Howard County Housing Opportunities Task Force Draft Recommendations

Proposed Approach and Recommendations for Addressing Challenges:

Five recommendations:

  1. Use land use policy to produce income-restricted, subsidized units
  2. Enable more equitable growth throughout the county
  3. Facilitate the development of lower-cost housing typologies
  4. Remove zoning barriers to mixed-use neighborhoods and developments
  5. Streamline entitlement and review process

Here is the 13-page document.

Update from HoCo Spending Affordability Advisory Committee First Meeting

This year, I am sitting on the Howard County Spending Affordability Advisory Committee. Here I am sharing some update from our first meeting this morning at 7AM-9AM.

 Spending Affordability Advisory Committee First Presentation

 Spending Affordability Advisory CommitteeCOVID Business Impacts

Apply for JROTC, November 18, 2020 – January 5, 2021

Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) programs are offered at Atholton (Army), Howard (Army) and Oakland Mills (Air Force) high schools. Each JROTC program provides an introduction to career opportunities in the United States Armed Forces and teaches principles of leadership, discipline and civic responsibility.

Any student who wishes to participate in JROTC but does not attend one of the schools that offers the program may apply for participation. Each school has a limited number of additional spaces available. To apply for participation for the 2021-2022 school year, students must contact a JROTC official between November 18, 2020, and January 5, 2021, to schedule an interview. Only students who are interviewed during this designated period will be considered for enrollment.

Students who are approved for admission into a JROTC program will be notified by letter by January 22, 2021.

Beginning November 18, to schedule an interview, contact the JROTC official for the program of interest:

  • Army JROTC at Atholton High School: Lieutenant Colonel William Reinhart, Senior Army Instructor, or (410) 313-7076
  • Army JROTC at Howard High School: Lieutenant Colonel Patricia Marshall, or (410) 313-2878
  • Air Force JROTC at Oakland Mills High School: Colonel Timothy Stevens, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, or (410) 313-6945

An application essay or other pre-interview materials may be required by each individual JROTC program. Contact your school counselor for additional information.

Find more information about the JROTC program on our website.

Public Notice: Howard County Local Bills Hearing 11/17/2020

The Howard County Delegation of the Maryland General Assembly, chaired by Senator Clarence Lam and Delegate Jessica Feldmark, will hear testimony from the public on proposed local bills and Legislative Bond Initiative requests. No testimony on other issues will be permitted as a second hearing devoted to statewide bills will be scheduled. 

The hearing will be held virtually at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17.  Members of the public may register to testify or to watch the hearing through WebEx by going to and clicking on “Register”. Registration will be available by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 9, and will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 16. Written testimony may be submitted by email to Members of the public may testify on any or all of the proposed legislation within their allotted time to speak. Oral testimony will be limited to two minutes per bill up to a total of five minutes for three or more bills. The hearing will also be streamed live on the Howard County Delegation’s Facebook page.  

Full text of the proposed Howard County bills can be accessed, as they become available from Bill Drafting, beginning Monday, November 9, 2020, at 6:00pm on the Howard County website (Home>About HoCo>State Delegation>2021 Session Proposed Local Legislation): Please monitor this page regularly for the most recent updates. Short descriptions of the local bills and a list of bond initiative requests are included below.

Bond Initiative Requests

Humanim – Remodeling Gerwig, Ho. Co. 16-21; $150,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Patuxent Commons, Ho. Co. 17-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation

8125 Main Street Reconstruction and Renovation, Ho. Co. 18-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Centennial Park ADA Improvements, Ho. Co. 19-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation 

Harriet Tubman Cultural Center Playground, Ho. Co. 20-21; $200,000

By: Howard County Delegation 

Robinson Nature Center Amphitheater and Stage, Ho. Co. 21-21; $100,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Expanded Tiber Park, Ho. Co. 22-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Patapsco Female Institute Chapel, Ho. Co. 23-21; $300,000

By: Howard County Delegation 

Historic Barnard Fort House, Ho. Co. 24-21; $150,000

By: Howard County Delegation

East Columbia 50+ Center, Ho. Co. 25-21; $1,000,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Harriet Tubman Cultural Center, Ho. Co. 26-21; $750,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Ellicott City Quaker School, Ho. Co. 27-21; $150,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Proposed Local Bills

Howard County – Alcoholic Beverages – Delivery, Ho. Co. 1-21

By: Delegate Watson

FOR the purpose of authorizing a holder of a Class A alcoholic beverages license in Howard County to deliver alcoholic beverages in the county; authorizing certain employees of a license holder to deliver alcoholic beverages; requiring that an employee making certain deliveries be of a certain age; requiring an individual receiving a certain alcoholic beverages delivery to provide certain proof of age; providing for the manner in which an individual receiving a delivery of alcoholic beverages provides proof of age; requiring the Board of License Commissioners for Howard County to approve a certain certification; requiring the purchaser of certain alcoholic beverages or a certain designated individual of a certain age to be present to receive a delivery of alcoholic beverages; and generally relating to alcoholic beverages in Howard County.

