Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Village Center Initiative

I dropped by Ken Ulman’s press conference at Wilde Lake Village Green yesterday. I stood with local activist Jud Malone and Bill Miller, the owner of Today’s Catch seafood market. Along with the three of us and the county executive, there were councilpersons Mary Kay Sigaty and Jen Terrasa.

Alan Klein was there of course, pontificating as usual. Steve Meskin was in attendance as well. Steve is running against Sue Waller for Columbia Council representing Town Center. You may recall that Steve was one of those who sued to stop the construction of the Plaza Tower condominiums. He was of course joined in that action by Lloyd Knowles who was also in attendance.

I also saw Tony Tringali. Tony was the first barber to open a shop in Columbia. He has been a tenant, in the exact same location, since the village center first opened. I believe he is the only original Columbia merchant that is still in business.

Just before the press conference started, Jud Malone quipped to me wondering if Ken would mention the “d” word (density) anywhere in his remarks.

He didn’t.

He did use the word “evolve” quite a bit though. Could that be the new euphemism for density?

Hayduke had a pretty good post about Ken’s speech here.

The gist of the press conference was the announcement of a legislative initiative to amend part of the New Town (NT) zoning regulations. As it now stands, only General Growth Properties (GGP), as the successor to The Rouse Company, can request changes to an existing use in the NT zone. This arrangement worked fine when The Rouse Company controlled the village centers as well as virtually all of the commercial property in Columbia.

Since The Rouse Company divested itself of the village centers several years ago it could be well argued that GGP has conflicting interests with the owners of the village centers, particularly when it comes to village center’s “evolving.”

All of this is positive and the county executive is to be commended for taking this initiative. If the village centers are to remain viable commercial centers they need greater flexibility to “evolve.”


Sam Adams said...

Why is Ulman promoting Miller Lite?

Anonymous said...

If Alan Klein is described as 'pontificating' then by comparison, an appropriate description of this blog is the 'Everest of Pomposity'.

wordbones said...

"The Everest of Pomposity."
Not bad. I appreciate creative retorts.

hj said...

Community interest and support for David's Natural Market to become the “anchor food store” in the proposed revitalized Wilde Lake Village Center is growing. This topic will be discussed on Monday, April 7th, 7 p.m. at the next meeting of the Wilde Lake Village Board at Slayton House. Community input is encouraged as this could be the FIRST “GREEN” Anchor Food Store in the region!

A Petition for community members who favor this Proposal will be available at David’s and also at the WLVB Meeting.

People who are unable to attend the Village Board Meeting can e-mail their indication of support
to: ‘Dr. Joan Spicknall’

David's Market has proposed this to KIMCO (owners of the Wilde Lake Village Center) and is willing
to expand their store inventory to include ‘convenience grocery items and products.’.

Dr. Joan Spicknall 410-964-1983