February 2021 Edition
This new year brings hope for an end to the seclusion, fear, school and business closures, economic destruction and heartbreak of this COVID pandemic. I am grateful for the leadership and innovation it took to have two vaccines with a third on the way in less than a year, but I am frustrated by the massive supply problems from the Federal level down to the county. Howard County's positivity rate has plummeted from 8.2% to 5.2% in less than a month and cases /100K people has fallen 67% in the same period. It's time to open school buildins, get our kids back to sports, theater and other activities, open closed business and return others back to capacity, keep vaccinating our highest risk neighbors and get our citizens back to work. 
 
2021 will also see the county undertake an update to the General Plan, which guides land use and zoning codes for a decade or more. There are several draft scenarios being promoted by residents from the eastern parts of the county and low-income housing advocates that would bring major increases in development throughout all parts of District 5, including the rural west. We will need your engagement in this process if you want to maintain the density level that led you to move to your neighborhood.  
 
Our local restaurants and businesses continue to be impacted by government mandates and a general concern that many have about being indoors in public venues. Please shop and dine locally and, if you’re uncomfortable dining out, order carry out, use curbside pickup and buy gift cards. These business owners and their employees are our neighbors and need our support. And don’t forget our county farms, many of which have their own markets and pick your own opportunities.
 
Stay on top of announcements regarding the vaccination process on the State website as well as the County COVID DashboardYou can also like the District 5 Facebook Page to see current news and announcements. Please share our newsletter and encourage others to sign up so they can stay apprised of what is happening around the community. 


David Yungmann
Howard County Council, District 5



COVID 19 Vaccination Resources

Howard County relies 100% on its supply of the COVID 19 vaccine from the State allocation on a weekly basis, a process that is being run by the Maryland Department of Health. The Governor opened up 1C at the discretion of each county, but our County Health Officer has kept us and our clinics at 1B. However, when supply allows, individuals aged 65-74 in Phase 1C may be vaccinated. For this reason it is important for county residents to preregister to keep the process moving and to ensure that no vaccine goes unused. Preregistration does not schedule you for an appointment, but rather puts you on the list to be contacted when you are eligible. The form on the COVID 19 Vaccine page provides an opportunity to indicate your expected phase in the process, so all residents are encouraged to preregister now. All distribution channels will adhere to the same guidelines and will not vaccinate people before they are eligible.

Don't forget to check in with neighbors who may need assistance navigating what has proven to be a challenging process.
In the past few months since our last newsletter, the County Council has voted on several consequential bills.

  • In December, the Council voted 4-1 to become a sanctuary county. CB-63, called the Liberty Act, expands protections for illegal residents and moves all associated policies into county code, including policies that prohibit county employees and agencies from contacting Federal authorities or honoring Federal detainer orders involving individuals that have committed a crime in addition to violation of immigration laws. Not only are the policies themselves dangerous from a public safety perspective, a police chief or county executive would no longer be able to adjust law enforcement strategies as needed to address changing conditions such as the way Montgomery County recently walked back some of its sanctuary policies to respond to increased gang activity in schools. The law would have taken effect on February 5, but a group of local citizens has collected enough signatures to delay the effective date and is close to collecting enough signatures to put it in the hands of county voters in 2022.

  • In November, the Council approved by a 3-2 vote the acquisition of a 10-acre parcel in Turf Valley for the future construction of an elementary school. The purchase price of $5.75 million is $1.25 million below appraised value and will replace up to 52 townhomes for which the property is zoned. I appreciate the support from members Jones and Rigby providing the votes needed to get this passed. Unfortunately HCPSS has pushed this school back in its capital plan. We will continue to advocate that it be moved back to its position of being the next school in the plan.

  • I joined members Jung and Walsh on CB-55, which requires the County Executive to provide a fiscal analysis for any legislation it requests that the Council consider. This is common practice at the Federal and State level, and will hopefully lead Administrations to determine and consider the fiscal impact of any new policies or efforts before asking the Council to consider such requests.

  • The Council also approved the construction of the Howard County Arts Center, which will be located in the arts district of Downtown Columbia adjacent to Merriweather and the Chrysalis/Symphony Woods. I have long supported this project but did not approve it as part of the 2021 capital budget as requested last year. I was concerned that the structure presented placed too much cost and financial risk on the county instead of it being supported primarily through the funding source already in place for amenity projects in the Downtown Columbia redevelopment zone. We worked throughout the summer and fall to restructure the project and I voted to approve it in January. I believe this arts center will dramatically expand the opportunities for residents to create and enjoy the visual and theatrical arts and serve as a regional attraction bringing visitors into our county.

