Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Two sides to Ag Reserve debate

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Property rights versus the environment, this is how the two sides are shaping up as the County Council debates the future of the Agricultural Reserve.

Side one: My ancestors bought and farmed the land I live on. I should be able to do whatever I want on it including selling it off to the highest bidder.

Side two: The Ag Reserve was created to ensure that the tradition of farming continues to evolve. Approximately one-third of the county won’t be paved over and will act as an environmental buffer.

Side one wants the zoning regulations changed so they can sell off child lots at market rates. On the other hand, side two says, if you’re truly committed to farming, current law allows you to have tenant housing for farm workers, however, this doesn’t allow for windfall profits.

I urge the County Council to look at the big picture. It’s in everyone’s best interests to act locally to stop global warming. An active farming community in the Agricultural Reserve can do this.

Stephen G. Gunnulfsen, Laytonsville