Orenstein: Change Zoning Before It Changes Us CAMPAIGN 1994


The candidates for Carroll County commissioner on the Nov. 8 ballot, Republicans Donald I. Dell, Richard T. Yates and W. Benjamin Brown, and Democrats Elmer C. Lippy, Rebecca A. Orenstein and Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh, were asked to respond to the following questions: What existing measures will you use to control Carroll County's residential growth? What new measures are needed? Their responses appear below:

I believe we Carroll countians can meet the challenge of our rapid growth. We are an independent, conservative and spiritual people who have an immediate and intimate connection to our bountiful and beautiful county. We are growing because this is a good place to live and raise families. But all growth needs to be responsible to assure that the quality of life continues to be good for all the residents of the county.

The Carroll County master plan, which indicates where residential, commercial and industrial development should occur and where farmland should be maintained, dates from 1964. It was an effective growth management tool until the growth explosions of the last 20 years.

Then to everyone's amazement, the planned growth happened. However, it happened much faster than the towns and county could handle. We all know the results. We as municipal officials of the towns, the targeted growth areas, have had to struggle with limited or strained resources like water, overcrowded schools and failing infrastructures.

And have our agricultural areas been saved? Between 1980 and jTC 1993, the population in these areas, supposedly protected from growth, grew by an incredible 31 percent -- further evidence that the current master plan's precept of keeping areas country simply isn't working. Randall Arendt, the nationally known reginal planner, has warned, "You have to change your zoning before it changes you." Much of our current zoning consumes rural space and promotes boring, mandatory sprawl. It is time to take a full and comprehensive review of the whole master plan. In this review, we, the present generation of Carroll countians, can have a say in the design and direction of our future. Concerning the real cost of managing our current and future growth, the great number of portable classrooms symbolically proves that what we are doing isn't working. While our bond rating is excellent and interest rates low, we should go ahead and finance our desperately needed school buildings. Long-range bonding would quickly and economically address this problem.

A national financial consultant has already affirmed that our county's impact fees can be justly raised. Also, an energetic economic development push could increase the industrial/commercial tax base and bring jobs and millions of dollars into the county.

As your commissioner, I will work hard for you on these complex growth issues. I will respect your rights, values and tax dollars. This beautiful land is a wonderful, safe place to live and raise our children. I will use my experience, energy, common sense and courage to protect and save our great county. If we lose it, we lose it forever.

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