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Still Waiting on the Water Tower

Three months later, the only change is the growing opposition toward county government.

How would you feel if there were plans to erect a 2 million gallon, 150-foot tall water tower across the street from your house?

How would you feel once you learned Baltimore County bought the property and paid for an engineering survey to the tune of $450,000 in taxpayers’ money without notifying the immediate community?

How would you feel if you learned about the project after a neighbor’s child saw the surveyor in the yard?

If you’re like me and the residents of the communities of Worthington, you wouldn’t like it one bit.

It seems a little fishy to me that the county council approved the purchase years ago of a 1.9-acre parcel on Timber Grove Road and Bond Avenue, without notifying the nearby residents.

It seems even fishier to me that our newly-elected councilwoman knew nothing about it. Neither her predecessor nor any other government staff members chose to enlighten her. She was as blindsided as we were.

That's not even to mention that the county executive did not inform his successor about the project. He also won’t personally respond to any inquiries.

And the questions have been numerous.

All of the other elected officials in our area--County Councilwoman Vicki Almond, Delegates Jon Cardin, Dan Morhaim and Dana Stein, and Sen. Bobby Zirkin--have all voiced their opinions against the tower publicly and on paper. They have all responded to us and even attended community meetings to support our opposition.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has not personally attended one meeting with the community regarding the tower.

We have banded together and formed the Communities of Worthington Against the Tower, established a website and created a petition to fight the project. We’re also fundraising and accepting donations to help fund our efforts.

We don’t dispute the possible need for a water tower. However, the county’s paperwork deems it for “future growth” based on the 2000 census.

We seem to be doing fine 11 years later, so is there really a need?

There are plenty of other parcels in the area that are commercially zoned that would not affect a residential community. In fact, the parcel on Timber Grove is not zoned for a tower, but the government can do what it wants on any parcel it owns, without needing the proper zoning.

There is widespread community opposition. Not only is there a Facebook group with 337 members, but we met many people at the Reisterstown Festival who support our efforts to stop the tower from being built in a residential zone.

To date, we have nearly 850 petition signatures and many people approached us at our booth with encouragement.

We are waiting, as we have all summer, for the Department of Public Works report outlining the top five sites for a water tower in our area. Upon learning about the project, Almond requested a review of the sites.

That was before the summer. We’re still waiting.

In the interim, we’ve hired an attorney--at our own expense--and intend to fight. Big bad government can’t just do whatever it wants without consulting the people.

And if it does, we can let it know with our votes. Or lack thereof.

Michael Rosner September 16, 2011 at 01:45 AM
Please read the "Telecommunications Act of 1996". I think it states that once a water tower is built, the State of Maryland and/or Baltimore County does not have the legal right to tell the cell phone companies if they can place their cell phone transceivers on top of the tower. It is a federal law which overrules state and local laws and jurisdiction. http://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/tcom1996.txt ========================================================= No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission's regulations concerning such emissions. =========================================================
Jay Hebert September 16, 2011 at 02:20 AM
The water tower will get built, and it will be somewhere in the area targeted. Regardless of where it goes, someone will not be happy. The proposed location impacts the least amount of people and the land is already purchased. To continue to fight will cost taxpayers additional money. To move the tower to another location will cost additional money. Do all the people who signed the petition to not put the tower at the proposed location realize it will just end up along Owings Mills Blvd, which will visually impact far more people?
Kathy Tomson September 16, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Jay- IMHO, I have to disagree. If taxpayer's money is a concern to the politicians we would not be in this mess right now (not talking about the water tower only, but the entire US economy). The politicians will spent taxpayer's money with or without a fight. The proposed location will impact more people than OM Blvd. The Blvd. is more industrialized. People driving by will see it, but it will not impact them. For ex: if it's built next to Best Buy. The proposed location will impact all the family surrounding it because they will see the water tower 24/7. If it's next to Best Buy, I'll see it few minutes a day. I'm totally against water tower or any non-housing being built right in the middle of an established residential housings. BTW, I won't be able to see the proposed water tower from my house, so it's not going to impact me, but I'm very concerned about the lack of transparency in Bmore County. What's the next surprise they will not tell us? Everyone, Let us have peace, we are all neighbors, love your neighbors and let's stop all this bickering. "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. "
ddbs00 September 16, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Jay, the irony was completely lost on all the people who signed the petition at the Reisterstown Fest that they may have unwittingly assisted the protesters in helping to get the tower moved to a place overlooking their own neighborhoods. My mother was sympathetic to the cause until the person she talked to at the protesters booth basically affirmed he didn't care where the tower went as long as it wasn't near his house. She declined to sign it.
Kathy Tomson September 16, 2011 at 07:04 PM
ddbs00, honestly, what you said is very hard to believe. If the protester wanted signatures, why would he tell your mother, "he didn't care where the tower went as long as it wasn't near his house." Please stop making up non-sense stories, I understand you support the water tower, but now to make up stories? Please keep your imaginative stories to yourself.

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