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This article originally appeared here in the Howard County Times on Sept 18th.

Sixty-six people testified during a marathon Howard County Council legislative hearing Monday night on plans to mitigate flooding in historic Ellicott City.

The council is considering three bills needed for a five-year flood control plan that would raze 19 buildings to expand a channel for the Tiber River and replace them with open space.

The $50 million plan to demolish the structures requires approval from the county’s Historic Preservation Commission, a majority vote by the council and approval from the county executive.

The county has been studying ways to prevent or reduce flooding in the historic mill town for years, including stormwater retention systems and pipes, and some leaders had been reluctant to discuss tearing down buildings until a fast-moving Memorial Day weekend flood caused millions of dollars in damage to shops, roads and utilities.