Officials preparing for potential localized flooding from Hurricane Florence

Hurricane FlorenceAlthough the current projected track of Hurricane Florence would appear to take the storm south of the Baltimore area, County Executive Don Mohler and his top public safety and public health team gathered at Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Rescue and Marine this morning to advise residents to stay alert to possible changes and prepare in case of localized coastal and inland flooding or power outages from downed trees.

The storm is expected to stall and produce heavy rains, which could lead to some inland and coastal flooding throughout the south and possibly in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“The Memorial Day weekend flooding in Catonsville, Ellicott City, Oella and Turner Station was an unwelcome reminder of our vulnerability, and that it doesn’t take a direct hit from a hurricane to ruin homes and businesses and cause prolonged power outages and possible loss of life,” Mohler said.

Mohler reminded residents to monitor Baltimore County’s social media channels for storm-related updates.

“Providing accurate, timely information to our citizens during an emergency is a top priority for us,” he said. “During storms and other emergencies, we push out frequent updates via Twitter and on our Baltimore County Fire Department Facebook page.”

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Baltimore County emergency managers will continue to receive regular updates throughout this weather event and will provide updates on social media as needed.

“Living in eastern Baltimore County and along the waterfront myself, I am particularly grateful to all of our career and volunteer fire service, police officers and public works staff who stand ready to jump into action if necessary to protect people if this storm should cause problems,” said Councilwoman Cathy Bevins.

Fire and Public Works Crews are Prepared and Ready to Respond

The Baltimore County Fire Department and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will continue to monitor the storm and will be prepared to respond if needed.

The Baltimore County Department of Public Works (DPW) has placed special emphasis this week on checking their equipment and clearing storm drain inlets to help reduce flooding potential. DPW warns that the saturated ground from recent rainy weather means that trees can be vulnerable to toppling from lighter winds than usual. County tree crews and contractors are ready to clear trees that may fall into roadways and the public right of way.

DPW asks residents to help by reporting any problems that may occur including blocked inlets and downed trees to the Bureau of Highways using the BaltCoGo mobile app. The app is offered free of charge to Android and iPhone users and may be downloaded from their respective app stores. Residents may also call the Bureau of Highways at 410-887-3560.

Foul smell in White Marsh draws questions from local community

Honeygo Reclamation CenterUPDATE: Councilwoman Cathy Bevins has responded, saying that, based on a county investigation, it was determined the source of odor was leaching at the Honeygo Reclamation Center, which may have been caused by recent heavy rains.

In response, Honeygo Reclamation Center has added a liquid chemical compound (Sodium Permanganate) to address the odor. After the initial application and a brief period to allow the liquid to disperse, operations at the HRC will continue.

The Department of Public Works is in close contact with the private owner of this landfill and will stay on top of the matter until it is resolved.

Original story below…

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What’s that smell?

That’s what many residents in the White Marsh area have been asking lately.

Last week, the White Marsh-Cowenton Community Association posted to Facebook asking citizens if they noticed the smell and asked if they were suffering any ill effects such as headache, nausea, etc.

After many local residents replied that they had, in fact, noticed the odor – which seemed to be emanating from the Honeygo Reclamation Center – the WMCCA reached out to local officials expressing concerns about the “rotten egg smell,” which they suspect may be due to excess levels of hydrogen sulfide, a substance found at many landfill sites.

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County Executive Don Mohler and Councilwoman Cathy Bevins have asked the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability to investigate in order to ensure that there are no public health impacts.

Councilman David Marks has stated that his office is investigating as well.

A copy of the letter sent by Heather Patti of the WMCCA to County Executive Don Mohler’s office can be found below.

Mohler Honeygo Letter 1

Mohler Honeygo Letter 2

State designates Essex as Maryland Sustainable Community

Maryland Sustainable CommunitiesEssex is now qualified to apply for State funding for projects leading to increased economic, transportation and housing choices, and environmental improvements.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded Essex the designation of Maryland Sustainable Community, based on an application submitted in April by the Baltimore County Department of Planning, the Eastern Baltimore County Task Force, and the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce.

“We are pleased that the State has recognized the tremendous potential in the Essex community and the Eastern Boulevard business corridor,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler. “The County’s Department of Planning has worked with each community to help identify unique opportunities for enhancing the health, housing, small business climate, and quality of life in these areas.”

Working in collaboration with the Eastern Baltimore County Task Force and the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce, the Baltimore County Department of Planning identified Essex as an area in need of revitalization and developed a comprehensive strategy to encourage and guide local investment. The newly designated Sustainable Community now will refine these strategies and submit applications to the State requesting funding for specific projects.

“I want to thank the Eastern Baltimore County Task Force, a Chamber committee, for the outstanding work they already have done to organize, plan and implement improvements to this area,” said Chesapeake Gateway Chamber President Jaime Alvarez. “The Task Force consists of outstanding business people who live and work in this community and are committed to making a difference.”

