I am responding to Michael P. Ertel's letter to the editor in the Sept. 9 Towson Times. I have not read such harsh commentary from him since he lost the 2010 election.
For five years, I have worked cooperatively with Mr. Ertel's predecessors in the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, and we have agreed on most of the major issues affecting the Towson area.
Immediately after my election, we faced a severe school overcrowding problem at Hampton and Stoneleigh Elementary schools. Our office worked with County Executive Kamenetz, Senator Brochin, Delegate Lafferty, and concerned parents and community leaders to identify funding to improve those schools. We also secured more than $25 million to renovate Dumbarton Middle School, which means that every school in Towson will soon be air conditioned.
We worked to improve transportation. Our office spearheaded an effort to bring a circulator to Downtown Towson, and we helped get more than 12 miles of roads on the schedule for resurfacing. Burke Avenue and Hillen Road were completely reconstructed, new bike lanes were added, and Towson now has the most rigorous requirements for bike parking in Baltimore County.
Mr. Ertel complains about development. During the 2012 rezoning cycle, I blocked commercial redevelopment west of Bosley Avenue, and our office initiated the most aggressive downzoning of property in Towson's history. We downzoned more than 66 acres of land throughout Greater Towson, and by creating "open space zoning," we prevented hundreds of homes from being built at the Mount Pleasant Golf Course if the city sells that land.
I agree with the community's concerns about open space, which is why I introduced legislation to increase the Towson open space fee to $2,000 per single-family home, apartment, or condominium. That legislation will help us add to the five recreation projects advancing in Towson, including the purchase of the Radebaugh property near Aigburth Manor.
On issue after issue, we have acted on the community's behalf. When the county increased parking rates, we successfully fought back. When residents complained about the aesthetics of new development, we required evaluation of building plans by the Design Review Panel. Just last week, we sided with the Towson Estates community to require better building standards for new construction in that historic community.
But where was Mr. Ertel? He was busy penning a letter attacking me. He was nowhere to be found on that issue or many others, beginning in 2010 with our work to reduce overcrowding at Stoneleigh and Hampton Elementary schools.
Thankfully, Mr. Ertel's predecessors worked with me on constructive solutions, even though we were of different political parties and did not agree on every issue. These leaders provided results, not complaints.