As of this post…760 people have sign this online petition. Here is the wording on change.org:
Greater Elkridge (Elkridge and Hanover) is currently experiencing a dangerous trend of overdevelopment that is threatening the quality of life in our community. We are petitioning Howard County Government as concerned residents, parents, employees, and school educators to issue a moratorium on building construction in the Elkridge planning area. We hope to raise alarm with our officials and agencies over this issue and its adverse effect on our environment, school overcrowding, and stress on our public infrastructure (roads, traffic congestion). We are asking our government to initiate a moratorium halting development in order to properly analyze current community planning practices, stormwater management, school expansion, and infrastructure improvements.
A recent analysis (pictured) using the county’s Search Plans database found that approximately 2,483 units are in the development pipeline within the Elkridge planning area (active from January to August 2018). This includes 1,657 apartments, 172 single family homes, and 654 townhouses. Many of these developments are at higher densities, and one (Lawyers Hill Overlook) poses a significant threat to the landscape of the Lawyers Hill Historic District. Furthermore, the Howard County Development Monitoring System Report for 2017 found that Elkridge had the highest amount of newly constructed residential units in the entire county with 572 units (47% of the county’s total units), and 2,221 units in process (90% being apartments) as of December 2017. These numbers are comparable to the growth in Downtown Columbia, yet Elkridge does not receive nearly as much funding or planning services.
Our schools have also suffered from this uncontrolled rate of development. The School System’s 2018 Feasibility Study found that numerous schools will be at dangerous levels of overcapacity by 2023. This assessment includes one elementary school (Hanover Hills at 132.2%), one middle school (Thomas Viaduct at 123.1%), and both high schools being well over student capacity (Howard at 146.1% and Long Reach at 143.3%). These numbers are simply unacceptable, and our children deserve better.
We believe that our environment, historical integrity, and public safety are at stake due to the high levels of deforestation that takes place during development. The Floods of 2016 and 2018 also had a severe effect in Lower Elkridge; inundating the major inter-county artery of U.S. Route 1. These flooding events pose as great of a danger to Ellicott City’s Main Street as it does for Elkridge’s Main Street. By allowing developers to continue this uncontrollable trend of overdevelopment, we are destroying what makes Elkridge and Hanover a great place to live. We ask that our government acknowledge and address these concerns by issuing a development moratorium in the Elkridge planning area. We need time for our government to give our community the attention it deserves and desperately needs through effective communitywide master-planning.
Howard County Search Plans: https://data.howardcountymd.gov/Search_Plans/Search_Plans_Web.aspx
Development Monitoring System Report: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=RwYT-YU5mGs%3d&portalid=0
HCPSS Feasibility Study Report: https://www.hcpss.org/f/schoolplanning/2018-feasibility-study.pdf
The Baltimore Sun also recently wrote about it: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ph-ho-cf-elkridge-petition-1006-story.html
Noted in that article:
“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.
Now the big question is…where do the 9 candidates running for Howard County Council in 2018 stand on this issue? I am interested…are you? Maybe I can get some (or all) of them to respond to this article and then we will all know.