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Submitted to the Bay Times for Letter to Editor and to KIDL for distribution:

April 10, 2002

Ms. Angela Price, Editor
The Kent Island Bay Times
1101 Butterworth Court, Suite 100
Stevensville, MD 21666
 

I would like to comment on the article in the April 10, 2002 issue of the Bay Times by Rose Spik “If Residents want affordable housing, they must demand it”.

It appears that County Commissioner George O’Donnell was blaming the 600 or 700 people attending Growth Allocation hearings for the Four Seasons development for a lack of affordable temporary housing. I think he has missed the point, again!  I was at the Housing Roundtable meeting and listened to several people state their unfortunate situation involving not being able to pay market-based rental rates for their housing. The Four Season project is a gated community consisting of many upscale, age-restricted residences. This is not the type of community the people at this meeting were addressing. Furthermore, the 600 or 700 people at the Growth Allocation hearing were against the density of the project in a designated Critical Area, not against affordable housing. 

Mr. O’Donnell also eluded that reducing impact fees as an incentive for developers to build affordable housing might work. For decades now, counties throughout the USA have used incentives such as these, as well as applying formulas that dictate percentages of developments that must be “affordable”. Mr. O’Donnell has stated publicly that the County cannot ask developers to lose money. Developers seem to be able to sustain themselves in other counties, why not here?

In the same edition of The Bay Times I read that Mr. O’Donnell was chosen to attend the Maryland Leadership Class of 2002. I am not sure if this is an honor or not. Could it be the class feels he needs the education?

Sincerely,

Ben Cassell

Stevensville

Please note that I am also a candidate for Commissioner at Large

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