(Note:  This article was posted to the HCCA list-serv on Monday, January 7th by HCCA president, Cathy Hudson)

I don’t need to tell many of you that it has been a few very busy months for legislation.  All in all, I think that not only many citizens testified and made good suggestions, but that the council and administration did a good job in listening and responding to the citizen’s concerns and helping to work towards good solutions.  Many of the bills that were passed (or in one case tabled again) reflect the good dialogue that has occurred.  Here are the results of some of the bills.

The county council tabled the CEF enabling legislation (CB-36), with no discussion, for another month.

Ken Ulman’s veto of the growth tiers legislation was moved by Greg Fox to come off the table, but the attempt died because of the lack of a second.  (Mary Kay Sigaty was absent because of the flu)  Thus, the veto was sustained.

The open/closed chart and the housing allocation chart were passed this month.  Jen Terasa put in an amendment that would limit the number of allocations in the growth and revitalization areas in any 1 planning area, and that was amended so that no more than 33% of the total allocations could be put into any one of the planning areas.  (so that all the growth and revitalization allocations couldn’t go in one area and swamp the schools and infrastructure)  Courtney Watson’s amendment passed that will help everyone better understand where we are with housing units (see chart below).  It notes that in addition to yearly allocations that can be granted, there are also 3,613 units that have accumulated over the last few years that can be built when the economy improves as they have already been granted allocations. (but the projects have been given waivers and placed on hold because of the economy)

The legislation to enable going after a grant for the project to build housing for the homeless did pass, but not after all the council persons present protested the lack of transparency by the administration and that the community wasn’t brought into the project earlier.  As a result, Jen Terasa did vote against it.  The North Laurel community presented good testimony on this bill.

And finally, a bill to sell development rights from the Belmont Property to help raise money for Belmont’s upkeep was passed with administration amendments to help clarify the intent of the bill that were suggested by HCCA member, Dr Dale Schumacher.

Once again kudos to all of you who participated in one way or another on these bills-you help to ensure good government in Howard County.

Cathy Hudson, President
Howard County Citizen’s Association

Housing Allocations Chart as amended, showing the number of housing unit allocations that have been granted, but not used (and built up over the last few years=3613 units)


Allocation Chart
Region 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Growth and Revitalization 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200
Established Communities 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400
Green Neighborhood 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150
Rural West 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Total 1,850 1,850 1,850 1,850 1,850 1,850 1,850 1,850 1,850 1,850
NOTE: In a given year, no more than 35 percent of the allocations available in the Growth and
Revitalization region may be granted to projects in a particular Planning Area, as established
by PlanHoward 2030, Map 6-2 “Designated Place Types”.
Phase I    
       2015      2016      2017 2018 2019 2020    2021 2022 2023 2024
Downtown ColumbiaRevitalization 643 592 375 100   100         96   400       350            300        225     
 **Implementation of the residential component of the Downtown Columbia Plan will extend beyond the horizon of this housing unit
allocation chart. Includes rolling average from previously adopted allocations chart to maintain downtown revitalization phasing
progression as adopted in the Downtown Columbia Plan. Note that 390 allocations have already been granted in 2013 allocation year.
Including those and the allocations above the total adds up 5,500 units.
 Tentative Allocations Minus Permanent Allocations
Planning Area 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Total
Downtown Columbia 0 0 0 0 0 390 0 390
Columbia 0 0 0 5 29 0 258 292
Elkridge 0 0 0 0 121 422 446 989
Ellicott City 0 21 97 7 0 221 103 449
Southeast 0 5 13 110 106 385 692 1,311
Rural West 7 0 39 24 7 14 91 182
Total 7 26 149 146 263 1,432 1,590 3,613
As of January 2, 2013