Columbia Council to look further into annexation of Key property

516-acre site could become part of Kings Contrivance

November 14, 1999|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Council has decided to explore further the possible "annexation" of a proposed Rouse Co. development in North Laurel.

Rafia Siddiqui, Columbia Association's vice president for administrative services, made a preliminary presentation to the 10-member council Thursday on the legal, financial and community implications of absorbing the so-called Key property into Kings Contrivance village.

Under a Rouse proposal, the 516-acre parcel -- slated to have 1,145 dwellings, 1.2 million feet of employment space and 100,000 square feet of retail space -- would be subject to the association lien and would benefit from its programs and services.

Siddiqui said that if the property were annexed, the homeowners group would receive an estimated $33 million in additional assessment revenue over 20 years, while making $3.7 million in capital expenditures over 10 years.

Failing to at least explore the issue further, she said, would mean foregoing a "rare opportunity" for residential and commercial growth and long-term financial gain; failing to strengthen the association's voice in county and regional affairs; limiting its potential for improvement in bond ratings; and allowing a new nonprofit to potentially compete with it.

The annexation of the property -- where residential development isn't expected to begin until 2001 -- is far from a reality.

"It sounds like a very good idea, but there's more details and more numbers that we'll need to look at," said Pearl Atkinson-Stewart of Owen Brown, vice chairwoman of the council.

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