In what amounted to a "non-recommendation", the Howard County Planning Board has passed the baton on ZRA-102 to the county council. ZRA-102 would effectively remove General Growth Properties as the gatekeeper for zoning changes in Columbia. The board vote was split 2-2 with a fifth board member, David Grabowski abstaining.
The impetus for ZRA-102 comes from Kimco Reatlty Corporation, the owners of the village centers in Wilde Lake, Harpers Choice, Hickory Ridge, River Hill, Dorsey’s Search, and Kings Contrivance. Kimco is seeking to redevelop the Wilde Lake Village Center as mixed use project with a significantly smaller retail component and 500 apartments. Under existing New Town zoning, Kimco is required to get GGP’s blessing before they apply to the county for the zoning change necessary for this type of redevelopment.
It is doubtful that GGP would approve that many residential units at the village center.
According to this story in The Sun by Larry Carson, “that major infusion of residential units that seemed to spark the fierce opposition of Citaramanis and Linda Dombrowski, who fear that such a major change could destroy the village center concept and affect the whole town.”
This spit decision comes as no surprise to this old dog. The planning board has shown itself to be dysfunctional before. It will now be up to the members of the county council to resolve this impasse.