The council also introduced new legislation that it will take up this month.

One of the bills would change the grounds on which the Board of Appeals hears its cases. Watson moved that the council withdraw the bill, which was submitted by the administration, upon introduction.

"Essentially this bill would eliminate the cases to be heard by the Board of Appeals as de novo cases, or from scratch," Watson explained. "A change such as this may be appropriate for certain categories of appeals … (but) I believe we and the citizens are well served if the Board of Appeals members are consulted first."

Fox agreed, noting the bill should be in good shape before it comes to the council. When bills aren't well vetted, he said, it affects the legislative process.


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"We have public testimony on them and then we have to make lots of changes and then we don't have public testimony on them again," Fox said.

But the other three council members voted against Watson's motion, explaining that they can table the bill if it needs more discussion.

"Why not let the normal process take its course?" Councilwoman Jen Terrasa, a Columbia Democrat, said. "We often table bills so we can take advice from all sorts of folks."

Another bill the council introduced was submitted by Ball to close a loophole in the law that prevents police from impounding vehicles if the vehicle has parking tickets associated with it that have been outstanding for more than 90 days.

"A lot of this came from neighborhood concerns about particular vehicles," Ball said, explaining the bill will "allow the police another tool to get their job done."

The council also introduced a resolution to approve the Board of Education's capital budget request for Fiscal Year 2013 so the county can be considered for state school construction funding.

The council will hold a public hearing on all the new legislation Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the George Howard building, in Ellicott City.