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Key decisions on Hickory Ridge Village Center plan delayed for months

Kimco Realty's plans for redeveloping the Hickory Ridge Village Center have been on the drawing board for months.
Kimco Realty's plans for redeveloping the Hickory Ridge Village Center have been on the drawing board for months. (Courtesy rendering/Kimco Realty)

A Howard County Zoning Board review of Columbia’s Hickory Ridge Village Center’s redevelopment plan, at the center of community discussion and debate for months, has been postponed until after this fall’s election.

The project, which the county’s Planning Board recommended for approval last month, will not be heard by the Zoning Board until after new members of the County Council are seated in December. The County Council sits as the Zoning Board after the Planning Board has reviewed projects and designs.

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The proposed redevelopment of Columbia’s Hickory Ridge Village Center passed another hurdle on Thursday night, when the county’s Planning Board unanimously recommended the project for approval by the county Zoning Board.

Developer Kimco Realty proposed redeveloping the center into a mixed-use residential and retail hub, including a four-story, 230-unit apartment building, in 2015. The scale of the $70 million project has drawn the ire of many residents who say the new center will not be cohesive with the design of the surrounding neighborhood.

Scheduled hearings set for Feb. 28 and March 6 were postponed because not all parties could be present at the meetings. However, there remained only one open hearing date before the primary election on June 26, the last possible time board members are permitted to hear cases during an election year.

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Due to the community interest and participation in the case, the board anticipated that the hearing could not be completed in one night, Board Administrator Robin Regner wrote in a statement.

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