Letter to the Editor: Freezing development vs. attracting it

Editor

In my youth, I would get frustrated and mad when I saw governments doing stupid things.  Now, in my dotage, I just sit back and laugh.

My latest chuckle: Shenandoah County has set up an economic development office and hired staff to attract business.  But at the same time, the county has a “land use” program that freezes development.

The “land use,” which should be called “government intrusion,” is intended to prevent farmers from developing their land by giving them a tax break.  But the effect is to freeze economic development in the county.  A builder wanting to build in the county would have to pay thousands and even millions of dollars in what the county calls “deferred” taxes  before moving the first shovel.  The more land involved, the greater the penalty, because the law reaches back for five years of taxes.  That is why you go to Frederick and Warren counties if you want to see new housing and new businesses, not Shenandoah.

Of course, the situation is ripe for corruption.  If a landowner wanted to develop his land, he would be tempted to pay the Board of Supervisors to forget the “deferred” taxes.

I have no plans to develop my property or make political contributions if I can help it.  I will instead just sit back and laugh.  But ask yourself the next time you go to the polls:  Why are the county supervisors pushing development with one hand and braking it with the other? Is it just foolish inconsistency or something worse?

Bonner Day, Maurertown

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