“What will Columbia look like in the future?”
“How can we make this city a much better place in the future?”
Mr. Godine revealed that his staff is working with the Design Collective design produced at the end of the charrette (and incorporated, to some extent, into the Department of Planning and Zoning Draft Master Plan) as the basis for downtown development. He further stated that he saw the Design Collective plan as one designed at 35,000 feet, and his focus has been working at the street (and human) level. He wants downtown to be more livable and pedestrian friendly.
He also stated that he has set up eleven committees within his organization to study certain aspects of downtown Columbia. He did not state all of the committees, but the ones he mentioned included affordable housing, arts and culture (he also recognized Wilde Lake Village Board member Mary Pivar for working with him in concert (pun [mine] intended) on the arts and culture committee, but I digress), open space, transportation and green buildings.
Aspects of each committee highlighted by Mr. Godine include:
- It appears subsidies must be used to make affordable housing work.
- Looked at affordable housing in Portland, OR, Spokane, WA, and Montgomery County, MD.
- GGP wants downtown Columbia to be on the leading edge of making affordable housing work.
- GGP will most likely be able to determine the percentage of affordable housing that will work in Columbia, but not necessarily the qualifying income levels for the housing.
- How to incorporate arts and culture into building interiors.
- How to incorporate arts and culture into walking paths in downtown.
- Answers may not be readily available, and some may be two years away.
- Mr. Godine believes the current HATS “green bus” system does not work. He stated that waiting ½ hour for a bus was not acceptable.
- Mr. Godine stated he was working with Del. Liz Bobo and has contacted Congressman Cummings with regard to extending the DC Metro green line into Columbia.
- Mr. Godine stated (and this was the second public meeting I had heard this during the week, so I don’t think this is spilling the beans) that the County was going to commission an extensive traffic study in the near future.
- Mr. Godine stated that this committee is looking at creating some parks in downtown, walkways, and emphasizing environmentally sensitive design. This is being achieved through a partnership with Bio Habitat.
- When asked by a Wilde Lake resident about using local species of trees and plants, Mr. Godine said he was informed that this is something that had not been done well in the past, and he understood there was a need to use many more local plants in future designs.
- Mr. Godine stated that green building (LEED) technology has been explored as part of the preliminary planning process and his team was well aware of the LEEDS standards. He also said there have been visits to/with LEED certified buildings and that it will be incorporated, to an extent, in downtown.