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.