A village in search of an identity

July 26, 1992|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

Columbia's last village is searching for its identity.

The new residents may find it by opposing the county government's road plans, starting a village association, or both.

About 45 homes are now occupied in Pheasant Ridge, the first neighborhood in River Hill, the 10th village of the 25-year-old planned city.

Residents would like to take over the River Hill village association, which is now run by a village board consisting of the President of the Columbia Association, Padraic Kennedy, Columbia Council Chairman John Hansen, and three representatives from the Rouse Co., Columbia's developer.

One of the first issues the new board would tackle, provided it is sanctioned by the Columbia Council, is the planned closing of Trotter Road.

Residents of Pheasant Ridge, which is being developed by the northern half of Trotter Road, believe closing the road would hamper fire and rescue effortsand cut the community off from schools built for River Hill.

"If we had storms like we did a couple of days ago, and trees fall, or the Cricket Creek Floods, there will be no way out of here," said Hal Furman, who moved into Pheasant Ridge in April.

Mr. Furman said his wife, Sue, and some other fledgling River Hill residents met recently with their most likely opponents and could almost see eye-to-eye on the issue.

"We understand the need to cul-de-sac Trotter Road," Mr. Furman said. "What we'd like to see is another access out to Old Guilford, or Route 32."

That could meet both communities' needs if it were indirect enough to discourage its use as a through street, he said.

Members of the Trotter Road Citizens Association, who have been around since Columbia was born, have favored closing Trotter Road. The closure would keep the bulk of River Hill's Pointers Run neighborhood from using their neighborhood as a short-cut to points east on Route 108.

Even though closing the road was a condition of developing River Hill placed on the Rouse Co. by the county Planning Board, it still requires the approval of the County Council. James M. Irvin, county public works director, said the council is likely to take up the issue in September.

Partly to give their cause an official voice, River Hill residents have asked the Columbia Council to allow them to run their own village board and give the village a seat on the council.

The last two village associations formed were done during April village elections, but creating River Hill's association in mid-term would require the council's approval.

Council members seemed receptive to the idea at their Thursday night meeting, but some expressed doubts about seating a 10th council member ahead of schedule.

The subject of creating a village board will be discussed by a Columbia Association representative Aug. 4 at the Pointers Run Elementary School, following a 7:30 p.m. presentation on the road closing by the Rouse Co.

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