Columbia Council Rep Report

//Columbia Council Rep Report

CA Board Work Session September 14, 2107

These notes reflect Nancy’s viewpoint only.
The official minutes of the Columbia Association Board meetings can be found on the CA website at:

Nancy encourages you to send her your comments on her notes. Please reply to her directly at 

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Work Session

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Resident Speakout

  • Linda Wengel, Town Center Village Board Chair, spoke about the proposed Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) changes to downtown Columbia.  There is apparently a loophole that the Planning Board can change the building heights depending on compatibility of the building.  Currently the building limit is 9 stories, but the request is for 15 stories to make it economically feasible for HHC to build.   There is also concern about the street that is proposed for Wincopin which is currently a limited length street and limited use.  There is concern about Wincopin becoming a broader and more widely used street bringing street noise and hazards.
  • Jervis Dorton, Oakland Mills resident, spoke about the lakefront proposed changes.  The density exceeds the 2010 plan.  It is a worry that HHC thinks it can simply ignore the 2010 plan. The proposal is for 3 – 15 story condo buildings.  Parking will be for the use of the workers and the residents of the buildings.  He proposes that there be 2 condo buildings and one office building because we have lost 2 office buildings already – American City and the Rouse buildings.  The offices would provide vitality during the day.   A lakefront connector does not bridge over the parkway and seems to reveal no vision according to Mr. Dorton.  We expect more and should get it.  He feels it puts pedestrians at risk.  He suggests we find a way to bridge Little Patuxent Parkway and make a better effort to connect to the lake area.  Mr. Dorton also commented on how close the buildings are to the street.  There is no room for street trees, no room for sidewalks, and no room for any amenities.   It is suggested that people will walk from the mall to the lake area, but that there needs to be a wider bridge, enhancing that area to make a pleasant transition from mall to lake.
  • Joel Hurewitz spoke about the proposed lakefront.  He suggests that HHC has no idea how to create access, including for the disabled, to connect to the lakefront.
  • Russ Swatek, Long Reach resident, spoke about the height of the buildings. Currently the plans calls for 9 stories and staggered building heights.  He asks CA to strongly come out against HHC proposed plans. 

Chairman’s Remarks

September 16: Wilde Lake Picnic at Wilde Lake Park off Hyla Brook, 11am-3pm

September 16: Plein Air Exhibit and reception at Columbia Art Center, 3 pm

September 18: Audit Committee meeting, 7:30pm

September 19: “The People that Created Columbia” Event at HCC, 5pm

September 19: Meet with Long Reach Village Board, 7:30pm

September 23: Bike About- Lake Elkhorn

September 23: Owen Brown Festival at Lake Elkhorn

September 26: CA Board Meeting

October 1:   Open Street Event

October 1:   Gail Holiday Poster Tree Dedication at Lake Kitt, 4 pm

October 1:   Columbia Orchestra Concert: Lakefront

October 3:   Excite Columbia Sessions start

October 7:   HHC OPUS event at Merriweather, 4 pm

Community Stakeholders Provide Input for Consideration for the FY2019 and FY2020 Draft Budgets

Linda Wengel spoke about a playground on the grounds of Symphony Woods.  There are no playgrounds in Town Center Mall area and request that CA work with the Inner Arbor Trust (IAT) to make Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods accessible as soon as possible.  She also asked for an elevator – again – for Oakland Manor.

Jonathan Edelson, Oakland Mills Village Board Chair, presented the budget requests for Oakland Mills

  1. 2nd level restroom – an ADA issue. When new lift is installed in January, they hope to see the new bathroom.
  2. New floor covering on the 2nd level… needs to be replaced and impacts negatively the ability to rent the space. They prefer a non-carpet product with something more sustainable.
  3. Install a new dumb waiter, replacing the old one.
  4. Security system upgrades – cameras and upgraded camera and new DVR.
  5. Replace the HVAC in loft.
  6. Replace rubberized carpet on the staircase in silo and the rear staircase.
  7. Replace ceiling lights in the loft.
  8. Carpet for the offices at the Other Barn.
  9. Renovate two restrooms at neighborhood center at Talbott Springs. At least one should become ADA accessible.
  10. They are requesting a property evaluator. 
  11. They are requesting new neighborhood center signs. The signs in OM are so deteriorated and request all signs be replaced as soon as possible. 
  12. OM requests state of the art upgrades at the skate rink. This will help them increase their income for rental of the space.

