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NCA Conference Call, Public Testimony Tomorrow

Today is a big day for the redevelopment of downtown Columbia. First, New City Alliance will hold it’s weekly conference call at 11 AM. If you want the straight facts about where we stand with the plan, you should call in to participate. Participants are free to ask questions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.

Call in to (605) 475-4800
Access Code: 923292#

New City Alliance, the bipartisan political alliance urging the County Council to implement our community’s consensus plan for a new Downtown Columbia, will discuss its progress Tuesday on a conference call. We will discuss amendments to Council Bill 58 and 59 and what we plan to present in testimony.

Then, public testimony will be heard on CB’s 58 & 59 starting at 7:30 at the Board of Education. If you are available and willing to testify, you can sign up here.


New City Alliance Conference Call Today

As you may know, our founder David Yungmann is also a founding member of New City Alliance (NCA). NCA is a bipartisan political advocacy organization that supports the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia into a walkable, vibrant and sustainable city with density and economic viability.

As we get closer to the County Council’s vote on CB’s 58 & 59, NCA has been working tirelessly to set the record straight about the redevelopment. We encourage you to listen in to their weekly conference call. Deets below:

TODAY! TUESDAY January 12, 11:00 AM

Via Interactive Conference Call (participants will be able to ask questions)
Dial-in #: (605) 475-4800
Call-in Code: 923292#

The members of New City Alliance will discuss the status of the Council Bills 58 and 59 – specifically, affordable housing and other key issues that remain in the forefront after the recent County Council work sessions.

Participants are instructed to call into the Dial-In number shown above and log into the call using the Call-In Code. The organizers will make a brief statement after which any participant may ask a question. Participants may join the call and disconnect at their leisure during the call.

Alert: NCA Conference Call Today

Today! January 5, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.

Call in to (605) 475-4800
Access Code: 923292#

New City Alliance, the bipartisan political alliance advocating for the smart development of Downtown Columbia, will discuss the various amendments that have been proposed to the General Plan Amendment and Zoning Regulation Amendments. We will also discuss our upcoming fundraising event, First & Goal, which will mobilize supporters for our final push across the finish line.

The call will be open, and participants are free to ask questions.

Michael Davis
Lin Eagan
Phil Engelke
David Yungmann

We Need You To Testify!

This Saturday, The County Council will begin hearing public testimony on CB 58 and 59, which is the legislation for Downtown Columbia. We are coming dow the home stretch, so it would be a big help to have a strong showing at the hearing. Let us know if you’re interested in testifying. Click here for more information and to sign up.

Also, check out these videos below by HoCoMoJo for a much more in depth look at all the issues surrounding the redevelopment of Columbia!

Biking With The Mayor of Columbia

Last Wednesday, we headed downtown for a bike ride with the Mayor of Columbia Missouri, Darwin Hindman. In his hometown, he has spearheaded many wonderful initiatives for bicyclists, and it was great to get his insight into what we should strive for with the redevelopment of downtown. Watch this video, and pay attention the the very end. The Mayor, talking about biking downtown, says, “But, when you get downtown, and your downtown is surrounded by this big parking lot….that is a challenge…and I don’t know how much life is going on in the downtown area, but you need to have that to be an attraction.” He gets it.

New City Alliance Announces Launch

Advocates of Plan to Redevelop Downtown Columbia
Launch Political Advocacy Organization – NEW CITY ALLIANCE

COLUMBIA, MD (October 19, 2009) – Four leading advocates of the plan to redevelop Downtown Columbia announced the formation of a bipartisan political advocacy organization today via an interactive teleconference.

The group’s leaders, David Yungmann, Lin Eagan, Michael Davis and Phil Engelke, are all well-known advocates of transforming Downtown Columbia into the economic, social and cultural heart of Howard County and the region.

“After five years of hard work by our community to create a plan, it’s finally in the hands of the County Council and time for the citizens of Howard County to fight for its passage,” said Lin Eagan, a local business owner and resident of Harpers Choice. “The lack of a plan to create a vibrant Downtown is the key failure of Columbia,” she added.

The primary land owner in Downtown, General Growth Properties, has worked with the community and County for the past several years to create such a plan. The General Plan Amendment and Zoning Regulation Amendment that support the plan are awaiting County Council approval.

