Agents should navigate clauses on developmentYour June...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Agents should navigate clauses on development

Your June 16 article, "Legislator writing bill to inform homebuyers," was welcome news.

Many years ago, I wish there had been such a bill. Real estate agents have their own agendas, and they are not the same as the buyers'. I lost 14 feet of property because frontage had grown over onto the county road. When further development started, we were in for a big surprise.

No one had told us when we purchased that half our front yard was on county property. I'm sure there are courthouse files that contain such information, but few buyers then or now would have the savvy to investigate.

We enlist the help of real estate agents, assuming that they adhere to a code of ethics. Sadly, this is not always true. I support, as I hope others will, Del. John Leopold's bill to make public documents a requirement of a real estate agent's sales portfolio.

Joyce C. Robinson

Glen Burnie

Parking in front of home raises flap

I'm sick of notes being placed on my cars from Long Point residents. Many residents park in front of their house. I did too until the Long Point Association stopped me.

The road in front of my house belongs to the association, so I have to park on county roads. Sandbar Lane and Twickenham Road are county roads.

I don't want to infringe on my neighbors' space, so I offered to clear and maintain the entire 25-foot dirt road, which also would give my neighbors added parking for their cars, for allowing me to park in front of my property.

The association continually tried to stop any improvement of the road and rejected our offer. The police were called when I parked on Twickenham.

I'm not parking illegally.

If my neighbors don't like where I am forced to park, I'm sorry, but take it up with the association.

I've had the air let out of my tires three times in one month. I had inspectors searching for problems that weren't there because the association made statements to such.

For three years, our kids haven't been swimming in our pool because the association has been fighting my variance.

We want to be left alone.

Tom and Eileen Guthmann

Pasadena

County roadside fee hurts senior vendors

Anne Arundel's $250 licensing fee for persons selling crafts and other small dollar items along roadways is completely unfair to young people and seniors, such as myself.

The fee is charged to anyone selling wares along the road.

We do this to get a little spending money for Christmas and to supplement our Social Security.

I have had discussed the fee structure with Anne Arundel County Councilman James "Ed" DeGrange Sr. and with Victor Sulin and Ann Hatcher of the Department of Planning and Code Enforcement.

They all seem to agree that as the fee structure now stands, it is unfair to some. But no one knows how to fix it.

Since my last conversation with these representatives, I have called Mr. DeGrange's office three times. I have yet to get a return call.

We all get old and need a hand in doing things we want to do.

After being born, raised and living in Anne Arunel County all my life, I do not think it fair to be penalized after retirement for having a hobby that makes me golfing money for summer.

V.E. Lohrmann Sr.

Pasadena

Candidates: Owens for county executive

Janet Owens is the correct choice for Anne Arundel County executive in 1998.

She has been endorsed by the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County because she is the only candidate who is committed to the public school system and she recognizes the fundamental importance of schools to our county's future.

She would not engage in power struggles, name-calling or mud-slinging. She is concerned about what is needed and what is right for our young people and she will provide the leadership to do just that.

Robert C. Grimm

Millersville

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Janet Owens' environmental record is impressive. A decade ago, she initiated weekly testing of the Severn River near her Millersville community so that when coliform levels are high, parents can keep their kids out of the water.

At her home, she is now struggling heroically to save eight very old oaks, the largest in Anne Arundel north of the Cumberstone Road area.

Ms. Owens placed part of her 60-acre family farm in South County into the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. In fulfilling its requirements, she has put special effort into planting environmentally protective grasses.

In the late 1980s, she helped to stop Genstar from mining next to Jug Bay. Her farm is located close to the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and the Patuxent River Natural Resource Management Area.

With Janet Owens as county executive, Anne Arundel will, as she says, "no longer be 'Waiverworld,' a developer's paradise."

H. Catherine Armiger

Lothian

Murphy for County Council in District 3

Do we need a raceway in Pasadena's backyard? Severn didn't want it. Middle River didn't want it. Why would our council representative feel we would want it?

He proposed legislation to change zoning for the racetrack that excluded public input. He claims he based his decision on 3,500 signatures from race fans in our district.

That figure equates to approximately 5 percent of our population.

What about the other 95 percent? Many old and established neighborhoods, as well as Fort Smallwood Road, would be adversely affected.

A major concern is also the East-West Boulevard. This will have a drastic effect on many residents in Pasadena. From what I have read, Lake Waterford would suffer some ill effects.

