They probably won't link arms and sing "Kumbaya" at Tuesday night's County Commission meeting. But it's heartwarming to hear a measure of harmony from something as contentious as a zoning issue.
Don't close those hymnals yet, though. There are still some sour notes to be worked out.
A couple of weeks ago, the long-discussed process of creating development "nodes" around the intersections of Furys Ferry and Evans-to-Locks roads, and Columbia and Belair roads, finally drew to a crescendo.
That's when commissioners gave initial approval to an ordinance setting up the Furys Ferry node after working with developers and nearby homeowners to compromise on a few details.
In the end, that compromise seemed simple enough. Representing homeowners, Jeri Whitworth spoke forcefully in favor of making the node's commercial development restrictions as stringent as possible. "The homes in that neighborhood were there first," Whitworth said. "Anything built there should look like it is part of that neighborhood" - specifically, Jones Creek.
Developer Vic Mills - who built Jones Creek and also lives there - is singing from the same sheet of music. But it just so happens his company, Blanchard and Calhoun, is one of the node's larger commercial stakeholders. Mills also says he wants high-class, harmonious projects in the area, especially since it would have a significant effect on his River Island development nearby.
Their views differ on minor architectural details; the compromise will deliver upgraded, but realistic, standards for the area.
Less harmonious is the Belair-Columbia Road node. That intersection already is mostly developed; the new rules would thus apply more to renovations than new construction, and business owners in the area are justifiably nervous about the rules being changed on them.
To ease their concerns, commissioners have delayed the Belair-Columbia node until some of the more contentious details can be worked out.
Final approval for the Furys Ferry node is expected Tuesday (commissioners meet at 6:30 p.m., at the Government Complex auditorium, in Evans). Don't expect them to sing, but any improvements to future development should be music to everyone's ears.
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