Odenton Town Center Warning Bell

– and it’s not your alarm clock.

It’s been a year now since Anne Arundel County passed the most recent version of the Odenton Town Center Master Plan. The original plan was passed in 1994 and the Odenton Town Center Oversight Committee was established in 1995. The first detailed plan with development criteria and permitted use areas was adopted in 2004. The latest version calls for evaluation of progress, updated capital budget needs and reports of essential revisions annually by the Oversight Committee and the County Director of Planning and Zoning. This annual review and action plan was a key element missing the first time around, so it’s time.

Issues such as allowed uses and density requirements in mixed use areas are just some of those that should be addressed. The County and Oversight Committee must understand that all the good intentions and dreamy views of the built out plan twenty years hence are just that. Getting to that long term vision requires a balance of marketable development for today and imposing more stringent criteria later. There will certainly be plenty of time to add regulation.  Address the market conditions now and then adjust as things improve. It’s necessary to sometimes allow a single use, especially in areas away from the denser “core” area. If not, Odenton will again lose out as development takes place on the outskirts of OTC where the same regulation does not apply  and the “hole” in our town center doughnut remains unfilled.