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Statement from Executive Kittleman on affordable housing and TIF legislation for Downtown Columbia

July 15, 2016

Media Contact:
Deidre McCabe, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – I appreciate the many residents who came out Thursday night to the County Council’s public hearing to testify regarding the Downtown Columbia affordable housing and financing plans. Our policies and initiatives are always made stronger through input by our residents and stakeholders.

The package of eight bills introduced by the Council for consideration on July 8 represents a comprehensive, collaborative plan fully supported by the Howard County Housing Commission and Downtown Columbia Housing Corporation.  The lengthy deliberation and negotiation process in which the County and its partners engaged has included many public meetings, work sessions and hearings.  After pre-filing the bills in late June, I requested that the Council extend the time for public review and comment until early October to ensure that all residents who wanted to testify had ample time.

Prior to the Downtown Columbia Plan being passed by the County Council in 2010, the County also sponsored public hearings and day-long charrettes to gather public sentiment on developing Columbia’s downtown. We acknowledge the complexity of such a plan and its accompanying financing package (TIF) to build critical infrastructure – we are developing an urban center including many projects. It is to be expected that the complexity of such a large scale project could result in misconceptions, misunderstandings and misinformation being circulated to the public.

We will continue to answer your questions and seek input on the plan over the coming months. Please submit any questions or concerns you have to akittleman@howardcountymd.gov so we can answer these questions for you. You also can visit our website at https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Branches/County-Executive/Downtown-Columbia-Legislative-Package to review the bills, FAQs and other information about the legislative package.

The County Council will hold a second public hearing on July 18 at 6 p.m. and second work session on the bills July 25 starting at 8:30 a.m. at the George Howard Building. These sessions will be televised on GTV, the County’s cable channel, and live-streamed on the Council’s website. We will schedule additional informational sessions for the public as needed, and the Council intends to schedule another public hearing in September as well.

Like you, I want what is best for the residents of Howard County. A thriving, vibrant Downtown Columbia, where residents of all backgrounds and income levels can live, work and recreate, has been a priority for decades. We are poised to make real progress in making this plan a reality.   

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