ELLICOTT CITY, MD – The Howard County Planning Board unanimously approved HoCo By Design, the County’s general plan update and Route 1 Corridor Plan. The Board has now prepared a recommendation to the County Council for adoption. The vote follows a thorough three-year process which yielded extensive community input and data analysis.
HoCo By Design is a long-range plan that informs the County’s decisions on land use, growth, development, and conservation over the next twenty years. Its recommendations provide guidance for the County’s capital budget, zoning, and land development regulations, as well as future County planning efforts.
Our HoCo By Design plan is the product of a comprehensive public engagement strategy that engaged a broad spectrum of our community, including historically under-represented populations. To inform this transformational plan, the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) conducted historic community engagement with nearly 100 community meetings and received more than 12,000 comments from participants across our county. HoCo By Design also identifies numerous policies that will advance a more equitable and inclusive future for all County residents.
At the March 9th Planning Board public hearing, DPZ provided an overview of HoCo By Design and highlighted the plan’s central goals: protecting the natural environment, strengthening economic opportunities, expanding transportation options, promoting diverse housing choices, preserving community character, and balancing growth and conservation in the County.
I want to commend the Planning Board for its commitment to ensuring the next General Plan provides sound guidance for the County’s land use decisions over the next decade. The Board provided a thoughtful and well-informed recommendation of approval. This newest milestone continues to reflect the inclusive nature of the entire process.
During the public hearing, the Planning Board complimented the thoroughness of the plan and the process. Many Board members recognized the importance of continued residential growth that complements the County’s neighborhood character and offers affordable housing options. As the general plan offers aspirational goals, they noted that many policies are intended to be implemented through other processes, such as the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) task force and other planning efforts.
“The presentation of the plan was very thorough and everything that was possible to be addressed, was,” said Planning Board Vice Chair Kevin McAliley. “Of particular importance is the people who work here and can’t live here—we need to be able to house them.”
Following the Planning Board recommendation, the Council will hold multiple work sessions on HoCo By Design, beginning this spring, before voting on the plan in the fall of 2023. Find more information on the County Council’s calendar here.
For more information about HoCo By Design, visit www.hocobydesign.com.