Category Archives: Clarksville

New Clarksville Retirement Facility Project Proposal from Erickson

Clarksville Continuing Care Retirement Community Proposal Announced
On Thursday, June 15, 2017, Erickson Living will be hosting a community discussion regarding its proposal to locate a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Clarksville. The meeting will be hosted at The Gathering Place, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed CCRC community is intended to be located on the west side of Route 108 (Clarksville Pike) near Route 32, between the Freestate Gas and Sheppard Lane and will contain approximately  60 acres of land on two parcels  (Tax Map 34, PAR  185 and a portion of Tax Map 28, PAR 100).  Across the River Hill Garden Center, besides Free State Gas Station.

Representatives of Erickson Living will be sharing information such as:

  • What the Erickson CCRC model is and the vital need for expanded housing opportunities for the aging members of our community.
  • The potential impacts, benefits and opportunities of an Erickson Living CCRC.
  • Potential enhancements and efficiency of traffic flow along Route 108 through Clarksville.

For more information, Erickson has shared the following website:

By the way, I have been hearing praises for Erickson from many people and would love to see their detailed plan.
River Hill Community Association

Two housing projects around River Hill

There are two housing developments which are moving forward:

  1. application number: SDP-17-013. Two single-family model homes at the intersection of Guilford Road and Route 108, just opposed of the Donaldson funeral home. (50 total homes of 150 approved). On Page 6.
  2. application number: P-17-002. Prilimary plan submitted for the Simpson Oaks development north of Grace Drive that includes 46 single family detached( starting from 800K) and 83 single family attached. Total 129 houses. On page 7.
Attached is Columbia Planning & Development Tracker provided by Columbia Association. DevelopmentTrackerApril2017

River Hill Board working session with SHA 2017-2-6

Our guests:

  • Cornelius Barmer, PE Assistant Division Chief (Office of Highway Development)
  • John Concannon, Assistant District Engineer (District 7 Traffic)
  • Teri Soos, PE Assistant District Engineer (District 7 Project Development)
  • Kenneth Polcak, Highway Noise Team Leader (Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering)
  • George Miller, Transportation Manager (District 7 Traffic)

Talking points

1) Ken Polcak: Highway noise team leader.

2) Cornelius Barmer, Assistant division chief. Managing capital program. 300 inquiry a year

3) John Concannon, (District 7), traffic study, lighting, etc

4) Teri Soos, Assistant District Engineer, construction inspection, etc

5) George Miller, Transportation manager , Howard County, Carrol County, Fredirick County,

Traffic noise

1: Noise complaint online, 24-48 hours’ response, 4 weeks many be needed

How to prioritize ? Case by case.

2) Noise mitigation program, how funding is decided? A rigorous procedure

3) 66 decibel threshold

4) more noisy project are allowed in Maryland than other states

5) Associated capital budget will be needed to trigger a noise mitigation response

6) 32 north expansion will NOT affect 32 south noise by the state high way.

7) retrofit look at other areas if needed

8) predictive model for noise study, future traffic study. 20 years plan.

9) Double the traffic, will increase 2 decibel.

10) SHA tried to find a way to qualify the noise mitigation program. Increased traffic does not qualify for this program.

11) Pre-dayed noise study in the south of 32 may be possible.

12) SHA is not only factor contributing to the noise. 80-20 between SHA and county on Type II project.

13) around 29, type I noise barrier. Some residents were even not sure why their build the wall.

Traffic through the neighborhood

1) traffic control device, collecting data, 13 continuous hour (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), crashed data ( from police department, 5 years),

Linden Linthicum Lane studied in2015. Not qualifying for a traffic light.  Putting a traffic light may increase accidents (rear-end).

2)  County has done 108 corrida study before. SHA did not consider 108 new commercial constructions (River Hill Garden Center, River Hill xxx).

3) Any comprehensive study on 108 with so many new constructions? 108 design plan is only advisory, no legal effect.

4) County executive send a list of priority of projects for the county to SHA by May each year.  108 project was on the 7,8 of the list.

5) If developer’s development make changes which affect the road, it is both SHA and county’s responsibility.

6) Even SHA say the traffic study is invalid (for example, funeral home along 108 did traffic study during summer. SHA would flag this traffic study), the county can still approve the traffic study.

7) SHA give comments to developer when the developer comes to them. The developer needs to submit the application to the county first.

8) SHA could not say no to a developer in general.

