and donors will host a forum on aspects of the PlanMaryland proposal Oct. 31 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Pikesville Hilton hotel, but the event won't be open to all and will charge a fee for some attendees to cover costs.

A press release from the county Oct. 17 read, "To reduce costs, seating will be limited primarily to elected officials, staff, and donors. "A limited number of tickets may be provided to the public on an as available basis at a cost of $25 per ticket."

The county release noted that citizens would be able to view the event on the county website and government access Channel 24 "after it is formatted and uploaded."

The Board of County Commissioners previously backed the forum, dubbed a "summit," to discuss aspects of PlanMaryland, a proposal by the state to create statewide development guidelines and a review process.

Several county commissioners have expressed wariness of the plan, saying it could jeopardize county autonomy in land-use issues.

The release from the commissioners said that the board feels, "it is essential to carefully evaluate all of (PlanMaryland's) elements, including the Plan's underlying premises."

The Oct. 31 forum and panel discussion will feature speakers in transportation, economics, wastewater treatment and climate economics, including George Frigon, co-author of the Environmental Protection Agency's wastewater treatment manual for small communities; Patrick Moffitt, a former White House Committee member on Environmental Technology; and Lord Christopher Monckton, science advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, among others.

Officials from the Maryland Department of Planning will participate in the panel discussion.

Topics covered will include the role of automobiles versus mass transit; septic systems versus treatment plants in Bay health; costs versus benefits of compact development templates; economic implications and validity of greenhouse gas mitigation initiatives.

The commissioners said that private donors have contributed to the event to minimize costs to taxpayers.

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