Letters to the Editor

Volume VII Number 29
July 22-28, 1999

About Growth, Can Calvert Afford to Be Picky?

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

Your editorial "On AA-Calvert Border, Regional Vision Needed" [July 8-14] mentioned Calvert County's "unsightly commercial development" around Prince Frederick. A couple of commercial buildings with cheesy looking canopies slipped through the architectural review process last year and sprouted up in the Chapline area. But generally, these are the exception to the rule. On the other hand, look at Ruby Tuesdays and Bob Evans' attractive appearance.

But can we afford to be too picky? Calvert has one of the lowest commercial tax bases in the state. Someone has to pay the bill for education, public safety and other government services. It's either the business community, which pays more than their fair share of taxes, or homeowners through property taxes and wage earners through income taxes. Commercial tax revenues help offset the cost of residential growth.

Some of the loudest protesters of a proposed commercial development talk about every possible negative consequence of the development, everything except possibly protecting their own self-interest. Whether it's protecting an existing business from competition or protecting demand for their own commercial town center land near the proposed development, the protesting organizers often have a hidden agenda.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to investigate and determine if a protester's concern over commercial development is a case of self-interest or a case of concerned citizens with too much free time on their hands. When a determination is made, you're advised to wear ear plugs when approaching the self-interested individual and please kindly direct the others to a worthy cause to support. There are many worthwhile causes that need dedicated volunteers.

Of course, political candidates may not fall into either group but might just be looking for some votes, headlines and campaign contributors. Be advised to have misplaced your wallet and checkbook when the candidate is near.

-John Douglas Parran,

Calvert County Commissioner


Editor's Note: By "unsightly commercial development" we meant not any particular architecture but the unfurling of ever-longer parallel ribbons of development alongside Route 2-4 from well below Prince Frederick even unto so-called Huntingtown. Such sprawling strips are far less sightly and user friendly than such cluster developments as Chesapeake Station in Chesapeake Beach or Harbour Center in Parole. With each new development, older ones perish. Curb cuts and traffic lights snarl traffic. And historic Prince Frederick becomes Anywhere, USA. Yes, we can afford to be picky and choose Smart Growth.

Kudos for Kristin

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

I enjoyed reading Kristin Hagert's piece on the Old Quaker Burying Ground. Everyone involved - the trustees, the Colonial Dames, Quakers and the people of Galesville - appreciate your reporting our event in your great newspaper which I read each week without fail. I get my news from your paper and the New York Times and feel I am getting the best!

-Fran Palmeri, Annapolis

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