Controversial land purchase likely to be OK'd in Columbia


The Columbia Council likely will approve a controversial $1 million purchase of about 5 acres -- including a contaminated parcel near two closed hazardous waste dumps -- after an attorney advised the board that environmental risks are minimal.

But that advice based on an environmental study doesn't necessarily mean the council -- the Columbia Association's (CA) board of directors -- will go forward with construction of a $350,000 recreational vehicle (RV) storage facility on part of the land. That depends on an RV park's financial viability, council members say.

"The report clearly says if we want to go forward with the RV lot, there are no legal environmental reasons not to," said the council's vice chairman, David W. Berson.

The RV park is proposed for one of the two parcels, 3 acres southeast of Snowden Square shopping center. The council has no plans for the second parcel included in the deal, a 2.3-acre lot in the nearby, Rouse-developed Gateway Plaza office park.

Council members say they now have more confidence to complete the deal, tentatively approved last March.

The board has asked CA for an RV park cost-benefit analysis.

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