Dear Harper’s Choice Residents,
This is the inaugural issue of your “CA Representative’s Corner.” Our purpose is to keep you up-to-date on what is happening at CA. These will be fairly detailed so you have as much information as I can provide to you as the real “members” of CA. This issue covers our first two meetings.
The Columbia Council, the Members of CA, and the CA Board held meetings on Thursday, May 8th. (Of course, these three groups consist of the same people!)
Here are the results:
- Columbia Council: As has been customary in the past, the 10 Columbia Council Representatives considered themselves already members of the Columbia Association by virtue of being elected as Columbia Council Representatives from their respective villages. It is the opinion of several members of the current CA Board that the CA Charter actually calls for the outgoing and returning CA Members to vote the Columbia Council Representatives in as Members of CA. We will be looking at clarifying this process this year, I hope.
- Members of CA: The ten CA Members voted themselves in as the Directors of CA, as required by the CA Charter.
- CA Board of Directors:
Ethics Policy: Though the CA staff had us going into closed session to consider our Ethics Policy, the CA Board voted not to do so. This was an important decision, as there have been way too many closed meetings of our CA Board over the years. There are a small set of circumstances under which the Board is allowed to close a meeting, but none requires them to do so. Therefore a decision to close a meeting requires two considerations to be met:
- Is it allowable to close the meeting?
- Would leaving the meeting open hurt the Association?
In my opinion, neither condition was met, and so I joined the majority in favor of leaving the meeting open.
The issue is that our Ethics Policy had a provision that said a Director of CA must resign if they declare candidacy for public office. Reg Avery, newly elected CA Director from Oakland Mills, is running for the County Council and so he would have been in violation of that provision. The majority of the Board, including myself, decided to amend that policy to take effect should a Director be sworn in to partisan public office. Therefore, Mr. Avery is in compliance unless and until he wins the County Council seat and is sworn into office.
Chair and Vice-Chair: Russ Swatek, from Long Reach, and Andy Stack, from Owen Brown, nominated themselves to be Chair. We had a secret ballot and the two tied. We decided to have Andy be Chair for the first six months, with Russ serving as Chair the second six months. Each will be the other’s Vice-Chair and both will attend meetings with the President.
- Columbia Council: The Columbia Council met to select its own Chair and Vice-Chair. We had a spirited discussion regarding whether the Columbia Council should meet during the year (it has not done so in recent years), but no decision was made. We selected the same Chair and Vice-Chair arrangement for the Council as for the Board of Directors. I was in the minority in that decision.
Overall, the tone of the meeting, though sometimes spirited and not always in agreement, was usually cordial and positive.
Harper’s Choice CA Representative
What follows are notes taken by Nancy McCord, Wilde Lake’s CA Representative. She takes notes each meeting and I will likely be using her notes often as they are usually quite good.
All I would add is that the projected cost overruns at the new Haven on the Lake Spa and Wellness Center are quite significant and, for me, call into question the whole project. Some have suggested that CA should put our new headquarters into the old Rouse Building, rather than build a spa that will cost extra money to use. Others say that CA’s offerings should include a wider spectrum, including some that cater to more affluent people. Still others say that CA should stick to providing facilities that are affordable to the masses and let the private sector fill the upper end. What do you all think?
(A key to all abbreviations used is at the end of this document.)
CA Board of Director’s Meeting May 22, 2014
- Chris Alleva spoke about the Royal Farms gas station to be built at Minstrel Way and Snowden River Parkway. He brought documents showing that CA has the power to enforce the covenants. After an FDP has been recorded, it can’t be changed. He feels the county is usurping the role of CA by even looking at this site development plan (SDP). Chris stated that property owners are also permitted to enforce the covenants. He feels the CA board needs to dispatch a letter citing these documents and state that we are enforcing them. We have asked our attorney to look at this matter so we can try to stop the sign installation proposed by Royal Farms.
- Ed Coleman spoke about Long Reach issues and concerns. He also requests information about all ERC meetings that were held last year. Staff will review and provide the information he requested.