9) Sheppard lane signal. Realign better to garden center. Extra cost will not from SHA. It will be developer only, or developer plus county.

10) SHA stated expansion of 32 may decrease left turn traffic into the Sheppard Lane.  Counter arguments on this point.

11) SHA does not provide continuous lighting along state high way. SHA does provide lighting all traffic signal.

12) Howard County last year asked residents to rate the traffic/road projects. Not sure they will do the same this year. County government is the initializer of road projects proposed to SHA.


13) J-Brake on truck ( help to stop the break) is allowed. Modified exhaust in not allowed in Maryland.


14) Bike route. SHA is encouraged to have a bike route. Check consistency with the master plan in the area.




Baltimore Sun: Made in Clarksville effort for Ellicott City Flood Recovery

Pointers Run Elementary fourth-grader designs animal T-shirts for Ellicott City flood recovery

I was quoted Andrew Michaels:

Chao Wu, Columbia Association board member and father of two, said he was one of Amanda’s first customers to buy lion T-shirts for his family.

“I think it’s amazing for her, as a young lady, to get some friends and classmates and start this from scratch,” Wu said. “It’s great for little kids because they love animals.”

It is so glad that the kids continue working on this project using their talent. I believe they can develop a small business on this and support not only Ellicott City Flood recovery, but also others. It is always good to grow and learn. That are valuable lessons when they grow up.

No place for a Nazi sign in our community at Columbia, Maryland

No place for a Nazi sign in our community at Columbia, Maryland

By Dr. Chao Wu, Clarksville, MD

November 29, 2016

(I sent this article to Columbia Flier and Baltimore Sun and did not get any response. So I am publishing it here first. It was published on 2016-12-08 issue at Columbia Flier and Howard County Times eventually. I really appreciate them effort by sharing my voice.)

I was shocked to see a swastika painted at my neighborhood playground over the Thanksgiving holiday. Many residents, including myself, take our kids there to play, socialize and enjoy this beautiful neighborhood. None of us expected this type of vandalism, with its links to Nazism, fascism, and racism, to happen in the community.

Our city of Columbia prides itself in honoring diversity and being civic-minded. I understand the 2016 presidential election was very divisive. In many other places, campaign signs were destroyed, houses were vandalized, and contentious words were exchanged. However, a swastika sign in the neighborhood is still a huge shock to the many people who live here.

Since its inception in the 1960’s, Columbia has been a driving force for promoting mutual respect and building community harmony. The two most recent speakers in Columbia Association’s Community Building Speakers Series, Rob Breymaier, Executive Director of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, and Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, UMBC President, discussed Columbia’s founding principles of diversity and inclusiveness. This Saturday, December 3, 2016, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bain 50+ Center in Columbia, County Executive Allan Kittleman will hold the first forum in his #OneHoward Initiative, which is designed to promote community dialogue and reinforce the county’s shared goals of diversity and inclusiveness.

Our community is now at a turning point with more changes to come. Following the County Council’s passage of the Downtown-related legislation several weeks ago, Columbia’s population is expected to increase by additional 20,000 residents. We can expect the area to become more diverse than ever – culturally, racially, educationally, and economically.

From my perspective, respecting and celebrating diversity needs to be practiced. What really matters is how we view ourselves and others with respect, how others view themselves and others with respect, and whether we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes. We need a common sense solution to create a shared future that is inclusive of everyone. This work needs to occur within our family, within our schools, at the workplace, and in our neighborhoods.

We also need a continuous, open and honest discussion on diversity and inclusion such that all groups should be heard with humility. The conversation should happen not only among people who are likely-minded, already vocal and visible in the community, but also from those who are usually left out by the main media. This requires extra effort to reach out. It also requires a heart with true tolerance especially when other opinions may be quite different, even offensive.

Diverse thoughts, mutual understanding, and truth-seeking are the keys to finding such a solution. There should never be a place for a Nazi swastika in our community. We are not afraid by its occurrence, but we need to be vigilant and continue working to achieve a safe and peaceful community.


We are 25 Now (The Villager 2016-10)


We are 25 Now

This article will be published on October issue of  The Villager of River Hill community Association.

