During the past month of discussions involving the County Council, Howard Hughes and the community on legislation to form a Downtown Columbia Partnership, one of the main points of controversy was the proposed structure of the seven-member board of directors, which gave Howard Hughes initial control of the board and left out several stakeholders.

The parties eventually settled on an amendment to the bill that would create an 11-member advisory committee to attend board meetings and provide additional input and oversight.

Howard Hughes would still have four members, and thus voting control of the board, until 500,000 square feet of commercial space is developed downtown. However, an amendment to the bill raises the numbers of members needed for a quorum from four to six, so that Howard Hughes could not hold a meeting of only its members.

The board of directors will include:


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County Executive Ken Ulman;

• Howard Hughes senior vice president John DeWolf;

• Mall in Columbia General Manager Katie Essing; and,

• Columbia Association President Phil Nelson.

Until 500,000 square feet of commercial space is developed in downtown:

• three representatives of Howard Hughes.

After 500,000 square feet of commercial space is developed in downtown:

• two members who either own commercial property or a business in downtown, or live in close proximity to downtown; and,

• one commercial property owner in downtown.

The advisory committee will include:

Howard Community College President Kate Hetherington;

Howard County General Hospital President Victor Broccolino;

• Howard County Economic Development Authority CEO Laura Neuman;

• Howard County Revenue Authority Chairman Michael Jack;

• Howard County Chamber of Commerce President Pamela Klahr;

• Town Center Village Board Chairman Lee Richardson;

• two Columbia residents, selected from a list of four submitted by Ulman, that live in or in close proximately to downtown;

• one owner or general manager of a business within downtown that has fewer than 25 employees;

• one owner of property within downtown who has obtained a building permit for downtown revitalization; and,

• one owner of commercial property within downtown.