I just finished reading the county's five-year plan for flood mitigation, which was the subject of the County Executive's press conference, along with Councilman Jon Weinstein, last week. If you haven't read it yet, you should. It's here.
I have seen a lot of discussion on social media asking the question: "What do you think about the recommendations of the report? Do you support them?" And then discussion back and forth, which is mostly civil, but punctuated with someone being a doofus at least and hateful at worst. In the end, though, I think all of these discussions are a bit irrelevant. The recommendations are. To the extent that this is the scientifically-based approach the county intends to take, and as the recommendations are at least modeled to provide considerable mitigation, one has no other option than to support the recommendations. The recommendations are the best we can do.
There are some who feel the next Council, and potentially a new Executive, should handle this issue when they take office come December. Well, make no mistake, they will. I believe that any land purchases made between now and then can't be undone, but any other action could be. And it's not like Calvin Ball isn't already on the Council, and should be fully engaged in the execution of these recommendations as it is.
I will also posit this. Please keep in mind that this is a strategy for flood mitigation. Not for flood elimination. I don't know if there is a means by which the spectre of flooding can ever be fully excised from Ellicott City. But my semi-educated guess is that it's going to be highly doubtful at best.
Now, everyone's civic duty and responsibility is to ask questions. Not to back seat drive, but to satisfy curiosity and to find a way to maybe create something better. So here would be my questions:
-- Would there be alternative means of widening the stream channel that would reduce or eliminate the number of buildings to be demolished? What would be the costs involved?
-- Would there be any value in additional stormwater receptacles along Frederick Rd. west of Historic Ellicott City?
-- While this plan doesn't seem specifically drafted to address these questions, what about flood warning systems? Is there a plan to restrict or close Main Street when conditions are conducive to flooding? A warning system for residents and businessowners?
If anyone knows the answers to any of these items, I'm all ears.
Oh, and last-- no, the development genie has already been let out of the bottle. New development in downtown Ellicott City is one thing. But the development that's there has happened and isn't going away.
Let's be careful out there.
#downtownEC #ECstrong #hocopolitics #hocoflooding