The proposed redevelopment of Columbia’s Hickory Ridge Village Center cleared another hurdle late last week when the county’s Planning Board unanimously recommended the project for approval by the county Zoning Board.
Kimco Realty, which owns the center, envisions a $70 million mixed-use retail and residential center including a Giant grocery and a 230-unit apartment building. The large scale of the apartment building has drawn the ire of some residents and is one of the driving factors behind opposition by the Hickory Village Board, the neighborhood’s civic association.
The five-member Planning Board had few concerns about the project during its less than 20-minute discussion on Thursday, speaking favorably of the project and the apartment building. Member Erica Roberts said she thought the building would be an “added benefit” to the center and bring business to the shops.
The owner of Hickory Ridge Village Center continued to press forward with its proposal to build 230 apartments as part of a mixed-used project that has been challenged by neighbors who say the apartment building would be too large.
Board member Trudy Adler said she is worried Kimco did not have enough parking for the apartments. The plan calls for 393 residential parking spaces.
“There’s just a full bet on the folks who live in those residences having fewer cars and it doesn’t seem that there’s going to be any room to correct that if that doesn’t pan out,” Adler said. “That should be looked at very carefully.”
Greg Reed, a vice president of Kimco, said the company will take another look at the parking before going to the Zoning Board, but he’s confident they have the correct number of spaces. Reed said Kimco does not plan to make any other changes to its development concept before the Zoning Board’s review.
The county’s Zoning Board, the final county entity that must approve of the project before it can move forward, will review the project on Feb. 28. The board is made up of the five County Council members.