Howard County: Add Dorsey's Search and Old Annapolis Rd./Centennial to CB 56-2018

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We are a group of concerned residents in the Village of Dorsey's Search and Old Annapolis Road/Centennial who are joining together to urge the County Council to amend the current Tiber Watershed Safety Act (CB 56-2018) to include our subwatersheds of Little Patuxent River, Plum Tree Branch and Red Hill Branch in the larger Little Patuxent Watershed.  This petition also calls for the development of a meaningful partnership between residents, the County and Columbia Association for authentic smart redevelopment after the halt.

Please sign only if you are a current resident or property owner in Dorsey's Search or off of Old Annapolis Rd/Centennial. Please indicate your neighborhood when you sign. Thank you!

Background: Some of us have lived in Dorsey Search/Old Annapolis Rd for 25+ years, some just a few. We are all signing this petition to express our grave concern about the growing storm water issues in our area and dissatisfaction with two proposed projects: the Dorsey Overlook project as planned and the newly proposed project at 9692 Oak Hill Drive (the old Bennett Family homestead) next to Centennial Overlook. 

Who? The Howard County Council is currently hearing The Tiber Watershed Safety Act (CB 56-2018) that was introduced as an emergency measure to impose a 1 year moratorium on development in the Tiber-Hudson Watershed by District 1 Councilman Jon Weinstein and is supported by the entire Council. Our neighbors in Valley Meade and Dunloggin have been diligently working to have the Plum Tree Branch included in the moratorium. We in Dorsey and Old Annapolis Rd/Centennial are joining those efforts.

What? Our most pressing first order of business is halting the Dorsey Overlook project and the Bennett Family homestead project as currently planned by amending the Tiber Watershed Safety Act of 2018. 

Why? We oppose the developments for the following reasons:
1. We have urgent storm water management concerns in our neighborhoods. The land on both sites in their current states naturally abate water. This is because there are mature trees, vegetation and limited impermeable surface. The proposed Dorsey Overlook site will contain a 5 story, 134-unit apartment building and parking lot that will create a huge impermeable surface thumbprint on the small 4.5 acre lot. The old Bennett Family homestead plans include adding 6 more houses, natural gas lines, streetlights and plenty more asphalt, concrete roads and driveways aka impermeable surface to an area that is already struggling to process run off from adjacent new development. 

The project engineer at the July 5th pre-submission meeting for Dorsey Overlook spoke of intent to meet current regulations for storm water management.  But, as we all know, the "new normal" causes us all to realize that current regulations are not adequate. Not just in Old Ellicott City (OEC), but right here in Dorsey and Old Annapolis Rd/Centennial. 

Current storm water regulations are inadequate to protect safety and property. Developing again now, as with this Dorsey Overlook project and the Old Bennett Family homestead, before the County manages the problems it already has, is irresponsible. The County needs to ensure the current burden can be handled before permitting the increased burden on storm water management. This could be an issue of life and death. Let's not wait and see. 

  • The culvert and stream on Old Annapolis Road that lead to Centennial Park are already overflowing.
  • Many of us now have water pooling at the foundations of our home after large storms.  We have silt-filled, cloudy brown rivers flowing down our sidewalks and driveways. This is part of the massive runoff cause by new development and the "new normal" of storms. This did not happen when we first moved here or until the mid 2010s.  It happens now regularly.
  • A Dorsey family lost their new car to the July 2016 flood.  Not on Main Street but right off Grey Rock that storm sent massive rivers of water across seemingly-flat and safe Boulder Court.  Their six month old car stalled that night, filled with water, and they climbed out of the car windows to safety. The car never started again and was totaled. The family has three sons, lucky their sons were not in the car with them that night.
  • Many neighbors talk about once small trickle streams/rills in their backyards that are now rivers in these new storms. The water is overflowing, silt-filled, and creating gullies both in Dorsey and up Old Annapolis.
  • Another neighbor, right off Smokey Wreath Way had his car severely damaged when water pooled on the street right in front of his house in May 2018. The car was not totaled, but is still not repaired due to the back-up at the repair shop. The mold in the car is causing the family severe issues requiring medical attention.
  • Bridges were severely damaged at Fairway Hills Golf Course causing $150,000 or more in damages and the loss of use of all 18 holes for over month.
  • Water has come closer than ever to the condos/townhouses in Dorsey. The wetlands are insufficient with the increased burden and heavier rainfalls.
  • Route 29 South was underwater in May 2018!
  • Woodland and Oak Hills off Old Annapolis Rd were flooded during the Memorial Day Weekend flood. Residents there reported knee high water prevented anyone from getting in or out of their streets for more than 3 hours during the storm.
  • All along the fork of the Little Patuxent River, which is located at the bottom of 9692 Oak Hill Drive. silt, tree trunks, branches and other erosion occurred after the Memorial Day Weekend flood.
  • Oak Hill residents note that during the 2016 flood, Oak Hill did not experience this problem. Oak Hill residents do not want to criticize their Centennial Overlook neighbors however need to be frank and note that the arrival of Centennial Overlook development must be contributing to the problems.

Please sign this petition if you live in Dorsey's Search or off Old Annapolis Rd/Centennial and join us in urging the County Council to include our subwatersheds in the Tiber Watershed Safety Act (CB 56-2018). Please indicate your neighborhood when you sign. Thank you!