October 24, 2013

I see that Montgomery County wants to attract more young residents [“Can Montgomery County raise its hipness quotient?,” Metro, Oct. 22]. As a once young but now old resident of the county, I guess this makes sense at some level.

But some of the Nighttime Economy Task Force proposals (3 a.m. bar closings, loud music beyond 11 p.m. and so on) might do more to drive us oldsters away than to attract youngsters. So before the county goes too far down this path, it might be wise to consider a few of the advantages we old folks bring.

A few examples: We don’t add to the rapidly growing county school population (projected to increase by 2,500 students this fiscal year). Many of us pay a good deal more in income and property taxes than a 20-something who is just starting a career and renting an apartment. And we don’t often need police intervention when we leave bars, singing loudly, at 3 a.m.

Robert F. Allnutt, Bethesda

Attracting more millenials to Montgomery County would add vitality to our entire economy, not just our nightlife. Montgomery politicians say they are focusing on near-term changes including loosening alcohol and noise restrictions. More effective in the long run, but politically difficult, would be to allow the construction of more attractive and affordable multi-family housing into which seniors can move — while removing incentives to “age in place” in the single-family homes in which they raised their families.

Subsidizing aging in place for seniors, through property tax breaks and special services, contradicts the objective of rejuvenating our county. Most of these houses are close to employment centers. To find affordable housing, many young families are forced to live in more remote locations and must commute long distances, not only consuming time but also clogging roads and emitting greenhouse gases.

Seniors who stay in houses built for families are heating and cooling more rooms than they need, contributing even more greenhouse gas emissions. I hope Montgomery politicians will have the courage and tenacity to take on this issue rather than just raising our hipness quotient.  

Leslie K. Downey, Silver Spring

I feel compelled to point out the obvious: No government task force will ever make our county “hip.”

The Task Force should, as it has thus far, make appropriate policy recommendations. But it is up to us — community members, entrepreneurs, artists and entertainers — to make our neighborhoods more vibrant.

Megan Moriarty, Silver Spring