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After Ellicott City flood, Howard Council waives licensing, permitting fees to offer 'relief'

Flood damage on Main Street in Ellicott City on Monday, August 1, 2016.
Flood damage on Main Street in Ellicott City on Monday, August 1, 2016. (Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The Howard County Council voted unanimously Wednesday to waive licensing and permitting fees in order to offer Ellicott City business owners relief after July's flooding gutted buildings and displaced dozens of residents.

The measure, passed in an emergency council session, waives 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.

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

Bob Frances, director of the county's Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits, said the measure will allow residents and businesses to tackle damages.

The waiver, which covers flood-related damages countywide, applies for fees from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 and is effective immediately.

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

Reducing the costs of repair and construction will allow damaged properties to recover faster, according to Kittleman.

Early estimates put flood damage at $23 million, a number that is expected to rise. Ellicott City remains under a state of emergency through Sept. 7.

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