Tuesday, February 21, 2017

BizWeekly 2/14/2017

February 14, 2017

Posted in: Latest News

New Vision for Columbia Gateway Announced
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced his vision to turn Columbia Gateway Business Park, Howard County’s largest business center, into an innovation district. Under the plan, the park would be turned into a district where companies work with anchor educational intuitions and startups to collaborate on new technologies and services. Creative connections would be fostered with more compact, wired and transit-rich development patterns.
The development of the plan will be driven by property owners and businesses in Gateway and coordinated by the Howard County Economic Development Authority. For the near term, the plan will include community-based programing, such as food trucks, local produce sales, running and cycling races, happy hours and outdoor events to help create connections between the employees in the office park; longer term, new land uses, infrastructure and transportation improvements also would be incorporated.
“Building upon the tremendous success of Downtown Columbia, we need to continue to be aggressive in the way we plan to meet the demands of tomorrow’s economy. We now have a unique opportunity to work closely with stakeholders to create a new framework to drive innovation and economic development in Howard County,” said Kittleman. “Many of the pieces necessary to help elevate Columbia Gateway into becoming a hub of innovation for our region are already here.”
“We know that in order for there to be a healthy innovation environment you have to create connections and community,” said Lawrence Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. “One of our first goals will be to engage the people and businesses already here. People need to interact, get to know their neighbors and build connections. The more relationships we have here the better the opportunities for growth.”
Located at the intersection of I-95 and Route 175, Columbia Gateway is home to more than 400 businesses, employing approximately 26,000 people. The park, combined with neighboring Gateway Commerce Center, spans 920 acres with a total of 8.1 million square feet of commercial space. Gateway already has several large employers, including Oracle, Merkle, Tenable and Liedos, and several education and research entities also have facilities in the community, including USRA, Howard Community College and Johns Hopkins, and the recently expanded UMBC Training Center.
Kittleman Announces Comprehensive Assessment of Development Regs
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced the beginning of a comprehensive review of the county’s development regulations. A national leader in zoning practices, Clarion Associates, of Denver, will spend the next year conducting Phase 1 of an effort to rewrite and modernize development regulations. The first phase includes public input sessions and technical analysis to evaluate the zoning code, as well as regulations, policies and manuals related to land development.

“We know that our development regulations require significant updates. Our land use challenges have evolved, but regulations have not been updated,” said Kittleman. “This will be the most comprehensive review in years and will require significant participation from all stakeholders – including county government, residents, businesses and property owners. As Columbia turns 50 and we look at redevelopment projects around Howard County, this review will be critical in helping us address the environmental, transportation and other questions we must address.”

The public engagement process will involve a number of forums and stakeholder interviews, as well as surveys and other opportunities for community input, to hear from residents what is working and what needs to be improved. Input received through this process will be combined with Clarion’s technical analysis to identify options for revisions in the subsequent drafting phase.

“Clarion is looking forward to the challenge of assessing Howard County’s zoning and land use regulations and working together on regulations that are user-friendly and produce predictable results for the citizens of Howard County,” said Don Elliot, director at Clarion. “The diversity of places in the county – from Columbia, to historic Ellicott City, to the busy transportation corridors and the rural west – will require innovative and tailored solutions guided by lots of stakeholder and citizen input.”
Another New Annual Passenger Record for BWI Marshall
A record number of passengers – 25,122,651 – flew through BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in 2016, setting a new, all-time record for annual passenger traffic at the airport. The previous record for annual passenger traffic was 23,823,532 passengers, which was set in 2015.
In addition to setting a cumulative record for 2016, BWI Marshall also set new monthly records for each month during calendar year 2016; the airport has now broken monthly passenger records for the past 18 consecutive months. International passenger traffic reached 1,233,466 passengers in 2016, also a new record, and 2016 was the second straight year with more than 1 million international passengers.
A Hybrid Certified Nursing Assistant Course Charts New Territory at HCC
Howard Community College (HCC) plans to offer Maryland’s first hybrid Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course in the spring of 2017. The new blended CNA course, which prepares students to provide a variety of crucial services, from taking vital signs to monitoring patient treatment plans, leverages the most effective elements of online learning and face-to-face teaching. It also benefits from the success of HCC’s first hybrid noncredit health offering, the Advanced Patient Care Technician course.
Jennifer Bukowitz Keller, the director of HCC’s Continuing Education Nursing and Allied Health Program, believes many students will use the CNA course as a launch pad to other health careers. “Our students learn so much from working. Their experience as certified nursing assistants helps prepare them to study in a variety of health care fields,” she said.
T-Mobile Wins Merkle’s Fourth Annual Digital Bowl Report
Columbia-based Merkle released its fourth annual Digital Bowl Report, evaluating Super Bowl advertisers’ digital marketing efforts. This year, T-Mobile and Avocados from Mexico took first and second place, respectively. The Digital Bowl Report presents a quantitative look at how brands leveraged social media, SEO, paid search, digital media advertising and email marketing to support their Super Bowl investments. T-Mobile took home the 2017 Merkle Digital Bowl crown by its show of strength across all focus areas, and particularly excelling in the areas of social media, display and paid social advertising.
On social media, T-Mobile was active across Facebook and Twitter throughout the night, engaging users in two different languages. It was the only brand to request user-generated content during the game, and users responded with homemade dance videos in real time. In digital media, T-Mobile had a strong presence on YouTube with both in-stream and discovery ads. Complementing its video creative were targeted banner ads, and it spread messaging across major social networks with sponsored posts featuring major celebrities. T-Mobile also fared well in paid search, tying for second with five other brands.
A-SAFE Opens in Elkridge
Polymer safety barrier manufacturer A-SAFE Inc. officially unveiled its new 30,000-square-foot distribution center at 6635 Business Parkway in Elkridge. The British company fabricates flexible, polyolefin barriers that dissipate and absorb impacts better than more rigid steel alternatives. Distribution and industrial facilities rely on these barricades to protect workers from vehicles and hardware without damaging their equipment and buildings.
A-SAFE has successfully introduced the plastic barriers in Europe and is now looking to expand its operations into the United States. The company opened its first American distribution center in 2013, before relocating to Howard County in April 2016.
Howard Planning Board to Review APFO Recommendations
Howard County’s Planning Board will discuss proposed recommendations to modify the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) this Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7:15 p.m., in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive in Ellicott City. The meeting is open to the public and attendees can provide testimony about the proposed changes.

