Sunday, January 17, 2010

Delay of Game

Last year, when the legislation for the redevelopment of Columbia’s village center was being debated, certian citizen activists lobbied hard for a process that would insure that every special interest group in the community would have a voice in the process.

They largely succeeded and now some residents are largely unhappy with the result. The first implementation of this new process has begun with Columbia’s first village center, Wilde Lake. According to this story by Larry Carson in The Sun today, participants in a recent community meeting with Kimco required by the legislation “expressed impatience and confusion.”

The owner of the Crown service station in Wilde Lake, Jeff Kamala gave voice to the frustration over the process, “Meetings are fine, but when are they going to do something?"

The answer is not anytime soon. It is highly likely that nothing will happen at Wilde Lake for at least another year.

“Under the law, Kimco will now produce a proposal and present it publicly in March or April. Two more community meetings are required before that plan can be submitted to the county government for review. Once county planners weigh in on it, it goes before the Planning Board for hearings and a recommendation, and then ultimately to the Zoning Board for hearings and a final decision. Since the Zoning Board, composed of County Council members, typically does not hold sessions in the latter part of an election year, such as 2010, that too could delay things.”

Some of the activists who created this lengthily process are also those calling for a delay in the Town Center redevelopment process. They often ask what the rush is and insist that they are not anti development.

That may be true but I believe the many in the community are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of tangible progress in Columbia as other communities in the region move forward.


Anonymous said...

People on both sides are frustrated with the talk, and this was expressed within the activist community. Unfortunately, Columbia activists were inexperienced regarding the county council atmosphere on the developer community. Some called for action on the part of council members but Columbia activists wanted to 'be heard' and were satisfied with that, killing the action movement.

Being heard is useless if it's just checking off a box for elected officials. These elected people know that most voters are well aware of their penchant for deciding in favor of the developer and without expensive polling, they believe that knowledge will not impact voters who vote by party in local elections. If voters get a backbone or read internet comments or younger voters become a bigger presence, the incumbents will be shocked at the results on election day.

Anonymous said...

A great example of how "activists" are not accountable and not always right. It's easy to scream, but harder to govern and manage.

Just look at people like Mona B.--clueless!