Category Archives: River Hill

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

Update for 199 feet Grace Cell Tower

Tonight, we had representatives from Grace Company, Calvert Crossland and Cheaspeake Realty Partners(they are going to build around 180 houses near the cell tower, some houses will be 5 meters away from it.) at our River Hill Village board meeting.

The new solution is to move the proposed tower to the east side of Grace Building, 50-100 meters further away from residential area. They could not guarantee it ,but they are investigating this solution.

Note, the County Department of Planning and Zoning already approved their original site( just besides the old water tower) last week. So it is very nice of them to listen to our residents’ concerns and look for possible new solutions.

My old article on this topic is here:

How to Engage with Development (The Villager 2017-03)

How to Engage with Development Around our Community

This article is published on the River Hill “The Villager”, March 2017 issue.

By Chao Wu

On February 1, I was invited by Mr. Craig George to attend a cub scout meeting to share with five scouts my experiences on the Columbia Association Board, River Hill Board and other volunteer positions. We discussed how our community is changing and I shared with them the need for residents to engage in the development process to affect change. The cub scouts were very interested in making our community greener, pedestrian friendly and safer.

On February 6, the River Hill Community Association’s Board of Directors met with State Highway Administration staff to have a conversation about the process for making improvements along MD 32 and MD 108 to benefit the community and how residents can weigh in during the development process. We had more than 30 members of the community in attendance that night.

Last year, the Board of Directors invited staff from Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) and they provided an overview of the development approval process. There are numerous opportunities for the community to have input on development projects. Below I have outlined the subdivision and land development review process they shared. We should all realize that most comments and community inputs are taken before Step 5.

Subdivision and Land Development Review Process in Howard County

Step 1: Pre-submission community meeting. Property owner must hold meeting prior to submission of plans to DPZ)for sketch (S), preliminary equivalent sketch (SP), minor final plan and site development plans (SDP).

Step 1A: Design Advisory Panel (DAP). DAP meeting required for Rt. 1 and Rt. 40 projects, Downtown Columbia, New Town Village Centers, MD 108 in Clarksville, sketch, preliminary equivalent sketch, and site development plans. Members of the community may submit written input.

Step 2: Submission to DPZ: S, P, SPF, SDP, Environmental Concept Plan (ECP).

Step 3: Review of plans by Subdivision Review Committee (SRC) and assessment of Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). SRC meeting or review will be held 3 to 4 weeks after initial application date. If required for revision, 45 days resubmittal deadline, return to Step 2. Members of the community may provide input to the SRC via letter, email, or phone.

Step 4: DPZ determines whether plan is technically complete. May require revised plan submission to specific SRC agencies.

Step 4A. Planning Board. A hearing or meeting is required for projects in some zoning districts, including the New Town zone (Columbia development and re-development projects). Members of the community may provide input via letter, email, or in person.

Step 5: Option A (if applicable): originals are submitted for ECP,S, SP or P for signature, then review process complete for ECP, S, P, and SP stages, proceed for SDP and F stages. Then the process is complete.

Step 5: Option B (if applicable); Final plan or SDP plan.

Step 6: Original final construction drawings submitted to DPZ for signature. Roads, storm water management, water and sewer, landscape, forest conservation (60 day deadline).

Step 7: Payment of surety by land owner. Executes developer’s agreement and payment of fees (120 day deadline for final plan, 180 for SDP).

Step 8: Submission of original final plan or SDP for signature (180 days deadline demo technically complete letter).

Step 9: Plat signed and recorded at land records office (DPZ assigns permanent APF housing unit allocations).  Then the review process is complete for SDP and F stages.

As we can see, the community should get involved as early as possible if we have any concerns about development projects around our neighborhood.

Here is a list of topics, shared by Richard Klein of Community & Environmental Defense Services, that we should be concerned about when development is being planned: Clean Water, Traffic Congestion & Safety, School Overcrowding & Safe Streets, Tree & Forest Preservation, Flooding, Buffering & Views, Property Value, Air Quality & Health, Fire & Emergency Medical Services, Park & Recreation Areas, Water Supply, and Historic-Archeological Resources.

Thanks for reading this.


Chao Wu, Ph.D.

River Hill Representative to Columbia Council

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Email:  Tel: 240-481-9637  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.

