The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That point was made clear to the county Planning Commission Thursday night as Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin read aloud from a letter to the County Commissioners, outlining the concerns of North Carroll leaders about unchecked development:
"The Mayor and Council of the Town of Hampstead have briefly reviewed the sketches for a Planned Unit Development on Route 88.
"We would advise caution in several areas. The impact on schools, sewerage, water, roads, utilities, etc. should be given thorough consideration. We would not favor overloading facilities in the name of progress."
The letter was dated Sept. 13, 1973, and signed by former Mayor William L. Wheeler.
Mr. Nevin, 37, used the dose of deja vu as a starting point for discussion of the county's master plan, pointing out that Carroll's small towns have been wrestling with the same problems for more than 20 years.
His none-too-subtle point, said Mr. Nevin, was that the county has failed to come to grips with burgeoning growth that has nearly tripled Carroll's population since 1965.
And with the Planning Commission about to begin revising the county's master plan, its blueprint for future growth ought to address the issues so well defined by Mr. Wheeler when Mr. Nevin was still a schoolboy.
Mr. Wheeler's letter also fretted about flood plains, sediment control, major street plans, traffic patterns and open space -- all concerns faced by Mr. Nevin and a slate of like-minded Hampstead Town Council members who were swept into office on a slow-growth platform in May.
Elmer C. Lippy, a former county commissioner who is mayor of nearby Manchester, said that while most county leaders can agree easily on the overriding problem facing Carroll, they don't always see eye to eye on how to control it.
"We've always had the same fears, about growth and inadequate facilities," Mr. Lippy said.
County Commissioner Richard T. Yates wore out two pairs of shoes knocking on 5,000 doors during the last campaign, Mr. Lippy said. "All he asked was what is the foremost issue on their minds, and the people told him, 'Growth,' " Mr. Lippy said.