June 11, 2019
Media Contacts:
Scott L. Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
Amy Gowan, Deputy Director, Department of Planning and Zoning, 410-313-2350

ELLICOTT CITY – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the next update to the county’s General Plan. Ball has asked the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) to accelerate the scheduled update so that it can help guide future changes to the land development regulations.

The General Plan is the comprehensive long-range plan for all of Howard County. It guides decisions related to development, land preservation, changing demographic and employment trends, environmental sustainability, capital projects, county services and other key land use issues. Howard County's General Plan is required by the Howard County Code, and has been revised approximately every 10 years (1960, 1971, 1982, 1990, 2000, 2012). The most current, PlanHoward 2030, was adopted in 2013 and established policies over a two-decade period. This new General Plan will update PlanHoward 2030.

The decision to update the General Plan came in response to a comprehensive assessment of the county’s zoning and subdivision regulations, with the goal of making them more user-friendly, internally consistent, streamlined and better aligned with overall planning goals. During that process, DPZ held more than 50 public meetings and received more than 700 comments from residents. However, many of the comments addressed broader policy issues that are addressed by the General Plan, such as concerns about the quality and character of development, neighborhood infill projects, the adequacy of public infrastructure and environmental protection. 

“Since I’ve taken office and throughout our transition process, there has been a consistent call for a thoughtfully created plan that ensures the continued prosperity of Howard County,” said Ball. “Our General Plan process will chart a path toward the creation of land development regulations that are clear, effective and that balance the interests of all stakeholders.”

The plan update will be a multi-year process, beginning with development of planning guidelines in the fall of 2019, followed by a project kick off in early 2020. The county will seek a consulting firm(s) to assist with developing the new plan.  A preliminary timeline projects the completion of the General Plan in 2021. 

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The update will include numerous opportunities for the community to become involved, beginning with the development of plan guidelines. A community engagement plan will be developed at the outset and will use a broad range of approaches to notify stakeholders about ways they can become involved so that all voices are heard.
Information and project updates about the General Plan are available online at www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Planning-and-Zoning/GENERALPLANUPDATE.

For questions or more information about the General Plan update, contact Amy Gowan, Deputy Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning, at 410-313-2350 or email [email protected].

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