Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Momentum Is Building

The Bring Back the Vision group has amassed over 187 signatures to their statement to the County Council. What is particularly interesting to me are the names of the people who have signed on. This group includes some of the most active volunteers in our community, people who have given both their time and their treasure to making Columbia a better place to live.

You don't believe it?

Check out their new website and see for yourself. What you won't find are pandering politicians. What you will find are people whose actions speak louder than words.


Anonymous said...

Something funny is going on with the signatures. I did a quick count and I got 123 signatures posted online. Of course, I didn't see my name and I signed up.

wordbones said...

Anon 12:34,

I don't think the website is fully up to date. In an email I received yesterday Emily Lincoln informed me that they had 187 signatures on the statement and 154 members.

pzguru said...

187 people out of 90,000. Is THIS the proof of "consensus" you were promising to deliver? I'm not exactly convinced.

wordbones said...


I don't exactly stay up late worrying about convincing you but consider this...the CoFoDoCo folks were gushing about having 250 signatures on their statement so I think the number is relevant and instructive. Also, as I mentioned, it is not so much the number of people who signed on but the community credentials of those who signed on. I'll take the group of people who freely give their time and their money towards making Columbia a better place to live over those whose main contribution to the town seems to be talk anyday.

Common sense guru said...

The only consensus of any consequence is that of the courts, and they support the Tower. You don’t need to be a planning and zoning guru to figure that out.,0,331363.story

Anonymous said...

Do we know how many of the 187 are linked to the building industry, or otherwise stand to personally gain?

The 187 folks legitimately signed the petition (as did the 250), but your accusations about the 187 'team' could have a rebound effect by prompting the same analysis focused on the 187.

Either people are concerned about the community, or they are concerned about themselves. It's difficult to distinguish, and maybe we shouldn't try. Anyone who signed a petition is a member of the community, and as such, should be counted regardless of motive.

Anonymous said...

meant to say, 'accusations about the 250 team'

Anonymous said...

how can i sign it?

wordbones said...

Anon 4:07

Send an email to Emily Lincoln ( and ask her to add your name (with address). She would love to hear from you.

PZGURU said...

Common Sense Guru: The only thing the court decided was whether the plaintiffs "had standing". The court decided not, but the plaintiffs may appeal, so it might not be over yet.

The ruling begs one important question. If someone who lives right next to the proposed tower does not "have standing", then who could?

I really dislike when courts dismiss suits on technicalities, without ever addressing the central issue of the lawsuit. This is the same thing that happened to the Comp Lite Referendum. The judge in that case threw it out on a technicality (even though the petitioners followed all the rules) and the public never got to weigh in on the issue. A total disservice.

Please keep in mind that this case is more than just whether the rules were followed in WCI obtaining approval of their site plan and their permits. If the FDP amendment that allowed them to get their site plan approval was illegal, then the approval should not be allowed to stand.

There is very good indication that the FDP amendment was not proper. There is a "master" FDP language document created way back when Columbia was started. It outlined the standard language for each subzoning category for New Town. Each time a new part of Columbia was ready to start, the land was assigned subzoning categories, and then the FDP was drafted in accordance with the Master language, so that there would be consistency throughout Columbia. In this case, the WCI land was subzoned Employment Center Commercial, which did not ever allow residential uses, other than age restricted (allowed via POR uses which allow age restricted housing). So, to allow this particular FDP to suddenly include residential high rises was not in sync with New Town procedures and past precedence.

There is also the problem that FDP amendments are not required to be advertised the way that other zoning applications are. So, there was no public input at that time, which would have been the time to get it. There wasn't even any discussion about setting parameters for such high rise development (such as height limits, density limit within each project, green space, etc.). If that had been done, then there wouldn't be this current mess.

To say that WCI would be financially hurt by this may have merit, but they and GGP are the ones who created this situation by sneaking such a major change through the Planning Board. Although, I hold the Planning Board more responsible for that. Developers wouldn't ask for special treatment if they didn't think they could get it.

Although I'm very much opposed to the whole Town Center Master Plan fiasco, I'm neutral on this Tower. I just want the whole mess sorted out and ruled on instead of having the courts sidestep it - which only allows the issue to fester.

As for the signatures - I don't really care about numbers. I was being a little prickly with my comment. It's always possible that a vast majority could support something and still be wrong about it. And that works either way.

Anonymous said...

Only 110 of these signers are from Columbia.

Where can the 250 list be viewed?

Anonymous said...

You don’t have to live in Columbia to have an interest in its future. It is rather snobbish to suggest otherwise.

Anonymous said...

pzguru- you are one misguided, [sic] wacko who has no sense of reality. You live in some kind of Bizarro [sic] Alice in Wonderland daze where you have everything backward.

Does that sound familiar to you?

PZGURU said...

To Anon - no, should it sound familiar? What does that comment have to do with the discussion regarding this post?

Please explain.

PZGURU said...

To Anon - Please explain your comment. What exactly are you trying to say?