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OUR BLOG: THE PEOPLE'S VOICE ... HEARD

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.

https://fa52d20f-55ba-...

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...

April 25, 2019

Updating on the blog about CR49 which has a Developers Rights and Responsibilities Agreement in it for the sale of the property where the county wishes to build High School 13 on Mission Road. An amendment was filed two hours prior to the public hearing on this Resolution this past Monday. That amendment addressed some of the issues regarding concerns about how long an adjacent quarry will operate legally. The second part addre...

April 3, 2019

DRRA’s – Developer’s Rights and Responsibilities Agreements

What are these? They are agreements between government bodies and developers. They exist because sometimes large developments are providing community amenities for which the government is willing to guarantee more predictability of profitability for a project, in order to get the large benefit provided. Sounds reasonable, but problems arise when DRRA’s freeze our zoning...

February 24, 2019

While many in Howard County wait for the State Delegation to finally allow developer impact fees to rise from their long-term abysmal levels, after years of clamoring for such, there are amendments being considered that will gut the "impact" of this Bill.

This coming Wednesday, the Howard County Delegation is set to discuss this Bill yet again, and possibly vote on it, finally. I am heartened to see there is a lot of support, li...

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