Recently, while checking out Anthony Jordan’s website, I became curious about the following statement: “Developing for the sake of development does not serve any social or economic goals and does little more than pad the pockets of disinterested out-of-county businesses.”
Anthony is the Republican challenger for the District 2 county council seat currently held by Calvin Ball.
I sent him an email asking “What are the social and economic goals that you would like to see achieved in Columbia Town Center and how does the plan approved by the council fail to meet them?”
Anthony responded “that my post was drafted on January 12, 2010, almost a month before the legislation reached its final form.”
He then proceeded to clarify his position on the Columbia Town Center redevelopment.
“I feel that the reliance on "walkable communities" and mass transportation bears assumptions that I am not willing to make. I am the father of two little girls, and I can't imagine what a trip to the library or the mall would have been like if we had to rely on the means of transportation that seem to be required by this plan. I feel that many other Columbians will feel the same, and that while this development progresses, the parking lots and highways will bear the weight. I have yet to read an article or a bill that has explained who, other than the taxpayer, will bear these costs.”
I appreciate his timely response, but I remain concerned about his seemingly myopic views on development.
I don’t know of any developer who “develops for the sake of developing.” While that may make a catchy sound bite, it lacks any foundation in reality. Developers develop in response to a need. People need houses, developers build houses. Companies need space to house their business, developers build offices and warehouses. People need stores and restaurants, developers build retail. If there is no need there is no development.
Admittedly that is an over simplification of the process but it does reflect the core truth of development; no need, no development. Yes, there are times when “perceived need” outpaces actual need. When that occurs things can get temporarily out of balance but over time the equilibrium usually returns. Like any business, the business of matching needs is not an exact science.
The second part of his statement about padding the pockets of supposed disinterested out-of-county businesses is actually more misleading. It suggests a rather jingoistic view of our county. For example, my partners and I are developing an office building in Howard County. In order to do this we needed to borrow $25 million. There wasn’t a Howard County bank with the wherewithal to swing a loan like that. In the end, Susquehanna Bank, headquartered in Lititz, PA, ended up providing the financing for our project. I can assure you that they are not disinterested in the health and welfare of Howard County.
Anthony seems like a nice guy. His timely response to my inquiry suggests that he may be approachable on development issues despite his use of language that strikes me as crafted to appease those unhappy with the plans for the redevelopment Columbia Town Center.