On September 17, 2016, we celebrated the Village of River Hill’s 25th birthday. This was a day for celebration. From a formerly rural area, we have become a vibrant community. We had our fourth annual Health fair at the same time and there was a great turnout. Jennifer Zhang, (Student Member on the Board of Directors), Henrietta Kan (Coalition Halting Obesity in Children Everywhere), and Jennifer Lynott (RHCA Events and Newsletter Coordinator) were instrumental in organizing this event. Our village manager, Susan Smith, contributed to making the day a great success. Howard County Council Chair Dr. Calvin Ball presented the Association with a certificate and Council Resolution to recognize this great moment. Michael Cornell, the Chair of the Association’s Board of Directors, made the opening remarks and shared his 20+ years’ experience in the village. Dennis Mattey, Director of Open Space and Facility Services, congratulated the community on behalf of the Columbia Association.   People of all ages, ethnicities, and faiths shared the joy of celebration.

Let’s Look Back

We are the last of Columbia’s villages to be developed, beginning in 1991. By local standards, we are far from Columbia’s town center, -bordering farms, the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, and homes on larger lots that are outside the County’s water and sewer districts. The composition of homes is quite different from all previous villages because almost 80 percent of homes are single family homes, while the remaining 20 percent consist of townhouses and condos. There are no rental communities in River Hill, though some homes are available for rent.

The name River Hill refers to an old plantation, dating back more than 100 years ago, which reportedly was one of the first in the state to free its slaves. The Village has two neighborhoods, Pheasant Ridge and Pointer’s Run.   Pheasant Ridge was named after a 1745 land grant. The poetic street names were selected from noted American writers Walt Whitman and James Whitcomb Riley. Claret Hall, the community center and home of the Association, was named for the 18th century land grant “White Wine and Claret”  that included much of the land that is now part of the village. See Ref 1.

Let’s Look Forward

Now the Village of River Hill includes 2,096 dwelling units and 6,520 people. Our village has one of the most successful shopping centers. We have one of the Columbia Association’s most utilized outdoor pools. The Columbia Gym is also loved by our community. Our children attend Clarksville Elementary, Pointers Run Elementary, Clarksville Middle School and Atholton and River Hill High Schools and they are among the best in the county.

The Clarksville/River Hill community is still growing. Though outside the boundaries of the Village of River Hill, Clarksville Commons, a mixed use development, is finishing construction. More housing units will be developed around the edges of the village, including the Simpson Oaks development currently going through the County’s approval process A new and larger United States Post Office will return to serve Clarksville. Stores will be built at the intersection of Route 108 and Ten Oaks Road. The River Hill Garden Center is expecting to be redeveloped.

At the same time, we need think about how the development in other areas will impact our village, for example, how will Columbia’s new downtown development impact our community? Recently, the Howard County Veterans Foundation expressed interested in building a memorial at the Lakefront fountain. This will modify the fountain either in context or in structure. What is the role of our village in the whole of Columbia and in Howard County?

Education, transportation, family and community are our priority and we strive to make them better. Civic engagement is a crucial part to build a better community. My vision is that through continuous and planned development, we will foresee a more diverse and prosperous community. I am looking forward to enjoying 25 more years of life here in the village until my kids graduate from college.

Ref 1: J.R. Mitchell, D.L. Stebenne, New City Upon A Hill, A History of Columbia, Maryland, P144-145

Chao Wu, Ph.D.

River Hill Representative to Columbia Council and Columbia Association Board of Directors

Email:  Website:

Disclaimer: This letter only represents Dr. Chao Wu’s personal opinion. It does not represent River Hill Board of Directors nor Columbia Association’s Board.

Deteriorating safety in my neighborhood

There have been several incidents about car theft and tire smashing in my street. Last week my tire was smashed and I got a flat tire on Route 200, I feel more urged to write this post. Then during last weekend, my next neighbor told me that somebody tried to break into her car at midnight.

I have a feeling the safety in our neighborhood is deteriorating. I have not heard so much of this after I moved into this neighborhood until this year.  I filed a police report online and got approved. The approval letter starts:

To receive a copy of a police report, please submit your written request to the Howard County Department of Police – Records Section, 3410 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. There is a $6.00 reproduction charge for each report requested. Payment must be in the form of a check or money order (cash will not be accepted) made payable to HOWARD COUNTY DIRECTOR OF FINANCE.

It is just like when the neighborhood asked the state highway to set up a traffic light at the Route 108 and Linden Linthicum Lane, they told us there were not enough accidents to warrant a traffic light. Now there have been at least more than six property damages in just one neighborhood street , we still have not obtained any real help from the police.

I need set up a camera to catch those petty criminals.