Columbia Association Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Pat Hersey, Co-founder of Less Plastic Please, had a large group of audience members supporting the organization. Almost 50% of the plastic used now is single use plastic. Howard County schools are ending the recycling program in 2020. A solution could have been found but it wasn’t. Reducing plastic is a great first step to create a healthier environment. We must be a model of leadership. If not now, when? To do your best is no longer enough. The CA Board has the opportunity to be the leader that is needed now.
Roxanna Segovia Beltran, a Columbia resident spoke about the climate situation. She wants to know if the CA Board needs to be convinced that there is a climate emergency. Organic or bio-degradable waste will end up in landfills. There are compostable cups but no compost bins. If there aren’t any bins, what is the point? She asks that CA have compost bins available in all CA facilities. She also asked that CA encourage net zero waste life styles.
Meagan Branganca lives in Elliott City but wanted to talk to the Board about climate change. She mentioned a glacier in Iceland that is now extinct. It has been memorialized. In the next 200 years all glaciers will be gone. She wants CA to declare a climate emergency. The planet used to have 6 trillion trees. It now has three trillion. She wants the planet to increase the number of trees by another three trillion by 2050.
Defne Demirexier is 15 years old talking about climate change. She spoke to the Board recently. She said she will return as often as is needed until things change. She spoke about the stress she and other high schoolers feel because of the fear of what the climate will be for them as they get older. We need everyone working toward the common goal. She believes CA needs to take the lead. Hosting events without single use plastics and provide composting bins is a start. Encourage native plant growth and support net zero emissions.
Tom Scott spoke about a spreadsheet he prepared indicating the losses from the golf courses at Hobbits Glen and Fairway Hills. He suggests the trend for the golf courses is moving in the wrong direction. The Board will look at Fairway Hills soon Tom suggests that the Board also look at the losses at Hobbits as that is losing even more than Fairway Hills.
Ruth Auerbach lives in King Contrivance. She spoke about the climate emergency. She quoted Ms. Thunberg who spoke at the UN Climate meetings. She suggests that a statement from CA would have a big impact because if Columbia were a municipality it would be the second biggest in the state. She suggests that CA also ensures that vendors offer vegetarian options and are environmentally responsible.
Alisa Niefeld- Batiz is a resident of Oakland Mills. She also spoke about the environment. There are a number of groups represented at the meeting. She said it isn’t just one thing, we need to do everything. At the Elliott City Music Fest there were tons of single use plastic and lots of trash bins full of materials that could have been recycled. Everyone, including the county, needs to think first and plan better.
Joel Hurewitz from Harper’s Choice says that it is nice that CA is considering the climate resolution. He spoke about a number of climate issues.
Reports/Presentation – Dashboard and Quarterly Membership Update
Clarabridge surveys indicate a good year. The facilities have seen increases and golf numbers have improved. In the past six years CA memberships show an increase in percentage of residents. As the age group rises, the positive survey scores rise. Younger people give lower scores of satisfaction. It appears the facilities are doing well in the eyes of members. Supreme Sports is still under renovation.
Board Votes – President/CEO’s Strategic Initiatives for FY2020
The Board discussed resource stewardship. It was suggested that the Board look at other planned communities to see how they are dealing with the issues. We can learn from national/international experts.
There was discussion about zoning. New Town zoning isn’t mentioned in the proposed changes. Environmental sensibilities need to be included as the discussion moves forward looking at land development, redevelopment, and in-fill. There is confusion between covenants and land use and zoning. The difference between Columbia and other planned communities is the human part. The essence of Columbia is building community. Not all master plan communities consider this.
The Board talked about the president’s goals including developing leadership. It had been expected that the village associations and the CA Board would have an event that would help cement the relationship. However, it appears there are thoughts to include other groups or organizations as well. The president was asked for some examples of groups to be included in the activity. There will be partnerships with other organizations across the communities to introduce them and discuss leadership and development across our city. This is all good but at the same time, the Board wants to find ways to create better relationship with the villages. This is a goal for the president.
The Board accepted two goals and tabled one goal because of the diversity of opinion as to whether or not the event should be framed around the villages and CA or include other groups.
Board Discussion – Climate Emergency Declaration and Single Use Plastics
The climate resolution will impact CA and the community. There are about twenty years to get to net zero emissions. The cost to achieve the net zero would be about $50,000 per year. The cost of not doing this is way too high. CA needs to be a leader and encourage the county and the state to follow suit.
CA is planning to move the fleet of cars and trucks to hybrid or some other fuel that will be better for environment. There are 10 CA owned buildings powered by solar now and will continue to move in that direction.
The Board voted to approve the climate emergency declaration. The Board also voted to accept eliminating single use plastics.
Jeremy Scharfenberg, CA Energy Manager, has done an outstanding job making Columbia Association and its facilities green. The Board is proud of him and the great work he and his team have done.
Healthy Planet, Healthy You will be a contest run at the facilities from mid-October to mid- November. Check it out. There will no longer be single use plastic bags at the swimming pools, nor single use cups. Bring your own bags to take your swim suits home.
Andy Stack attended the ground breaking for Busboys and Poets in the new Merriweather district. Milton Matthews won an award for his good work from the Daily Record for Maryland’s nonprofits.
The October 17 special budget meeting will include a conversation about grant money from CA and how to move forward with the program. If you are interested, you are certainly welcome to attend that or any of the CA meetings. Generally the Board meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. In November and December, the Board will only meet on the 2nd Thursday because of the holidays.
Wilde Lake representative to the Columbia Council.
Email address: Nancy.McCord@ca-Board.org