Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Sunday, March 30, 2008

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.



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