Letters to the editor - 6/17

June 17, 2004

Why some Boonsboro folks don't want Habitat home

To the editor:

Since The Herald-Mail is asking for public opinion regarding the emergency ordinance that was approved by the Boonsboro Mayor and Town Council on Monday, June 14 as a possible attempt to stop a planned Habitat for Humanity duplex, I would like to share some information that should be considered by those participating in the poll.

This is not new information. It has been stated repeatedly to reporters, in meetings, at hearings, to Habitat personnel in person and over the telephone, and in the petition that was circulated in the neighborhood.

The information has just never been published for some reason. The following is verbatim what the petition stated.

"We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the building project presently proposed for 47-49 Saint Paul Street in Boonsboro, Maryland.

"This project was denied twice by the Boonsboro Board of Zoning Appeals for the following reasons: Not in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance, would be injurious to the neighborhood and otherwise may be detrimental to the public welfare, would affect traffic conditions and facilities, and may affect the conservation of property values.


"In addition, the board stated that the granting of requested variances would establish a use in the district that is not specifically permitted in fronting houses on an alley versus a public street.

"And finally, the granting of requested variances was not necessary for the reasonable use of the land, and a hardship may not be self-created.

"The aforementioned reasons are unaffected by the changing of the original proposal from two single dwellings facing the alley to the presently planned duplex facing the alley.

"We are some of the residents within sight and/or directly affected by this proposed project.

"There are residents from other neighborhoods who object as well. We have no objection to the establishment of a dwelling that faces on Saint Paul Street and is in keeping with the neighborhood, as was the case of the duplex that previously sat at 47-49 Saint Paul Street."

The petition was signed by 23 people who live in the immediate neighborhood. For some of us on Lakin Avenue, the only thing separating our back yard from the front yard of the proposed duplex is 10 feet of alley, creating an additional issue of privacy or a lack thereof.

This privacy issue exists for several of the homes on Saint Paul Street as well. While not a matter of life or death, is there anyone among us who does not cherish privacy?

No one, not one person, has ever objected to the construction of Habitat homes that are in keeping with the neighborhood and are in compliance with ordinances that already exist and exist for good reasons.

But compliance with ordinances and consideration of neighbors seem to have been somehow waived or bypassed.

The Lakin Avenue/Saint Paul Street neighborhood is one of the oldest neighborhoods in our town.

Some folks have lived here for 60 years or more. Now the habitat they have known for so long can possibly change because their humanity has been shown very little consideration.

As stated in the Herald-Mail on Saturday, June 12, Habitat hoped to quickly start construction before the town could pass the new frontage ordinance. As Habitat's attorney said when commenting on a brief restraining order, "This is about how we treat our neighbors."


Karen E. Shifler


Post publishes inappropriate pics

To the editor:

I have long respected The Washington Post as a quality news service. I will never read it again nor recommend it to anyone. They have shown their true colors and they are not red, white and blue. They have shown a total lack of good judgment by releasing additional photos of alleged prisoner abuse in Iraq by the U.S. military.

How many bad photos does one have to view before they know that something bad has happened? The photos originally released have brought about the careful scrutiny of prisoner care in Iraq. What has been revealed is a disgrace and source of shame to honorable military personnel everywhere, as well as to the reputation of the U.S. This reported abuse has grievously hurt our credibility as a nation and caused increased attacks on Americans, including the horrific decapitation of Nick Berg.

Do you not know that we are at war? Do you not care about the great harm you are doing against your own country and people? You have taken an open wound and heaped salt in it in the name of news. Enough. We know you are probably politically motivated, and you are certainly irresponsibly misdirected. Shame on you, Washington Post.

Glenda P. Bennett


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