From: Alex Hekimian
The Alliance for a Better Columbia has had a chance to review theCA staff reports on the proposed Allview golf course, and our board of directors offers the following comments.
We agree that the Hobbit's Glen course is overcrowded and recognize that lien-payers are unable to play golf there as much as they would like. Golfers have donea very good job of presenting their views. And we acknowledge that there is a lot of sentiment on the Columbia Council for building a newcourse at Allview.
Nevertheless, there are too many unresolved questions for us to endorse the proposal at this time.
For instance,doesn't the proposed amount for planning funds for a nine-hole course seem excessive? So much planning has already gone into that area for the previous Allview proposal and in conjunction with laying out the home sites there. It seems like the planning options are rather limited. Their needs to be a more detailed description of how that moneywould be used.
According to CA's recent survey, Columbians also have a strong interest in using the Allview site for a passive park and wildlife area. If planning funds for the course are put in the budget, doesn't it make sense to put a corresponding amount in the budgetfor planning a park in the balance of the Allview site?
Does putting planning funds in the budget for a project requiring such a largecapital expenditure place CA at a financial risk during the current economic downturn? Local governments all over Maryland are facing revenue shortfalls, which are causing them to cut back on capital projects. Is CA immune from such problems?
CA already has some multimillion dollar commitments to pay for the Supreme Court and Lakefront construction. If $3 million to $5 million more for the golf course is not a problem, then how can CA in good conscience tell the people of Kendall Ridge that spending less than 1 million dollars for a neighborhood pool is a funding problem? If planning funds are justified for Allview, then planning funds are also justified for Kendall Ridge.
The profit or loss outlook for Allview depends on a lot of assumptions. Are those assumptions too optimistic? Because if they don't come true, we will simply have to accept Allview's annual losses, just as wehave with Hobbit's Glen.
In conclusion, we ask that the Columbia Council address those questions, and we urge you to use caution in making a commitment on Allview today as well as in the months to come.
Editor's note: The writer is the president of The Alliance for a Better Columbia.