The Planning Board will consider a staff report completed by the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) evaluating the changes proposed by a task force appointed by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. After 10 months of review, the 23-member task force presented a 24-page report to Kittleman with numerous recommended changes.

Kittleman supports recommendations in DPZ’s staff report and plans to file legislation to make the changes. He has asked the Planning Board to review them and to provide another opportunity for public engagement.
According to DPZ Director Valdis Lazdins, “This is a perfect opportunity to review APFO in light of changing conditions in the county and to modify those regulations that are no longer appropriate or that need fine-tuning.”
The APFO Review Task Force passed 18 motions by a two-thirds majority. Notable recommendations include the following.

● Require a regular review of APFO
● Exempt MIHUs from the allocations test
● Alter allocation amounts
● Eliminate option to share allocations
● Alter school capacity levels and school facilities surcharge rates
● Impose a developer wait-time limit
● Rename Open/Closed chart for public schools
To review the DPZ staff report and related materials, go to www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Planning-and-Zoning/Boards-and-Commissions/Planning-Board .

HCCC Set for State of the County
The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) will present the State of the County Address, featuring County Executive Allan Kittleman, on Thursday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at Turf Valley Resort, in Ellicott City. The cost for members (in advance) is $65; non-members, $90. Register at www.howardchamber.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=875.
Nominations Open for NAMI Board
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maryland Annual Meeting will be held on June 11, at a time and location to be determined. The organization also is seeking nominations for candidates to serve on its board of directors, starting that month. As per the NAMI Maryland’s bylaws, candidates may be nominated by an individual member or by an affiliate.
Member Responsibilities and Expectations can be found at www.namimd.org/uploaded_files/636/Board_Member_Expectations_2017.pdf. As per the bylaws, all nominations must be received at least 90 days prior to the Annual Meeting. The deadline for the submission of nominations is March 11.
Arundel Mills Celebrates the Military With Discounts
Arundel Mill has invited the Armed Forces community to experience its ongoing Military Appreciation discounts, currently available for military families and active members who show a valid I.D. As an added convenience for military shoppers, brands and eateries will display a sign in their windows indicating participation.
Shoppers are encouraged to show a valid Military ID upon purchase at any of the 85 participating retailers, including Banana Republic Factory Store, Bass Pro Shops, Cole Haan, Helzberg Diamonds and Nike Factory Outlet, to receive extra discounts atop the already reduced prices. Visitors may also access the Military Appreciation discounts at select restaurants throughout the center, including Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dave & Buster’s and Nando’s Peri Peri. For a complete list, visit www.simon.com/arundelmills.
Montevideo Road Relocation Project to Begin
A Howard County construction project to align Montevideo Road and Port Capital Drive, in Elkridge, is in its early stages. Additions will include new roadway and traffic signals, water and sewer connections, storm drains and a storm water management pond. Relocations of overhead wires by BGE, Level 3 Communications, Comcast and Verizon will take place. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by late September.
Signs and flagging operations will be in place to direct traffic as needed during construction hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the occasional weekday night work. Lane shifts are expected during construction hours. For questions or concerns about Capital Project J-4206-1A, contact Lisa Brightwell, Public Works Customer Service, at 410-313-3440 or email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.
From MarylandReporter.com …
House set to approve broad new powers for attorney general: On the agenda for the Maryland House of Delegates are House and Senate resolutions that will give Attorney General Brian Frosh sole discretion to sue the Trump administration to protect the “state’s interest, as well as the health and welfare of Maryland residents.” The House Rules Committee last Friday afternoon voted to report favorably on both resolutions. The Maryland Defense Act of 2017, SJ5, passed the Senate 29-17 Friday morning, after a brief but contentious fight by Senate Republicans to delay the measure. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2017/02/12/house-set-to-approve-broad-new-powers-for-attorney-general

MarylandReporter.com is a news site for government and politics in Maryland that is published and edited by Len Lazarick. For more information or to sign up for the daily e-news, visit www.marylandreporter.com .

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