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Letters to the editor for 9/30

September 30, 2002

County planning is a tangled mess



To the editor:

I'm old-fashioned. I deride "modern art." I detest the noise some refer to as "modern music." I don't watch "modern TV shows." I have little respect for "modern politics." I resent paying on a sewer debt when the nearest sewer is miles from my home. Rapidly escalating dumpsite fees concern me. I wonder why the School Board does not practice succession planning when hiring administrators. How good can the present administrators be if the board has to scour the country for top administrators every few years?

But what really ticks me off right now is the Comprehensive Plan prepared by the Washington County Planning Commissioners and the planning department. I have publicly referred to these groups as the "Take Away" commissioners and the "Can't Do" Department. These planners have arbitrarily divided rural land into three classifications: Agriculture, Environmental Conservation, and Preservation. I can show these planners photographs of rural lands and they cannot tell me what classification applies. I can take these planners to many rural properties and let them walk the land and they cannot tell me what classification applies without referring to their completely arbitrary maps.

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Yet, on the sole basis of this arbitrary classification, these planners want the County Commissioners to further restrict the number of homes that can be built on rural land. These same planners express no concern over the fact that there are no funds or, at best, insufficient funds available to compensate the rural property owners for the loss of their development rights.

These two issues, the arbitrary classification of rural property and the confiscation of development rights without compensation, will soon be before the County Commissioners. I can only hope that the Commissioners properly address both issues before they vote on the Comprehensive Plan and before they vote on new zoning laws.

Daniel Moeller

Rohrersville




Office design started this rift



To the editor:

I would like to respond to Dick Cushwa's recent letter to the editor. First of all, Cushwa accused me of political grandstanding at the taxpayer's expense. What Cushwa failed to tell the readers is that he and I have had previous differences of opinion regarding office layout and design as employees of the same company.

Cushwa also failed to tell the readers that he is a close friend, supporter, and financial contributor of another candidate for County Commissioner. So, yes, let's do talk about political grandstanding.

Cushwa seems to imply that he has knowledge of the position(s) of the various board members of the County Commissioners on this issue, and seems to further disagree with my position that taxpayers do have a right to this information.

Under the Maryland Public Information Act, two remedies are available to a person who disagrees with a governmental entity's position on the release of information. One of those remedies is judicial. My filing with the court was for a "Writ of Mandamus," or, an opinion, by a third party (the judge) as to whether this information should, in fact, be released. Other than some staff time and the time involved for a court to render an opinion (all of which are sunk costs), there should be minimal cost to the taxpayer.

Contrary to what Cushwa would like for you to believe, I would like to assure your readers that I will continue to be a responsible custodian of the taxpayer's money.

William Wivell

County Commissioner

Hagerstown

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