Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Monday, March 31, 2008



CONTACT: Meagan Braganca
Mt Hebron Nursery School
2330 Mt. Hebron Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Home Telephone: (443) 546-3879

The Mt. Hebron Nursery School Parents’ Group invites you to its 24th Annual Spring Fair on Saturday April 19, 2008 from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM, rain or shine at the Mt. Hebron Presbyterian Church on Mt. Hebron Drive in Ellicott City. Children’s activities include pony rides, moon bounces, face painting, crafts, games with prizes, and a Mother’s Day Secret Shoppe. Great food and cotton candy will be available for sale. Performances by Kinetics Dance Studio, Kangaroo Kids, US Tae Kwon Do and the Teelin School of Irish Dance. Baked goods and books will be offered for sale. We’ll also have a special visit from the Orioles mascot. Tickets for games and activities may be purchased at the Fair. Admission and parking are free.

Western Howard County Democratic Club
Information Line

Two important Dates – Circle your calendars!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Monthly WHCDC monthly meeting, 7 p.m. County Conservancy
Report on the 2008 Legislative Session – Robey, Guzzone,
Tuesday, May 20, 2008 Howard County Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, 6:30 p.m.
Hon. Elijah Cummings, U.S. Congress, MD 7th District
10 Oaks Ball Room, Clarksville.
See below for details!!!!!

WHCDC Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, April 15, 2008
MD. Senator Jim Robey and Assemblyman Guy Guzzone will be sharing their perspectives of the 2008 Maryland Legislative Session which will end on April 7. Other Howard County state elected officials from Howard County have been invited to attend as schedules permit. The panel will discuss the overall impact of the 2008 session, including the impact of current economic problems on the state budget; tax measurers such as changing the tax structure on the information technology industry; and changes in social legislation. They will also look forward to the probable issues which will shape the 2010 state level election.

The April meeting of the Western Howard County Democratic Club will be held on Tuesday, April 15 at the Howard County Conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Rd. (Rte. 99), Woodstock, just east of Woodstock Road. Refreshments and socialization begin at 7 p.m. and the program start at 7:30 p.m. Specific meeting location within the Gudelsky Environmental Center will be posted at the front door.

Howard County Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Hon. Elijah Cummings, who represents Howard County in MD Congressional District 7, will be the keynote speaker at the 2008 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at the 10 Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville near the intersection of MD 32 and MD 108. Socialization will begin at the reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the dinner at 7:30 p.m. The Dinner is the principal fund-raising event of the year for the Howard County Democratic Party

Last year’s event was a huge success, built around the theme of Democratic Party Building – making Howard County all blue in 2010. The greatest challenge is in Western Howard where all four offices (State Senate, Assembly (2) and County Council) are presently held by Republicans. WHCDC made a strong showing last year selling five of the 33 tables, a total of 50 seats including 19 high school students or sponsors.

Party-building, especially in Western Howard, remains a central theme this year. WHCDC has reserved six tables with 10 seats each. The initial plan is to set aside 30 seats for high school students and 30 seats for regular club members. Our goal is to conclude ticket sales by May 1 so we can secure additional tables if necessary. Regular membership seating will be $87 and high school/sponsor seats will be $75. Students will pay $20 and the club will seek sponsors for the remaining $55. The six tables will be together and will feature reserved seating.

Seven of the 12 county high schools service Western Howard. Two (Mt. Hebron and Centennial) have established clubs, another (Marriotts Ridge) established a Club this year; one (Atholton) is in the process of organizing, and three (Glenelg, River Hill and Reservoir) need organizational effort. Our goal is to have at least potential organizer students from each of the seven high schools present at the dinner. Rich Corkran, State Senate candidate in 2006 and a recently retired teacher, is playing a leadership role in helping to organize these student clubs.

