HoCo Times Says Merdon is Right!
Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, October 5, 2006
OUR VIEW Policy initiatives hatched in the heat of an election campaign bear extra skepticism as they inevitably bear a heavy political component.
But even with that caveat, we like Christopher Merdon’s idea of calling a “time out” in the planning process for the redevelopment of downtown Columbia.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve urged going slow, and county officials sensibly stalled the process after initially scheduling the final vote for June or July. Merdon, the County Council Republican running for county executive, has proposed putting off for a year any consideration of a finalized master plan for development in Town Center.
This delay would give an all-rookie County Council time to go to school on the intricacies of zoning policy and law before it weighs approval of what might be the zoning monster of the decade.
It would also allow for more complete study of traffic and other implications of various development scenarios.
And it will also give us time to get a better handle on the effects that the 22-story Plaza Residences — already approved and not subject to any rules set forth in the downtown plan — will have on the area.
It bears repeating that the redevelopment of downtown Columbia must be handled with the utmost care and responsibility.
It will have profound effects, for good or ill, not just on Town Center and Columbia but on Howard County as a whole. Doing it right demands public input and accountability, serious study and sober reflection.
It must not be rushed.
However politically timed Merdon’s idea might be, it also happens to be a good one.