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Howard lawmakers poised to extend Ellicott City moratorium, halting development in the historic district

A Howard County councilwoman has filed legislation to extend a development moratorium period in Ellicott City through October.

After the May 2018 flood ripped through the historic district, the County Council voted unanimously to halt development from taking place in the watershed.

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The moratorium was initially set to last until July and meant to provide time for the county to analyze options for retrofitting existing public and private property stormwater infrastructure; changes to the county’s general plan, density and open space zoning regulations; and the creation of a special benefits district or districts, or other funding mechanisms to finance stormwater and flood mitigation infrastructure improvements.

On May 2, officials will host a public meeting at Howard High School for the community to provide input. Though testimony will be taken, the decision over which option to pursue lays with County Executive Calvin Ball.

Councilwoman Liz Walsh, a Democrat whose district includes Ellicott City, filed the legislation April 25. It is co-sponsored by Council Chairwoman Christiana Mercer Rigby, Councilwoman Deb Jung, Councilman Opel Jones and supported by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.

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“By extending the original one-year effective period of the Watershed Safety Act, this bill ensures that the temporary halt in development does not lapse before the general public and members of the council have sufficient time to consider and act upon the departments’ forthcoming analyses and recommendations,” Walsh said in a statement.

A public hearing for the extension of the moratorium will take place at 7 p.m. May 20 at the George Howard Building.

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