Howard County – Class A Alcoholic Beverages Licenses – Quota by Election District, Ho. Co. 2-21

By: Senator Guzzone

FOR the purpose of altering the quota system for Class A licenses in Howard County so as to limit the issuance of the licenses to not more than one for a certain number of residents in each election district, rather than in the county; and generally relating to Class A alcoholic beverages licenses in Howard County.

Howard County – Alcoholic Beverages – Alcoholic Beverages Inspectors, Ho. Co. 3-21

By: Chair, Howard County Delegation

FOR the purpose of authorizing an alcoholic beverages inspector to issue a citation in Howard County; requiring an inspector to complete a training program in the use of arrest authority and pertinent police procedures; prohibiting an inspector from carrying a firearm in the performance of the inspector’s duties; requiring the Howard County Police Department to employ certain inspectors, rather than requiring the

Chief of the County Police Department to provide a sworn member of the County Police Department as an inspector; requiring the Chief of the County Police Department to have certain authority over the hiring of inspectors; and generally relating to alcoholic beverages in Howard County.

Howard County – Alcoholic Beverages – Class B Beer, Wine, and Liquor License – Off–Premises Consumption, Ho. Co. 4-21

By: Delegate Watson

FOR the purpose of authorizing the holder of a certain Class B beer, wine, and liquor license in Howard County to sell beer, wine, and liquor for off–premises consumption, subject to certain requirements; repealing certain provisions that authorize the Board of License Commissioners for Howard County to issue a certain permit to a certain holder of a certain Class B beer, wine, and liquor license; and generally relating to alcoholic beverages in Howard County.

Howard County – Board of Education – Redetermination of Geographic Attendance Area, Ho. Co. 5-21

By: Senator Lam

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to submit a certain annual report on the program capacity of each permanent school facility, beginning in a certain school year; requiring the county board to submit a certain report to the General Assembly and the Howard County Delegation to the General Assembly under certain circumstances; requiring the county board to implement certain processes set out in a certain policy to make a certain assessment; requiring the county board to submit a certain report to the General Assembly and the Howard County Delegation regarding the outcome of a certain assessment under certain circumstances; defining certain terms; and generally relating to the target utilization of permanent school facilities in Howard County.

Howard County – School Redistricting – Public Testimony, Ho. Co. 7-21

By: Senator Lam

FOR the purpose of requiring, during a school redistricting process in which the redistricting plan proposed by the Howard County Board of Education differs from the redistricting plan proposed by the Howard County Superintendent of Schools, that the county board allow a certain number of members of a household whose school assignment is changed only in the county board’s plan to provide public testimony before the final vote on either school redistricting plan; and generally relating to the Howard County Board of Education and school redistricting.

Howard County – Howard County Board of Education – School Safety Personnel, Ho. Co. 10-21

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to develop a plan to implement certain school safety guidelines that does not assign school resource officers to public schools in Howard County and uses adequate local law enforcement coverage to implement the guidelines; and generally relating to school safety personnel in Howard County.

Howard County – Howard County – Commercial Building Excise Tax – Board of Education Deferred Maintenance, Ho. Co. 11-21

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of authorizing the County Council of Howard County to impose a certain excise tax; requiring the County Council of Howard County to specify the types of buildings subject to a certain excise tax; authorizing the County Council of Howard County to impose different tax rates on certain construction; requiring the excise tax to be deposited into a certain fund to be used only for a certain purpose; requiring

the Howard County Board of Education to submit a certain report on or before a certain date to the County Council of Howard County, the Howard County Executive, and members of the Howard County Delegation to the General Assembly; requiring the County Council of Howard County and the Howard County Executive to submit a certain report on or before a certain date to the Howard County Delegation to the 15 General Assembly addressing certain recommendations made by the Howard County Board of Education; providing for the termination of certain provisions of this Act; and generally relating to deferred maintenance in the Howard County Public School System.

Howard County – Fee–in–Lieu of ModerateIncome Housing Units – Prohibition, Ho. Co. 12-21

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of prohibiting Howard County from authorizing payment of a fee–in–lieu of a requirement under local law that a developer provide moderate–income housing units in a new residential development project; and generally relating to moderate–income housing unit requirements in Howard County.

Howard County – Homeowners Association Commission – Alternative Dispute Resolution Authority, Ho. Co. 13-21

By: Delegate Terrasa

FOR the purpose of authorizing Howard County to establish a homeowners association commission to hear and resolve, through alternative dispute resolution, certain issues between a homeowners association and a homeowner regarding certain documents; and generally relating to the resolution of disputes between homeowners associations and homeowners in Howard County.

Howard County – Residential Rental Licenses – Fee for Tenant Services, Ho. Co. 15-21

By: Delegates Feldmark and Terrasa

Bill still in drafting. Check this webpage for updates or email to request to be notified when bill text is available for review.