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Cliff O’Connell of Cliff’s Hi-Tech Body Shop commented about how well Baltimore County’s Department of Planning and the Maryland DHCD worked together and with the Task Force to maneuver through the application process. Sam Weaver of Weaver’s Marine Service added, “We want to thank the professionals in both departments for their guidance and help. This designation will make a big difference as we work toward revitalizing the Essex business district.” O’Connell and Weaver serve as Co-Chairmen of the Eastern Baltimore County Task Force.

The Maryland Sustainable Community program focuses on partnerships to support revitalization and reinvestment in older communities. The Sustainable Community designation, which lasts five years, opens eligibility for state programs and resources, such as Neighborhood BusinessWorks, Community Legacy, and the Strategic Demolition Fund.

“This is excellent news and now is an ideal time to focus on the Essex area and provide revitalization efforts that will benefit the area as a whole,” said 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell.

“Essex is perfectly positioned for strategic reinvestment that will help maximize the area’s wonderful amenities like prime water access, great communities and wonderful schools and parks,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins.

The Essex Sustainable Community Area includes approximately 4,233 acres, including a mix of residential communities and the Eastern Boulevard Commercial Corridor extending from the Back River Bridge to just over the Middle River Bridge abutting the Lockheed Martin property. The boundaries of the area were determined using the 2010 Census Tracts combined with various County overlays including the Essex Commercial Revitalization District and the Essex Design Review Panel area.

These areas have been specifically targeted for revitalization efforts. Recently there have been major investments on the east side of the County including Tradepoint Atlantic and Baltimore Crossroads. These projects, although still under construction, are adding major investment, infrastructure and jobs to the area. The Essex Sustainable Community area lies between both of these key projects.

Mohler refuses to endorse limiting bus service in wake of White Marsh brawl

MTA Maryland BusUPDATE: Councilman David Marks has responded to County Executive Mohler’s remarks.

“The mall closes at 9 p.m. Our proposal is to increase the number of buses until 11 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays, so that employees and patrons can immediately reach their destinations. This change, combined with better security and a youth escort policy, would greatly improve conditions at White Marsh Mall,” said Councilman Marks.

“There are people of all backgrounds who work and patronize the mall. They deserve safe conditions. Perhaps some of our critics can start offering solutions instead of just rhetoric.​”

Original story below…

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On Friday, Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler issued a statement responding to requests from local officials to limit bus service between Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

“I will inform the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) that I do not support any effort to limit bus service from Baltimore City to the County,” Mohler said. “While I understand the frustration that was caused by a recent disruption at White Marsh Mall, stigmatizing and creating hardship for city residents is not an acceptable response. It is 2018. Not 1950. We are neighbors with Baltimore City and stand with them.”

A disturbance at the mall last Saturday night spilled over to The Avenue at White Marsh and required a response from more than 30 police officers.

In all, seven juveniles and two adults were arrested.

Michael Jerard Forrester, 19, of the 100-block of North Freemont Avenue (21201), has been charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and trespassing. He was released on a $1,000 bond.

Tyrell Davon Rigby, 19, of the 2600-block of Mura Street (21213), has been charged with disorderly conduct, failing to obey a reasonable & lawful order, obstructing & hindering, and trespassing. He was released on his own recognizance.

Michael Forrester Tyrell RigbyCouncilman David Marks, who represents the Fifth District, and Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, who represents the Sixth District (which includes White Marsh), urged the MTA to consider reducing bus service to White Marsh Mall in response to the incident.

“There are many employees who use MTA service to get to White Marsh Mall,” said Councilman Marks. “We should respect that, but restructure service so there are not large crowds hanging around hours after the mall closes.”

In a letter to MTA Administrator Kevin B. Quinn Jr., the two council members wrote that “large crowds of youth in the evening on weekends” have “become a safety concern.”

“The youth have been disruptive, hard to control and they pose a safety risk to themselves crossing the road,” Bevins and Marks wrote.

On Friday, Mohler indicated that he would not support such an initiative.

“We cannot and should not put a moat around our city partners,” Mohler said. “We must continue to work together on complex issues for the good of the Baltimore region.”

Middle River property owner fined $74K for junk removal

FinedCouncilwoman Cathy Bevins announced on Tuesday that Baltimore County had billed the owner of the Federal Depot, located at 2800 Eastern Boulevard in Middle River, $74,089.53 for the costs associated with removing junk, trash, and debris from the property including piles of disposed tires and boats.

“The owner of the Depot must be held accountable for allowing this property to fall into a state of derelict,” said Councilwoman Bevins. “After hearing from community groups and residents about the poor state of the Depot, I took action to clean it up by initiating a code enforcement complaint against the property.”

Councilwoman Bevins’ office initiated a code complaint last summer for the removal of the disposed tires and boats. The Baltimore County Office of Code Enforcement issued a citation and a $6,000 fine.

A Hearing was held on September 20, 2017 where Managing Administrative Law Judge Lawrence Stahl upheld the $6,000 fine but suspended $5,250.

Judge Stahl also gave the owner 60 days to remove the tires and debris. After the owner failed to comply with that order the $5,250 suspended fine was re-imposed on the property.