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Howard County seeks public input on 20-year master plan for Ellicott City

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released a draft of the Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan on Tuesday, calling it a “roadmap for Ellicott City.” The Department of Planning and Zoning document lays out a 20-year plan for Ellicott City and the surrounding Tiber Branch Watershed.

It includes details about how the county plans to facilitate historic preservation, undertake structural and non-structural flood mitigation and improve the water quality and habitat within the watershed.

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County residents have until Aug. 22 to comment at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECMPDRAFT.

The input will be complied by the department and sent to the Planning Board and County Council, and subsequently introduced as legislation.

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“This master plan provides a long-term vision for a thriving Ellicott City that showcases the community – its people, commerce, history, culture and natural environment,” Ball said.

Recommendations in the draft plan are grouped into five topics: community character and placemaking, flood mitigation, environmental sustainability, economic development, and transportation and parking.

Placemaking is described as addressing “elements and activities that reinforce Ellicott City’s distinct character and strong sense of place.”

“We are grateful for the hundreds of community members who provided input while we were developing this draft,” said Amy Gowan, director of the Department of Planning and Zoning. “At last count, we have received over 600 comments through our online surveys. That is in addition to the input received at the seven public workshops we held from 2017 to 2019.”

According to Ball, the plan builds upon his Ellicott City Safe and Sound flood mitigation plan, announced in May 2019, to reduce flooding in the historic district.

There is currently no firm timeline to implement the $140 million Safe and Sound plan, although Ball has said he hoped it would be fully implemented by 2025.

Most recently, in March, the Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency that oversees flood protection among its missions, presented an independent evaluation of the Safe and Sound plan and gave its approval.

The mitigation plan was developed in response to historic floods that ripped through downtown Ellicott City in 2016 and 2018, killing three people and causing severe damage.

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