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Letters to the Editor

March 02, 2000

Jefferson needs professional help

To the editor:

I wish to add my voice in support of Mr. Burke's call for a moratorium on new subdivisions, a move long overdue in Jefferson County, and essential if we are to straighten out the mess the planning commission has created.

It is also plain that the planning commission needs to be completely reformed and reconstituted with a new mandate, under a new presiding officer.

In reference to the planning process conducted by the Jefferson County Planning Commission, I believe it is fatally flawed, unrepresentative of the diversity of the evolving needs of the whole county community, and unable to deal with essential planning issues, including the crucial need for long-term comprehensive planning on a minimum 50-year planning horizon in Jefferson County.

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A Citizen Planning Advisory Group should be formed, reporting directly to the County Commission. This group should be given full legal status, with funding to conduct planning initiatives through a public bidding process, with the assistance of appropriate professional planners. Sound planning in today's environment requires a team of planners with complementary areas of expertise, not just a single "consultant." In my inquiries I have learned that the cost to bring in such a team to prepare a proper, professional plan is typically $50,000 to $60,000. This will be some of the best money ever spent by Jefferson County, and the citizens will - for once - be able to have confidence that all planning issues have been properly addressed and provided for.

The indictment against the Jefferson County Planning Commission is that it has had decades of opportunity to do this, but has fought against it relentlessly, ignoring the county zoning ordinance, and every other effort to introduce rational land-use; therefore, the so-called Jefferson County Planning Commission has no credibility in the community, and the citizens are disgusted - rightly so.

Mr. Coil argues that the presently-constituted Planning Commission (appointed by the County Commission) has a legal monopoly on all county planning, but it has no such thing (West Virginia history overflows with the unhealthy and destructive effects of monopolies). The Jefferson County Commission has legal, moral, ethical, political and practical responsibility for the proper handling of all Jefferson County matters; any failure of public bodies in this regard lies squarely at the feet of the County Commission - the citizens know this, and rightly insist upon it.

Joseph J. Snyder

Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Like spitting in my face

To the editor:

I would like to put my opinion in on a subject that most people in Hagerstown don't even know about. In the Rose Hill Cemetery there is a Confederate memorial grave site and for years the Confederate flag hasn't flown over it on the flag pole.

But now that they finally put a flag there it's the American flag! I called and found out that the State of Maryland won't allow them to put a Confederate flag on the pole and people can't even put smaller ones at the site either! I feel as though this is dishonoring the soldiers there. Whether their cause was right or wrong they fought and died for it and putting the flag above them that their enemy at the time flew is spitting in their faces.

It seems to me that our state is just buckling under the same pressure that is now being put on South Carolina and their state capital. But people don't seem to realize that the American flag flew on slave ships for years before the Civil War and slavery wasn't all the war was about. So I think it's just another violation of my rights! I had family in the Confederate army. So it makes me mad that they're being disrespected like that.

It's like spitting in my face!

What's next, Georgia's state flag?

J. Erick Leggett

Hagerstown

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