Volume 21, Issue 1 | Download
Winer on Odenton by Jay Winer
As anyone involved in good, solid organizational planning will know, a strategic plan is based on the ability to be “S.M.A.R.T.” If the plan is based on realistic goal setting that can be SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT and TIME-BASED, its likely successful result will be implementation.
Which brings me to the Odenton Town Plan, now in its fourth revision since it was first adopted by Anne Arundel County in 1994. There is little argument that the western part of the county continues to carry the most important economic imperative for influencing growth management and the quality of life in the area. Of course, this plan in particular should be strategic as it guides, regulates and compels development of all types.
Unfortunately, as the fourth iteration implies, the Plan has still not been implemented. In fact, implementation has sputtered and in many cases been inhibited by the extra time (in years) it has taken to interpret the meaning and the county codes with which it overlaps.
So, where does the problem lie? The answer is in who prepares and oversees the Plan and all its elements, responsible for each and every one of the elements of a SMART plan as outlined above. The Office of Planning and Zoning in Anne Arundel County has been responsible. Good intent cannot be questioned, but results can.
The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, the economic authority for the county is charged with developing and implementing economic policy for the county. It has been successful over the years of cultivating and promoting economic growth. Its role in the planning process as it relates to community development has been limited to review, while it is more than capable of managing the process and applying principles of management influence outcomes.
If the aim of enhancing economic development for the benefit of all residents in west county is through the Odenton Town Plan, as it was through the General Development Plan, Small Area Plan, and every other plan the county purports to draw up and implement, it’s time to make a change to avoid repeating the same level of results. Otherwise, would we be revising all these plans so often?
The new administration should consider flipping the “power pyramid” and putting Economic Development at the top. The role of the Office of Planning and Zoning is just as important to planning, environment and zoning as ever. However, as it relates to implementation lets be “S.M.A.R.T.”, designating Economic Development to lead the charge for a more successful result.
The Odenton population increased 80.8% from the 2000 to the 210 census and the median household income rose 51.8% which is 40% higher than the Maryland state average.
by Stuart Title
Recently an Arundel High School student inquired as to why Odenton with the new development, still looks run down? In the remake of Odenton, this perception may be the most damning. Not just in the eyes of a local student, but in the eyes of investors and retailers looking from the outside in.
Perception is a product of the environment surrounding you, and in Odenton’s case we have Hanover with Arundel Mills, Crofton with Waugh Chapel and now Laurel Town Center surrounding us. All have high profile projects large enough to have an impact on their adjacent communities. These high profile projects tend to diminish positive changes surrounding them. Odenton too has many new, but smaller impact projects. The Flats170 at Academy Yard, Village at Odenton Station, Odenton Gateway and Town Center Commons which have added 969 residential units and 152,000 sf of retail and office space. Over 500 additional new units are also currently under construction in the Odenton Town Center core and another medical building will begin construction later this year.
In addition, the Odenton Town Center is perceived to be mostly in the form of a “major” new shopping complex where people gather to shop, eat and be entertained. Town Centers traditionally are also gathering places in communities centralized around a transportation hub and community buildings and structures with landmark features. Right now Odenton’s Town Center has a library, train station and a few landmark buildings.
The trouble is many of these new elements can’t be easily seen or accessed and much of the “old”, especially along Annapolis Road fronting Fort Meade, continues to be remembered by outsiders, and is all too familiar with those who live, work and have been schooled in the area.
In order to continue the momentum to change this perception, the plan to build roads and infrastructure improvements to pull all these elements together must be supported and accelerated within rather than sidetracked. Be a party to the change of perception as Odenton moves forward.
Anne Arundel Medical Center has selected A. J. Properties to handle their site management at the Odenton Gateway complex at 1106 Annapolis Road. This complex adjoins the Odenton Health & Technology campus housing Johns Hopkins, Kennedy Krieger and other medical tenants which is also managed by A. J. Properties.