These tickets will go fast Club members who purchased tickets or supported student tickets last year will be given priority consideration this year. All club members will be contacted individually this week to determine their interest in tickets for themselves or supporting student tickets ($55 each). Those Interested in attending should contact Mearl Grabill, Club Secretary, at 410-800-8984 or ASAP. Thanks in advance for your enthusiastic support of this important program.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

E-Mail from LWVHC

E-Mail received from The League of Women Voters of Howard County

General Assembly Standing Bill and Draft Public Process
Sunday, March 30, 2008 8:49:46 PM
[View Source]
Board Members: HB246
As individual members please contact Howard County's three Senators Kasemeyer, Kittleman and Robey either phone or email regarding HB246. Here is the State League testimony.
(Attachments successfully scanned for viruses.)
Attachment 1: HB 246 - Charter Counties - Land Use Appeals - Standing.doc (application/msword)
Senator Kasemeyer phone is 410 841 3653, Kittleman 410 841-3671 and Senator Robey 410 841-3572.
This Bill was amended and passed the House of Delegates 131-7. The hearing is April 1 in the Senate Education, Health and Environment Committee.
AS amended HB 246 is enabling legislation which would allow the 7 charter counties to adopt local legislation providing the level of standing for their citizen in land use cases. The Howard County Chamber of Commerce in a written statement to its members has asked the bill be amended to delete Howard County.
As State Legislation, the State League has the responsibility for testimony.
Task Force on Public Engagement in Land Use : Draft testimony public meeting 4/ 10 at 7pm
League representative on the Task Force is Ada Bohorfoush. Please consider and add to at the Board meeting the following draft testimony.
The League of Women Voters of Howard County supports:
>Consistent availability of Department of Planning and Zoning technical staff reports for Planning Board, Hearing Examiner and Board of Appeals cases. At a minimum the staff report should be available to the public two weeks prior to the date of the hearing.
> Posting of property. All properties under consideration for a proposed land use change in comprehensive zoning should be posted.
> Mail notification should be made to adjacent property owners as well as to known community or homeowners associations for all properties proposed for a land use change during comprehensive zoning.
> The comprehensive zoning process should have defined limits and deadlines
for submittal of changes to both land use and regulation changes. Deadlines should be identified for property owners and the Department of Planning and Zoning as well as for County Council members.
> Information regarding a proposed change of land use should be clear, map identified and readily available at least two weeks prior to the Planning Board's consideration of any comprehensive issue.
> The County Council should amend its operating rules to provide a minimum 120 day time period for comprehensive zoning adoption or master plan adoption.
> The public's right to be heard should be protected and encouraged. Rules of procedure
should allow clear and consistent opportunities for the public to be recognized.

2nd e-mail from HCLUC

Howard County Land Use Coaliton participants:

The bill on Howard County citizens having legal standing to enforce law: Will know more about the Maryland Senate votes on Tuesday. Very successful email campaign is occurring – citizens who lead civic and community groups are contacting their lists with this important info. Individuals are emailing the State Senators listed. People have been added to our list. I did follow up with a phone call to each of you for this initial email campaign, excellent feedback, people are engaged. The citizen standing bill and Howard Chamber of Commerce campaign to exclude our county is a poignant example of the very reason why we need email addresses to influence elected leaders.
Our Land Use committees are set up and functioning. If you would like to contact community organizations to expand our email campaign ability, pls let me know.
If you want to help but nothing has been appealing, consider writing a letter to the editor:
Calendar of upcoming events (pls support by attending or sending something to be read into the record):
April 8 – Public Works hearing – Eminent Domain (happening to our Howard County residents, they need our support) County offices, 7pm
April 10 – Public Engagement in Land Use Task Force – County Offices, 7pm (many in our group believe it’s important for us to attend as a large unified group). We will supply our list of solutions at this meeting.
June – targeting County Council invitation to Howard Land Use Coalition meeting (ours)
Website showing political campaign contributions: (businesses that contribute large dollars find it’s a good investment – if politicians are to work for citizens, legalized bribery must end – for details see : SENATE BILL 593 ) Contributions site:
Request data on all contributions from a particular donor
Request data on all contributions to a particular candidate/politician
Request contributions by date
Naming names:
County Exec Ken Ulman and Council member Jen Terrasa say they will not support the citizen standing bill, but publicly they say they have no position. This position will not work in their favor.
State Senator Kasemeyer will not reply to requests on support for the campaign finance reform bill and Progressive Maryland relays that he will vote against it.
In the Maryland House of Delegates, Gail Bates voted for the citizen standing bill, but Warren Miller voted against allowing citizens this right.
Please see the name at the bottom of the Howard Chamber of Commerce email below – these are the people (no obscurity behind the organization name) who would strip Howard Citizens from rights that all other Marylanders will have.
Legal Committee is setting up meetings with individual council members, pls let me know if you’d like to attend the meeting for your district.

Stay engaged and we’ll meet our goal to gain influence with elected people.


