Long Reach


Developed in the late 1970’s, the Long Reach Village Center (LRVC) was once a hub for residents serving a variety of neighborhood needs. Various civic spaces were developed to support commercial uses and provide focal points for social interaction. With growth of newer commercial centers nearby, and changing market conditions, most of the LRVC experienced disinvestment and high vacancy rates. By 2014 the center faced decline due to increasing vacancies, poor maintenance and security issues. In response, Howard County passed legislation establishing the area as blighted and created at 19.1 acre Urban Renewal Area. As a result, the County purchased several properties, including the center, that amounted to approximately 7.7 acres for redevelopment.


Following an extensive community planning process that included multiple public engagement meetings, the development of a Re-Imagine Long Reach Village Center plan and the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP), Orchard Development was selected to lead the redevelopment of the forty-four year-old center. Orchard’s conceptual plan includes outdoor public spaces with a village green, plaza and square; at least 70,000 square feet of commercial, community and office space; 132 multi-family housing units, 110 senior housing units, 73 for-sale townhomes and structured and surface parking.


Above: Currently, the majority of the center’s stores and office spaces sit vacant. The Columbia Association continues to maintain the Columbia Art Center and Stonehouse Community Center.


Above: Illustrative rendering of proposed plan for mixed-use redevelopment and village green.

Planning History

2009 to Present

June 2018 - 2019- The Orchard redevelopment project to proceed through the land development process, which is estimated to take 14-18 months.

May 2018- The Howard County Zoning Board conducts two public hearings and approves the Preliminary Development Plan (PDP) Amendment, granting zoning approval.

March 2018- The Howard County Planning Board reviews the PDP Amendment, find it to be consistent with the adopted urban renewal project and recommends Zoning Board approval.

January 2018- Orchard Development submits a PDP Amendment to the Zoning Board, consistent with the urban renewal project adopted in July, 2017.

November 2017- February 2018- Orchard Development conducts community meetings to review their zoning proposal for a PDP Amendment and seeks input.

September 2017- The County enters into a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) with Orchard Development Corporation to convey the property subject to Zoning Board Approval.

July 2017: CR98-2017 – The County Council approves the Orchard Development Team plan as the urban renewal project for the LRVC July 7, 2017.

December 2016 - April 2017: Request for Proposals – Consistent with the Reimagine plan, the County issues an RFP in December 2016. The County formed a seven-member evaluation committee that include three community members (a Village Board member selected by the Long Reach Village Board, a Long Reach business owner selected by the County Administration, and a Village Board member and a Columbia Association representative selected by the Councilmember representing the area). Four County representatives served on the committee. The committee unanimously recommended the development plan submitted by the Orchard Development Team as its preferred plan for the redevelopment of the LRVC.

2016: Reimagine Long Reach Village Center Proposed Plan (Reimagine Plan) – The community-based plan documents the County’s objectives to revitalize the LRVC, potential land uses, and techniques the County may use to facilitate revitalization.

2015: Community Meetings – The County holds five community meetings throughout 2015 to engage the public in reimagining the LRVC. Over 300 people attend the series and guide development of the ReImagine Plan.

2014: County Acquisition – In October 2014 Howard County purchases a portion of the LRVC (excluding the former Safeway building). In February 2015 the County purchases the Safeway building resulting in county ownership of 7.71 acres in the LRVC urban renewal area.

2014: Council Resolution 22-2014 – Facing decline of the shopping center, and given concerns about vacancies, poor maintenance, security and impact on neighboring property values, members of the community request County intervention. On March 5, 2014, the County Council passes legislation finding that certain properties of the LRVC constituted a blighted area and finds that the rehabilitation or redevelopment of these properties is necessary in the public's interest. The legislation defines the boundaries of the 19.1-acre urban renewal area, authorizes acquisition of certain properties in the LRVC, and authorizes preparation of plans for redevelopment.

2012: Long Reach Village Center Community Plan (VCCP) - The Long Reach Community Association, aided by a panel of citizen volunteers, creates a Village Center Master Plan that was approved by the Community and filed with the Department of Planning and Zoning in 2012.

2009: Council Bill 29-2009 – CB 29-2009 outlines a process for Village Center redevelopment and creates the opportunity for Village Boards to create and file master plans.

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Amy Gowan agowan@howardcountymd.gov