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Time to ban 'pay to play' in Baltimore County

Jim Brochin, 52, is a Democrat from Towson who is currently a Maryland state senator.
Jim Brochin, 52, is a Democrat from Towson who is currently a Maryland state senator.((Baltimore Sun file))

Recent coverage of state Sen. Jim Brochin's bill to eliminate the perception of "pay to play" in Baltimore County has raised some important issues ("Brochin proposes ban on developer contributions in Baltimore County," Jan. 16).

First and most surprising is that rather than support this effort, many in government are reacting negatively.

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For what seems like an eternity, the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations and other responsible organizations have been struggling to have a voice in the development of Baltimore County, especially in the Towson area. GTCCA remains involved in a legal case involving the 101 York development.

In order for those representing the interests of homeowners and citizens to be truly free of corporate influence it seems eminently logical to restrict financial contributions from those who stand to most directly impact the quality of life for residents of Baltimore County, namely land developers and land use corporations.

Is it reasonable to believe that a legislator who has received financial support from a developer can be impartial in making decisions regarding that corporation?

GTCCA and other organizations have asked that their concerns regarding the proposed development of the so called "Towson Station" project be heard. Failing to successfully meet the demands of the community should have triggered a halt to the planned unit development process, but that has not happened.

The right to have adjoining property use be sensitive to existing uses is fundamental to our system of property rights. The fact that a 24-hour service station and convenience store are to be placed adjacent to a school, a church and residential properties is beyond the pale.

Development of real estate must balance public need with private property rights. Senator Brochin's plan to restrict campaign contributions from developers will be a positive step toward helping citizens of Baltimore County regain their rightful place in the process of land development.

Bryan Fischer, Towson

The writer is president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations.

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