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Letters to the editor

July 31, 2002

Nipps stresses experience, schools background



To the editor:

To the people of Washington County:

"Who is Doris Nipps and why is she running for County Commissioner?"

I became very concerned about the future of Washington County the day my twin sons were born, almost 23 years ago. Their future and their well-being were my responsibility.

And as I increasingly became involved in the school system, I realized that if I didn't stand up for what I believed was essential for a good education for all the children in Washington County, then I was neglecting my duty as a member of my community.

I was elected to my first term on the Board of Education in 1994 and have been re-elected twice since then.

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My commitment to the community has not wavered. In fact it has become stronger as I have become more knowledgeable about the needs of the entire community through my work with the elderly and low- income population.

I have worked closely with the county commissioners for eight years. I may be new to the county commissioner position, but county government is not new to me.

Education is but a piece of the pie that needs to be strong. Public safety, managing the inevitable growth in a way that fits the needs of our community and the need for a strong economic base, while preserving our agricultural heritage and quality of life, are issues that need to be addressed now.

During my three terms on the Board of Education, I have made difficult decisions. I believe I am known as a person who listens to all sides of an issue, weighs information I have gathered and then makes a decision.

Experience, knowledge, common sense, that is what I bring to the position of county commissioner.

Doris (Dori) Nipps

Candidate

County Commissioner

Smithsburg




People stand to lose control of the land



To the editor:

I attended the last public meeting on the comprehensive plan for the county and, after studying the executive summary revised draft, found the commissioners' comments in the following Friday's Daily Mail to be appalling.

This board has been in office for nearly four years, while the comprehensive plan has suffered through 30 some previous public hearings. From the quotes, it would appear that, with the exception of Bill Wivell, the incumbent commissioners have not read the proposed changes and, in the process, are allowing the State of Maryland and the Washington County Planning Commission to literally deprive land owners of their basic constitutional rights of property ownership.

To lay the blame of over and/or inappropriate development at the feet of the farming community is outrageous and indefensible. It is even more irresponsible to imply that down-zoning a landowner's property will address the irresponsible zoning variances and inappropriate exceptions granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals and, in some situations, even the Board of County Commissioners.

The existing zoning regulations are not nearly as flawed as what those proposing the new comprehensive plan would have us believe. A careful study of existing zoning finds that the present regulations contain many safeguards to prevent the uncontrolled and incompatible development issues.

What has created most of the development problems in the county is the Board of Zoning Appeal's unconstrained granting of practically any and all applications for variances to existing zoning regulations.

Even the commissioners have failed to address inappropriate variances when the opportunity arose. From studying the "proposed comprehensive plan," there is no guarantee that adopting the "new" plan will prevent the Board of Zoning Appeals from continuing their policy of granting exceptions at every whim.

Growth, commercial applications, and development pressures will continue to change dramataically. The language contained in the existing zoning ordinances must be reviewed and updated as needed to address changing land use. Definitions must be redefined and in accordance with current land uses. The respective agencies and boards must follow definitions as they are written and not allow exceptions without the appropriate public hearings.

The Board of Zoning Appeals must be structured to represent a true cross-section of Washington County citizenry. Variance appeals must be closely scrutinized, with appropriate consideration given to the impact upon the affected residents and infrastructure.

While these issues are deliberated, massive subdivisions are being planned. Existing zoning regulations must be fairly and uniformly enforced. Adequate citizenry representation must be appointed to respective boards, and the rubber stamp policy of approving every zoning variance appeal must end.

It's time to solve the problems.

Steve Palmer

Candidate

County Commissioner

Williamsport




Vikki is still in the race



To the editor:

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