Blandair Park – Public Hearing 9/11/08 Recap.
Posted by Ed C on Monday, September 15, 2008
The Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks (DR&P) held a public hearing on Blandair Regional Park on Thursday, Sept 11th, 2008 at the Oakland Mills High School. The meeting was covered by the Baltimore Sun (Park changes opposed).
The meeting opened with the DR&P presentation that lasted about an hour (which, as of Sept 15th has not been posted at the DR&P Blandir web page.) After the DR&P park consultants’ presentation, the residents of Sealed Message and Hawkins Farm presented an alternative. Sealed Message and Hawkins Farm are adjacent to the southeast quadrant of the proposed park. The resident’s alternative (called Alternative G) seeks to increase the buffers to adjacent residential properties that surround the park by relocating the skate park and the multipurpose building to the center of the park while maintaining the amenities and level of service offered by the park to Howard county residents.
The current DR&P plan (Alternative D) is a significant modification to the original 2003 “Master Plan”, and the presentation Thursday evening included the evolution of plans that lead to the current DR&P proposal. The impact of the changes to the current DR&P proposal from the approved 2003 master plan is shown below.
Note: This comparison was generated from the DR&P June 25th presentation (large pdf), before the Blandair committee voted to not route Oakland Mills road along the perimeter of the park and within 50 feet of some of the homes along Sealed Message.
Since the first drafts of the DR&P Alternative D was unveiled in May 2008, the residents of Sealed Message and Hawkins Farm have met with DR&P a few times and have modified their counter proposal to incorporate those comments, hence the name – Alternative G. Alternative G is shown below.
The Thursday public hearing was well attended, and I estimate that there were 150+ in the Oakland Mills HS auditorium. When asked to stand to show support for Alternative G, 56 people stood. This support included the people from Sealed Message and Hawkins Farm (40+) as well as the people that were there to support the proposed skate park. In addition to those in attendance, the supporters of Alternate G presented a petition with 150+ signatures that support the resident’s proposal.
The sentiment from the skate park supporters was that having a skate park was much more important than any preference for a particular location and that having the skate park as far away from residents as possible may be desirable.
About 20+ people spoke to support Alternative G testimony (20+ people). Besides the Alternative G speakers there were a few speakers concerning the secondary entrances to the park from Glenmont, Summer Hollow Lane on the north side and Timesweep Lane on the southwest, general support for the park from athletic groups and clubs and 5-10 people speaking to the desire for a skate park.
There will be a working meeting by the Blandair committee on Wednesday, Sept 17th at 7:00 PM and an additional public meeting is scheduled for October 15th at 7:30 PM. Both meetings are scheduled to be held at the Department of Recreation and Parks building at 7120 Oakland Mills Rd, Columbia 21046.
If past working meetings serve as a guide, the public will not be able to speak at the Wednesday meeting but they may be able to submit written questions that will be addressed at the end.