Howard Week

June 25, 2000

Columbia Council addresses annexation

Plans to annex a future Rouse Co. development in North Laurel met with skepticism from some residents and several Columbia Council members Thursday night, who expressed financial and philo-sophical concerns.

Despite estimates that the deal would add $2.7 million to $22.8 mil-lion to the Columbia Association's coffers over 20 years, several peo-ple were worried that the associa-tion would wind up in the hole.

"This is a high-risk venture with scant benefit to offset the risk. There is no free lunch," said Norma Rose, a former Columbia Council chairwoman.

The Howard Research and De-velopment Corp, an affiliate'of the Rouse Co., has asked the associa-tion to annex the planned 665-acre Key development and provide it with amenities.

Raga Siddiqui, vice president for administrative services, presented the council with three estimates of the financial costs and benefits to making the Key property a fourth neighborhood in Kings Contrivance.

County Zoning Board outlines development plan

The Howard County Zoning Board took a step Monday toward quelling residents' fears about the Maple Lawn Farms development in the southern part of the county, releasing a modified plan for the proposed residential and commercial space on a 507-acre former turkey farm.

At a work session, board members Christopher J. Merdon and Allan II. Kittleman discussed changes that mainly addressed residential density and road improvements - two topics hotly debated in the 30 hearings held about the property.

Praised as a Smart Growth community and a neotraditional development, Maple Lawn Farms in Fulton drew criticism for using compact yards and close-together housing. In Howard County, which has had regulations encouraging neotraditional designs for nearly a decade, developer Stewart Greenebaum has spent more than two years trying to move his Maple Lawn Farms project from blue-print to construction.

School board to gauge administrators' work

School administrators will have to go through a more thorough evaluation next year, including a new self-assessment, the Howard County school board agreed at Tuesday's meeting.

The process will gauge the performance of principals and assistant principals in five areas: interpersonal skills, leadership, strategic planning and vision, performance results and parent-community relations.

Administrators in schools have been evaluated for many years, said Tricia Tidgewell, the district's director of elementary schools, who helped develop the new evaluation process. But the process will be more complete and more detailed.

Administrators will be required to develop a professional portfolio to share with their evaluators. The evaluation process began with a pilot program in schools this year. Twenty-four principals were examined using the model.

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