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

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...

February 6, 2019

  It has been a long, long road trying to get higher developer fees charged in Howard County to increase their contribution to school enrollment. The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) task force, worked for over a year, and requested the change. The Bill was put in late in 2017 and it did not get enough support, with many promising "next year", they would make it happen. 

   This year, Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary...

January 18, 2019

For a long time, and especially over the past two years, Howard County advocates for slowing down development for the sake of improving public services, especially crowded schools, have fought hard to get the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) strengthened. The changes get fully implemented soon, after serious delays. During the Council considerations of better school capacity recognition and some longer delays, there...

January 10, 2019

There is much talk about Howard County current local bill 3-19, regarding increasing impact fees to developers. Many realize that our County has very low fees compared to other growing counties, by high factors; however, there is much disagreement about who ends up "paying" this fee. This topic has been near and dear to my heart for some time. During the APFO Task Force work, I, and others, attempted to address a fee increase m...

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