I am so thrilled to have helped the St. John's Community prevent over 100 townhouses going on Upton Road off St. John's Lane. I had another fun go 'round with Sang Oh being cross-examined, and pointed out some contradictions in his witness testimony and the Zoning Board believed the issues brought up meant Oh did not prove change/mistake to get his new zoning. It was so clear he was about to lose, that they withdrew the petition. Zoning Board kudos.
I always cringe when opposition to a particular development are called Nimby's (Not In My Back Yard). That is usually what brings attention to a project, people living near it, worrying about quality of life issues. That brought me to the civic table long ago, probably many others as well who went on to be great County assets in volunteer work. Not all development is bad, or badly planned, but unfortunately, there are plenty that are, and when they are, I will seek to get compromises, regulations followed, or even oppose if it is just wrong for the community. This particular one was just very badly planned. DPZ personnel had issues with it. The Planning Board voted not to approve it, and the Zoning Board did the right thing.
A tide is turning in Howard County, again. Back in 2014, people were incensed by the mistreatment of the 2013 comprehensive rezoning referendum volunteers and what I believe was the outrageously inappropriate refusal by the local Board of Elections to place it on the ballot albeit enough signatures were obtained. Since we received an upfront approval of our forms prior to gathering signatures it seemed a particularly egregious developer benefit to deny the voters. I was proud to have worked on passing a State bill that disallowed such action by any Board of Elections in MD ever again, which passed unanimously. Improving APFO and curbing development that was burdening infrastructure became big campaign issues.
Fast forward, and the possibility of difficult redistricting decisions and APFO legislation happened, and here we are again, with development a serious issue in the 2018 local elections. The People's Voice Ethics Ballot is a non-partisan endorsement entity. We will work hard to find candidates to assist that we believe will continue this path of improvement in planning procedures, rational development and prioritization of community interests over special interests.
I am so happy to see the new groups forming that are doing similar work to ours, and adding to the voices. Please look closely at your choices in 2018 and help the candidates you feel will keep our best interests, for all, a priority.