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May 24, 2020

The Grapes of Math - Howard Hughes Style

MAY 2020 note - 

We are hearing a lot of concern over the $62, no 63, no 65, no 72Million Art center project being delayed a year in the proposed budget amendment by Council Members Jung, Walsh and Yungmann. This is not a normal business cycle recession. There is no spending your way out of this level of needed government assistance, the likes of which we have never seen.

The outrage is lev...

May 8, 2020

The Howard County Council agenda is pretty full this month, with lots of fiscal legislation. It is annual budget season, so the Council is very busy, even with the shutdown. There are several tax increases proposed and it is now ALSO the annual time to set the fee/tax schedule for many development fees and taxes.

Legislation that raises taxes individuals pay, includes a transfer tax increase (on real estate transfers), CR84...

March 25, 2020

The fiscal study by Urban Analytics, the current hit-piece on APFO (adequate public facilities ordinance) which regulates development, seems to indicate we are only thirty cents away from getting a quarter in our Howard County budget analysis!

Check out details here.

This is of particular concern as the County Council considers this particular inaccurate fiscal forecast while deciding on proposed lengthening of development halts...

February 9, 2020

Check out my latest column in the Business Monthly regarding how other counties in MD have laws regarding developers and builders contributing to the campaign accounts of officials who make land use decisions, affecting that industry's profits. 

The reason these laws stand is due to the conflict of interest issue of making frequent decisions that financially affect one industry. It is time for Howard County to enact a protective...

January 22, 2020

Latest Business Monthly article on our updating Howard County Forest Conservation, link below. We had been out of compliance with MD State Law on granting waivers to take down more mature trees. Makes you wonder how much forest was lost unnecessarily. 

It's good we strengthened the local regulations, and we have to continue to try to make up for the inappropriate losses, and enforce the new rules carefully.


December 21, 2019

Click this link to see most recent Column in Business Monthly on this topic.

Planning Board must go

November 12, 2019

Increased Building Fees for Schools

Many have followed the work by public officials and advocates to get Howard County building impact fees to a higher rate, at least for school capital funds, for years. The legislative session on CB42 which recently passed, seemed quite complicated with amendments and amendments to amendments. For those who wish to follow this level of detail, I outline the issues in the passed Bill below, and...

October 4, 2019

The County Council is about to vote soon on just how much (if any) increase in Builder surcharge fees for schools will be done. They haven't been increased for a very long time, and are among the lowest in the State in Hoco. See HERE to read my column edition in the Business Monthly debunking some myths proposed by opposition to increasing the fees. 

Testimony presented on same issue is HERE. Hit play and scroll across...

July 1, 2019

The Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) often testifies at County proceedings , presenting their Technical Staff Report (TSR), laying out whether or not they feel something a developer wants to do should be granted or not. Last year, the County Council unanimously passed a Bill that required the DPZ to be under oath, and subject to cross-examination, when presenting their TSR to the Zoning Board. The Zoning Board always is...

June 11, 2019

Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreements (DRRA's) are created between a developer and the local government, to spell out a deal that is made with benefits on both sides. Typically, the developer receives some sort of zoning benefit, usually a freeze of the current zoning regulations into the future, to cover their long-term project. They are given this in return for benefits to the community that will be had over existi...

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