Bowing to the opposition of neighboring Columbia Hills residents, the Columbia Association is negotiating to buy or lease an alternative site for its public works garage.
"We have found what we believe is a very suitable site, and we are negotiating for it," said association spokeswoman Pamela Mack. She would not identify the site, saying an announcement would follow once a contract is signed.
Until then, however, the association still has not ruled out the site on Edgar Road just off of Route 108 that has infuriated residents of Columbia Hills. The neighborhood was developed before the new town area that the association serves.
"I'm delighted. I really didn't think that we really need something like that on Edgar Road," said Susan Randt who was one of an estimated 100 Columbia Hills residents who attended a community meeting Wednesday night and got the news from County Councilman Darrel Drown.
Randt, who has lived on Winding Way for 15 years. said she was one of the first Columbia Hills residents to inquire about the project last fall when she noticed seven new fire hydrants along Edgar Road.
She said the 357-home community is still maintaining a legal fund to fight the project, just in case.
The 4.7-site on Edgar Road was to have served as a maintenance garage for the association's Open Space Management Division. which mows lawns and maintains more than 2,000 acres of Columbia's open space.
Opponents feared the garage, which would service 65 vehicles, including 25 dump trucks, would bring pollution, noise and traffic Problems to their community's only two-way access road.
Although Columbia Council members and association administrators protested that the site had already been through a public budgeting process, Columbia Hills residents pointed out that until recently, they had no reason to attend such meetings.
Drown, who has been lobbying the association to find another Site, said he was excited about the association's pursuit of a new site.
"In this business, you don't get too many times where you win."