Here’s the email from Heidi Gaasch at our Howard Chamber of Commerce attempting to remove Howard as the only county from citizen legal standing rights:
From: []Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 11:38 AMTo: Legislative@HowardChamber.comSubject: URGENT - Action needed on Bill in AnnapolisImportance: High
Advocacy Alert
Your Action Needed!
The Howard County Chamber of Commerce is concerned about a bill in Annapolis and we need your assistance. The language in House Bill 246 would allow anyone to appeal a land use decision. The version that passed the house was tweaked earlier this month to be “enabling” legislation, essentially calling for the counties to adopt such a change to their local laws. This could be very damaging to Howard County, as well as many others; the legislation affects seven counties, including Anne Arundel, Howard, and Baltimore.
Please take the time today or Monday to reach out to your Senators and make sure they understand the wide reaching and damaging effects of this legislation.
Attached is more information on the issue, a recent press article, and the MD Chamber’s original position.
Talking Points to use in Communications with Howard County Senators:
--I am writing to you today to express my concern over HB 246, the Land Use Appeal and Legal Standing bill that is in the Senate.
--I am very opposed to this legislation and wanted to make sure you are aware of my position and if you would let me know where you stand on it.
--I believe that this bill would allow people with little or no justified grievance to appeal a zoning decision.
--There is already an effective and expansive land use decision making process in Howard County.
--I understand that this bill was amended to be enabling legislation, but in my opinion this remains a serious and dangerous piece of legislation.
--I request that you do everything in your power to see that the Senate Committee that is charged with reviewing this legislation next week tables the bill.
--I would like to see Howard County exempted from the language.
--I urge you to make the committee members aware of the vast concerns over this language and that they proved an unfavorable report on it.
--If the bill reaches the Senate floor, I respectfully request you vote against it.

Howard County Senators
Senator Allan H. Kittleman (R, District 9)
James Senate Office Building , Rm 420 < /SPAN>
11 Bladen St .
Annapolis , MD 21401
(410) 841-3671

Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer (D, District 12)
James Senate Office Building , Rm 301 < /SPAN>
11 Bladen St .
Annapolis , MD 21401
(410) 841-3653

Senator James N. Robey (D, District 13)
James Senate Office Building , Rm 120 < /SPAN>
11 Bladen St .
Annapolis , MD 21401
(410) 841-3572

Heidi Gaasch
Director, Government Affairs
Howard County Chamber of Commerce
410-730-4111 x109

And here is the article Heidi refers to:

Some raise concerns over land use appeals bill
Sara Michael, The ExaminerMarch 28, 2008
Annapolis - When Dels. Elizabeth Bobo, D- Howard, and Virginia Clagget, D-Anne Arundel, introduced a bill that would have allowed anyone to appeal a land use decision, it did not sit well with the business community.

“It would allow people with little or no justified grievance to appeal a zoning decision,” said Heidi Gaasch, director of government affairs for the Howard County Chamber of Commerce.
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce says under current law not just anyone can appeal a land use decision and charter counties outline who can file a zoning appeal. The bill widens the door on who can file.
The Maryland Association of Counties also took issue with the language.
“Requiring that a party appealing be aggrieved makes sense,” MACO director David Bliden told the House in a written statement. “It assures there is a true adversarial, rather than academic, interest in the matter at issue.”
The legislation affects seven counties, including Howard and Anne Arundel. It was amended recently to allow charter counties to include “a person who is not aggrieved by the decision or action” among those who can appeal a land decision. The House passed the amendment and the Senate will take up the bill on Monday.
The bill calls for the counties to adopt the change.
“It enables them to adopt the same rights all the other counties have,” Bobo said.
The issue of standing is a familiar one in Howard where four residents have been fighting plans to build a high-rise tower in downtown Columbia, but the bill has no bearing on the tower debate, Bobo said.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Very Important E-Mail

Before you get to the e-mail a little discussion of the subject may be of interest.

Standing Law and Definition

Standing is the ability of a party to bring a lawsuit in court based upon their stake in the outcome. A party seeking to demonstrate standing must be able to show the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged. Otherwise, the court will rule that you "lack standing" to bring the suit and dismiss your case.

The above information is not the complete law nor definition. I provide it with the hope it will bring clarity and understanding of the e-mail that follows for "Howard Issues". I am not a lawyer and do not provide any legal advice on this blog. My reference for the above was from "USLegal".

