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Howard County Listening Sessions, January 23, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism and Regional Planning  ♦ Public Services ♦ Mapping Support and Data ♦ Economic Development ♦ Housing ♦ Infrastructure Community Engagement and Volunteerism ♦ Training and Education ♦ Transportation  ♦ EnvironmentCommunity ♦ Neighboring Jurisdictions ♦ State Agencies ♦ Technical Assistance ♦ Planning ♦ General

The comments below represent the statements or points of view of one or more individuals who participated in the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) “A Better Maryland” Development Plan Listening Sessions. These comments do not represent any official position or policy of MDP or any other State agency, nor do they represent any official position or policy of any local jurisdiction or local planning agency.

Regionalism and Regional Planning

A Better Maryland could be organized by regions. The Maryland Department of Planning is in a unique position to analyze input regionally

MDP should provide best practices on a regional level, which would help local government address issues

Good examples of regional planning

Laurel Park development and the Laurel Race Track are good examples of regional cooperation between Howard County, the City of Laurel, and Anne Arundel County

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway

The Patuxent River Commission

There are a lot of good plans. MDP should help facilitate/mediate issues related to growth and development and preservation

The State could play a key role in solving issues that cross County borders – DNR, MDE, MDOT need to bring local jurisdictions together. It is hard for local jurisdictions to know who at the State agencies they should contact

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Public Services


Poorly planned. Land development companies need to know if school facilities will be adequate

School capacity – need to plan in advance of development and have schools ready when development occurs. The CB-1 housing moratorium, Adequate Public Facility Ordinances (APFOs) reducing school capacity is not the answer

Howard County needs the Talbot Springs Elementary school to be replaced

Howard County could use information on APFO’s. Not just what other jurisdictions are doing but an explanation of how they function and operate. MDP should provide periodic updates say every 2 years so these documents stay current

Patapsco State Park

Limited parking

Needs a walking bridge

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Mapping Support and Data

State should provide more data to jurisdictions for support with tough issues

Elkridge development is a good example

School district capacity

APFO (schools and traffic)

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Economic Development

Route 1 corridor is a key redevelopment area

Positive development is a combination of business and government working together and not against each other. The work of local government can attract business investment

More parity of job availability across the state is needed

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Because Howard County is viewed as a wealthier jurisdiction, it isn’t getting its fair share of State resources

Response to the 2016 Ellicott City flood is a good example of best practices for emergency response and rebuilding

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Infrastructure should precede development, not follow it. Need a mechanism to allow

jurisdictions to borrow money from the State to fund infrastructure and pay back later

Funding should be made available for inland sewer plant upgrades.  They need this to attract development to Town Centers and other growth areas

Quality of life depends on having good infrastructure – roads, schools etc.

More funding is needed to provide public access to waterfronts

Sewer infrastructure

Bay Restoration Fund went to major direct discharge facilities first

Would like to use some of the grant money on inland plants

County needs help paying infrastructure development costs for Town Centers

Could use State loans or grants to assist with this

This will allow Calvert to put density where it (and presumably the State) wants it

5G towers don’t work in the woods

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Community Engagement and Volunteerism

Howard is very proud of recent, increased stakeholder engagement

Example projects

Ellicott City Master Plan

Two phase code update

County maintains a robust web interface with preceding documents and studies

Citizens Academy was a huge success

Started as narrowly focused

Very popular

Used an adult education model

Establishing planning leaders in the community

Asking graduates to be planning ambassadors

Might eventually fill board and commission positions

There is a need for increased public and stakeholder engagement, especially from under represented populations

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Training and Education

Need training academies for citizens, staff, and commission members

Specific training for new Planning Board/Commission members is needed and should include issues such as ex-parte communications

Planning Forums on general and specific topics should be considered. Specific forums might include how State and jurisdictions respond when development occurs on border and affects adjoining jurisdiction

Flexible education assistance addressing local needs

One size does not fit all

Best practices

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Local plans need to recognize and coordinate with transit

There isn’t much of a local bus system in the County

Columbia to Laurel takes a long time

Paratransit available

No rail service

Commuter bus service is robust however

County wants more multi-modal transportation and transit

How will A Better Maryland address this?

Education and advocacy for transit riders needed

A Better Maryland should promote uniformity in transportation across state and between jurisdictions

Road design and speed

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Land preservation programs and strategies don’t want a top down approach

Collaboration with other county agencies and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources

Improved communication

Fewer state, top down requirements

Stormwater management is a big issue. We need to prepare and educate communities on why we are doing things – public needs to understand the reasoning behind the actions, which will make them more willing to support the requirements

Maryland Heritage areas need to tie specific projects together such as Patapsco Greenway

Open Space and the environment are very important to quality of life

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Proud of the work of the Design Advisory Panel, which helps make infill projects more palatable to neighboring landowners and improves project design

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

By working together, jurisdictions could get more money and projects would benefit both jurisdictions

Environmental protection is a macro issue and should be handled in partnership with neighboring jurisdictions

Water and sewer panning

Drinking water resources could be the next crisis

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State Agencies

Need better cooperation and coordination among State agencies

More collaboration between state and local jurisdictions is also needed

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Technical Assistance

Howard County is currently undergoing a code revision to combine its development and zoning regulations

State should act as a convener

Establish forum for jurisdictions to discuss tricky issues

Informational exchange and dialogue

Bring jurisdictions together

Help with regional issues

Laurel Park Station example, in which many different counties were involved

Organizer, mediator, facilitator

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Howard County should be more proactive, rather than reactive, in planning for new development

Infill and redevelopment

County is transferring from a greenfield development based code to one supportive of infill and redevelopment. This is tricky because of all the interrelated impacts (APFOs, trees, neighbors)

Management of infill development and ensuring it meets the County’s goals is a challenge. (i.e. Highway 1 redevelopment)

Infill not so much an issue as is redevelopment – assembling parcels, owner participation etc. State participation and partnership is critical

Land assembly

Tax incentives

Viable existing businesses

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A Better Maryland should:

Discuss the successes of the 2016 Ellicott City Flood recovery effort and try to make those best practices more readily available for other jurisdictions

Promote more uniformity of land uses and transportation across county lines.

Councils of Government may be able to help with this

Develop greater state and local collaboration


Reliability – leadership, government processes

Safety – reduced crime

Recreation – good amenities


Excessive growth – Route 1 Elkridge


Workforce – obtaining good workers


Workforce housing – affordable housing

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