Incorporate part of Eldersburg and allow it to grow
A news story ("Support found to make a town," March 22) of Lineboro's struggle with water contamination due to failing septic systems pinpoints exactly why the projected incorporation of Eldersburg will fail.
When a concentrated growth area has a common problem, it is relatively simple to get people united to fight and work cooperatively.
In Eldersburg, there is no one problem that all people can agree should be fixed.
An example is the projected promenade. While the op/ed pages were filled with those against the project, it is now obvious some who opposed it are now regretting their efforts to kill the project.
They're reaping what they sowed. In truth, the Eldersburg majority wanted the project.
The main motivation for incorporation in Eldersburg is to gain political power.
This is, I'm afraid, what will kill the project. To gain political power, the few who are pushing the project are trying to take in as much land area and population as they can.
While I agree that incorporation is a worthwhile goal I do have two caveats:
It must offer very obvious and visible benefits, other than political power.
It must start in a very limited area and grow outward by the sheer display of those very obvious benefits.
At the last incorporation meeting I pointed out that the only recent success stories were towns that had large areas of apartments and condominiums to overcome homeowners who would be negative due to projected tax increases.
There is a projected area of about 200 acres near the intersection of Route 26 and Oklahoma Road that will soon be subject to applications for condos and apartments. It is in keeping with the 1977 plan, the recent CAC recommendations as well as the Smart Growth initiative.
This is the area I would like to see incorporated. It is a small area. It can afford the tax increases. It can build the municipal structure needed, but best of all, it can create all the benefits the surrounding homeowners want.
The idiotic reply was advanced that apartment renters and condo owners would not take the tax increase. The fact is house sale prices, condo fees and rents are not set by the owners of property, they are set by the competition. Think about it.
I hope that the pages of the newspapers will be given to those who disagree with this proposal. I would like to see the reason against starting incorporation in a very limited area and growing, not by political force, but by giving superior benefits to the homeowners. My adage is grow by creating a superior product not by trying to force your will on a majority that very, very obviously doesn't want it at all.
Understanding the plot of 'Cider House Rules'
Maybe it is too much to ask that William F. Buckley in his OpinionCommentary column ("Oscar and abortion," March 30) understand the plot for the "The Cider House Rules" before he criticizes the movie. The cider house was not the orphange.
The cider house was where Homer -- who left the orphanage at least in part because he did not believe his mentor should be doing abortions -- went to live with other itinerant workers while they all picked apples for a meager living.
The cider house was where Homer learned that abortion is a complicated issue.
While he knew that life was sacred, he came to realize that the life of one already there -- a young woman pregnant by her father and with no immediate future save climbing trees to pick apples -- was more sacred than the life of one not yet here who would depend on her for its chance at life.
The workers who had to live in the cider house decided to make their own rules instead of abiding by the rules of a management that did not have to live there.
In the cider house, Homer discovered why Dr. Larch would not obey rules set by those who did not have to live in a woman's body or her life.
The cider house would be a good place for us to start working together to make abortion unnecessary instead of illegal.
Kathryn J. Henderson
Changes in oversight not good for the county
On Wednesday, March 29, the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission considered proposals by the Board of Commissioners and the Department of Economic Development to remove site plan review and oversight by our citizen planning panel. The proposals also eliminate plan review by the members of the Subdivision Advisory Committee (SAC), which consists of county and state professionals.
The Finksburg Planning Area Council Inc. believes that the proposals are deleterious to the health and welfare of the general public and will appear in opposition to both proposals.
It would appear that the Carroll commissioners and Department of Economic Development have become desperate in their search for just any business proposals.
The proposals are for improvements to lots of less than 5,000 and 20,000 square foot, respectively. If approved, any future business development in this nominal size would escape all professional review and be exempted from the county's less-than-onerous landscape requirements.
In our considered opinion, it is precisely these size site plans that should be made to meet all current zoning and aesthetic requirements.
To believe that government should not concern itself with how industrial or commercial sites look is an injustice to the citizens and established businesses in Carroll County.
The Finksburg Planning Area Council Inc. recognizes the need for additional quality industrial and commercial development in Carroll County. The proposed exemptions to Planning Commission policy and zoning ordinances are unnecessary retrogressions to policy and law that are not in the best interests of Carroll County's citizens.
We believe that if this county is ever to attract white-collar employment, it must protect the property values of residential property and industrial sites by stringently requiring aesthetic controls and an equitable evaluation of site plan criteria for every business development -- small or large, new or expanded.
This proposal by the County commissioners to eliminate plan review reinforces our belief that any increase in water allocation to Carroll County by Baltimore should be conditioned on Carroll's reaffirmation of the Watershed Protection Agreement. While the position of the current Board of Commissioners appears short-sighted in its quest for any economic development, we believe that what is good for the protection of the water resource and the other signatories to the agreement is also in the best interests of the citizens of Carroll County.
The writer is president of the Finksburg Area Planning Council .
What does the design of Terra Maria say?
Thank you for running the story "Residents say no to 'neo'," by Liz Atwood and Alice Lukens, photos by David Hobby, on April 4, about the gap between the planners' trying to build developments that resemble small towns and the suburban residents who are opposed to such proposals.
When looking at the aerial photo of Terra Maria, some positive neotraditional elements of the development can be immediately identified. All of these elements speak of a consideration by the planners of mankind as a noble being, by affording (him/her) a place to be within the structure overall of the community while considering the rights of other communities' habitats to coexist.
On closer inspection, this is a community planned by someone who has embraced the signs of neotraditional design without going into the reason too far.
There is no tolerance for straying far from the professional-family-with-kids norm planned here: Places for single people or couples with limited means, with more good-taste and books than credit? Affordable housing for single parents or working wage parents with a gaggle of kids to raise?
Above all, there are no symbols of higher values visible anywhere. No church steeples, no synagogue domes, no statues, no town hall belfries in Terra Maria.
G. F. Pat Page
Senior center workers who make it special
Eleven years ago while battling breast cancer and adjusting to retirement, I wanted to add another dimension to my life so I joined the Westminster Senior Center. Throughout the years I have had continuous contact with three awesome staff members whose skills and knowledge keep the center brimming with meaningful activities.
Clarlene Fischer is the senior center's program coordinator. She handles budgets, attends state meetings regarding the aging, works closely with the Developmental Disabilities Administration, knows all seniors on a first-name basis and sees that everyone is placed in rewarding activities.
Olivia Schrodetzki is the senior center's assistant program coordinator.
She plans and organizes interesting activities such as the annual Italian Dinner, the intergenerational program with children who have special needs, art classes, field trips to dinner theaters, the National Aquarium, shopping malls, etc. Under her guidance, seniors make crafts to be sold to the general public in order to raise money for seniors who are unable to pay for field trips and special activities.
Several years ago, Ms. Schrodetzki began a billiard program with three gentlemen at the old senior center.
Today, five centers have a billiard program for men and women who play yearly tournaments.
Angie Walz is the senior inclusion program aide who also knows all seniors by name. She oversees programs for the developmentally disabled adults. Ms. Walz plans and assists in all activities. She treats all developmentally disabled adults with the greatest respect and reminds them daily that they are very important people in our society.
These three women have made a positive impact on my life. They help us to live our golden years to the fullest at the Westminster Senior Center.
The Westminster Senior Center is my pot of gold at the end of my life's rainbow.
Angela A. Saxton