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Keyword: cathy bevins

Officials Advise Residents to Plan for Possible Flooding and Power Outages


Although the current track of Hurricane Florence appears to be headed far south of our area, Baltimore 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 watch the 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 @BaltCoemergency and on our Baltimore County Fire Department Facebook page.” 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 6th District County 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 continue monitoring the storm and preparing to respond as needed. These preparations include:

  • Inspecting swiftwater and high-water rescue equipment; pumps and other apparatus.
  • Reviewing staffing and operational plans.
  • Preparing to open and staff the Emergency Operations Center, in case this becomes an emergency requiring a coordinated, multi-agency response.
  • Contacting our mutual aid partners in case we need additional resources.
  • Regular updates with National Weather Service regarding the forecast.

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.

Flooded basement issues can be reported to 911, so they can be evaluated for fire risks on a case by case basis. The County asks homeowners take steps to prevent problems, or reduce their impact, by clearing downspouts and basement stairwells.

Preparation is Key for Residents

Every household should prepare for this and other possible weather emergencies, considering how thay will manage if the power goes out for an extended period. Steps to take now:

  • Locate and purchase supplies. You need non-perishable food, a manual can opener, medications, supplies for infants and vulnerable adults, pet supplies, flashlights/batteries and a battery-powered radio.
  • Buy or store extra water -- at least a gallon per person, per day, plus extra for pets.
  • Fully charge all your electric devices. If power goes out, use them sparingly to make them last as long as possible.
  • Get cash. ATMs will not work during a power outage.
  • Secure boats and outdoor furniture.
  • Plan where you will evacuate if you live in a flood-prone area and need to move to higher ground.
  • Assist vulnerable family and neighbors with storm preparations. This is critical; many vulnerable people, including older people cannot prepare by themselves.
  • Stay informed about the track of this storm. Follow weather forecasts and our social media posts, @BaltCoEmergency on Twitter and @BaltCoFire on Facebook.

Mandatory Registration Now Includes Some Previously Exempted Properties

Baltimore County’s eleven-year-old Rental Registration Program, which protects the safety and quality of life of residential tenants and neighborhoods, is expanding its requirements for which rental homes must be registered with the County by removing certain exemptions.

The purpose of the Rental Registration Program, which is administered by the Department of Permits Approvals and Inspections, is to protect the safety of tenants by requiring inspections and to promote the tranquility of neighborhoods.

This spring, 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins sponsored an amendment to expand the County’s Rental Housing License requirement to include more than 1,600 properties that were previously exempted and must now be registered with the County by September 1, 2018. These include properties not connected to public sewer, and the new law also amends the family member exemption. Beginning September 1, the family exemption only applies to rentals that are solely occupied by a person related as a grandparent, parent, child or grandchild by blood, marriage or adoption or under the legal custody of the owner of the dwelling unit. In addition, these rentals may include one other unrelated adult.

“We are reaching out to landlords to make sure they know that they must register their properties with the County if this change in the law affects them,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler. “We have wonderful neighborhoods all around the County and we work very hard to preserve a positive environment for everyone to enjoy.”

“I have personally seen many unsafe rental units, and it was a real no-brainer to eliminate these exemptions,” said Councilwoman Bevins. “We took this action as one more step to safeguard communities and help ensure fair treatment for people who are renters.”

Complete information about the Rental Registration Program is available on the County website, including the application, inspection sheet and the criteria for exemptions.


Project to Improve Boating Navigation and Safety

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins visited the Bird River waterfront in the Middle River area this morning to announce a dredging project to support recreational boating on the upper Bird River and enhance the County’s waterfront communities.

 “Our waterfront is one of Baltimore County’s best amenities and this project will help homeowners and recreational boaters access the Bird River and benefit from being on the water,” said Kamenetz. “With more than 200 miles of waterfront and 2,000 miles of streams and tributaries in the County, we are committed to protecting our waterways and our Clean Green County initiative is restoring streambanks and shorelines, planting trees, even sweeping streets, all to protect the Bay.”   

The project will dredge sections of Bird River and Railroad Creek in order to improve boating navigation and safety. The upper reaches of Bird River and Railroad Creek have become silted in from sedimentation of the river, resulting in reduced channel depth. Bird River and Railroad Creek were previously dredged in 2002-2003.

“This is a project that everyone is certainly looking forward to, especially at the upper reaches of the river to allow people to get their boats out,” said Bevins.

Project Details

The design and permitting of the Bird River maintenance dredging project will be initiated in FY18 with construction anticipated to begin approximately two years from that date. The project will restore the river channels to the previously permitted design depths, removing an estimated 50,000 cubic yards of material from 25,650 linear feet of the channel.

The estimated cost is $4.5 million, with partial funding provided through grants by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Waterway Improvement Fund. The County will fund 55% of the project cost with the remaining 45% coming from the State grant.

Hydrographic surveys were conducted in 2015 to assess the need for maintenance dredging. The results of the survey indicated that portions of the channel upstream from Stumpf’s Marsh and Railroad Creek have filled in two feet or more than the design depth of the channel. The dredging will remove about 50,000 cubic yards of material from 25,650 linear feet of the channel and place it at the Baltimore County dredge material containment facility adjacent to Bowerman Lane.

Waterfront Residents May Choose to Finance Spur Channels to Restore Boating Access to their Properties

In the upcoming year Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) will conduct a community meeting to discuss the proposed waterway dredging. At that time waterfront property owners may elect to have a spur channel dredged from the County’s main channel to their individual pier or boat ramp at their own expense. EPS will provide assistance with spur design, permitting and construction. Additionally, the County will offer 10-year interest free loans to qualified individuals.

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Revised September 11, 2017