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Howard Council to consider waiving licensing, permitting fees after Ellicott City flood

Flood damage on Main Street in Ellicott City on Monday, Aug. 1.
Flood damage on Main Street in Ellicott City on Monday, Aug. 1. (Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

A move to waive licensing and permitting fees may give some Ellicott City business and property owners relief after July's flooding gutted and displaced dozens of businesses.

A measure introduced in an emergency session of the Howard County Council Monday would waive fees for permits including electrical, plumbing, utilities, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and water and sewer service.

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Fees, which vary based on the size of the businesses and the type of work, can cost as little as $50 for plumbing permits and as much as $2,500 for grading.

"As we go about the process of rebuilding Ellicott City, we want to encourage these property owners and let them know that we're here to help them," County Executive Allan Kittleman said. "The last thing they need to struggle with is paying more fees as they recover from the flooding."

The measure, proposed by Kittleman and sponsored by the Council, also lifts fees for temporary food service facilities to allow impacted businesses to sell food in other areas.

Water and sewer service fees and sewage disposal fees will also be waived for a restricted area of Ellicott City.

Kittleman plans to amend the measure so the waiver applies to other neighborhoods impacted by the flood.

If passed, fees from Aug. 1 through Oct. 31 will be waived.

Reducing the costs of repair and construction will allow damaged properties to recover faster, according to Kittleman. Early estimates put flood damage damage at $23 million, a number that is expected to rise.

Ellicott City remains under a state of emergency through Sept. 7.

Weinstein, who represents Ellicott City, applauded the administration and the council for their commitment to Ellicott City's recovery.

The council will vote on the measure following a public hearing on Wednesday.

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