Wilde Lake Village Center

Kimco Realty Corp. won approval Wednesday night from the Howard County Zoning Board for its renovation plan of the Wilde Lake Village Center. Above is a rendering of part of the new village center. (Submitted photo / June 27, 2012)

Joyce Ardo, chairperson of Wilde Lake's Village Board, said last week the community is "very supportive and very excited" to see plans moving forward for the redevelopment of the village center.

"It's just a very exciting time," she said.

On Dec. 6, the Howard County Planning Board approved Kimco Realty's comprehensive sketch plan, the second to last step before construction can begin at the village center. Kimco's next move will be to submit a site development plan outlining more detailed construction plans, such as driveways, sidewalks, retaining walls and storm water management systems.

Also at the meeting, the planning board approved an amended zoning regulation the would allow property owners with Traditional Neighborhood Community (TNC) zoning to build 10-feet higher as long as setbacks are increased as well. The regulation will facilitate the redevelopment of Normandy Shopping Center on Route 40 in Ellicott City.

Kimco officials said they expect to submit their site development plan early next year, according to Geoff Glazer, Kimco's vice president of acquisitions and development for the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions. Construction is expected to start by the spring, Glazer said.

Plans to redevelop Columbia's oldest village center began in 2008. Residents were opposed to the initial plans that included up to 500 apartments and the lack of a grocery store. But after four years of planning and community meetings, both sides are happy.

The Howard County Zoning Board in June approved a preliminary plan by Kimco to redevelop village center with a minimum of 85,000 square feet of commercial space and a maximum of 250 residential units.

Kimco's plan approved by the planning board calls for 250 residential units within a residential and retail building and five new or redesigned mixed use commercial buildings totaling 90,000 square feet. The village center's courtyard is expected to be expanded

Normandy gets amended zoning

A project to reinvent Normandy Center is stalled in a zoning appeals process before the circuit court.

But if the circuit court allows the project its requested Traditional Neighborhood Center (TNC) zoning overlay, an amended zoning regulation approved by the planning board will help facilitate the project.

The planning board voted unanimously to approve the amended regulation that allows buildings to be as tall as 65-feet by adding an additional one foot in height for every two feet in additional setback.

Normandy Venture Limited Partnership is seeking to build a 274-unit apartment complex with an adjacent parking garage, surrounded by office and retail space. To properly accommodate the apartment residents, property owners asked for the regulation allowing them to build a taller parking garage instead of having to build an underground level to keep the structure within the current zoning regulation.

Land use attorney William Erskine argued Dec. 6 that the zoning needed to be brought up to date and in line with the county and state general plan, which allows mixed-use zoning with buildings as tall as 60-feet to be built with a setback of 50-feet from residential property.

The TNC zoning had only allowed buildings of 55-feet with a 100-foot setback.

The zoning board already has granted the TNC zoning twice, but each time it has been appealed by area residents concerned with excess apartment development that could bring more crime and congestion.

Normandy Venture's Dave Moxley said he was "very pleased" with the board's decision. "I think it brings TNC into conformity with other mixed use zonings."

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The amended zoning regulation is expected to come before the county council for final approval in January or February.