Please follow our legislative calendar and sign up to testify on bills that are of interest to you. A public hearing is held on every bill, resolution or other legislative action. This is your opportunity to make your views known to all members of the Council. It is critical that we hear from the public, so please consider testifying on legislation that is of interest to you.
What Should Howard County
Look Like in the Future?
NOW Is Your Chance To Be Heard!
Once each decade, Howard County updates its general plan. This long-range, visionary document guides land use decisions. The HoCo By Design effort will result in a new general plan to reflect shifting demographics, regional growth, and changes to priorities and community goals.

For more information about the process and who to contact, visit the HoCo By Design web page. You can also follow on the HoCo By Design Facebook page for up to date announcements.

The Howard County Planning Board
will hold a public hearing on new and substantially modified capital projects that have been requested by County agencies to be included in the County Executive’s proposed FY2022 Capital Budget and Capital Improvement Program.

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2021, at 7:00 PM and will be held virtually through Webex. Additional information regarding this meeting can be found online at this link.

Individuals wishing to testify at the hearing must register in advance, no later than 7:00pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. If you have specific questions regarding this information, please contact the Department of Planning and Zoning at 410-313-2350.
Consolidated Transportation Program

Howard County updates the list of transportation priorities for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)'s Consolidated Transportation Program annually. The list, also known as the Priority Letter, is developed based on input from the public, county staff and elected and appointed officials.

The public meeting to solicit feedback will be held on February 17 at 6 PM. A link to the registration page can be found here.
Please be sure to check the link to the full calendar for any date or time changes that may be necessary due to scheduling during the continued stay at home order.



Get To Know Your Local Howard County Farms
Howard County is home to farms throughout the county, but particularly in
District 5!

Our farms continue to provide services and hold events throughout the year. Visit Howard County  is a great place for information about highlights and events.

A complete listing of farms can be found at the Farm Connect website.

Looking for information about agriculture in Howard County? Visit the Farm Bureau website for news or to become a member.
Howard County News
New County Council Leadership

Congratulations to our new County Council leadership. Liz Walsh (District 1) will serve as Chair of the council for the 2021 calendar year and Opel Jones (District 2) will serve as Vice-Chair. Christiana Rigby (District 3) and Deb Jung (District4) will serve as Chair and Vice Chair of the Zoning Board. I will remain Chair of the Board of Licensed Commissioners with my new Vice Chair Deb Jung.

A huge thank you to 2020 Council Chair Deb Jung and Zoning Board Chair Opel Jones for their dedication and above and beyond efforts to keep these two bodies operating without delay, especially during the early months of COVID closures. The Council began and finished the budget process in April and May with little time to get a virtual plan in place, and Chair Jung spent dozens of hours onsite running the show. Chair Jones kept two major cases, both of which had already suffered from multiple delays over the past 2-3 years, on track with public hearings being held as scheduled.
Councilmanic Redistricting

Following the census each decade, a group of appointed residents collaborate to recommend appropriate councilmanic redistricting efforts. Named to the 2021 committee are David Marker, Everlene Cunningham, McNeal Brown, Mahesh S. Kukata, Chris Oxenham, Ray Serrano, and Donna Hill Staton to the Councilmanic Redistricting Commission. Donna Hill Staton will serve as the Chairperson.
For the 24th year in a row, the County received the highest possible credit rating, AAA, from all three bond rating agencies - Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s. Among more than 3,100 counties in the nation, Howard is one of 49 counties to receive a AAA rating from all three agencies. Read more here.
Upcoming Pre-Submission Community Meetings:

Project: Holy Korean Martyrs Catholic Church
Proposed Request: Conditional use for a Church
Proposed Location: 1740 Route 32
Meeting Information: February 22, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Location: Zoom Link

click here to read more => District 5 Development Web Page
Business and Personal Resources
Resources for Howard County Residents

For updates on Howard County guidelines, vaccination updates, and other resources, visit our  COVID-19 Dashboard .
Business and
Restaurant Relief

Funding continues to be made available to our local business owners and restauranteurs. Check the HCEDA website for updates.

HCC Awarded Prestigious Grant from U.S. EDA

Congratulations to Howard Community College (HCC) for being awarded grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) in its recent STEM Talent Challenge. HCC is one of seven awardees, and the only community college in the country to be selected! Read more in the press release.
Did you know that Neighbor Ride is offering FREE RIDES for Seniors (60+) to get COVID 19 vaccinations? For more information or to schedule a ride click here.


The Snow Plow
Tracker Is Back!
Howard County is responsible for snow removal from approximately 3,602 roads, encompassing about 1,036 centerline miles of roadway, 2,336 cul-de-sacs and 395 T-intersections or dead end roads. It can take up to 18 hours from the last snow to fully clear these roads, and collector roads take priority over non-through streets. Also note that many roadways are State and are cleared by SHA according to its schedule.

To follow the Howard County Snow Plow Tracker is, check out this link.
Councilman Yungmann | dyungmann@howardcountymd.gov 
410.313.2001 | Website