Covenants Must Not Be Ignored
There is an ongoing problem that exists throughout Oakland Mills and probably in the other villages as well. There are many residents who believe in their unalienable right to own property and do with it as they please.
This is not the case in Columbia. The covenants say that everything done to the exterior of one's house requires an application to the Resident Architecture Committee for approval. Those of us who pay the Columbia Parks and Recreation Association lien own our property with a partner. It is this partner that the RAC represents.
At least 90 percent of the applications to the RAC are routine and approved with little discussion. The RAC tries to achieve amicable compromises on the remaining applications. . . . There is an architect, a builder, an architectural designer, a landscape designer and a construction cost estimator (myself) on the committee. . . . Those who wish to live in Columbia must also agree to abide by the covenants of Columbia or should consider moving. . . . I'm angry that so many homeowners choose to do as they please. This is simply wrong and cannot be condoned. Toward this end, I suggest the following additions to the guidelines:
* Everyone who wants to make a change to their home should have their name, address and the proposed change published. The resulting RAC decisions should also be published.
* The homeowners who proceed with their changes without going through the application process should be subject to a fine. . . .
My suggestion is extreme. I feel it is necessary because of the pervasive disregard for the established rules of governance in Columbia.
Realtors who sell in Columbia are supposed to give the buyer a copy of the covenants and guidelines. I know this is not always the case. That is a whole other issue. Buyers who claim they never knew about the application process may have a point. Living here should quickly make them aware of their added obligation. . . .The members of the Resident Architecture Committee and the Architectural Committee of Oakland Mills have a responsibility and a commitment to Columbia. The governing bodies in the other villages have the same responsibilities and commitments. They try to keep the changes as close as possible to the original intent of the Columbia experiment.
I believe in covenants and the philosophy behind them. Man should fit into the nature surrounding him, not the other way around.
Howard County lost a valuable friend with the resignation of Bill Howard as director of economic development.
Among Bill's significant achievements at Economic Development was his role in mediating the acquisition of S3 Technologies by ManTech International. The result was the retention of 300 skilled, high-paying jobs in Howard County.
Bill was also instrumental in attracting the first investment in Howard County (and in the state) from the People's Republic of China. The newly opened Wang Zi Cashmere Products, Inc. facility brings 25 to 30 new jobs . . . and absorbs 30,000 square feet of warehouse space.
The teamwork approach of Bill and his staff helped facilitate plans for a national training center of the Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc., which will attract nearly 1,500 people to the county each year. There will be commensurate economic benefits as these highly skilled professionals patronize hotels, restaurants and other service and retail businesses in Howard County.
All of this, and a good deal more, was accomplished during a brief, nine-month tenure when the department was seriously understaffed.
Bill was an exemplary public servant who enjoyed what he did and was committed to it.
I know I am joined by many others in the community in wishing him well in his new ventures.
Paul R. Farragut
The writer is vice chairman of the Howard County Council.
Board Rejection A Matter of Race?
Did the Howard County Planning Board, at its hearing of Sept. 2, use racist information in denying Terrific Inc. and Rev. Debbie Tate, the group's president, a zoning variance for the Daisy site as a retreat center for health care providers?
Attorney Stephen C. Bounds, testifying before the planning board, used the word "fear," which implied mistrust, in advising the board how to vote on the issue of granting a zoning variance for the Daisy site. . . .
Mr. Bounds used an age-old practice when it comes to characterizing blacks to prevent them from moving into predominantly white neighborhoods. . . . The attorney played to and placated the biased attitudes of those residents who filed petitions opposing Terrific's use of the Daisy site. . . .
Attorney Bounds at no time presented factual evidence to say that Rev. Tate was a person to fear or mistrust. . . .
The Department of Planning and Zoning approved the request for a zoning variance and advised the planning board of the same. If Mr. Bounds feels that a retreat center is incompatible with that neighborhood, he should have taken his grievance to Planning and Zoning. The regulation was approved by that department. . . .
The proceedings did not take into account that Rev. Tate, a clergy in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, has been a pastor in the Daisy area for 12 years. . . .
Can the county government condone a citizens' board to represent it in a blatant racist manner? The proceedings of that hearing should be referred to the Human Rights Commission for evaluating the violation of Rev. Tate's rights.
Perhaps those who sit on the planning board should be removed so they cannot further tarnish the reputation of a county administration which stresses equality and encourages new business ventures. . . . There is no place in the Howard County government, or society in general, for the practice of racism. . . .
Rev. Steward H. Frazier, Jr.
The writer is pastor of the Emory Grove United Methodist Church, Gaithersburg.