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Letter: Freedom plan is flawed, out of touch

I like and voted for Doug Howard. As a group, I believe our commissioners are "one of us." However, our Commissioners are not looking out for "us" with regards to the proposed Freedom Land Use Plan (FLUP). The last time the plan was revised in 2001, under 20 parcels were changed. The proposed FLUP will impact approximately 1,200 parcels. Almost all favor major development and increased densities.

When the FLUP was last revised, a council made up of area citizens was established to provide feedback and advice. Additionally, we all received updates from both the Planning Commission and Commissioners through the mail. This process has not incorporated either, and yet the county believes the process has been both well communicated and transparent.

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To be clear, I do not share the sentiment that there is anything "nefarious" or "underhanded" taking place within our local government.

It is perplexing, though, that our commissioners are unwilling to communicate more broadly and timely about such an important process for our community. Few of us can attend 9 a.m. weekday meetings in Westminster or have taken it upon ourselves to go to the county's website and follow this process.

Other concerns about this flawed process include:

The county proactively approached owners of vacant land and asked if they would like to have the use changed to a higher use/greater density;

In attempting to "fix" the county's budget, the commissioners are sending the Freedom District the bill by designating our community a "High Growth Area;" and we will pay for it with street congestion, incompatible uses with existing contiguous neighborhoods and over-burdened public resources;

With what has happened at North Carroll High School, we should be concerned that the FLUP includes changes in use for many area public schools;

Commissioners, I ask you: Please do not approve this FLUP. Rather, I urge you to adopt a "Smart Growth" strategy. After all, any land use plan should reflect the vision that we as citizens have for our community. It should not be driven by developers who do not live here, and financial goals that are contrary to the community's will and vision.

Because of geography, congeniality and the quality community assets that already exist, most of us would agree that growth will continue to come to the Freedom District.

As citizens we have one question to ask: Is "FLUPPED" going to be a verb we regret?

Pete Lester Sr.

Eldersburg

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