River Hill Village Center at night


House Safety Seminar at Peiying Chinese School today

Thanks very much for Howard County Police Lt Stephanie Wall excellent seminar at Peiying Chinese School today. She talked about recent nine burglaries targetted at Chinese, Korean and Indian families in January 2017. She talked about how we can help to improve our home and neighborhood security. She is a great speaker and has a great smile.

It seems those Colombia Burglary Gangs visit Howard County every two to three years. They search the property home owner names and look for Asian last names and expect gold, jewry, and cash, then sell/transfer to a center in Dallas, then to South American. It is actually an international business ring. 

This batch of those criminals has not been caught yet. They also broken into other neighbor counties as far as Fairfax, Virginia.

Proposed 199 ft Monopole Tower along Grace Drive at River Hill

From: Barb Pivec [mailto:bpivec]
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 12:41 PM
To: Barb Pivec <bpivec>
Subject: Fwd: WR Grace – Proposed 199 ft Monopole Tower

RE: WR Grace – Proposed 199 ft Monopole Tower

Dear, Email Recipient the maps did not go through the 1st time resending

Over the last several years Verizon (VZ) has recognized a deficiency in its existing coverage along Route 32 and the River Hill Community Area. In order to manage this deficiency, a design was released to add a communication installation to its local network in that area.

The first step was to evaluate any opportunities to use existing infrastructure in the area, including the water tower on the WR Grace Business Campus where other carriers have wireless installations. Inquiries and studies were performed on the water tower, and it was determined that it was not possible to utilize this existing infrastructure due to structural capacity concerns. At that time and through ongoing evaluations it was also determined that future communications upgrades, by existing carriers on the water tower, to maximize the service in the area, may be limited on this structure as well. There is strong indication that sometime in the future the property owners may remove the Water Tower.

With no other options to collocate on an existing structure in the area, a proposal is being set forth to construct a new 199’ monopole tower next to the water tower. Once constructed Verizon would locate on the structure and the existing carriers on the water tower, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint, would then move over as well.

Our company Calvert Crossland has a long term relationship with Verizon and has a pending agreement with WR Grace and Verizon to develop this necessary infrastructure. To learn more about Calvert Crossland please visit our website at

The proposed communication facility will be located within the WR Grace Campus, right next to the water tower. The approximately 1,500 sq ft of disturbance to construct the tower is surrounded by buildings on three sides and a mature forest. This is an unmanned commutation facility that is intended to serve as a replacement for the existing water tower, currently being used as infrastructure for wireless carriers.

Please accept this letter as formal written Notice; in compliance with Sec. 16.128 for of Howard County, Maryland Code of Ordinances.

Please join us for a Pre-submission Community Meeting – February 16th, 2016.

The Meeting Room at River Hill

6330 Trotter Road

Clarksville, Maryland 21093.
6:00PM to 8:00PM

Informational Contacts and Project Detail

· Barb Pivec – Calvert Crossland, LLC bpivec 443-994-7505

· >Quick Links – Resubmission Meetings >Search Sign Code – N09

· For Development Process in formation go to:

· Type of initial plan to be submitted: Site Development Plan (SDP) with or without redline changes

· Project Request: unmanned telecommunications tower

· Parcel Zoning Classification: Planned Employment Center (PEC)

· Parcel Use: Industrial

· Residential Units: 0

· Parcel Acres: 54.8 Acre +-

· Development Impact: approximately 1,500 sq. ft. of disturbance

· Council District: 4

· Property ID Number: 05-351251

· Tax Map: 35 Grid: 22 Parcel: 145

· Property Address: Grace Tech Park, 7500 Grace Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21044

Please find below a location map of the property presented as a web link, attachment or enclosure.

Industry and project representatives will be in attendance to discuss the details of the project and to be available for questions. A sign-in sheet will be available at the meeting for Meeting Minutes and for further notifications. If any community association, person, or organization registered with the county is unable to attend and would like to receive an emailed version of the Minutes to the aforementioned meeting please contact Barb Pivec at bpivec


Barb Pivec – Partner

Calvert Crossland, LLC,+Columbia,+MD+21044/@39.1903192,-76.9053447,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89b7ded084bb72b9:0x311bafb4f880f985!8m2!3d39.1903151!4d-76.903156?hl=en&authuser


Barb Pivec – Partner

Calvert Crossland, LLC

904 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

410-827-4132 – Office 443-994-7505 – Wireless