The following is my written testimony pertaining to Council Bill 62-2017 (CB62-2017), which would revise Howard County’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). If approved, APFO would be changed to reduce the number of housing unit allocations in the Growth and Revitalization category, and to increase the number of allocations in the Established Communities category. Information regarding CB62 can be found here. I presented oral testimony to the Howard County Council during their Legislative Public Hearing on Monday, July 17, 2017; however, due to time constraints, I and others had to testify on both CB62 and CB61 (also related to APFO) within the same 3-minute period. I’ll post my written testimony regarding CB61-2017 ahead of the Council’s Special Legislative Public Hearing on Monday, September 11, 2017:
MY TESTIMONY ON CB62-2017 – OPPOSE
Chairman Weinstein & Members of the County Council,
My name is Steve Hunt, and I live at 9630 Park Avenue, Laurel, Maryland. I’m writing to voice my opposition to Council Bill 62-2017 (CB62), and while I serve as Chair of the Howard County Board of Appeals, I’m writing to you as an individual.
On the surface, this piece of legislation seems harmless enough. There is no net effect with regards to overall allocations, and Growth and Revitalization areas tend to be right next to Established Communities. However, if you follow where development tends to occur within Established Communities, it becomes clear that this increase does have a negative effect on certain communities.
I live in such a community. Since moving to North Laurel in 2000, I’ve seen my development double in size. Much of this was part of the original plan, but a good amount has been a result in what is commonly referred to as “infill”, where one house is replace by two, three or (in the case of property behind my house) four houses. This caused major overcrowding at our elementary school, which was only resolved by an addition being built. We were fortunate in that there was available land to expand the school; other schools in our County are not so fortunate. Similar things have happened in other communities in the Southeast part of the County such as Savage and High Ridge.
In light of issues such as school capacity, infrastructure, etc., I would recommend not increasing the number of allocations to Established Communities category. Additionally, I would ask that the Council consider reducing the number of allocations in Growth and Revitalization category from 1200 to 1000, as called for in this legislation. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I would encourage as many people as possible to attend the Special Public Hearing on these pieces of legislation scheduled for Monday, September 17, 2017. You can sign up to testify here; if you are unable to attend the hearing, you can provide written testimony by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the work of the APFO Task Force, who spent a great amount of time over a number of meetings performing a comprehensive review of the ordinance. Having served the County in a number of ways, I can fully appreciate the time and effort they gave to improve a process whose review was long overdue.
As always, please feel free to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, etc. Thanks.