The Baltimore Sun

Article on car lot missed key point

Larry Carson's article Feb. 1 on the effort of Concerned Citizens of Western Howard County to block development of a used car lot in Daisy missed one important point our community organization has been making about the need for rezoning in the county's rural west.

That point is that if rezoning had been done by the county when it should have been done, we would not be fighting a proposal to build a used car lot in a rural community where the General Plan in 1990 and 2000 said such large-scale commercial development is impractical and undesirable outside of five designated rural growth areas, of which Daisy is not one.

The problem was created by the failure in the 2003-04 comprehensive rezoning process to follow policy set in the 2000 General Plan that was adopted to protect the rural character and resources of the county's largest remaining area of agricultural preservation, rural conservation and rural residential land - nearly 70,000 acres. In agricultural preservation alone, the county has a major investment of more than $190 million to protect.

As a result of that failure, there are properties zoned B-1 and B-2 in rural communities that are vulnerable to large-scale commercial development. An example of this is occurring in Daisy where final action on the proposal for the car lot is fast approaching. In addition, the village has several other B-2 zoned properties that are prime candidates for commercial development if nothing is done soon, all contrary to the policy established in the General Plan.

The County Council has an excellent opportunity to correct this problem by taking action on a recently issued recommendation of the county Planning Board that the council approve expedited, or fast-track, comprehensive rezoning of commercial properties in the rural west. That would be preferable to waiting the four or five years it will take to adopt a new General Plan and comprehensive rezoning plan, as was suggested in the article.

Hugh Flaherty, Woodbine

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