Howard County Council Member Liz Walsh (District 1) posted the following information on Facebook:

Monday night will be the Council’s last public hearing until September. No testimony will be heard, though, on CB38—the Protect-This-Watershed Bill that District 1 pre-filed last month. Anticipating your significant interest in the bill and the potential conflict a summer-date hearing may have with your long-scheduled vacation plans, the Chair requested that public hearing on CB38 be held until September 16.

Here’s why CB38 is such a big deal:

In short, what it will do is protect and preserve what remains of our trees, forests and waterways, neighborhoods and historic towns, starting in this most fragile watershed, the Patapsco Lower North Branch. Responding to the mandates of last year’s Watershed Safety Act (CB56-2018), CB38 will effect changes in law intended to help protect against future flooding risks—to the public health, safety and welfare, and investment.

Here’s how:

🌳 CB38 requires new development in the watershed to control no less than 2016 peak flood conditions. No runoff from such development may exceed the volume and characteristics of runoff from the undeveloped site under 2016 peak flood conditions.

🌳 CB38 prohibits further building in the watershed within 100’ of the floodplain, waterways and wetlands and 50’ from steep slopes.

🌳 CB38 eliminates Developer entitlements to waivers or “alternative compliances” in the watershed except when necessary to better stormwater management and flood controls for existing development and/or as new public infrastructure. Otherwise, state and local laws protecting forests, trees, waterways, wetlands, steep slopes and floodplains must finally be complied with.

🌳 CB38 eliminates Developer entitlements to pay “fees in lieu” of complying with open space and forest conservation requirements in the watershed, and enhances requirements as to how much land mass must be dedicated to both.

🌳 CB38 prohibits residential infill in any existing communities lacking the infrastructure necessary to manage stormwater under currently applicable requirements.

🌳 And, CB38 requires site development plans to better depict the true environmental impact of the proposed work by marking critical root zones of “specimen” trees, the hubs and corridors of the County’s “green infrastructure network” (http://livegreenhoward.com/la…/green-infrastructure-network/) and the State of Maryland’s “targeted ecological areas” (https://data.imap.maryland.gov/…/a56174cc59914d44812184ee92…)—on and adjoining the site.

The changes of law proposed by CB38 would take effect on any projects not yet issued a County building permit, including the thirty or so stalled by the Watershed Safety Act, CB56-2018. Meaning we’ll likely have to extend the effective period of that bill a second, lesser time so that consideration of this and any other legislation prompted by its mandates may take effect before that effective period lapses.

If you’d like to know more about CB38, or see a way to make it better, call us or email!

Already know you like what you see? Send the Council an email (councilmail@howardcountymd.gov), the more reasons why you tell us, the better. Copy in your friends and neighbors and co-workers, so they send us something, too. Believe me, I’ve seen it, it matters. And make your plans now to attend the public hearing for CB38, now scheduled for Monday, September 16th at 7 pm.

To view the bill (CB38-2019), please visit: https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/olis/LegislationDetail.aspx…

To view the Baltimore Sun article: https://www.baltimoresun.com/…/ph-ho-cf-walsh-legislation-0…

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Here is that posting on Facebook:

Here is the summary text of CB38 – 2019:

AN ACT to prohibit certain waivers in the Patapsco Lower North Branch Watershed; to prohibit certain disturbance of land in the Ellicott City Floodplain; to prohibit specified activities in certain buffers; to provide certain open space requirements in the Patapsco Lower North Branch Watershed; to eliminate certain fees-in-lieu; to prohibit residential infill under specified circumstances; to prohibit the issuance of certain variances in the Patapsco Lower North Branch Watershed; adding certain requirements related to forest conservation plans; to limit forest cover clearing in the Patapsco Lower North Branch Watershed; to specify the afforestation level in certain cases; to alter requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts associated with stormwater; and generally relating to
subdivision and land development regulations.

Have thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Scott E

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