Howard County Councilmember David Yungmann provided a post on social media on February 4th as to why he decided to move to table CB1-2020 (AN ACT altering the number of consecutive years a project or phase of a project must be retested if a project fails one or more components of the school capacity test of the Adequate Public Facilities Act of Howard County):
Last night I moved to table CB-1, the bill to increase the length of time a new residential project needs to remain on hold if one of the schools servicing the project exceeds the utilization rate set forth in APFO (referred to as a closed school). “Tabling” means that we will consider the bill for another month during which we will hold additional work session(s) before voting on the bill. We had a mere one hour of group discussion with each other in a work session with HCPSS, BOE and DPZ. Many questions remain and it’s more than reasonable for us to spend more time evaluating this policy change.
Many people new to this discussion may be unaware that major adjustments to APFO, which changes would have prevented most of the overcrowding we have experienced over the past several years, took effect just 7 months ago. In 2019 our County Council also approved a 550% increase in the fee charged on new residential construction, which funds are used to add school capacity. The results of these and other policy changes are an 80%-95% decline in two leading indicators of future construction activity. If slowing or stopping residential development is an important for you, your advocacy has generated some significant positive results. As with most things in life though, that good news comes with offsetting consequences.
Neither the Council nor other government agencies can concede to some “do it now or else” approach without trying to balance all competing and interconnected priorities. We must now evaluate ways to fine tune APFO, deal with the consequences of what has already occurred, and try our best not to create new problems or make existing problems worse. I encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the issue in depth and see how we approach these challenges to attend or tune into our next work session, which will be open to the public, streamed online and on TV.
Here is the motion and vote in case you missed it on Monday:
CB 1-2020 will be interesting to watch how it all plays out. There are already three amendments to the original legislation and it will will not surprise me if more amendments come forward over the next month as they continue to discuss this legislation.
I have noted in the past…it is a difficult to balance the need for new funding (which our county needs) and trying to do the right thing with development (or over-development) in the county.
Stay tuned….I expect a lot more to be said about this legislation over the next month.