30 April 2009

Church Awarded Expansion Over Residents Concerns

Today in the Columbia Flier, Jennifer Broadwater has a piece on the Columbia Presbyterian Church expansion that was approved by the Howard County Board of Appeals. One of the uses that was talked about extensively during the hearing was the rental of the space to homeschooling groups during the week. Expected attendance is more than 200 children a week.

Local resident Bruce Corriveau is quoted in the article as follows:

"They are not building the church they promised to the community," said Corriveau, the spokesman for the neighbors who also is an attorney. "Regardless of what you call it, it has the feel, function and features of a school."

Dick Talkin, representing the church, had this quote in the paper:

"Complaints about existing conditions and mere speculation about future use are simply not enough," Talkin said.

Oh really? Here is a picture of the traffic on Ten Mills Road (which is immediately adjacent to the church) taken the Friday before closing arguments of the case:

tmr 4-17 a

And yes, the intersection of Ten Mills Road and West Running Brook Road is failing:

tmr 4-17 b

It seems to me that transporting more than 200 students through this "existing condition" will be problematic (there is not an abundance of pedestrian access to the church, and they have indicated that no school buses will be used to transport students).

In closing, let me make one thing clear: Children are precious, and educating them is a worthy, noble, and necessary endeavor. However, which children are being given preference, those that sit in car seats to get to the church, or those that LIVE on Ten Mills Road and West Running Brook Road?

26 April 2009

Beyond the Numbers on Columbia Election Day

I would like to take a moment and thank everyone that ran for either a Village Board or CA Board of Directors position this spring. Although there were many non-competitive races this year, those that where competitive certainly made this election season interesting. For those that won, congratulations! For those that did not win, please continue to participate, I believe this year we will need everyone to be involved.

Looking a little deeper, I would like to thank the following people:

Kevin Preston – Harper’s Choice
Ed Cosentino – Owen Brown
Summer Romack – Owen Brown
Evan Coren – Kings Contrivance
Nina Basu – Long Reach
Trevor Greene – River Hill
John Bailey – Hickory Ridge
Brian Donoughe – Oakland Mills
Christopher Huza – Oakland Mills

What do all these people have in common? They, like me, grew up in Columbia (or at least Howard County). Collectively, we represent almost 20% of the Village Board positions (Oakland Mills has a board of 7, to the best of my knowledge, all other boards elect five).

There may be more. Given that some Villages stagger their elections, there may be some additional “I grew up in Columbia” folks that are not up for election. Lastly, there are some open seats on Village Boards. If you grew up in Columbia, please consider volunteering.

We should all get together sometime soon. In the meantime, friend me on Facebook.