There hasn't been much discussion recently about Downtown. Is this the calm before the storm?
Or are we entering into a new era of community planning, one without acrimony and division?
Either way, General Growth seems to have heard the "more openness, more meetings" refrain from the community. Columbians, by nature, never seem to tire of meetings, but after the GGP Downtown blitz, even the most hardened meeting mavens may find themselves begging for mercy.
General Growth Properties Inc. will release the draft as part of a four-step public review of the plan that will include several meetings in which company officials will take input on the plan from residents before submitting it to Howard County officials for approval, according to a statement the company released Jan. 17.
…Prior to releasing the draft on April 28, General Growth officials will conduct two preliminary meetings designed to allow residents to question the heads of firms that are playing lead roles in designing the plan…
The firms are the Massachusetts-based Sasaki Associates Inc., which specializes in landscape architecture and will develop the pedestrian areas, and the New York-based Cooper Robertson and Partners, which is designing the plan for buildings and streets.
The meeting with Sasaki principal Alan Ward is slated for March 5, while the meeting with Jaquelin Robertson, a founding partner of Cooper Robertson, is scheduled for March 9.
The company also could add a public meeting with a transportation consultant before the draft plan is released, said Gregory Hamm, General Growth's regional vice president and general manager for Columbia.
…After releasing the draft April 28, General Growth officials will hold public meetings with each of Columbia's 10 villages to gauge residents' reactions to the plan and additional forums to collect reaction on specific aspects of the plan, including transportation, the environment, housing, and arts and cultural opportunities, according to company officials.
If my math is right, which it rarely is, I count at least 16 meetings (assuming one for each village). Wowser.