On September 11 and September 18, there were two legislative hearings on CB-60 (Industrial Mulching) and CB-61 & -62 (APFO). These three bills resulted in three public hearings to accommodate public interest and testimony.
At the September hearings, opponents of the proposed APFO (Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) bills (61 & 62) included parents, Board of Education members, and hospital staff. Proponents of the bills included local developers. Those in favor of Industrial Mulching (CB-60) included farmers and farm bureau members and those opposed included farmers and residents of Western Howard County.
You can watch testimony here: http://cc.howardcountymd
The video is indexed so you can look up specific individual's testimony.
After the hearings, the Council held a work session on September 25 to discuss the details of the three bills. That session is also viewable online. The council was criticized by citizen advocates for giving too much attention to developers as "expert witnesess" and the county administration was criticized for presenting flawed data about development and its impact on schools. Here are some highlights from the work session:
* APFO/emergency services, President of Howard County Hospital, Mr. Snelgrove, discussed increased pressure on hospital facilities due to the closure of the Laurel Hospital, a rate of growth, high birth rates, an aging population, and the Opioid epidemic.
*APFO/road safety, Dr. Lei Zhang, concerned citizen, spoke about the need for traffic mitigation system and the need for the county to do its own traffic studies not rely on the developers' studies.
* APFO, County administration's presentation on school capacity
Since the work session, there have been 11 amendments added to CB-60 (Industrical Mulching); these amendments address some of the health and safety concerns but opponents of the bill feel that the only true control is to eliminate the allowance of retail/commercial sale of mulching, which would in turn imit the size of the facilities and the resulting health and safety issues. You can read the amendments here: https://apps.howardcount
by China Williams, Candidate, County Council District 5