Kevin McAliley, Wilde Lake Village Board Chair, made the following requests:

  1. Upgrade lighting and sound system for Slayton House Theatre.
  2. Install bio-retention facilities in Faulkner Ridge.
  3. Install water journey 6 water playground at Running Brook Pool to entice families to that pool.
  4. Expand fence at Faulkner Ridge Pool. It will make it more efficient for swimmers to line up for the metes.
  5. Complete Swim Center renovations, including the wading pool.
  6. More floating wetlands in Wilde Lake have been requested by the Wilde Lake environmental committee. Watershed Stewards are educated and understand the needs of our environment and what must be done to provide a healthy environment.
  7. A pumping system at Wilde Lake near the Cove. There is often trash and debris and a bad odor in the cove area of the lake.   This needs to be remediated.
  • Bess Caplan spoke about requests for the Wilde Lake CARES environmental committee.  Two bio-retention facilities are needed in the Faulkner Ridge neighborhood.  They would like to have more floating inner wetlands.  She also re-iterates Kevin’s request for a new and improved pumping system for the lake around the Cove condos.  
  • Bess also mentioned that sport and fitness facilities replace natural areas.  She spoke against making wet ponds dry ponds because that would remove the habitats.  The ponds were created out of necessity.  If we preserve them we give a place for the storm water to go.  Because of continued construction we need the ponds even more.
  • Galina Patrusheva, Wilde Lake resident and member of the Faulkner Station Community Association, spoke about erosion on CA open space.  From Twin Rivers to Faulkner Ridge Station and between Jason Lane and Faulkner Ridge, there is an underground pipe that empties into the spring.  Residents have tried on their own to mitigate the erosion but have not been able to do it sufficiently to stop the problem.  John McCoy suggested a bio-retention facility was needed.  He also said a second bio-retention facility would be needed at the upper end of the stream.  The stream ultimately empties into Wilde Lake.   There is now foaming water and green fish. 
  • Gordon Knox, Ellicott City resident, spoke about the Columbia Housing Center.  They are asking for $200,000 for FY 19 and $200,000 for FY 20.  They want to assure integrated housing via rental housing. 
  • Jeremy Goldman, President of Silhouette Stages, spoke about the needed upgrades to the Slayton House Theatre.  In 2003, Mo Dutterer started this theatre company.  In 2008, they started performing in Slayton House.   They do 3 productions a year and a couple of cabaret nights.  They have made the list of Best Theatre in Maryland several years in a row.  They bring a sense of community and exposure to good theater.  They bring $16,000 a year in rental fees to Slayton House.  Thus they contribute to the success of the community. 
  • Russ Swatek, Long Reach resident, spoke about the need for control and planning mechanism in place to make sure the developer isn’t allowed to do as they wish without oversight. 
  • Joel Hurewitz spoke about some things he just heard. 

Village Financials for FY2017

Jane Dembner presented an overview of what the Villages do. CA owns the buildings that the Villages use.  CA maintains and repairs the spaces.  CA pays a number of other things for the Villages including health insurance, real estate taxes, etc.  Each Village is an independent corporation with a close and unique relationship with CA. 

CA collects the annual charge for the Villages and then returns it to the Villages.   CA allocates $3,173,000 to the Villages but in total pays $5,954,000 on behalf of the Villages. 

Discussion of Lakefront Core Design Guidelines

CA staff has expressed concern that the proposed buildings by HHC are just large rectangles and have no set back.  There has been a request to have them set back and step-down height especially along the lakefront side. There is a 10 foot pathway requirement so there is room for trees, sidewalks, lights, etc. 

There was discussion about the heights, and the parking access as well as the density concerns.  For financial reasons HHC said they needed to go to 15 stories rather than 9 story buildings.  They will be using high quality building material and need to build higher to make sufficient money from the project.  HHC can ask for 15 stories, but it is up to the Planning Board to determine what the approved height will be. 

The issue of construction on the lake came up.  There will have to be studies to determine the feasibility of building and the effect on the environment by the construction. 

There was a discussion about parking.  For the young and healthy, walking to the lakefront is not such a big issue.  For older residents with mobility issues, parking is a big issue.  HHC is asking for a lot and it is up to Howard County residents to make their wishes known to the Planning Board.  The Planning Board needs to hear from residents and understand what we want. 

Visual access of the lake is a concern.  There is also concern about Wincopin extended. If you care about parking and access to the lakefront – speak up.  If you don’t let the Planning Board know what you want, you may be very disappointed when the decision is made about what HHC gets. 

The building that will be built along the lake behind Whole Foods will need to screen the parking garage from the lake.   There will be a multi-use pathway request.  This will be coming in the future but HHC will provide this.

There was further discussion about parking spaces provided for office workers, who are generally gone during evenings and weekends.  Then the spaces could be available for public parking during evening and weekend hours.  But the current plan calls for condos and not offices. 


Here comes Fall.  Enjoy.


Nancy McCord