Friday, March 06, 2009

About Last Night

I experienced a rare treat last night. I was the first person to testify at the last Planning Board public hearing in support of ZRA 113. By 6:45 PM I was in my car and headed to Victoria for a quick bite before going home. I actually got to spend some quality time with Mama Wordbones before going to bed.

Why didn’t I stick around listen to the testimony that others gave? I listened to a few but they held this hearing in a room that was way too small and it wasn’t long before it felt downright stifling in there.

I did hang out in the corridor outside of the hearing room for a few minutes and it was there that I ran into Councilperson Mary Kay Sigaty. Mary Kay is the sponsor of this town center redevelopment zoning amendment and that has led to a big falling out between her and Liz Bobo. Last night in his testimony Liz’s hubby, Lloyd Knowles, called on Mary Kay to withdraw the bill.

I think I may have misjudged Mary Kay. Her failed attempt to derail the Plaza Residences condominium project in Town Center made me think she was anti business and anti growth.

Now I’m beginning to change my mind and last night I told her so. She is planning on running for reelection and I told her she’d have my support. I also told her it wasn’t the first time I’ve tasted crow.

After talking to Mary Kay I literally ran into Frank Martin. Frank is one of the “development-wary residents” who are suing the county over its land use policies. They are seeking to have federal supervision of Howard Counties land use decisions and they also want $10 million for their troubles.

I know Frank. We went to high school together. I haven’t seen or talked to him in years and I had often wondered if the Frank Martin Turf Valley activist was the same knucklehead Frank Martin that I grew up with. As it turns out it is. This can be a really small county sometimes.

I should note here that I mean “knucklehead” in a friendly sense.

Frank asked me why I hadn’t written anything about his federal lawsuit yet. I told him that while I thought it was a ridiculous lawsuit it does make a good story. He laughed and said he agreed with the part about it being a good story.

You never know what kind of story will come out of these public hearings.


Anonymous said...

Heard it here last: Mary Kay is pro-development, any development, and any developer. Details are inconsequential.

She was elected on one platform and completely hoodwinked the voters.

What - are you the last person in the county to figure this out?

Also, that stuff about Bobo is just plain false.

Anonymous said...

You went to high school with that guy? He looks like he could be your son ;)

Anonymous said...

"a room that was way too small and it wasn’t long before it felt downright stifling in there"

Apparently excessive density doesn't equal excessive vibrancy.

B. Santos said...

Anon 2:07,

Alan Klein said he was pro development. Cindy Coyle said she was pro development. Lloyd Knowles said he was pro development. I suspect most people, including Mary Kay Sigaty are pro development.

B. Santos said...

Anon 8:30,

It seems you are confusing density with overcrowding. They are distinctly different things.

Anonymous said...

Excessive density *is* overcrowding.

Anonymous said...

The key here is the word "excessive". I don't know anyone who is advocating excessive anything.

Anonymous said...

Ahem, doesn't the proposal advocate "exceeding" current traffic congestion limits, increasing the volume of traffic and, consequentially, the number of red light cycles through which we'll have to wait at multiple red lights?

And exceeding the amount of traffic that can be handled within existing road rights-of-way to the extent that the proposal has roads running through and clearning portions of forested parks?

And over wetlands and lakes and rivers?

And exceeding the amount of traffic that roads can handle to the extent that a traffic monitoring center is also proposed (more tax $$$ to operate), as if being told that traffic is bad makes it better?

And exceeding the amount of traffic that roads can handle without a traffic demand management system, whatever that is (toll roads or zones? parking meters? restricted parking?)?

And adding density that will require additional school space that exceeds current local capacities? Without any detail about setting aside land for such school requirements?

Should I go on?