The Washington County Commissioners this week extended the ban on large developments in rural areas for three months while they devise a way to compensate rural property owners for value they could lose as the result of a comprehensive rezoning.
That's a positive step forward. Without some compensation, a court challenge was almost certain. And, the three-month extension gives the commissioners time to begin educating the public on what such a program will cost - and why citizens should agree to pay it.
The first and best reason for citizens to go along with this compensation idea is that they have no choice.
Unless someone pays rural landowners to preserve green space, it will be developed. Then, existing taxpayers will see increased tax bills for schools, roads, law enforcement and everything else that goes along with a population boom.
So there are two choices - pay for preservation or pay for development. To us, the choice seems obvious because the development option means more traffic, crowded schools until construction catches up and the loss of the county's rural character.