Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will be introducing some new legislation as part of the EC Safe and Sound plan that would allow county workers to access streams on private property to remove debris that has the potential to cause flooding…here is information via a recent press release:
February 19, 2019
Scott L. Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
County Executive Ball to File Legislation to Aide in Debris Removal from Streams to Prevent New Flooding
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will pre-file legislation this week that, if passed, will allow county workers to access streams on private property to remove debris that has the potential to cause flooding. As part of his Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan announced in December, Ball mandated more frequent inspections of streams, but those inspections are only on public property due to the limitations of current law.
“It’s important to remove debris from streams to prevent future flooding. That means we sometimes need to go onto private property,” said Ball. “Currently, the right-of-entry onto private property is negotiated on a case by case basis, which can take an extended period of time and could jeopardize public safety.”
The legislation empowers the Department of Public Works to enter any building, structure, or premises to inspect streams and other waterways for debris, or to remove natural and man-made obstructions which could impede the passage of water during future rain events.
“The County will continue to negotiate with individual property owners for quick access to the location of debris,” said James M. Irvin, Director of the Howard County Department of Public Works. “We believe this legislation will help to facilitate that process.”
The second part of the legislation clarifies existing authority for the county to prevent any illegal dumping.
To learn more about the Ellicott City Safe and Sound program, visit https://www.ecsafeandsound.org/.
I checked the Howard County Council website and did not find the legislation filed as of this post.
I am interested to see the details of this legislation…because the statement “The legislation empowers the Department of Public Works to enter any building, structure, or premises” can mean a lot of things…and does this include any type of notification to the owners or residents of the “private property” prior to DPW entering buildings or property that is privately owned…that is one of the things I will be looking for in this legislation…because it is not specifically mentioned in the press release.
Another item I am interested in is what happens if/when the county finds debris that has the potential to cause flooding located on private property…will the cleanup be in the county dime or will the property owner be responsible for the cost of removal of the debris?
I understand and support the need to access areas “to remove natural and man-made obstructions which could impede the passage of water during future rain events” in order to deal with flooding concerns in the future…just wonder if this legislation will be the right approach or will it be a step to far. I am making no judgements at this point…just really interested in it now.
Since EC Safe and Sound website was mentioned…I went to see what was posted on that site (view here: https://www.ecsafeandsound.org/clearing-the-waterways).
Stay tuned…once I get notification that this legislation has been filed…I may do an updated post outlining the details.