Last week the Wilde Lake Village Board announced its decision, online, concerning the Kimco Realty plans for redevelopment of the Village Center. It approved aspects of the plans that should have been disapproved.
Two years ago the Village Board recognized that they needed the advice of professionals to adequately evaluate such comprehensive redevelopment plans and requested local architects and planners volunteer to be on an Architectural Advisory Panel. The four panel members recently submitted their recommendations after attending Kimco's community presentations and extensive review of their plans.
Unfortunately for Wilde Lake residents and Columbia's reputation as a model community, the Village Board's decision ignores the Architectural Advisory Panel's most serious criticisms of the Kimco plan.
These include destruction of the Village Green as a vehicle-free shopping environment, construction of a new retail building that turns its back on the existing center, construction of a five-story apartment building so long that it will be grossly out of scale with the adjacent buildings and so close to Cross Fox Lane that street trees and landscaping necessary to screen the first-floor garages cannot be planted.
The tragedy here is that the current Village Board members are blind to the basic tenets of good planning and design and are unable to recognize good professional advice even when they ask for it.
Jervis Dorton chaired the Wilde Lake Village Board's Architectural Advisory Panel.