Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced Planning Advisory Committee members to HoCo By Design, the county’s general plan.
These members will support the county’s outreach efforts to not only engage the public in the planning process, but also share ideas based on members’ experiences, geographic regions they represent and subject matter expertise. Many have experience in various land use planning issues, such as, agriculture, transportation, housing, historic preservation, environmental conservation and land development and others are community leaders.
Howard County has seen many trends during the past 10 years that will be considered during the planning process, including:
- Historically Rapid Growth Now Beginning to Slow: The county has had an average annual population growth rate of 1.4 percent since 2010, the greatest of all jurisdictions in Maryland. However, in the past three years, the growth rate has slowed in Howard County to 1.2 percent while some other counties have experienced more significant population gains.
- Population is Becoming More Diverse: The county has become more racially and ethnically diverse with almost one-quarter of its families speaking a language other than English at home.
- Strong Job Growth in Professional, Business, Education and Health Services Employment Sectors: Jobs in these employment sectors have contributed to more than 55 percent of the county’s job growth since 2010.
- Population is Aging: While the number of residents between the ages of 35 and 54 remained constant, the number of residents aged 20 to 34 increased by 16 percent, and those aged 55 to 74 increased by 45 percent.
- Continuing Climate Concerns: Larger and more intense storms are creating the need for improved stormwater infrastructure planning.
While population and jobs continue to grow and change, the amount of undeveloped land is becoming more scarce. As of September 2019, the county estimates that out of its 160,640 acres of land, only 8.6 percent of it remains undeveloped; this includes Greenfield and infill development opportunities. These land constraints have and will continue to cause affordability issues for all the county’s businesses and residents if not comprehensively addressed. According to U.S. Census American Community Survey data (2014-18), the median home value in Howard County is $448,000, the second highest in the State and the median gross rent is $1,690. High housing costs create barriers for many to live here, including young families and seniors living on a fixed income.
Upcoming HoCo By Design Meetings and Activities
1. Bring Your Own Questions: These meetings are an opportunity to meet the consultants, hear project updates, and offer input for HoCo By Design. Sign up by clicking on the link below to virtually attend one of the meetings.
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Register here for either day: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/ZkqgGoC/HCBDLiveSessionAFTERNOON
Both meetings will be live streamed and recorded. Additional information will be posted closer to the meeting dates on www.hocobydesign.com.
2. Planning Advisory Committee Meeting: The first Planning Advisory Committee meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. Committee meetings will be held virtually and live streamed for the public to view.
3. Community Ideas Exchange Workshop: An all-virtual 3-D interactive workshop in which participants will be asked to provide input and elaborate on their ideas for the different planning themes, development choices, design considerations, etc. This workshop will be open for a two-week period. The anticipated launch date is Oct. 26.