Stop Over-Development of Southern Howard County

Stop Over-Development of Southern Howard County

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North Laurel Community Advocates started this petition to Howard County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball and

The open land in North Laurel, owned by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association may soon include 397 new homes.  The Sketch Plan for this proposed development has been revised and is under review by the county. Now is the time to speak with a loud and unified voice that we want responsible development that does not risk the safety of our neighborhoods, negatively impact our schools and degrade the quality of life that brought us to Howard County in the first place.  Please read and sign.

Dear Dr. Ball,

Concerned citizens of Howard County request your urgent attention to the proposed development of the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (hereafter “Milk Plant”) land in southern Howard County.  Sketch Plan (S-18-003) is under review and presents numerous concerns for our community, including increased flash flooding, overcrowding of schools, pedestrian and traffic safety, and environmental issues that will diminish the quality of life of our community.  These concerns all relate to the high density of the proposed development.

Flooding/Storm Drainage:  Hunters Creek, an adjacent community, already experiences flash flooding due to storm water runoff from the Milk Plant’s land and is concerned that the proposed water management measures will not adequately prevent flash flooding events in the future given the decreased area of permeable land due to development and increase in frequency of heavy rain events.  We ask that you require the developer to detail a storm water management plan to be reviewed both by the county and an independent third party for soundness.  The plan should include contingency plans and address long-term responsibility for flooding in downstream neighborhoods.

School Overcrowding and Safety: Existing schools do not have seats to accommodate the additional students this development will bring to the region.  Further, HCPSS Capital Planning does not include additional seats in this region at the elementary or middle school levels until after FY2030, at which time Hammond Elementary is projected to be at 177% utilization.  Relocatable (portable) classrooms are an unsafe and unacceptable long-term solution.  We request that the County delay development until such time a plan for schools is finalized and a funding source secured.  

Pedestrian and Traffic Safety:  Traffic is already excessive from other development in the area in recent years, and this new development will exacerbate conditions even further on local roads that include driveways and multiple school bus stops.  Without a direct connection to State Route 216 and thoughtful road planning within the development to efficiently disburse the traffic, pedestrians will not be able to cross roads safely and residents in adjacent communities will not be able to safely exit their driveways/neighborhoods.  We ask the County require the developer to provide a direct connection to Route 216 from the development and provide a road plan within the development that includes connections between proposed and future egresses with sufficient capacity to disburse traffic efficiently.

Environmental Issues: The Milk Plant’s land contains numerous streams and wetlands that are part of the Patuxent River watershed that ultimately drains into the Chesapeake Bay and is vulnerable to construction and urban runoff.  An American Bald Eagle family is believed to be living on the land, requiring displacement to proceed with development.  Consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is needed to investigate and potentially preserve or safely relocate the nest in accordance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.  The Milk Plant itself has recent non-compliance with Clean Air Act requirements.  Emissions should be addressed via consultation with the EPA prior to approval of the Sketch Plan to determine the level of risk to the proposed high-density residential development in close proximity.

Simply stated, we want responsible development coupled with a reduction in density of the development to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods, preserve our schools and contribute to the quality of life that brought us to Howard County in the first place.  We look to you and your team to thoughtfully facilitate solutions that will preserve our community and address our concerns. 

Thank you for your careful consideration of our concerns and understanding of the urgency of this matter.  We would like the opportunity to discuss our concerns via a community meeting prior to the review of the most recent Sketch Plan, due March 22, 2019.

Sincerely,

The Following Concerned Citizens:

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