Letters to the editor 11/6

November 06, 2002

Money isn't everything

To the editor:

In The Morning Herald, the well-written article about the six rescued miners who fired their lawyer over movie money disturbed me.

It makes me sick to think of how these miners can only think of money after they had recently had their lives at risk. For three days they were trapped 240 feet underground with nothing more than a corned beef sandwich.

I would've thought that after that life-altering experience the miners might've discovered what's really important in life. Especially with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the concentration on worldly things like money, seems unimportant and superficial.

I just hope that people will learn from this story and start thinking about their priorities in life.

Angela Mari, 15


Zoning isn't 'arbitrary'

To the editor:

Mr. Moeller in his letter entitled "County planning is a tangled mess" completely misstates the design and purpose of proposed new zoning regulations.


In his letter Moeller says, "These planners have arbitrarily divided rural land into three classifications: Agriculture, environmental conservation and preservation... (and) 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..."

First, there is nothing arbitrary about the zoning classifications. Land designated for preservation zoning, the most restrictive classification, is situated around county and state parks, federal parks such as the Antietam Battlefield, protected Rural Legacy land, state wildlife management areas, the Edgemont watershed area and most of mountaintops as well as the Potomac River. Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars have already gone to protect these sensitive, historic and scenic areas. Preservation zoning by design seeks to maintain and preserve these lands.

Land designated with environmental conservation zoning encompasses flood plains, steep slopes and forested areas on mountainsides and near waterways. Again, as with preservation zoning, the environmental conservation zoning has been applied by the Planning Commission to specific areas with known environmental sensitivity. Most of this land - flood plains, slopes and heavily forested areas - has limited construction potential, even without the environment conservation zoning.

Moeller also expresses concerns over the "confiscation of development rights without compensation." For the record, much of Washington County farmland will be zoned as agriculture under the proposed zoning with owners permitted to build one house on every five acres. The Planning Commission had recommended one house per 10 acres to the County Commissioners. Baltimore County allows one house per 50 acres. Frederick County, which is rapidly becoming the poster child for sprawl, permits only three houses per parcel and one house per 50 acres. By any measure, Washington County farmers' and others' property rights are well-protected. And for those who do voluntarily choose to preserve farmland with little or no construction, the Agricultural Preservation and Rural Legacy programs have made available dollars in compensation.

In sum, the comprehensive plan and associated zoning regulations do not represent arbitrary, capricious confiscation of property. Rather, they attempt to bring Washington County's planning guideposts, last updated in the 1970s, into line with the rest of Maryland and the reality of rural sprawl while providing reasonable protection for property owners. Should we fail to implement the new zoning regulations, we can look forward to becoming just another Frederick County.

Drew Birnbaum


Dangerous curve causing accidents

To the editor:

Well, it happened again. A car catapulted here at the curve where the YMCA was built. All I know is it skidded on the slippery highway and flew through the air and landed upside down on the side of the road.

As I have reported before, there is a sign there that says 35 mph, but that doesn't mean much because you know they usually go 50 when it says 35 on Eastern Boulevard.

If they would be smart enough and put a sign up with 20 mph on it, maybe people would go only 35 mph.

Oh, by the way, the lady in the car was upside down but they finally got her out and she was taken to the hospital. I don't know how badly she was hurt.

This is a very bad curve and at least needs a caution blinking yellow light, besides a 20 mph sign.

How many people need to be hurt or killed before something is done here? Wake up, this is our county and we do care.

Ellis Duffey


Let's support city rescue service

To the editor:

My wife and I were privileged and honored to be a part of Community Rescue Service in the 1980s. I am both sickened and saddened by the recent articles and issues concerning this great organization.

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