As a retired teacher who taught sixth grade in elementary school, I know the disadvantages those students experienced, when our council representatives voted to hold up Brooklyn Park Middle School.

When I asked Anne Arundel County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond Sr. to explain the reason for his action on this matter at the Stoney Creek Democratic Club, he explained, "It's politics. George Bachman voted against 16 of my capital projects, so I voted against his."

Have our children become political pawns in county government?

Therefore, I ask you to consider A. Shirley Murphy for the County Council in District 3.

After working with her in the Chamber of Commerce with the disadvantaged children's Christmas Party at Archbishop Spalding High School, I have experienced her leadership abilities in many areas.

Ms. Murphy has been active in many business and community organizations.

Her education interests include Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), Take Back Our Streets, LaFontaine Bleu's education incentive program, Northeast High School's Academy of Finance and she serves on Glen Burnie High School's Business Advisory Board. Make your vote count for Pasadena.

Virginia A. Johnson

Severna Park

Scott for state Senate in District 33

I am writing in support of Republican Bill Scott for state senator in District 33.

He is a candidate who served honorably in the U.S. Army, serving twice in Vietnam.

He was a career officer whose commitment to duty, honor and integrity is without question. After his military career, he worked in the private sector and has been a hard-working unpaid volunteer in our community.

The contrast with his opponent in the Republican primary, Bobby Neall, could not be greater.

Mr. Neall is a professional politician who quit as county executive in order to make big money in the private sector. At least, that was his stated reason.

One of his first paychecks after he left office came from Anne Arundel County government.

It hired him on two different contracts for personal services, one of which was not even recorded in the county purchasing office.

He then became a lobbyist but apparently the money was not good enough so he went back into politics.

Vote for honesty in government -- Bill Scott for state Senate in District 33.

Marc Wirig

Severna Park

Taking a Brilliant stand on development

For more than 30 years, Bestgate Road has been the recognized growth boundary between planned commercial development associated with Parole and lower density land use to its north. In a letter written in 1987, the director of Planning and Zoning, Thomas L. Osborne, reiterated this promise to the citizens of the Severn Grove Community. That promise has been reflected in every Anne Arundel County land-use planning document since 1967.

Now these 30 years of promises and planning are threatened. The developer's application is pending before the administrative hearing officer to change about 30 acres from residential to commercial zoning.

Commonly referred to as the Brilliant property, this site is located north of Bestgate Road and east of Industrial Drive.

Will this commercial growth bring our community prosperity or painful costs? When does growth change from being the solution to the cause of economic woes?

The answer is found by understanding the distinction between growth and development. The Rocky Mountain Institute asserts that a community will always benefit from development, but growth may create a damaging burden.

Why?

A community might be compared to a human being. If a person continues to increase in size or grow after maturity, that growth is defined as cancer.

Likewise, when a community continues to grow after maturity, its cancer is manifest by symptoms such as traffic congestion, environmental degradation, urbanization of farms and a deteriorating sense of community.

Development is very different than growth.

After reaching physical maturity, adults can continue to develop by constant improvement. We can learn new skills, develop additional interests or gain deeper wisdom. Similarly, a community can continue to develop without getting bigger. It can enhance cultural and educational opportunities, revitalize older areas and increase diversity of business opportunities.

Growth is an increase in size, while development is an increase in quality. Development enhances the value of investments resulting in an increase in prosperity. Growth requires additional investments in infrastructure and public services that will increase costs that must be borne by everyone and may not increase value in a community as a whole.

The purpose of the Parole Plan is to promote development, not growth. Hundreds of hours of effort by citizens of this community confirmed Bestgate Road as the northern limit of commercial growth for the Parole Growth Management Area.

This defines the bounds of commercial maturity. Within these limits, more than 6.5 million square feet of additional office, retail and residential development are proposed by the Parole Plan. This plan represents the epitome of sustainable development. It integrates long-term community, environmental and economic goals.

Conversely, the rezoning is the epitome of damaging growth resulting in expansion beyond the recognized limits of our commercial maturity.

Why is this rezoning even being considered piecemeal when Annapolis Neck is going through comprehensive rezoning as part of the Small Area process?

If we do not contain growth and reinvest in areas such as the center of Parole, Clay Street and outer West Street, we will continue to consume our green areas and residential land. Rather than improving our quality of life, it will draw capital away from redevelopment and perpetuate the decline of our community's urban core.

We must reinvigorate our town centers of Annapolis and Parole, not create new town centers in the suburban countryside.

Barbara Samorajczyk

Annapolis

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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