2020 Howard County BOE Election Result

This is not the final result. However, the votes counted right now tell us following candidates are winners:

  • District 1: Christina Delmont-Small
  • District 2: Antonia Barkley Watts
  • District 3: Jolene Mosley
  • District 4: Jen Mallo. Sezin Palmer is 4.3%, 1086 votes (out of 25122 total) less than Jen Mallo right now.
  • District 5: Yun Lu

District 1, 2, 3 and 5 are pretty determined now. This is the first time when we have BOE election by district. They will server 4 years.

Board of Education Virtual Town Hall on Spring Semester, Nov. 9 2020

  Board of Education Virtual Town Hall on Spring Semester, Nov. 9As part of ongoing efforts to receive stakeholder feedback and answer questions related to the 2020-2021 spring semester, the Howard County Board of Education will host a virtual town hall, Monday, November 9 from 7-9 p.m.

The event will be streamed live and may be viewed on the HCPSS website, or on Comcast channel 95/Verizon 42 in Howard County.

The town hall will feature a panel of HCPSS leadership and Central Office staff, who will respond to pre-submitted questions. Panelists will address as many of the submitted questions as possible within the two-hour time period.

Any staff, students, parents/guardians or community members may submit questions via Google form, which closes at 7 a.m., Monday, November 9.Submit your question

Please note, there is a scheduled Board of Education meeting Thursday, November 5, during which a proposed hybrid model for the spring semester will be presented. That proposal will be available on the BoardDocs website by the start of the presentation. Stakeholders may find it useful to submit questions after reviewing the proposed hybrid model.Additionally, all stakeholders may continue to provide input to the Board of Education by emailing  

Eliminate fee in lieu development loophole

My short comment on The Business Monthly

I appreciate Mrs. Lisa Markovitz’s article “Can we get affordable housing more affordable”.

I totally agree with that: “this “fee in lieu of” has created a concentration of AFUs in areas with lower-priced housing”. I am seeing a few low-incoming housing projects are being proposed in the low-incoming neighborhoods now. Our advocates on affordable housing either from the community, the county council or the county government should work to remove this “pay as you go” approach. The county has the legal authority to set the criteria for the new development to meet both the affordable housing requirement and APFO standards. We should not allow developers to set this policy. 

There are several  key questions to be answered. What is a reasonable level and distribution of affordable housing units in the whole county? How much more development the county can consume in each area considering APFO? Please take consideration of the cost of infrastructure (school capacity, for example) as another key parameter. What is the highest percentage of affordable housing which will prevent developers not building houses in Howard County anymore? 
I hope this kind of information is publicly available for our county residents to see and understand and guide our policy-makers on new housing developments. 

(25) 2020 Interview with Saniya Vashist, River Hill High School, Stanford University

(25) 2020 Interview with Saniya Vashist, River Hill High School, Stanford University

Ms. Saniya Vashist graduated from River Hill School in 2020. She is attending Stanford University, majoring International Relations and Economics.

Saniya will talk about her gap year choice and her experience receiving support from the Bill&Melinda Gaits Foundation on her CodeHer project. codeHER is an international female youth-run nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls, minorities, and at-risk youth. This project was reported on BaltimoreSun…

You will find more interesting story from her in this interview. Please tune in.

(24) 2020 Interview with Luz Angelica Serna, Hammond High School, University of Maryland

(24) 2020 Interview with Luz Angelica Serna, Hammond High School, University of Maryland

Ms. Luz Angelica Serna graduated from Hammond High School in 2019. She is attending University of Maryland, Baltimore County, majoring in psychology.

In the interview, Luz shared her experience on to balance on activities, overcoming challenges and charged forward to find her interest. Luz also shared why she chose UMBC and psychology as her major. She also talked about the challenge Hammond High School was facing, for example, not renovated for a long time. The good news is that Hammond High School is under renovation (unfortunately after Luz’s graduation) and due to complete in 2023.

There is more to learn. Please tune in.

My article on Baltimore Sun: Proposal for central library in downtown Columbia

I wrote a short article on the Baltimore Sun ( which will be shared on Howard County Times, Columbia Flier).

I am worried about the lack of coherent plan and long term vision for the county. There is a plan to relocate the central library in the 2016 Downtown Columbia TIF plan. Now the County Executive and County Council changed hand, there has not been any discussion (or serious discussion) any more. Recent discussion on the Toby theater, Downtown Culture Center, Affordable housing prompted me to write this article. Columbia will be totally built out soon and we need to process with caution on every land use.

I also shared similar concerns during yesterday’s BOE and County Council meeting. Where do we find school site land for the students from planned 30,000 population for Downtown Columbia?

Any decisions we make today will have a long-term impact for our future. One example is the Turf Vally development where APFO requirement was waived and no school site was reserved. Now we need pay over 6.5 million dollars for an elementary school site (around 10 acres). If they planned/reserved for a school site 20 years, it was probably free.

The reality is that people made those decision some time ago either moved up or retired. We are bearing the consequence now. I believe we can do better.