The Howard County Council will vote tonight on funding the controversial flood mitigation plan that would, among other efforts, remove 19 buildings in Ellicott City.
The council is considering three bills needed for a five-year flood control plan that would raze 19 buildings to expand a channel for the Tiber River and replace them with open space.
Two bills would shift $16.8 million from county’s contingency fund, technology infrastructure upgrades, improvements to the East Columbia Library Athletic Field and construction of a fire station on Route 1 to pay for the controversial plan. The third would allow the county to borrow $15,775,000 to pay for the plan.
The $50 million plan to demolish the structures requires approval from the county’s Historic Preservation Commission, a majority vote by the council and approval from the county executive.
Ten buildings on lower Main Street would be demolished to widen the channel for the Tiber River to slow the flow of floodwaters; two buildings from the middle of Main Street to widen the Hudson River bend; and seven residential buildings to expand a channel on the western side of the historic district.
The county anticipates between $20 million and $30 million in state and federal funding, according to Paul Milton, an aide to County Executive Allan Kittleman.
The vote comes five days after a poll paid for by a preservation nonprofit found that 74 percent of Howard residents surveyed would support flood mitigation plans that don’t require tearing down buildings.
The council will also vote on a bill that would ban coal-tar and some of its alternatives.
The thick, black liquid contains varying amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, linked to skin irritations, mutations and cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The bill was criticized by businessmen who fear it might inspire neighboring Baltimore County to enact similar legislation, leading to the demise of their companies.
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The legislative meeting takes place in the George Howard Building at 7pm.