This morning I listened in on a “Community Conference Call” hosted by Mike Davis, Lin Eagan, Phil Engelke, David Yungman and Sharon Lee Vogel. The purpose of the call was to bring attention to what they referred as the “hijacking” of the Columbia Town Center redevelopment plans (ZRA 113) by the county planning board.
“The Planning Board has had the plan since last December and closed public testimony in April. What more is it going to take to get this in the hands of our elected County Council?”
The Howard County Planning Board has been deliberating ZRA 113 for over nine months now. Originally, they were to make their recommendation to the county council by May. Realizing they needed more time they “granted” themselves an extension to July 16th but they couldn’t make that date either so they granted themselves another extension to August 20th.
They didn’t make that deadline either. This time though they didn’t even bother with the formality of granting themselves an extension. Now they are simply saying they’ll pick things up again at their September 2nd meeting.
Meanwhile, Rome burns. The center of gravity for development has shifted south. Prince Georges County Planning Board has already approved preliminary development plans for the new town of Konterra on Howard’s southern border and the city of Laurel is also poised to seize the initiative to capitalize on BRAC related growth. Columbia is dangerously close to becoming irrelevant.
Now, before I go too far, let me just say that I respect anyone who is willing to volunteer their time to try and make our community a better place to live. Planning Board members David Grabowski, Gary Rosenbaum, Linda Dombrowski, Tammy CitaraManis and Paul Yelder are all volunteers and have all given many hours of their time to the county.
But enough is enough. It is time for this group of individuals to acknowledge that they have become hopelessly dysfunctional and “shit or get off the pot” on ZRA 113, even if that means passing it up without a recommendation like they did on the village center redevelopment bill, ZRA 102.
At least that would be doing something.