30 September 2007


The title of this blog post came to me last night as my family was grocery shopping. My son and I were at one end of the store, and we caught site of my wife halfway towards the other end. Being four, my son was proud to be pushing the shopping cart (with a little guidance from his dad) through the store. When he saw my wife, he took off with the shopping cart and started shouting “mommy, espera!” It took hearing it a second time for it to register, but yes, my son was shouting in Spanish for his mom to wait for us. It brought a HUGE smile to my face.

With that thought logged fresh in my mind this morning, I began the review of the local papers. Susan DeFord writes in the Washington Post Metro section (Council Member Tables Legislation in Push to Compromise):

The Howard County Council member who sought height restrictions for a controversial high-rise project in Columbia said she'll table her legislation in the hopes of forging a compromise.
The announcement from Mary Kay Sigaty (D-West Columbia) came after a closed Friday session attended by county leaders, community activists and representatives of the developer that plans to build the Plaza Residences, a 22-story condominium tower that would rise 275 feet along Little Patuxent Parkway.

[A]fter Friday's discussion, Sigaty said that "people wanted to come back to the table and keep talking. I was always in support of a compromise.
"I will be tabling my legislation for a month to allow the conversation to continue," she said.
Details of Friday's meeting, according to participants and those following the matter, dealt with lowering the height of the tower and possibly offering additional incentives, such as money for affordable housing.

Over at the Baltimore Sun (Talks on tower advance), reporter June Arney writes today:

The sponsor of legislation intended to block construction of a 23-story tower in downtown Columbia plans to ask the County Council to table her bills for 30 days in hopes that a compromise can be reached, after a lengthy, closed-door meeting of interested parties.
"There was agreement in the room that it had been a productive day and we needed to talk some more," Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty said after Friday's meeting. Sigaty represents the district where the 160-unit Plaza Residences is being built and is the sponsor of the two bills.
Another meeting of all parties is planned for Friday, she said.

[C]ouncilwoman Courtney Watson, who did not attend the meeting, said Friday that she had reservations about delaying a decision.
"I would be opposed to tabling it without some reassurance that there was a serious effort on the part of the parties to reach a compromise," she said. Watson said she planned to talk with people over the weekend to determine how close a compromise might be.
Among the key players not at the table Friday were four plaintiffs who had filed a court action trying to stop the project. But their attorney was able to attend the latter part of the meeting.
In a letter sent to Ulman, E. Alexander Adams, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said he could not be at the meeting because of a court commitment and that he had recommended his clients not attend without counsel.
"My clients, as always, have been receptive to a resolution that addresses this problem of the illegal land use classification, while being cognizant of the overall community interest in the long overdue re-zoning of Town Center," Adams wrote in his letter. "There are important issues in this case and important processes critical to the future of New Town realizing its rightful integral place in this County's social, cultural, community and economic mosaic."

I have to say, I believe Mr. Adams statement “My clients, as always, have been receptive to a resolution that addresses this problem of the illegal land use classification…” missed the point. The zoning amendments before the County Council deal specifically with building height, not the construction of apartments. The legislation makes no distinction between residential (i.e. apartments) or commercial buildings. In fact, it has been stated that the arbitrary limit of 150 feet is derived from a commercial building that contains no apartments. If Mr. Adams is at the table to discuss a compromise, he should be focused on the issue of building height.

So it appears with respect to zoning amendments restricting building heights in downtown, we will all have to wait. Espera. But there is something more to this wonderful Spanish verb, esperar. The verb not only means “to wait,” but it equally means “to hope for.” Through one of those idiomatic quirks, both meanings of Espera can be applied to our current situation.

Hasta Noviembre!

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