A petition calling for a moratorium on construction in Hanover and Elkridge has received more than 500 signatures.
“By allowing developers to continue this uncontrollable trend of overdevelopment, we are destroying what makes Elkridge and Hanover a great place to live,” according to the online petition, which requests a county analysis of school capacity, stormwater management, community planning practices and traffic congestion.
Forty-seven percent of all new units constructed in 2017 in Howard County were in Elkridge, according to the 2017 Development Monitoring System Report. The county is in the process of vetting 2,272 proposed residential units in the Elkridge planning area, according to Peter Conrad, deputy director of the Department of Planning and Zoning.
Elkridge, bordering Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, had the greatest average lot density in the county— 23.44 units per acre based on 405 units built, according to the 2017 report.
Elkridge residents Niki McGuigan and Mitch Ford are concerned this density will tarnish the landscape of places such as the historic district in Lawyers Hill.
Before co-authoring the three-week old petition with McGuigan, Ford attended community meetings put on by developers.
The county encourages developers to hold community meetings to “achieve a mutually acceptable solution to any concerns,” though companies are not required to alter their plans unless they conflict with zoning regulation.
Through conversations with other community members, Ford and McGuigan said they determined their concerns are shared and started the petition “Stop Uncontrolled Development in Elkridge & Hanover” to request the moratorium.
Amy Levine is among the residents who are upset, though she has not signed the petition.
Levine lives in Elkridge and is concerned that development regulation “doesn’t protect the homeowners,” she said.
Levine is concerned that the intersection of Meadowridge Road (Route 103) and Wesley Lane (Route 100) does not have a stoplight will become more dangerous when a development opens nearby.
“The traffic is already horrendous during morning and afternoon rush hour,” said Levine. “When we introduce more traffic to this intersection, it’s going to create significant safety risks for drivers in that area.”
County spokesman Mark S. Miller in an email said the county has not responded to the petition.
“I appreciate the concerns of the folks in Elkridge, particularly in light of the increases in density that were approved in the eight years before I joined the council and Zoning Board,” Councilman Jon Weinstein, a Democrat who represents the district, said in an email through a spokesman. “I don’t participate in online petitions.”
Weinstein would not say if he agreed with the petition’s assertion. Earlier this year, he voted with Councilman Calvin Ball, a Democrat who represents part of Elkridge, to update the county’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, which sets rules designed to ensure development doesn’t overburden roads and schools.
“Overdevelopment does threaten quality of life in many of our communities, including Elkridge,” said Ball in an email. “This trend of overdevelopment is in large part because the 2000 General Plan directed most development into the eastern part of the County until the 2012 General Plan took effect.”
“Because of the County Council's strengthening of the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance proposal sent from the County Executive, school overcrowding will finally begin to be taken seriously,” Ball said.
Ball is a Democratic candidate for county executive. He is challenging Republican incumbent Allan Kittleman in the general election.