Lease of parkland to cut public access

Who said property is not affordable in Howard County?

Council Resolution #84-2005 will allow a 5- to 20-year lease on a two-story house with 39.49 acres for $900 per month. The property is taken from the West Friendship Park and will be leased to the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club.

This acreage is taken from the entry portion of the park and will effectively block access to the remaining 310 acres. This land grab is occurring in spite of the Howard County General Plan that zones the property for recreation purposes.

There are many recreational groups in the county (soccer, golf, baseball, etc.) that are deeply concerned about this proposal. We are well aware of the desperate need for affordable recreational facilities in our fast-growing county. We must safeguard this site for its intended purpose of needed recreation for all county residents.

We recommend the County Council postpone action on the resolution until the Antique Club obtains proposals from the more appropriate sites such as County Fairground, Mt. Pleasant Conservancy and the Blandair site. Also, we recommend that the county obtain Request for Proposal from sports groups in the county for recreational uses of this site as stated in the Howard County General Plan.

Don Dunn

Ellicott City

The writer is president of the Howard County Golf Association.

Pupil says farewell to retiring principal

The tribute to our retiring principal, Barbara Hoffmann, by Karen Nitkin ("A principal and her legacy," June 12) is very well written. As we let Ms. Hoffmann go with sighs and tears, I'd like to add what the student population at Burleigh Manor Middle School thinks of her.

I am a 7th-grader at Burleigh Manor, and I have grown under her esteemed leadership these past two years. Her smiling demeanor is going to be missed. Ms. Hoffman was a real person who dealt with us all with compassion, encouraging each one of us to do our best. She gave us a voice and the wisdom how to say it.

I note she is selling some of her personal mementos to teachers and the money earned given back to teachers "to buy something for themselves." I have a suggestion for Ms. Hoffmann -- before you go, auction your style, dedication, heart-felt leadership, and legacy to every highest bidding teacher at Burleigh Manor. And every one of us students would not mind bidding either.

You will be missed, Ms. Barbara Hoffman, by every student, yet life will go on with another winner at the Burleigh Manor (Mr. Steven Gibson). I guess our ceilings and walls at Burleigh Manor Middle School are just lucky -- the angels are at work in Howard County.

Aliana Akhtar

Ellicott City

Resident opposes 'Comp Lite' concept

The choice is finally clear. After almost a decade of ambiguous beliefs by our County Council, the Comp Lite Referendum process has forced the council to finally state their position as to where they want to take Howard County.

Most residents bought into the residential-neighborhood-with-good-schools scenario. Now it appears that Mr. [Guy] Guzzone and Mr. [Ken] Ulman want to urbanize our county with mixed-use development. It's almost a bait and switch. Raise our taxes 30 percent and then come in with "Comp Lite" and change the neighborhoods to mixed use. Fine for Baltimore, but is that what we want in Howard County?

There are many issues that Comp Lite brought to the forefront, but none more important than the view of our government that more is better, that overcrowded schools are good, and that road congestion should be the norm. We as voters have to decide if this is where we want to take our county.

Developers in Howard County have had their way for almost 10 years. They have made millions off the backs of the taxpayers with the assistance of those who serve us.

Smart growth is an oxymoron, and the residents of the county will pay and pay and pay.

Maybe those on the council whose political careers are finally coming to an end should consider getting high-paid lobbyist jobs working for developers. They have certainly earned it.

Patricia Roscum

Ellicott City

Glenelg High School needs improvements

I apologize in advance if this sounds bitter. It is because I am extremely frustrated how a few people have totally abused the system and delayed the 400-seat addition at Glenelg High School.

I am a parent of one of the disadvantaged kids at Glenelg. I also have three more children who will attend, starting in two years.

I was a participant at the last hearing held earlier this month at Glenelg. I listened to those who were opposed to the new wastewater treatment plant and came away with a number of views. It was quite apparent that all of the opposition was using this forum to address issues that should be addressed elsewhere.

There were the environmentalists who were opposed to growth in any fashion; then there were those who are opposed because their children might have to transfer from River Hill High School to Glenelg or who were concerned that such a change would cause their property values to decrease.

My main issue lies with the last group as they are being duplicitous in their opposition. They are abusing the system in the hopes that their children do not have to go to Glenelg High School.

This is plain wrong. They have elevated their children above the well-being and safety of the 1,250-plus students at Glenelg.

The physical shortcomings of the school are well documented. These people should not be playing with the health, safety and learning advantages of the kids at Glenelg while trying to keep their kids at River Hill.

If they want to effect change (or should I say block change?), they should do it in the appropriate forum. That forum is the school boundary process.

I, along with all residents, want clean water. The proposed system works. It will render water at levels that are three to seven times cleaner than a good septic system. The existing Glenelg system is not a good system. It has been failing for a number of years. It doesn't take a genius to note which system delivers safer water.

We need these changes to assure the safety and the availability of the same learning standards as the rest of the county.

Pat Lyons


An unconscious racist effort

I know, from collecting signatures several times myself, that most of the people who signed the petition to put the Comp Lite zoning changes on the 2006 ballot did not have time to think through the implications of signing it.

If people do think about it, most will know in their heart that if this were a predominately white, Christian church, the immediate neighbors may have been upset, but nowhere near this irrational response attacking the County Council would have been generated. It happens this is a Korean Church, and this is an unconscious racist effort against the Koreans.

Where I am coming from? I am a white male, 72, and not associated with any organized religion.

Ms. [Angela] Beltram says the people supporting this bill are unhappy about a broad range of issues. Like what? I sat through almost every hearing, and it seems to me that most people, except the few that were turned down and had their pocketbook rearranged, were pretty happy with the outcome of Comp Lite.

For example, over here in Hickory Ridge, we spent 2 1/2 years keeping Mangione Family Enterprises from putting a big-box Walgreens on Cedar Lane across from Hickory Ridge Shopping Center. If Comp Lite gets voted down, we might loose this time. Which is better? A large church on St. John's Lane, or a big-box Walgreens on Cedar Lane? This petition is affecting people negatively all across the county, not just us.

George Ford


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