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Howard facilities proposal assailed Growth blueprint hit during a County Council hearing.


Howard County's proposed adequate-facilities ordinance was hit with a barrage of criticism last night after having emerged unscathed in three public briefings and eight special briefings.

The earlier presentations were dress rehearsals. This was the real thing, with voters and representatives of special interest groups telling the County Council what they like or dislike about the proposed legislation.

A 12-member commission of developers, civic leaders, school officials and county employees that has worked six hours a week on the measure for the past year wants the proposal approved without alteration.

Most who testified during last night's three-hour hearing wanted minor alterations. Some sought outright rejection of the measure.

Simpsonville resident Wilbur F. Coyle said the section of the measure calling for an excise tax on all residential and commercial construction would, if enacted, amount to double taxation.

The excise tax would be placed in a special fund and used for road projects anywhere in the county. The county would spend $2 for every $1 of excise tax when improving a road.

Farmer and longtime county resident Ridgely Jones told the council he had been swallowing growth long enough.

"The fact that there have been no big arguments [from developers] against" the proposed measure as there were against slow-growth measures proposed by the previous county administration "makes me feel developers want it," Mr. Jones said. "And if developers want it and the Chamber wants it, I'm pretty sure I don't want it."

Chamber of Commerce representative Lynn Robeson had earlier urged the council to pass the legislation without any significant amendments.

The council will hold a work session on the proposal Jan. 27 and is expected to vote on it Feb. 3.

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