LAND USE MATTERS kindle deep feelings of attachment to our sense of place and to the quality of life.
And they sometimes force public officials to choose between neighborhood concerns and the greater good. Such a moment arises tomorrow when Howard's zoning board meets on the Maple Farms development proposal.
One of the five zoning board votes means more now because four of the votes are split.
So, the county looks to Guy J. Guzzone, who ran for office on a slow-growth platform. A vote for the project will be condemned by some as capitulation to the greedy developer.
But that's nonsense.
A yes vote will keep Howard on a prudent track chosen several years ago when mixed use development was targeted at places like Fulton south of Columbia. It is there that Stewart Greenebaum has proposed to build about 1,200 housing units and commercial structures designed to generate jobs. County officials, past and present, say this proposal is what they wanted.
Residents of the area disagree completely. They have won concessions, holding back construction until important road work can be approved and financed -- a requirement engineered by Mr. Guzzone.
More than anything, though, they want fewer housing units. The county wants as many units as current zoning allows.
That desire is not a formula for chockablock construction: Mixed use development is restricted to prevent more sprawl.
Guy Guzzone has been true to his campaign promises, writing new development controls into county law. Now he faces the task of explaining his vote, not just to the Maple Lawn opponents, but to the county at large.
Some political peril -- along with great opportunity -- attends his decision.