Co-founder David Yungmann explained, “We started New City Alliance to talk directly to voters across Howard County, to explain how important this plan is to them and to actively campaign for its passage.”

New City Alliance will use traditional campaign vehicles like direct mail and neighborhood canvassing to connect with voters. The group has also launched a large scale internet campaign focused on specific issues addressed in the redevelopment plan.

Not only will New City Alliance campaign for the plan’s passage, it will work to keep the process moving forward so the plan doesn’t fall victim to delays or unwarranted compromises.

Michael Davis, longtime resident of Wilde Lake warned, “If we delay we will lose our competitive edge to other communities who already have similar projects underway such as Konterra just 15 minutes away.”

Phil Engelke of Oakland Mills added, “I worry that the plan will get diluted by public officials trying to appease the special interests of the folks who routinely oppose all development.”

New City Alliance is a bipartisan 501c4 political advocacy organization led by four longtime residents of Howard County and Columbia. NCA supports the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia as a walkable, vibrant and sustainable city with density and economic viability. NCA believes timely passage and implementation of the plan to redevelop Downtown is essential to the long-term success of Howard County.

Presentation of Downtown Plan to County Council

The County Council will finally start its review and approval process of the General Plan Amendment (GPA) and Zoning Regulation Amendment (ZRA) that comprise the plan to redevelop Downtown Columbia.

The first step in this process is GGP’s presentation of the plan to the Council tomorrow night – Tuesday 10/13 at 7:00. There is no public testimony but it’s important for us to show support from Howard County’s young professionals, business owners and future leaders. Dropping in for even an hour will make an important impact on the council members that will be voting on the Downtown plan you support. There’s no need to register or notify anyone in advance.

Location is the Board of Education building at 10910 Route 108 Ellicott City 21042. Directions Here.

One Step Closer to a Real Downtown

The redevelopment plan for downtown has won county planning board approval! We’re happy that they finally got their act together. As you’ll recall, the conference call David Yungmann participated in a couple weeks ago addressed their refusal to issue a recommendation.

The plan is now on to the county council and one step closer to becoming a reality! Residents of Howard County, this is huge and we are thrilled. What are your thoughts?

Continuing The Discussion

Last week, our Founder, David Yungmann was a panelist on a conference call with other community leaders who are concerned with the inability of The Howard County Planning Board to issue their recommendation to The County Council. The have missed three deadlines already, and simply ignored this last one. We feel that there has been more than enough time to issue their report, and they should be held accountable.

Here is a short video with 4 out of the 5 panelists discussing the call and some of the feedback they received. From L to R: David Yungmann, Lin Eagan, Phil Engelke and Mike Davis

Another Sign That This County Is Closed For Business!

Unbelievable. This kind of thing does not bode well for Howard County. County Council chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty said, “I’m not happy about it because of the economic impact it could have.” Can you say understatement?

Conference Call A Hot Topic

Yesterday’s conference call was covered by The Daily Record. Wordbones also weighed in and succinctly stated that The Planning Board should, “sh… or get off the pot.” Thanks for saying what we were all thinking, WB!

Also, in case you missed it, Hocomojo has the entire podcast posted on their homepage. Please listen if you want to know the latest on the redevelopment plans.

Community Conference Call on Downtown Columbia

Our own David Yungmann was a panelist on a Community Conference Call on Downtown Columbia yesterday. Below are the panelist bios and a quick recap of what the call was about:

David Yungmann

David has lived in Howard County for over 35 years and in that time, he has seen Columbia grow from a New Town into a city on the brink. He is very active in the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia, founding Columbia 2.0, a grassroots organization aimed at getting younger County residents engaged in the debate. He has testified in support of ZRA 113, the zoning that would enable the redevelopment, the plan which is currently being held hostage by the Howard County Planning Board. David has over 20 years in the real estate business, heading up the Yungmann Realty Group.

Lin Eagan

Lin has witnessed much change during the 38 years she’s lived in Columbia. While raising her family, developing a very successful real estate career with Long & Foster Real Estate and ultimately becoming president and CEO of Lakeview Title Company, she closely has watched Columbia grow into the community that James Rouse envisioned. But community has always been Lin’s priority. Over the years, she has served as chair of The Columbia Foundation and the Howard County Board of Appeals and as a member of the Board of Directors of The Columbia Festival of the Arts, the Foreign Information and Referral Network and the Howard County Association of Realtors.

