Friday, April 25, 2008

Do Elections Make A Village?

It's time to vote for candidates for village and Columbia Association offices this weekend. The Flier has several articles (here and here and here) about the contenders and one theme is clear: Most seem to want CA and the villages to play a larger role in local development issues. There are plenty. What to do with the village centers. What to do about downtown.

CA has a lot of leverage in these discussions; after all, it has a big staff, big land holdings and a big budget.

Which is why we were struck by another Flier story on what to do about the Wilde Lake Village center. According to the story, the center's owner Kimco Realty plans apartments, underground parking, shops, and offices. There is no mention of how that would relate to any of the other stuff in the neighborhood -- Slayton House, the interfaith center, the swim center, the tennis club, the middle and high schools. Or any of the other condos, townhouses, single-family homes and such already surrounding the center.

The only stakeholders we see quoted in this story are Kimco and David London, from David's Natural Market, which would like to expand but can't seem to get much satisfaction from the property owner, at least based on what we read.

David London, the owner of David's Natural Market, likes the idea of becoming the center's anchor. Expanding would provide "enough space for us to operate our business," he said.

Kimco has met with London several times, [Kimco leasing agent Kevin] Allen said. They have not agreed on a plan because they do not know whether the county will approve the zoning to build residential apartments in the village center, he said.

"We won't be able to answer any questions until we get through the zoning process," he said.

Now we know better than most that you can't judge an issue from one little story. But it got us thinking. What would the principal at Wilde Lake like to see? Or the pastor at St. Johns? Or the tennis pro at the club? What does CA -- i.e. all of us -- want from a village center?

Here's a link to the Flier's election guide.


B. Santos said...


You bring up many good points, but might be falling into the trap that what appears in the newspaper is the only thing going on. There has been a woeful lack of reporting on the subject of the Wilde Lake Village Center. Many of the ideas you put forth in your post have been raised at public meetings regarding the Village Center. There has been no reporting.

To this end, the Wilde Lake Candidates night had over 40 people in attendance and ten candidates. The Village Center was discussed and debated for over an hour. The Columbia Flier reporter briefly mentioned the discussion in an article and cited two quotes. There is a lot more going on here, it just is not being reported.

Columbia Talk said...

That's good to hear. What were some of the ideas? Don't hold back.