Now that we have a new County Council in Howard County…I thought it would be good to document the roles each will have over the next year. Here is what was decided last night as part of the Swearing In Ceremony: (note – information currently on the About Us page of the Howard County Council)

The County’s Legislature

Chair, Christiana Mercer Rigby
Vice Chair, Opel Jones

The Howard County Council’s primary function is to serve as the Legislative branch of local government under authorization of the Howard County Charter–the County’s constitution. As the legislative branch of government, the Council’s major responsibility is approving the laws for Howard County. The Council’s powers include annual authorization of the County’s operating and capital budgets as well as approval of County tax rates.  The legislative body authorizes the issuance of all County bonds and approves all master plans for the physical development of the County. The County Council amends the Zoning Regulations and approves the County’s Comprehensive Zoning Plan, which is guided by the Plan Howard 2030, the General Plan of the County.

To view the current Howard County Code click here, or for more information about Howard County’s laws, the Charter, rules, and regulations, click here.

Here are the other roles for the new council members:
The Zoning Board

Chair, Liz Walsh
Vice Chair, Deb Jung

Council Members serve as the members of the Zoning Board, which guides the future growth of the County in accordance with the General Plan.  The Zoning Board is responsible for amending the zoning of individual pieces of property. It approves preliminary development plans, required as the first step for developing property in zoning districts such as New Town or Mixed Use.

The Liquor Board

Chair, Deb Jung
Vice Chair, David Yungmann

In Howard County, the five Council members also sit as the local Board of License Commissioners, known as the Liquor Board. Their duties include issuance and revocation of licenses to sell alcoholic beverages and assuring adherence to Maryland laws and the County’s rules and regulations pertaining to the sale of alcoholic beverages.  In 1998, an appointed Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board was established.  The Liquor Board may assign certain of its duties to the Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board, but the Liquor Board remains the final authority on disputed matters.  Applications for liquor licenses may be made through the Administrator to the Board of License Commissioners.

Each will serve in these roles though December 2, 2019.

You can watch the voting process in this video (fast forward to the 1 hour 10 minute section of the video for the nominations and votes):

Scott E