Currently, Lin chairs The Business Alliance’s Town Center Task Force and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and the Howard County Public School Foundation, Bright Minds. She understands firsthand the needs of businesses in Columbia and envisions a day when a true downtown exists for the benefit of all of Columbia and Howard County.

Phil Engelke

Phil and his family have lived in Oakland Mills for 35 years, and they’ve seen their neighborhood grow from a muddy construction site to a mature village, with all the advantages and problems that growth entails. He has served three terms on the Oakland Mills Village Board and is part of a dynamic group of people who are guiding Oakland Mills’ revitalization.

Phil is a Vice President of Environmental Design for RTKL, a global full-service planning, architecture and creative services organization.

Michael Davis

Mike has been an active member of the Howard County legal community for over 25 years. In his practice, he represents individuals and families in all phases of estate planning, wealth management, probate and trust administration, asset protection, business succession, charitable giving, medical decision-making, and guardianship or fiduciary litigation matters. A recognized leader in the complexities of estate planning and other issues of interest to the aging community, Mike served on the Howard County Commission on Aging for the past ten years, as Chair or Vice-Chair for most of that time.

Sharonlee Vogel

Sharonlee is a member of the county’s Transportation Board, president of Transportation Advocates, and a volunteer on the county’s Commission on Aging. She wants to be able to walk to a corner, hop on a bus or shuttle and go anywhere in the town, from downtown to the new Gateway Overlook shopping center near Interstate 95.

She is retired from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority [Metrorail and Metrobus] where she managed Customer Support, which included certification of the disabled passengers for reduced fares and senior citizen ID programs, Lost & Found, and several other programs. She is credited with bringing bicycle racks to the Metrobuses, greatly expanding Metrorail access for bicycles, and totally revitalizing the bicycle locker program.

Key points of the call:
• Finally, after years of collaboration and coordination among citizens, General Growth, and the Department of Planning and Zoning, the County’s planning staff made its own two-month review of the Community Master Plan and validated almost every way the community envisioned its future. That go-ahead came in November of last year. NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR.
• We are about to enter the NINTH month of public hearings, technical staff presentations, developer presentations and at least TEN work sessions.
• The Planning Board’s first deadline for submitting a recommendation to our ELECTED County Council was in May.
• A deadline EXTENSION was granted to July.
• Yet another extension was granted until August 20 – last week.
• But after THREE unmet deadlines and unprecedented delays, the Planning Board has ignored the August 20 deadline and we, the community, AND our plan remain hostages of an unelected and unaccountable Planning Board.

According to the County Code, the role the Planning Board is that it “shall make recommendations to the County Council and the Zoning Board on all matters relating to the planning and zoning of the county, the adoption and amendment of regulations regarding the planning and zoning of the county, and amendments to the zoning map or zoning regulations.”

THE COUNTY CODE further provides that “the Planning Board shall make its recommendations within a reasonable period of time, but in any event no more than 45 days after it hears the petition unless the Zoning Board or the County Council allow a longer period of time for the Planning Board to make its recommendations.”

• If one were to take pictures of downtown Columbia in 2005 and then again today, those pictures would show that Columbia’s downtown has come to a grinding halt. The same is true for the older village centers in Columbia. How much more time do we have before Columbia’s reputation changes from that of being the city on a hill that Jim Rouse spoke of, showing the world how a new community can grow and prosper, to just another suburb with a failing infrastructure?
• However, no community in America has worked harder toward a consensus plan that stresses environmental sustainability, connectivity, a broad array of housing choices and first-class amenities.
• Our UNELECTED and apparently unaccountable Planning Board has simply hijacked this plan.
• It is time for the Planning Board to ACT NOW and give the community back its plan by sending it to our ELECTED County Council immediately.
• We are poised to take our message directly to every citizen of Howard County if this unprecedented delay continues.
• Time is very short. Every day counts. Let the County Council do its job – the job that we elected it to do.
• And let’s move from “more time and delay” to “more vision and action” NOW.