Did Howard Heat Up?

THE SCENE County Currents anbd Undercurrents

October 02, 1991|By Erik N. Nelson Michael James

I had already noticed that the summers have been getting hotter and winters milder, but I hadn't realized how badly the greenhouse effecthad hit Howard County.

I received an invitation recently for the grand opening celebration tomorrow of a new 202-unit, 13-building rental apartment complex off of Route 108 not far from where it intersects Route 104.

The card showed a very tasteful black-and-beige reproduction of the complex's club house, framed by palm trees.

That's right. Palm trees.

Has runaway development in Howard County affected the climate? Is this the earth-tone-house effect? Has electing a friendly county executive melted the Ellicott City ice cap?


It's just that the people who built the project, Summit Properties of Charlotte, N.C., decided to have a Hawaiian luau theme for its celebration of the opening of their new complex, Ashton Woods, explained Dan McCabe, development manager and partner with Summit Properties' Baltimore office.

So don't go down there expecting to see palms growing in the ground, swaying in a warm ocean breeze. And don't go down there at allunless you were one of the 150 people lucky enough to have an invitation to the event. And for those of you who aren't local politicians,developers, bankers or reporters, you can still get invited to the residents' party on Friday.

But hurry up, and bring your credit references, because the place is about 75 percent leased and one-bedrooms start at $695 a month and three-bedroom unit can cost as much as $1,100 a month (that includes unrestricted use of a swimming pool, tennis courts and a health room with exercise equipment).


Ah, lovely! Add "Tufted Moss" to my list of favorite Columbia street names.

Perhaps one of the most educational aspects of my job as a police reporter is going through the blotter and finding minor crimes that deserve mention in our weekly compilation of break-ins, car thefts and vandalism reports.

But more educational than the crimes themselves is reading names of streets where they are committed, and trying to picture these suburban thieves prowling about suchplaces as "Tufted Moss."

Oh, sure, you must know Tufted Moss? It's in the Dasher Green neighborhood of Owen Brown, right next to Love Knot Place, Leafy Screen and Gay Topaz. One clever burglar spent days, perhaps weeks, casing the area in dark clothing, waiting for his chance to make the big time by pulling off a burglary in this poetic neighborhood.

I'm glad he didn't get spotted. What if the police hadcornered him after a chase through the neighborhood? The story in the paper the next day would have read:

Police chased a man who burglarized a Tufted Moss home Thursday to the Barefoot Boy cul-de-sac, where he surrendered after a three-hour standoff in which he held two Pressed Gentian residents against their will.

The man was seen behaving wildly while running down Tinted Hill, Open Flower, and Youngheart Lane as police, armed in riot gear, closed in . . .

Columbia criminals had better get with it, or they're going to end up risking their life someday on a street that sounds like something out of Mother Goose. Is there no honor among thieves?

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