Comment period open for draft Ellicott City watershed master plan

Ravaged by devastating floods in recent years, Ellicott City is looking to the future as Howard County, Maryland, solidifies a master plan for the city.

Ellicott City is steeped in Colonial history.

“As Ellicott City is about to celebrate its 250th anniversary, we want to ensure that this town continues to be one of Howard County’s most important economic epicenters, a landmark for American history, and one of this nation’s best places to both live and visit,” County Executive Calvin Ball said at a virtual briefing Tuesday.

The 20-year plan addresses issues grouped into five topics:

  • Economic development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Transportation and parking
  • Community character and place-making
  • Flood mitigation

The plan builds upon the “Ellicott City Safe and Sound” flood mitigation plan launched in response to the 2016 flooding.

The draft master plan was shaped with input from 600 online comments and seven public workshops.

“We feel we achieved our goal of creating a comprehensive, community-driven vision for Ellicott City,” said Kate Bolinger, community planner with the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning.

“We actually started back in 2016. The department hired a professional facilitator and collected over 300 ideas for projects,” Bolinger said.

While the county executive celebrated the master plan as a community collaborative process, he asked that participation continue.

“Look at it. Give us thoughts, ideas, suggestions, recommendations, so we can continue in this community conversation,” Ball said.

One of the themes that cuts across multiple aspects of the plan is maintaining flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

“In addition to recommendations, the plan offers options, which are not set in stone,” Bolinger said.

You can watch Bolinger’s presentation online.

Frequently asked questions and answers can be found on Howard County’s website.

There is also a user guide for examining all of the plan’s issues and elements.

You can review details of what’s next and comment on the plan on the county website.

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