Howard Co. councilman wants halt to development in Ellicott City

WASHINGTON — Howard County councilman Jon Weinstein is calling for a temporary halt to development in Ellicott City’s historic district following the devastating floods that hit the area in May.

Weinstein announced he will file emergency legislation to prohibit issuing any building permits within the Tiber Branch watershed for one year.

“In light of the second devastating storm in 22 months and after inspecting damage across the district and the watershed, it is clear to me that a halt to development is still required,” Weinstein wrote on his Facebook page.

Weinstein proposed similar legislation following the devastating floods in 2016.

“Rebuilding Ellicott City stronger, smarter and safer requires more than just construction materials,” Weinstein said. “This legislation will enable the county government and council to establish a better regulatory framework and continue with improvements to the stormwater and flood mitigation structure.”

Some of the things the bill calls for during the potential 12-month building freeze are:

  • An analysis of the flood based on the models and findings of the 2016 Ellicott City Hydrology/Hydraulic study
  • Plans for construction of stormwater storage facilities and infrastructure improvements throughout the watershed
  • Analysis of any watershed impacts of proposed developments and redevelopment projects
  • Options for retrofitting exiting developments
  • Examination of density and open space zoning regulations changes in the watershed
  • Review of past and future development of public facilities in the watershed

Weinstein said he plans to introduce his bill on July 2 and hopes to have it voted on by July 27.

As an emergency bill, it requires four votes to pass and would go into effect immediately upon passage.

A public hearing on the bill, along with other legislation introduced on July 2 will be held on Monday, July 16 at 7 p.m. in the George Howard Building in Ellicott City.

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