Three times in as many years, Howard County authorities have tried to push through a growth management plan. Each has been rejected with varying degrees of vehemence by both growth-control advocates and real-estate developers. The county's latest attempt may be the long-awaited compromise that frees it to move onto other pressing concerns such as economic development and affordable housing.
This latest proposal would bar new construction in areas of Howard where elementary schools are 20 percent or more above capacity and where roads are being used at 90 percent capacity or higher. It also includes a construction tax of up to $2,800 apiece on residential units. The money would flow into a capital improvements pool matched by county dollars.
The Ecker administration's plan isn't perfect. It would still allow construction in areas where roads and schools were near or above capacity. It also doesn't address the problem of overcrowding in middle schools and high schools.