The following e-mail was sent from "Howard Issues"

Howard Land Use Group,

Howard County would be the only county in the state of Maryland
that excludes citizens from legal standing which enforces our land use and other laws, if our
State Senators do not hear from citizens who want this option know as "standing". Pls forward
this message to everyone in your group - help stop this exclusion of Howard County.

To support this bill, please send an e-mail addressed to:,,

Please forward to Senators:

Howard County Maryland State Senators:

I'm emailing to demonstrate strong support for the HB246 which would allow Howard County citizens legal standing to appeal land use decisions, Further, I believe that passing this bill including Howard County is a show of your support for citizen residents.

Thank you.


File Code: Local Government - Generally

Sponsored By:
Delegates Bobo and V. Clagett
Charter Counties - Land Use Appeals - Standing


Authorizing a charter county to enact a local law to include among those persons authorized to appeal a decision of a board of appeals or a zoning action of a local legislative body or quasi - legislative body a person who is not aggrieved by the decision or action; providing that the local law establish terms and conditions under which the person may appeal, and the procedures for taking an appeal; etc.

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Of course you are free to leave comments on this blog " Howard County Blog",
Or you could e-mail "Howard Issues" and you can stay current by reading the local newspaper "Howard County Issues" which comes out each quarter. Even better attend the meetings.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Since 4 is my lucky number I thought you may be interested in
4 interesting items that may put a little enjoyment in your life
in the 4Th month of the Year.

4/1 - 11/2 Clark Elioak Farm. Open Tuesday through Sunday
from 10am to 4pm. The farm offers a petting farm,
hay rides, and play areas for children.
For information call 410.730.4049

4/5 DVC Hope Bowl. The Domestic Violence Center of Howard County
holds it's annual Bowl-a-Thon at Brunswick Lanes
in Columbia, Md. Proceeds benefit the DVC of
Howard County. Visit for information
and registration, or call 410.997.0304

4/5 Howard County Green fest. A free family event to celebrate Earth Month.
They feature informational displays, children's
activities, live animal displays, and a free shredding
event. The theme this year is "Green Buildings -
Inside and Out" Sponsored by Howard County's
Department of Planning and Zoning, Recreation &
Parks and Public Works. For more information go
to www.howardcountymd. gov/dpz Glenwood
community Center, 2400 Rt. 97 Cooksville
The event is from 9am to 1pm. Call 410.313.6444

4.5 Live Jazz at Coco's Butter Cafe Every Saturday 7pm - 10pm. $15 cover, proper
attire required. Enjoy smooth jazz and world class
wines, cheeses and chocolates. Located at Asseteague
Dr. Jessup, Md. 240.449.9362

Friday, March 21, 2008

9409 I miss you

You stood tall and straight, day and night, for more than 30 years.
On the best of days, and the worst of nights, I counted on you, and you were always there.
You held some of what was most precious to me, and some of what I discarded with delight.
You flew your flag upon my request, and contained what was mine with the tightest of lids.
Not the strike of a baseball bat, or the force of a snowplow, would keep you from your purpose.

But that has come to pass, for some odd and strange reason you are no longer mine, your no longer there to greet my first time quest, or to identify were we both resided.

To that person or persons who separated us, I have this to say. I forgive you for your act.Your
adolescence, I hope will someday be replaced with maturity. I forgive you. You must have needed my mailbox more, than you thought I did, and so it is yours.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Real Cost Of Growth

Sorry I am late with this notice, but the Howard County Citizens Association is hosting an expert panel, who well provide their thoughts, and answers to such questions as - Is growth desirable, and Does it pay for itself? Should be an interesting evening.

The panel includes: Jeff Bronow, Chief, Division of Research, Howard County, Dept. of
Planning and Zoning.
: Roselle George, Research Manager, Montgomery County Planning Dept.
: Douglas Porter, President, The Growth Management Institute
: Richard Klien, President, Community and Environment Defense Services
: Robert Fireovid, Citizens for a Steady State Economy.

Tuesday, March 18,2008. 7:30 p.m., Hawthorn Community Center, 6175 Sunny Spring Rd.
Columbia, MD. 21044.

For more information contact Joel Yesley, 410.730.0428

Happy St. Patty's Day

Any one who knows me knows I did not misspell.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cong. Elijah Cummings

Western Howard County Democratic Club will host Cong. Elijah Cummings
at the club's March Meeting on March 18.

