She said what has become lost in this discussion is that passing a map is required by the state.

"Whether we like it or not, we are not an independent country from the state of Maryland and there is authority over Howard County," she said.

If the council had not passed a map, all major subdivisions involving septic would be halted until a map was approved.

Republican Sen. Allan Kittleman took to Twitter and Facebook late Monday saying it was a "very sad day" for the county as the council "votes to take away farmers' property rights."


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Kittleman said the state does not have the ability or the authority to punish a municipality for submitting a map the state does not approve of.

"They (County Council) cannot blame the state," Kittleman said when reached by telephone. "There are no plans to punish anyone."

Controversial zoning approved

The Community Enhancement Floating (CEF) zone, along with its 14 amendments, was passed 3-2, with Fox and Watson voting against.

Proposed by the county's Department of Planning and Zoning, the CEF district is intended to allow property owners more flexibility in developing property by allowing zoning changes for parcels of land as small as two acres in some areas of the county.

Since the floating zone was proposed in November, county residents have testified that it gives developers too much freedom to develop small pieces of land while limiting the community's ability to appeal those plans.

Amendments to the bill include setting the minimum lot size to five acres, unless it has frontage to Route 1 or Route 40, in which the minimum lot size would be two acres, limiting building heights to five stories, and adding an additional zoning board meeting for public input.

Fox and Watson said they voted against the bill because it was not the appropriate time to approve this new zoning with comprehensive rezoning right around the corner.

Sigaty said the new zoning could be beneficial to the council during comprehensive rezoning and if the CEF zoning needs to be reexamined as the council moves through the rezoning process, they have the opportunity to do that.

"I think that having this in place is a potential advantage," she said.

Council denies Mullinix brothers

The council voted unanimously to deny the Mullinix brothers application to terminate easements with the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) on three properties totaling 479 acres.

Mark, Michael and Steve Mullinix, fifth-generation Howard County farmers, were seeking to become the first farmers in the state to be granted termination of their easement with MALPF.

The brothers have argued that farming is no longer profitable on their farms, but the Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Board recommended the council deny the Mullinix brothers' application based upon a set of criteria for farmers seeking termination.

The county criteria, established in 2007, includes considering the effect of termination on county preservation, growth management and agricultural economic development policies, along with the effect on surrounding properties and an evaluation of how valuable the property is.

The preservation board ruled in November that the Mullinix application did not meet any of the criteria, and the council agreed Monday night.

The Mullinix application will now go before the state preservation foundation for a final decision.