April 9, 2018 Volume XV, Issue I
The Latest Happenings
Bears and ground hogs may hibernate, but GHCA does not. Even though you may not have seen or heard much from the leadership team through the winter, there has been much going on. We will share highlights with you here and provide details at our next membership meeting on Thursday, May 10 at St. Marks Church.
Together with the leadership of Howard County Citizens Association (HCCA) and Concerned Citizens of Western Howard County (CCWHC) we have engaged with DPZ to highlight vital area initiatives, including:
- Expansion of public sewer and water (PSA)
- o PSA expansion is integral to the potential to develop the proposed senior living project proposed for Rt.108 in Clarksville
- o For the project to go ahead the General Plan must be amended by the County Council
- o Only minor expansions are allowed. 1440 units on 60 acres does not fit the definition of “minor”
- o The site would need to be designated Tier 1 “Smart Growth” which is incompatible with RC designation. It opens the possibility of similar changes to contiguous properties for a potential domino drop of rezoning.
- Business Rural (BR)
- o A floating zone not addressed when BRX was put to rest last year. We are supporting 3 approaches to eliminate what may be the most egregious potential uses of this zone.
- Zoning Enforcement
- o After a member of the GHCA community was again harassed by a zoning inspector over-stepping authority, we brought to the attention of DPZ weaknesses in the system. This has initiated a review of many aspects of the complaint and enforcement process. We expect improvements will be instituted.
- Howard County Preservation Easements
- o Original easements were agricultural only, with many prohibited uses. They are subject to zoning ordinances in place at the time of execution.
- o Now amendments are allowed and easements are not tied to zoning existing at the time of execution, which is diluting the strength, and seemingly the intent, of preservation.
- o We are requesting the County examine current easements to maintain the intent of Ag Pres. Future easements must be clear, enforceable and consistent.
We attended and testified at legislative hearings regarding industrial mulching in our RR zone and further west in RC. We are strongly opposed to industrial scale mulching, as are all other citizens groups. Bad news is: measure passed without sufficient amendments to prohibit. Semi-good news is: the bill failed to meet legislative deadlines by a few hours. Talk about a cliff hanger!
ZRA-183, CB-21-2018 has been approved by the Planning Board. Council Hearings begin on April 16 at 7:00 PM. Be there, if you can. This bill allows industrial mulching and composting on RR and RC land.
Despite the serious accident of June 2017 and another in March when 2 vehicles collided at the Post Office exit, and GHCA’s appeal to HCP, no substantive action has been taken to address speeding through the crossroads. We continue to raise this issue and welcome member input and suggestions on how we may better be able to encourage the County to enhance safety at the Crossroads. Please share your thoughts with us.
On May 10, at St. Marks Church, we are working to bring together an array of speakers from County agencies, including the Police, the Office on Aging, Recycling, Parks and Rec and others. Are there any you would particularly like to hear from or about?
Please visit our completely re-designed site: GHCA Chuck Gait will continue to maintain it. Comments and suggestions are welcome: Chuck Gait — Check it out, and take advantage of Pay Pal to renew your membership with just a couple clicks or do it the old way below:
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Mail to GHCA, PO Box 235, Highland, MD 20777