Symphony Woods Development Proposal
CA recently received important approvals from the County Planning Board of its Final Design Plan for Symphony Woods Park. The approvals included the Merriweather/Symphony Woods Neighborhood Concept Plan, the Merriweather/ Symphony Woods implementation Plan and the Final Design Plan for the first phase of Symphony Woods Park. These approvals provide the important foundation for the development, subsequent submission, and approval of park site development plans.
Symphony Woods Development Proposal INNER ARBOR DEVELOPMENT PLAN Symphony Woods Park CA recently received important approvals from the County Planning Board concerning Symphony Woods Park (SWP) Approvals included: Merriweather/Symphony Woods Concept Plan ¡ Merriweather/Symphony Woods Implementation Plan ¡ The Final Design Plan for the first phase of Symphony Woods Park. ¡ Symphony Woods Park The County Planning Board placed conditions on the approval related to: Preservation of Trees ¡ Routing of Pathways and grading ¡ The need for continued coordination between CA and the Howard Hughes Corporation ¡ As a result of the County’s conditions, staff asked the Board to take a pause in planning so that CA could get a better determination of what Howard Hughes Corporation was going to do with Merriweather Post. Symphony Woods Park After staff held discussions with County leaders and Howard Hughes it became quite apparent that all parties associated with the development of the County designated Symphony Woods/Merriweather Post “neighborhood” that the plan that will be presented tonight by Michael McCall is the favored plan. At one point in time, discussions were focused on CA being a partner in a multi-party trust along with the County and Howard Hughes Corporation. This joint venture could take place at some point in time, but after a great deal of research, CA management is proposing that CA form a sole trust so that development of the park can get underway. Symphony Woods Park Management’s recommendations contained in this memo are based on three straw votes taken by the Board at the October 11, 2012 meeting: The votes taken at that meeting were based on the following points: Possibilities of entering into a trust ¡ Using the existing Symphony Woods Plan, or endorsing the socalled McCall Plan or other plans for the future development phases of Symphony Woods Park; and ¡ Consider placing a CA Headquarters Building in Symphony Woods Park. ¡ Symphony Woods Park Budget Considerations: ¡ Development of a 501 (c)(3) non-profit entity, could allow other entities or individuals to give donations or contributions that would be deductible on income taxes. ¡ The trust could apply for grants that CA cannot apply for as a 501 (c)(4); ¡ CA could use the trust for construction of other projects thereby reducing some of the significant money (through grants, donations or contributions) that CA will have to invest in other existing or future venues. ¡ CA will have to provide initial seed capital to get park projects started Symphony Woods Park CA might be asked to issue longer-term debt to finance the construction of certain venues. Debt would be counted against CA’s debt totals. CA might want to consider working with Howard County to issue debt through the County’s Revenue Authority. The County’s AAA Bond rating could help in getting lower interest rates on the bonds. It should be emphasized that CA will “hold the purse strings” for the proposed Trust and, in doing so, CA would maintain power over the future existence of the Trust. Symphony Woods Park Policy Implications: ¡ Based on financial issues that face CA in terms of stabilizing revenues and other operational and capital expenses, Management recommends the Board create a Symphony Woods Trust. ¡ Forming a trust would shift day-to-day decision making for constructing improvements in the park to a separate entity under an over-arching conceptual master plan. ¡ Even if the trust is formed, CA Will NOT relinquish ownership of the property. ¡ The County has made it explicitly clear that CA can utilize a new plan and not have to go back to step 1 in the development approval process. Symphony Woods Park Should other entities want or need to use CA owned land for future development, CA would have the approval of such requests. If the Board chooses to allow usage of CA owned lands, CA could charge rent or other annual fees for such usage. Symphony Woods Park Based on a great deal of research and fact finding Management makes the following recommendations: I. Formally adopt the McCall Plan (Inner Arbor Plan) as the conceptual plan that is the foundation of all future Symphony Woods planning and design. II. Formally adopt Symphony Woods as the preferred location for a CA Office Building. III. Formally instruct Management to establish the affiliated Trust under the following terms: Symphony Woods Park A. The Trust will be a 501 (c)(3) entity, able to accept charitable donations and grants. B. The Trust is tasked to implement the approved Inner Arbor Plan. Any material deviations from the Plan will require CA Board approval. C. The Trust will be governed by a five (5) member Board, of which: ¡ ¡ ¡ i. The CA President and CEO will be an Ex Officio Board Member ii. Two Trust Board Members will also be CA Board Members; and iii. Two Board Members will not be CA Board Members, but will nonetheless, have a strong record of community involvement and service. Symphony Woods Park IV. CA will enter into a perpetual easement agreement and other related documents, which will obligate the Trust to implement and comply with the requirements of for instance, the Inner Arbor Plan. V. The Trust funding: A. CA will allocate to the Trust the existing budgeted amount for Symphony Woods of $1.6 Million. ¡ B. CA provides future grants consistent with the amounts allocated in the five-year CIP. ¡ C. The CA Board must approve all additional funding or financial obligations made from CA funding sources. ¡