Do you recognize this photo?  It’s not Columbia, but it may well be 5 years from now, that is if we continue along our same trajectory.

You may have heard the term “at risk”.  It means exposed to harm or danger. Well, that’s just what’s happening to Columbia right now.  We are at risk for losing the very thing that makes Columbia special… the fact that it’s a planned community.

When you hear people who live and work in Columbia, describe it, you might hear something like this…

Columbia is… a utopian vision, progressive, clean and green, green, green.

  • It’s the people tree.
  • It’s a happy place.
  • It’s diverse.
  • It celebrates people.
  • It’s home.

Ask almost any Columbian and they will tell you we live in a special environment. Columbians love “the ease of using the un-congested beautiful parkways to move about.  They love the way the village centers blend into the neighborhood, the 90 miles of bike paths, the gorgeous tree lined parkways, the family-friendly summer events, the list goes on and on…

And up to now it stayed that way because…

Once there was someone who had a vision, who put safeguards and protections in place to keep it that way. Once there was someone who cared about keeping Columbia a planned community, someone who took steps to ensure its future.

Now all this is being threatened by our own local government pushing to circumvent and obfuscate the very framework that allowed Columbia to grow and thrive as a planned community.  The framework that made it possible for a company like Whole Foods to go out into the community more than 50 years after the founders of Columbia espoused their vision for the community and easily find people who live and work in Columbia to tout it’s many advantages.

Whole Foods Market Columbia opens August 20th! from Whole Foods Market MA Region on Vimeo.

Now we’re at risk.

Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ), in an effort to facilitate outside interests, wants to turn our parkways into congested urban boulevards.  Yes they are making decisions NOW with virtually zero input from the Columbia community. In fact, I overheard a Howard County developer’s attorney and a DPZ official both using the exact same language to describe what THEY want for us, and they weren’t even together!  It’s as if they handed out talking points!

Now, this isn’t an anti-development blog.  We believe that planned development that’s monitored and happens within a specific framework is the best way to grow.   Something is working here in Columbia.  Let’s not expose it to unnecessary harm or danger.

Help us preserve the vision of Columbia.  Follow our blog. Join our Facebook page. Share your ideas about keeping Columbia a planned community.  Join our “We Love Our Planned Community” community of citizens interested in preserving the vision that is Columbia.  We’ll be talking about things that are happening and what we can do as citizens to take action so that we’ll no longer be “At Risk”.

Remember ! It’s about Columbians planning our future!

…and stay tuned for our next blog post… 10 Reasons Why We Should Keep Columbia a Planned Community.