Freilich cites inaccuracies; his critics complainFollowing my...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Freilich cites inaccuracies; his critics complain

Following my visit to Carroll County on Jan. 25-26, newspaper articles and an editorial in The Sun for Carroll indicated that I had recommended a 20-month total ban (moratorium) on the issuance of building permits and on subdivision approval to give the county time to undertake its master plan update.

The Sun's report is not accurate.

Interim development controls ("IDC"), as distinguished from moratoria and which I recommended, are a well-recognized planning tool designed to protect the plan during its formative period.

The overriding goal of an IDC is to deter the establishment of uses and to prevent the acquisition of new vested rights that would permit development inconsistent with the subsequently adopted master plan. This does not require a moratorium on the issuance of building permits nor on the continued processing of development applications that are in the development approval "pipeline."

In all cases, the need for protecting the master plan update process and the prevention of the establishment of incompatible uses during the planning period will be balanced against hardships imposed on property owners, developers and builders and the potential economic dislocations that might result from extremely strict and rigid control mechanisms.

For these reasons, an interim development control ordinance for Carroll County must be sensitive to the particular issues and concerns that have already surfaced. These issues would be addressed, reviewed and evaluated during the development of an appropriate interim development control measure. This is precisely the process that we have recommended to Carroll County.

Our firm looks forward to working with the country, the incorporated areas, the citizens, agricultural landowners and the economic sector to produce an appropriate phased growth management element that preserves the quality of life for Carroll County.

Robert H. Freilich

Kansas City, Mo.

The paper reported that the commissioners approved the hiring of Robert Freilich, a consultant to work on a growth management plan, with unanimous approval of the planning commission.

The commissioners did vote unanimously. However, not only was there no meaningful discussion on the merits of hiring Dr. Freilich, as I was under the impression would take place, but the members of the planning commission were never polled.

Had I been asked, my vote would have been "no." The staff at the county planning office is competent to do this job. Dr. Freilich confirmed that in his recent visit.

Dr. Freilich gave Carroll County a great pep rally. Carroll County planners are capable and up to the challenge of developing a plan, and they can do it for 100 percent less than Dr. Freilich's initial fee of $35,000.

Robin Frazier

Westminster

The writer is a member of the Carroll County Planning Commission.

While he wasn't selling "snake oil," it looks like Robert Freilich did a good job of selling himself to the county commissioners and many members of the planning commission, including its chairman.

I heard him give his spiel (about half of it) the other night at the West Middle School and, like everyone in the audience, I couldn't help but be impressed with his grasp of the subject, not to mention his glowing background.

His speech sounded a little "canned," but I guess if you have given it a hundred times, it is bound to. My nose only twitched once during his presentation, and that was when he alluded to the fact that the county could hire a consultant -- he didn't say himself -- for a heck of a lot less than the cost of constructing a culvert.

That sort of confirmed my suspicions that he hadn't come all the way from his home base in Kansas City for a paltry $1,500 consulting fee for his two days here. Although the blueprint that he laid out for controlling growth is hard to fault, there are some nagging questions that should be answered before "shelling out" money for a hired gun, such as: Where is the money going to come from to fund, for example, all the capital improvements that he said "must be paid for before development comes on line"?

In a county where the wounds are still festering from the increases in the impact fees and "piggyback" tax, the idea of raising property taxes would have about as much support among a majority of our citizens as someone suggesting that we extend an invitation to Saddam Hussein to visit our fair county. His visit and what he had to say was a long-overdue "wake-up" call for many, but it doesn't necessarily follow that we should feel compelled to put the bugler under contract, no matter how ominous his shrill notes sounded.

David A. Grand

Westminster

Don't silence county schools' musical instruments

The proposed cutbacks or elimination of some parts of the instrumental music program in Carroll County would be a grave mistake.

Many of us have read or heard results of various studies which have shown the value of instrumental music on the lifestyle and employment performance of those adults who were fortunate enough to participate in such a program as a child. Such studies have proven beyond a doubt that those adults exhibit more advanced brain activity, not only in the arts, but also in all academic areas.

Many employers are beginning to add "arts education experience and training" as a section on their job applications. And those of us who have already gone through the college application process with our children know the importance of that category in the eyes of the admissions staff.

I have had sons in these schools for 20 consecutive years. With the exception of my oldest son's kindergarten through third grade years, all of the remaining 16 years found them involved in the public school instrumental music programs. I couldn't even begin to count the number of school concerts, band competitions, All-County and All-State concerts, high school band trips, and yes, even an All-East Coast concert, that they have participated in.

The sense of pride they developed in themselves, their group, their school and their community is irreplaceable. Their circle of friends developed among other band students provided them with a sense of identity and belonging which they were able to carry with them when reaching middle and high school. And the lessons they learned in leadership, reasoning, cooperation and working with a group toward a common goal are all qualities that are applicable to their lives now.

I quote a friend who has stated, "Academics feed the mind; music feeds the soul." I implore the school board members and the county commissioners to very carefully consider the impact that these proposed cuts would have on the future of the children growing up in the Carroll County Public School system. Please don't starve their souls.

Ruth S. Pfaltzgraff

Keymar

It all began with "Peter and the Wolf."

A class of nine- and 10-year-olds sat, listening to an old, scratchy record of a musical story. There these children sat, mesmerized, trying to distinguish one sound from another: They wanted to try them all. There was always one that stood out from the rest. For some, it was the sweet, windy sound of the flute; for others, it was the triumphant call of the trumpet. For a smaller percentage, it was the eerie, haunting wail of the oboe.

The instrument, as the one gets to know it better, becomes an extension of oneself. I would like to think the lure of music and its magic would have drawn me in even had I not been exposed to it when I was nine or 10, but how can I be sure? Perhaps some children have interest now, but maybe that will get lost later in life. There are still others who have such a great natural talent that they can't wait to start school music classes, but will possibly have to because their parents can't afford private lessons. This is both a tragedy and a great unfairness.

By removing the elementary music program, not only are the young children being shortchanged, but the older ones as well. I had planned on going to school to get a degree in music education to return to Carroll County to teach. I do not want to go to a private school, and I do not want to teach in a high school or middle school.

I want to be remembered by the students of Carroll County as I remember my first music teacher. I want my students to be able to remember me as the first one to bring the joy and magic of music into their little hands and hearts. However, this will obviously not be possible if the programs are cut.

If it is thought that sixth graders will show as much enthusiasm as fourth graders, think again. There will, no doubt, be a drop in the number of music students, if for the sole reason that they might just be "too cool" to be in band or chorus. If that happens, the next time there needs to be a budget cut, the first thing to go will be the middle school program. After that, maybe the high school programs as well.

If those who are taking the liberty to cut these programs think that music is just "an easy grade," think again. To most of us at the high school level, music is our lives. Many of us want to continue it in college. Please rethink your impending decision.

Kristin Swierzbinski

Marriottsville

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