The Columbia Association will explore entering into a joint agreement with Howard Hughes Corp. and the Howard County government, which could result in the creation of master redevelopment plan for the Symphony Woods/Merriweather Post Pavilion neighborhood.
By exploring the possibilities of such an agreement, the board is leaning closer toward delaying the redevelopment of Symphony Woods, which was recommended by staff and CA's consultant.
At an August meeting, staff recommended delaying the delay until Howard Hughes' new plans for the redevelopment of Merriweather Post Pavilion take shape.
Currently, CA's plan for Symphony Woods is halfway through the 16-step downtown development process, while Howard Hughes's plan for Merriweather Post Pavilion is still in the early planning process.
During a "straw vote" Thursday, the board unanimously agreed to explore entering into a tripartite agreement with the county and Howard Hughes.
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"I think it's a very good idea for the plans to be done in concert with one another," Town Center representative Suzanne Waller said. "It's in the best interest of how everything turns out."
Owen Brown representative Andrew Stack said he was pleased to discover the county is interested in being a part of the redevelopment of the neighborhood.
"I see a three-way trust as a good thing. It would bring the county out into the forefront," Stack said. "If the three parties do work together, Columbia now and Columbia in the future will be a whole lot better for it."
Dorsey's Search representative Tom Coale said a partnership between the county and Howard Hughes is inevitable, and it's up to the board to decide if they want to be a part of it.
"Whether it happens now, or it happens 10 years from now, that entity (a partnership between Howard Hughes and the county) will exist. Whether or not CA is the third part of that is up to this board to decide."
While the board agreed to allow staff to explore entering into an agreement, the specifications of the potential agreement are still unclear.
Following the public meeting Thursday evening, the board held a private session, where specific terms of a potential tripartite agreement were to be discussed.