I know it’s been a slow couple weeks around here (and all local blogs, for that matter), and I apologize for the lack of salaciousness or even substance. I have no excuse – really, I don’t, so I won’t even try.
While my subconscious stares disappointedly at itself in the mirror, I’ll try to correct some of the slowness with an action-packed, T.G.I.F. Round Up, the guaranteed blogging cure for all that ails (not really). And, rather than burying the juicy stuff, I’ll put it right up front.
Lines are being drawn. In response to the Coalition for Columbia’s Downtown, a new group has formed under the banner “Bring Back the Vision.” With 20-some members, BBV is pushing for a more urban, city-like Town Center and sees the fight against the Plaza tower and master plan as misguided. From the Flier:
Michael Davis says he moved to Columbia 25 years ago because its founders claimed it would become a new kind of city.Needless to say, CCD is critical of BBV’s efforts:
Instead, he has watched Columbia become a new kind of suburb, he said, adding that, in doing so, the planned community has not achieved some of its promised vitality, energy and excitement.
"The early people who moved to Columbia -- they all bought into the idea of a new city, not a new suburbia," said Davis, a Wilde Lake resident who has a law practice in Town Center.
[Lloyd] Knowles said he is suspicious that Bring Back the Vision is working with the Plaza's developer in an effort counter criticism of the high-rise, adding that WCI officials hired public relations consultant Jean Moon, a longtime Columbia resident, to handle publicity for the building.Now, I know the papers try to make situations seem as controversial as possible (so I’m taking Knowles statement with a grain of salt) but what does it say about our current dialogue when the default tactic is connecting the other side to developers?
In an e-mailed response asking for comment on Bring Back the Vision, Knowles called Moon a good friend, adding that, "she obviously has a substantial personal following. WCI made a good choice. ... I suppose some of her job is to garner support from the community to the WCI cause."
Lincoln and Davis said the group has no connection to WCI, adding that they are motivated to act solely as residents who want Columbia to flourish. Moon also said that she and WCI officials played no role in the group's formation.
Speaking of Town Center and developers, Diane Brown has a great column in this week’s Flier about an event discussing Jim Rouse last Sunday. The best bit, by far, is the end:
Someone asked Kellner, "What would Jim Rouse do?" regarding the proposed changes in Columbia's downtown, including a 22-story condo building. She recalled that he wanted the advice and opinions of the work group he engaged, but that group was not planning the city.I don’t believe length of stay in Columbia has any effect on the validity of one’s views about Town Center, but Brown’s anecdote (which proves little) is nonetheless interesting.
Kellner noted that The Rouse Co. started Columbia with a blank slate of 14,000 acres of land and that its executives did not have the active, interested opinions of today.
Among people I know, one longtime Columbian says he hopes the 22-story Plaza Residences will one day be the shortest building downtown. A new resident told me that 22 stories is too high.
OK, enough with the bulky, should-have-been-their-own-posts items in this Round Up. Let’s clean it up as succinctly as possible, shall we?
A decent compromise on the idea of having planning department employees attend pre-submission meetings between developers and the community. Previous discussion here.
Remember Centennial Gardens, the proposed affordable housing complex in Ellicott City? Well, that’s all it is, a memory.
Here’s a novel thought: Let kids be kids. Actually, nature deficit disorder isn’t just a problem for kids. We should all try to spend a little time playing outside each day.
Kids being adults: Student board of education member likely to receive voting rights.
Where are you watching the Super Bowl? Not at a bar, apparently. (I’m not.)
The senior tax credit: Some people for it, some against. Discuss.