Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What Is At Stake

The Columbia Council elections are coming up in a month.

The next Columbia Council will be called upon to have a major voice with what the plan for downtown Columbia looks like. The Columbia Association is the second largest land owner in downtown. In addition, according to the Columbia Association's website:

The Columbia Association is a non-profit public benefit organization, created to nurture the Columbia vision and to enhance the qualify of life for people living and working here.

The downtown redevelopment will have a huge impact on the qualify of life for people living and working in Columbia and as you will see below in my past posts on the subject, there are many aspects of the plan that are directly at odds with Columbia’s vision.



The Mall to Merriweather Promenade: Part 1
The Mall to Merriweather Promenade: Part 2



Mixed Income Housing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Parking

Why community planning matters.

Martin Luther King Day thoughts on the impact of community planning and whether new developments are contributing or undermining his dream and Rouses vision.

Let's Not Be Florida

Why the Community can set the terms of of redevelopment: Market Forces

Will the county use the Focus Group to help restore public trust?

I guess not yet, but here's hoping they will do it this time.

Transportation Solutions: Or How to Exand Metro to Solve Local Road Congestion and Maximize Ridership


Let's Talk Solutions

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Hayduke said...

So what role do you think CA board members should play in the Town Center debate?

7:54 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

In the candidate packet I got when I filed to run for the Columbia Council the two functions it lists for Columbia Council Representatives are:

"1) Represent his/her village on the Columbia Association Board of Directors.

2) Advocate for Columbia and its citizens on city-wide issues."

Clearly the downtown debate falls within the second function.

3:26 AM  
Blogger Hayduke said...

But, specifically, what should they be doing?

8:16 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

It is very clear that a key part of the job is to be an advocate. That means speaking up about the plan and championing Columbia's values. The board as a whole can even take a position on specific issues in the community. It really is not that hard a concept. Any elected official has this obligation.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Hayduke said...

I agree. It isn't a hard concept. But it is hard in practice.

So what should the board advocate for? A specific vision? A subjective interpretation of "values"? A select group of individuals? Their own personal opinions?

Seems to me a more appopriate role for the board would be to ensure that all citizens have a voice -- regardless of what they may use that voice to say -- and to help build consensus. Actually, the second one is probably most important, considering our current situation.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evan, when you say that the board should champion Columbia's values, aren't you really saying that you want to use this opportunity to champion YOUR values? Not everyone, in fact, I would venture to say a majority, do not support CoFoDoCo's "vision" and are weary of those who think it is the only right course for Town Center.

What will you do to be sure that all voices, including those that disagree with you, Alan, and Liz, will be heard?

9:17 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

I have a blog, where all comments can be heard. I think that you know I have shown a commitment to great an open forum here.

I also plan on having regular listening sessions at the Bagel Bin once a month where anyone who has any issue can stop by and talk.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, here's a voice.

Town Center should be a big part of this election. It will have significant impact on the lives of many people in Columbia's villages, affecting school populations vs. capacity, traffic congestion, commute times, CA and County taxes, and air/water/noise/light/sewage pollution.

And CA's Board controls the fate of considerable open space in Town Center belonging to all members of the Association, which its often being asked by developers to give up a little here, give up a big easement there.

My impression is those that don't want the Town Center issue to be a significant part of the Village Elections for CA Board fear their positions on the issue don't agree with what they anticipate to be the consensus.

With Town Center proposals from both GGP and the County expected in the coming months, it would be prudent to elect a CA Board that has been selected with their positions on Town Center well vetted by those they represent. Leaving such scrutiny for after the election will be too late.

6:17 PM  

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