At Least For Now, Consultant Wants Odenton To Dream

A Brainstorming Session To Help Shape The Town's Future

December 11, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A town without cars?

Unlikely, yes, but not impossible -- not when everything is possible.

For the first time since it was organized in April, the committeeplanning a new Odenton will try to come up with a vision of what theWest County community should look like 20 years from now.

"We want to remove the focus from what's wrong and try to put the focus on envisioning what is possible," said Bruce Galloway, a consultant hiredby the county to oversee the design of Odenton Town Center, a 218-acre site at routes 32 and 175.

The committee -- residents, developers and county planners -- hopes to draft rules by July 1992 for developers who want to build in the town center.

The committee will notcome up with a specific design, but instead will create a concept for how the town center will look and regulations to enforce that vision.

An earlier committee already has put together a growth management bill -- passed by the County Council -- that imposes restrictions on what developers can build on town center land. The bill requires developers to set aside 25 percent of their lots as green space and limits buildings to eight stories.

The current 18-member committee has done a lot of preliminary work, including touring development in suburban Washington looking for ideas. Tonight, it is time to put someof those ideas on paper.

"What we want to try to do is get peopleto think about what Odenton values most highly," Galloway said. "What are the things that they want to keep? What's happening that's good? It's a hard thing to talk about."

Galloway compared the process to drawing up the U.S. Constitution. "They were describing something that didn't exist, yet what they did, they described it as though it did exist. That is what we are trying to get out of these people. We want them to describe a community that doesn't now exist."

The meeting will resemble a brainstorming session. "You can go kind of nuts with the things," Galloway said. "Should Odenton be the first automobileless community in the United States? If that is part of the vision, then how do we get there?"

"It's very much like corporate strategic planning," he said. "It uses many of the same techniques. It is very difficult to predict if it's going to turnout. It is difficult topredict if it's going to be successful. But you have to let people dream."

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