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DEJA POO:  noun. The feeling of having heard this crap before

Those who have chosen a path of citizen activism are the first to recognize Deja Poo due to the frequency with which they have encountered it.

Those who only attend a very occasional government-sponsored meeting/hearing due to an issue feared to negatively affect them personally, may still think it’s just “Like Groundhogs Day” or “Deja vu all over again.”

But despite the hopes of our elected officials and County employees, little gets past the experienced activist. A case in point was the meeting held on March 29th at Hammond High School to discuss the denigration of the Patuxent Branch Trail where it begins its journey from Guilford to Savage. “Denigration” is a descriptor that would be applied by citizens and their defender, Council Member Jen Terrasa—certainly not by what some would term the ‘evil-doers.’

A quick summary of events leading up to the meeting: One morning residents of Kings Contrivance, and others, awoke to the dismantling of a granite house in the Historic Guilford Industrial District followed by removal of all the trees which formerly surrounded it. They learned far too late that plans for a 4 story Self Storage facility had been approved 2 years prior! For decades local users of the Patuxent Branch Trail, across the street from Quarry Park, have hiked, biked, and pushed baby strollers along this segment of abandoned Old Guilford Road as they approach the entrance to the trail which is beautifully adorned with the old railroad bridge. Imagine their shock to learn that the new Storage facility would be accessed along this remaining portion of traffic free, dead-ended Old Guilford Road rather than from Guilford Road which provides access to all other buildings in the office park.

I must freely admit that I enjoyed the high attendance and high spirits of the group that gathered last week for an explanation of “How the h*ll did this happen?!” and “Why weren’t we informed?! They clearly felt betrayed by HoCo government and the CA for not recognizing in advance how much this trail means to citizens—and not making the effort to work out a compromise on the entranceway to the facility at a minimum. Citizens clearly expressed their disdain for the governmental units who, even if they recognized a potential problem, didn’t put much effort into seeking solutions, instead hiding behind HC land development regulations and property rights.  While “A Good Excuse Is One You Can Use Over And Over” is a clever saying for a refrigerator magnet, it is not a good defense against the ire of citizens who have heard the same song once too often.

In my next installment I will begin detailing the patterns of excuses, the consequences of focusing on zoning rather than PLANNING, the thinly veiled deals, and putting economic development above citizen quality of life. These constitute the main components of the POO. I will continue my focus on the Guilford end of the trail and then draw parallels to the situation at the Savage end of the trail.  So much POO, so little time…. (I’ll also reveal where to get these great T-shirts.)

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