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Howard County Council Legislative Record Tracker - October Edition

Hiruy Hadgu

These are the pieces of legislation introduced in September, which the County Council will potentially vote on October 7, 2019. This list does not include other pieces of legislation introduced previously. The bill details maybe found here.

In the following, the new legislation, its potential impact on the applicable issues (budget, school quality, affordable housing, or accountability), and a brief description are provided. The scores (-2, -1, 1, or 2) are assigned based on how approval of the legislation as proposed will affect the aforementioned issues.

CB39-2019 (Budget +1, Accountability +1)

While DRRAs can be a tool to provide certainty for both the county and developer over the long-term, they have been severely abused. DRRAs have been a boondoggle. They provide the developer with many rights and include no provisions for the attendant responsibilities.

Howard County is not equipped with the correct oversight mechanism to manage DRRAs. The harder it is to execute DRRAs, the better for the taxpayer.

 CB40-2019 (Budget +2, Accountability +2)

The Ellicott City flooding claims lives and property. The moratorium is intended to give time to policymakers to find solutions that will ensure proper mitigation mechanisms are in place before additional development is approved. The solutions are still not in place. This is the only leverage the public has to ensure proper mitigation is added.

CB41-2019 (Accountability +1)

While the Case Navigator is step in the right direction, it should not be misconstrued as THE solution to ensure proper accountability exists in zoning and planning board hearings. Community members need proper representation at planning board quasi-judicial hearings to ensure their rights are protected. This will not do that.

 CB42-2019 (Budget +2, School Quality +2)

The bill raises school surcharge fees to $6.80 per square foot. This is a step in the right direction. We need to continue to urge the County Council to raise the fee to $8.0 per square foot. The cost-burden for proper mitigation of infrastructure cannot continue to fall on the taxpayer. The corporate profit-subsidy must end. Opponents have used asked for an exemption to “affordable housing” without defining it. It is a tactic used by developers to attack proposals that hurt their profits. So No exemptions to any developer. No grandfathering of projects.

CR122-2019 (Budget -2, Accountability -2)

This resolution is designed to be an end-run around the proposed moratorium by CB40-2019. It is designed to give cover to those who're inclined to vote against the moratorium. It is not clear how the fee-in-lieu is calculated. Does it account for the cost of the tunnel or the clean-up cost after the two historic floods, as well as the destruction property, not to mention the lives lost?

CR123-2019 (Budget -2, Accountability -2)

This resolution is designed to be an end-run around the proposed moratorium by CB40-2019. It is designed to give cover to those who're inclined to vote against the moratorium. If this resolution is intended to modify the design manual to deal with future flooding, the modification can take place while the moratorium is in effect. The moratorium is the only leverage the county has to ensure meaningful action is taken on storm-water mitigation.