A committee planning a new Odenton has decided to hire a private consultant to study the needs of the western Anne Arundel business community.
The consultant will do everything from street surveys and interviews with business owners to conducting a numerical analysis of the business climate.
"It will identify what types of additional business establishments would be viable, which existing commercial space could be used by these businesses and what specific companies should be targeted," the specifications read.
The 18-member Town Center Committee, working over the next year to design a town center to serve the growing west county area, will use the data to make land-use decisions and decide what actions need to be taken to either encourage or discourage various kinds of growth.
The committee, including residents, developersand county planners, was organized in April. By July 1992, the groupis scheduled to have put together rules for developers who want to build in the town center.
The committee will not come up with a specific design, but instead will create a concept and regulations to assure how the town center will look.
The business consultant, who will be paid $10,000, will work with the county Office of Planning andZoning and the committee. The report is due in May.
Bids for the position are scheduled to go out Oct. 15, said Kathleen Koch, a county planner. The county will pay the consultant $5,000; the West CountyChamber of Commerce will pay the other half.
Koch said business development "is a real difficult issue in Odenton" because most residents seem to shop in Glen Burnie or Parole. Also, people who work at Fort Meade are eligible to use the base services.
"How come Odentondoes not come up with its regional share of businesses?" Koch said. "What portion of Odenton's population is eligible to shop at Fort Meade? How much does that take away from the community?"
Koch said the study will try to determine if businesses are attracted to Odenton,and if not, "what we have to do to change that. What type of businesses do we need to start giving people real services?"
Marcia Hall,executive director of the West County Chamber of Commerce, said she approached the county with the idea to do the study and found out theTown Center Committee also was "doing something along those lines."
Hall said this will be the first in-depth study of businesses conducted in the area, adding that the business district in Odenton needsimprovement. "We are very concerned," she said, noting that many buildings are empty.