Parole vote was a 'can of worms'...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Parole vote was a 'can of worms' worth re-opening

The Sun's editorial page argues against an Anne Arundel County Council bill to remove a 1997 change to the land-use plan for Parole ("Re-opening as can of worms," Jan. 26). But in opposing the bill, the newspaper overlooks the twisted history the bill attempts to rectify.

For 30 years, Bestgate Road has been the northern boundary for development in Parole.

In 1994, the citizens, business owners and land-use planners on the Parole Growth Management Area Committee issued recommendations aimed at revitalizing the Parole Town Center and preventing sprawl. They reaffirmed that the northernmost boundary of Parole -- the line in the sand -- was Bestgate Road.

So many county residents were rudely surprised when the County Council passed a bill in 1997 allowing Parole to spill over this boundary and engulf another 60 acres. Developers intend to rezone the property for commercial use.

Twenty-three area community associations -- the Citizens for Responsible Parole Planning -- oppose the development that would then ensue. Fast growth would overwhelm roads, schools and general infrastructure.

As you stated, "Planning connotes consistency and predictability." Indeed. Consistency in this case means adhering to the boundaries the Parole Growth Management Area Committee initially recommended.

In doing so, the council would represent the desires of its constituents, not the whims of developers.

Melissa Joyce

Annapolis

The writer is a member of Citizens for Responsible Parole Planning.

Reason race track would be a boon for the area...

I still support the auto racetrack in Pasadena for a number of reasons: The developers would use their own money and not our tax dollars. That is a gift and we should appreciate and take advantage of it.

It would be a tremendous boost to our economy. It would provide jobs to those in the building trade. It would create jobs in the tourist business.

It would be an added attraction to the other wonderful things already in the Baltimore and Annapolis area. It would definitely draw tourists.

It would create revenues which could be used to fund other important things in Anne Arundel County, such as education and roads.

This project is not bad for the environment. It would be different if the proposed site was pristine land, but it is not.

This would be an excellent use of an unused and unsightly location.

It could be cleaned up and made into a nice waterfront park which local residents could use during non-race times.

This is stretching it a little, but racing is an attraction to a lot of young boys.

What better way to keep them off the streets and out of trouble then to get them involved in the sport of racing.

If you have ever watched a race on television, during interviews drivers are always positive and never say anything bad about their competitors. They act professional, stress the importance of safety and demonstrate teamwork.

Auto racing is a positive activity. Anne Arundel County should grant approval to build the auto racetrack in Pasadena.

Donna Graham

Pasadena

I am a member of a racing team, racing at Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania along with at least six other teams from Maryland.

In my neighborhood, two race teams travel to Delaware tracks and one team races in the NASCAR series in Virginia. This makes a total of 10 race teams, who take their cars, team members and associates to facilities out of state.

At one time, Maryland had multiple "stock car" tracks, but due to pressure from developers and individuals, these facilities were closed and recycled into housing or commercial enterprises.

Currently, only two Maryland "stock car" tracks are on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay within a 2-hour drive.

As a race fun, I attend several NASCAR events each year. I spend $100 to $150 per day, not counting the ticket(s) for the event.

In talking to residents near the racing facilities, most are very happy to have the income that racing brings to their community.

During the Christmas holidays, I was in a small restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Del. and asked the waitress how she felt about "stock car" racing at Dover.

Her reply: "I get about $200 a night in tips," and that restaurant is more than an hour's drive from Dover.

The money that racers and race fans spend out of state could be spent here if we had a local facility.

Walter Shock, Sr.

Millersville

I have been a Pasadena resident for more than 10 years. I am the owner of a successful business in my community.

I am responding on behalf of my family and friends who live and work in Pasadena.

We support the construction of this proposed multi-million dollar motorsports facility in our community.

When I say "we," I mean my family and friends and more than 4,000 Pasadena residents who also have stated their support.

For more than a year, I have worked with a group called R.A.C.E.F.A.N.S., Racing Advocates Commited Exclusively for Approval of New Speedway, gathering support for the project.

The current County Council says that the local communities don't want this project.

How can they say that?

Have they looked at the stacks of signatures in support of this project?

Have they been to any of the meetings to which they have been invited to speak to hundreds of supporters? We may lose this opportunity.

Linda LeCronier

Pasadena

. . . and why it should look elsewhere

Apparently, the editorial page of The Sun has been persuaded by Chesapeake Motorsports Development Corp. and those who would benefit from the racetrack that this is the best thing to happen to Anne Arundel County, and that County Executive Janet S. Owens really had no alternative but to support it.

Financial gain is the reason stated to look favorably on this project, regardless of the cost to the environment or the quality-of-life of the people who live on the Marley Neck peninsula.

Your myopic vision does a disservice to the people of northern Anne Arundel County.

If economic gain is the primary reason for support of the racetrack, other "Smart Growth" plans for the Marley Neck peninsula have the support of residents and elected representatives.

The Tanyard Springs and Tanyard Cove projects, which have been in the planning stages for years, would provide significant employment opportunities as well as increased property tax revenue, amounting to about $5 million annually.

Additional support services for these communities, such as supermarkets and banks, would add to employment opportunities and tax revenue. Why don't you mention these projects as a counterbalance to the racetrack?

We resent the insinuation that unless Ms. Owens supported the track, she is letting down Anne Arundel County.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

We trust Ms. Owens to make a fair and well thought-out decision. She is aware of the other proposals already in the works for the Marley Neck peninsula.

We trust that she will determine that these projects are more advantageous to the county in the long run, and that she will work with those who already support the Tanyard Cove and Tanyard Springs developments.

Laura Sullivan is correct in her reporting that the majority of people who live in the Marley Neck and Fort Smallwood area of Pasadena oppose the track.

Public meetings may be dominated by racetrack fans who have stated they live in Odenton, Aberdeen, Sykesville, Hanover, Baltimore County and other areas.

They don't speak for, live in or vote in the Pasadena area.

Many of these supporters are members of construction labor unions whose interest is only in the jobs building such a track would provide.

At least be fair in reporting on the economic opportunities for the peninsula, without telling us the votes are in, decisions are made and that our county executive has only one choice to make.

Elizabeth J. Kirk

Pasadena

I have to chuckle when I continue to read letters to the editor from supporters of the racetrack in Pasadena.

The continuing theme is that they are the majority and resent the the fact that the "minority" may win.

While I oppose the track, I could not physically attend the hearings -- not for lack of interest, but because I physically could not attend. There are many, especially the older community members, who cannot attend many of the hearings.

Many of the opposing citizens do not attend for another reason.

I have had friends who have attended hearings and the whole theme is that being loud outweighs intelligent comment.

It's not that we are in the minority. Rather, the majority of us do not find it necessary to jam our opinions down other people's throats or try to outscream speakers or attempt to intimidate others when we choose to have our own opinions.

Claire Catherine Miller

Pasadena

Pub Date: 2/14/99

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