Howard County councilman proposes legislation to halt development in Ellicott City

After the devastating flooding in Ellicott City last month, the focus has turned to recovery. A Howard County council member said the way to make that happen is to stop development.

Much of the area in downtown Ellicott City is still blocked off with some parts expected to reopen Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a new proposal to get the city back on its feet is getting a lot of support and some pushback online. Howard County Councilman Jon Weinstein is hoping to get legislation passed to prohibit all building permits in the Tiber Branch Watershed in order to focus on rebuilding. It's called the Tiber Branch Watershed Safety Act.

"The intent is to have a pause of 12 months - step back," Weinstein said. "Not only review the data that we collected and analysis that we did last time and apply it to this storm, [but] also to look at existing developments in the watershed to see what, if anything, can be done in those areas."

He tried to push the same legislation forward in 2016, but it did not pass. The latest incident in May marks the second time in 22 months that Ellicott City has flooded. Weinstein said this is now a public safety issue.

FOX 5 asked Weinstein about how he has addressed the issue with developers and contractors who have contributed to his campaign and whether that will present obstacles for his legislation. In March 2017, Rylan Conner Consolidated donated $1,000 to Weinstein.

However, Weinstein said developers are not his focus.

"I didn't consult with developers before I came up with this idea," he said. "I didn't do that last time nor did I do it this time. This is just the right thing to do and that's why I'm moving forward with it."

We stopped by the address listed for Rylan Conner Consolidated to get their take on Weinstein's proposed legislation, but we found an abandoned house and a mailing address in Sarasota, Florida.

On Facebook, some have questioned these efforts to stop all building projects - calling it political lip service.

"There are a lot of folks who are making a big deal of this in a negative way," Weinstein said. "In my opinion, that's primarily driven by politics. There is an election going on right now. Many of them don't live in this area. They live in other parts of Howard County."

Weinstein's bill will be voted on July 27.