He will be sharing his perspectives of the 2008 Presidential Primary Election,
the current legislative priorities in the U.S. House and Senate and his views
on what leadership role WHCDC can play in the 2008 and 2010 General Elections
in Howard County. Cong. Cummings is an incumbent candidate in this election, and
WHCDC plans to support him in generating a record turnout in Howard County.

The March meeting of the Western Howard County Democratic Club will be
held on Tuesday, March 18 at the Howard County Conservancy, located at
10520 Old Frederick Rd.(Rt. 99), Woodstock, just east of Woodstock Road.

Refreshments and socialization begin at 7 p.m. and the program starts at 7:30 p.m.
in the upstairs meeting room.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Land Use Summit Meeting, Part 3

As promised, here is additional information in reference to the items discussed at the First Annual Land Use Summit. I will present the items in the same format as I received them.

Remedy to allow citizen standing in legal matters.

Halt using problematic development/building methods until permanently solved (Group Septic plans, immediately)

Abolish Planning Board.

Separate Zoning Board from Council.

Developers follow same laws as other businesses (signage)

Persistent rezoning under citizen opposition curtailed.

Overhaul Comprehensive rezoning process.

Stop changes to zoning regulations that modify countywide zoning.

Stop economic eminent domain.

Any change in zoning to be transparent, visable to residents.

Low income density transfer not allowed.

Zoning changes subject to referendum

Enforce Charter Section 202.g

Any County representative with zoning power takes zero developer/ builder

funds. Applicable for campaigns and any other money or land or asset transaction.

Developer attorneys not allowed to represent other county agencies - eliminate
conflict of interest.

Revise current methods to include mix of affordable housing within other
types of housing.

Enforce laws to prevent developers from polluting waterways, charge for immediate cleanup of resulting pollution.

Stop changes in forest conservation location.

Fix problems with conservation where in trees are planted and die.

Howard Community College should implement covenants.

County to comply with their own regulations. They own 1/3 of County.

Enforce existing laws/regulations, regarding development (N.Laurel situation)

Adequate infrastructure in place or fully funded prior to development initiation.

New County position for paid resident representative on land use matters.

County to enforce regulations against developer with equal vigor as that against citizens.

Our group insists on full participation in the 2010 General Plan.

Over 55 housing no longer requires credits - remove county incentives.

Abolish Council manic districts.

Revise current Planning Board members and functions to redirect toward
citizens by district and add at large member.

Rotate Director of Planing and Zoning.

ZR95 withdrawn in the current form which includes ability to transfer adequate
infrastructure and transfer of sensible development constraints to other areas.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Political Internships

Spend some time in a private wilderness park.
Do a little hiking, fishing, boating, or horse back riding, while also spending
your time with students and volunteers working to defend one of our most
important rights.

The right to accurate relevant information, about those who govern
and those who wish to govern.

This is a a non-partisian effort supported by former presidents and other
leaders from both parties, that would benefit greatly from your assistance
in gathering, organizing and providing to others the accurate information
they need to make informed voting decisions.

If your interested get in touch with or call 1.888.868.3762

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Land Use Summit Meeting Follow Up

If attendance is a measure of success,
this meeting was successful

If topics of discussion are a measure of success
this meeting redefined success.

Now we wait to see if the hopes
and future out comes of this gathering
measure up to the spirit of those who organized
and those who attended.

I think there is a real good chance, but
we will know for sure in the next few months.

I promise to offer more on this first meeting,
and the events that fellow.

Friday, March 07, 2008

1st Annual Howard County Land Use Summit

It is not who we are, it is what we do, that makes a difference.

This is especially true for residents of Howard County. We live in one of the finest parts of our country, if not the world, but nothing stays the same. There are constant changes and challenges, and if we are to maintain our life style, and even hope to improve it, we need to stay informed.

March 12, 2008 ( Wed.) at the Miller Library, beginning at 7P.M.

There will be an opportunity for both citizens and citizen groups to do just that, stay informed.

As stated in the newspaper, Howard County Issues, the purpose will be to "gain agreement, support, and build influence among Howard County citizens and groups", in matters of zoning, development, and other land use matters.

This event is open to the public, and I would advice anyone and everyone to find the time to attend.

Don't be that someone who says
I wish I had a voice in what is going on,
be that someone, who has a voice, in what is going on

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