Howard County Council, Main Street Businesses Wrestle With Proposed Ellicott City Flood Plan

Baltimore Sun article (2018-09-28) explored the dilemmas posed to Ellicott City businesses and the Howard County government as the County Council prepares to vote on funding for a five-year flood control plan. The plan was developed after two historic floods that caused millions of dollars in property damage to the City’s Main Street and several deaths. From the article:

On Monday, the Howard County Council is scheduled to vote on a bill that would allocate nearly $17 million toward a five-year flood control plan. The bills represent part of a larger $50 million package — advocated by County Executive Allan Kittleman and Ellicott City’s representative on the council, Jon Weinstein — that would implement a massive flood mitigation effort.

The package includes culvert projects, expansion of a channel for the Tiber River, creation of new open space along the Patuxent and the controversial proposal to purchase and raze 19 buildings, including 10 in the historic district. Officials say removing buildings would create an open space to deepen and expand the channel to slow floodwaters.

The article presented the viewpoints of several Main Street business owners on the County’s proposed flood control plans as well as the their personal decisions about whether to reopen or close up shop. Concerns included whether the flood control plan is sufficient to mitigate potentially catastrophic flooding and whether a current development moratorium for surrounding areas will be maintained in the future.

The article also discussed reactions to the most controversial part of the flood control plan – the demolition of 19 buildings. As previously reported on Conduit Street, historic preservation group Preservation Maryland expressed strong opposition to the demolition, citing the results of a Mason-Dixon poll that found 74 percent of the residents would prefer a flood control plan that did not raze the buildings. Kittleman and Weinstein responded that the decision to demolish the buildings was based on engineering studies, running numerous “what if” scenarios, and public safety considerations.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Ellicott City flooding