On May 29th, the 4th and final Market Study and Analysis of Columbia Villages (excluding Wilde Lake currently under renovation) will be presented at HCC’s Rouse Company Foundation Student Services Hall, Room 400. Consultants will discuss their recommendations for the community’s village centers and the GE, Dobbin Road and Snowden River Parkway corridor (GEDS).
May 24th The Columbia Dog Park grand opening begins at 10 a.m.
June 1st is The Columbia Home Tour 2014
June 2nd BOC meets at 7 p.m. Chairs must attend.
June 12th Next CA board of directors meeting is at 7:30 p.m.
Hobbits Glen Clubhouse is slated to be complete in December 2014 and open in January 2015.
Elections were held for the officers of the three committees: PSC is Gregg Schwind as chair and Brian Dunn as vice chair; ERC is Nancy McCord as chair and Jeanne Ketley as vice chair; and, SIC is Alan Klein as chair and Reg Avery as vice chair.
Rob Goldman presented a significant glitch with Haven on the Lake by informing the board of a $1.6 million over budget issue. After the contractor sourced bids for the Haven, it was discovered that the bids were way over the initial budgeted amount.
There are four amenities that will be placed on hold: 4 of 14 treatment rooms, the conference room, an outdoor patio and the pool. There are other places where cuts will be made however, they will not be as noticeable.
Rob asked the board to approve shifting $700,000+ to this project. He requested this to be approved tonight. This money would come from other projects that have already closed and came in under budget.
A lengthy discussion began. Staff was asked what the loss would be due to the delay in opening.
If Haven on the Lake opens in January 2015, it would be an approximate loss of $500,000. We expected to work at a loss for the first two years. This will extend that period.
Questions were asked about:
- How did this happen?
- Do we hold the general manager or architect accountable?
- What problems does this cause us?
- What would have happened to the overage money if this hadn’t come up?
There were many specific questions about the costs and expenses and potential users of the Haven to give an indication of sales and thus income to CA over time. It was a very detailed and intense discussion.
If we said no to the request for money, staff says we would not have the special place that has been promised to the community.
A motion was made within the SIC to approve the money now. Discussion took place about making the move with this kind of money at first reading in committee. The incoming CA president, Mr. Milton Matthews was in the audience. Alan asked him his opinion on this. He said he had been informed by interim president Susan Krabbe about this issue. He was okay with this movement of funds to provide the public what they had been promised. The committee agreed and it was sent to the board for approval.
A motion was made to direct staff to find the $500,000 to include the pool in the current build-out. The committee agreed to this.
The board agreed to wait until the next meeting to further discuss the money for the Haven before voting on it the same night we learned of the various issues involved.
The state highway administration was granted an easement to do the work on Gales Lane.
HHC was granted an easement for the pathway to continue along Little Patuxent Parkway (LPP) from Broken Land Parkway to Banneker Road. As each section of the pathway is completed, the county will then be responsible for maintaining and repairing the pathway.
It was moved to approve the multi-use pathway.
The board approved the sound barrier to be put in place by the state highway administration (SHA) on Gales Ln.
The board discussed the money for the Haven and it was decided to take this up at the next meeting on June 12.
Wilde Lake CA Representative
Abbreviations for CA Notes
- ADA – American for Disabilities Act.
- BOC – Board Operations Committee
- CA – Columbia Association
- ERC – External Relations Committee
- FDP – Final Development Plan
- FY – Fiscal year
- HCCC – Howard County Community College
- HHC – Howard Hughes Corporation
- HOCO – Howard County
- IAT – Inner Arbor Trust
- PSC – Planning and Strategy Committee
- SAC – Senior Advisory Committee
- SIC – Strategic Implementation Committee
The Villages of Columbia
- DS – Dorsey Search
- HC – Harpers Choice
- HR – Hickory Ridge
- KC – Kings Contrivance
- LR – Long Reach
- OM – Oakland Mills
- OB – Owen Brown
- RH – River Hill
- TC – Town Center
- WL – Wilde Lake
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to working with you and on your behalf during my tenure.
Columbia Council Representative
Village of Harper’s Choice
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