Columbia Council Rep Report

CA Board Virtual Work Session June 11, 2020

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Virtual Work Session, Thursday, June 11, 2020


(Click here to view the meeting agenda and packet.)

Resident Speakout  

Joel Hurewitz spoke about hiring a consultant to help with the planning the county is now doing.  He also spoke about CA’s financing.  He said CA should open pools for fear of losing members.  Also, he mentioned the fire station that is planned in Harper’s Choice and the Starbucks on Snowden River Parkway.

David Thompson spoke about a proposal for Hobbits Glen Tennis.  These courts won’t open because of the money needed to do repairs.   There are a number of tennis players that prefer to play on the old courts at Hobbits because they are clay and easier on older bones.   CA had put down a deposit to repair the courts.  However, because of the money crunch, CA decided to not move forward with the reconditioning.  The group can solve the money problem.  They are offering to pay to have the work done as well as do administrative work for free.  They would also sign an agreement to hold CA harmless in the event of any injuries.   Senior staff would have to meet with the tennis group to determine the feasibility of this proposition.

Work Session Topics:  Form – Proposed New Topics for Board Discussion

Janet Evans proposed a form for the Board to use to handle new topics to be added to a future agenda.  I also asked if we could submit questions to staff as we did for this meeting.  It facilitates getting information from the Board in what will be, hopefully, a more expeditious way.

Work Session Topics:  Howard County General Plan Update – Consultant Services 

Kristin Russell, CA, Director of Planning and Community Affairs, led the discussion about the Board working with a consultant who can help work more efficiently with the county.  The planners have worked both locally and all around the country.  The process will take about four months and will begin in about six weeks.

Task 1 is discovery – the consultant will learn about Columbia and the Board will learn about what other places have done regarding planning.   There may be three or four virtual sessions.  There will be opportunity for engagement.

Task 2 will be about big ideas.  How will we apply the ideas we’ve learned and how do we envision our goals for Columbia moving forward?

Task 3 – synthesis into a vision… with goals and guiding principles.  This will guide our own comments and inform the community.

Task 4- a written report or document that will help guide CA going forward.

CA hopes to be running parallel with the county in their planning.  As residents of Columbia, we can advocate for what we would like to see as we draw from our own experience living here.  The intent at this time is to help the Board come up with some vision, values and goals for Columbia.

There was discussion about how this can be done involving the villages as well.  The Board would like to make information or recordings available for the public as well to keep people in the loop.

Work Session Topics:  Easement Requests – Tamar Drive Roundabout TCE and Reversible Slope Easements

The county has agreed to put a traffic circle at Tamar Drive and Old Montgomery Road.  The project is expected to move forward in July.  The county also has agreed to take care of some other issues that will help CA properties.

Work Session Topics:  Discussion of the Most Recent Development Tracker

The county is now doing virtual meetings.  The Zoning Board has continued its hearings of the Hickory Ridge Village Center redevelopment.

Next week, the Zoning Board will take up the Erickson at Limestone Valley case.  The site needs to be rezoned.  This property takes up about 62 acres.  It is comprised of a couple different properties that are being developed for seniors as a continuous care long term housing.   Erickson, as part of its agreement with the community, has agreed to build a playground and create amenities that would be accessible to the public.   The Village of River Hill, which  is adjacent to this development, is quite happy about this coming to its neighborhood.

Work Session Topics:  Capital Projects and Open Space Updates

According to Dennis Mattey, CA, Director of Open Space and Facilities Services, “Never have so few done so much for so many.”  This was in reference to the many layoffs but staff that is still working offers to help when others at CA need the support.  CA is a home to many great team members who deserve our appreciation.

Dennis showed the Board a photo of sanitizing fans that remove over 90% of bad things from the air.  He said when the Village facilities reopen he will look at the spaces that have heavy volume.  He said Slayton House Theatre will be getting one. He also said that when Jeremy Scharfenberg, CA, Energy Manager, comes off furlough, he will meet with each Village Manager to see if a special filter would be appropriate for their community spaces.

Next week, he expects the tot lots to open.


Work Session Topics:  Status Report on the FY2021 Operating Budget

The Board has gotten many, many emails from people who are very upset about CA not opening the pools.  The emails are being tracked. I hope they will get a response.

Dan Burns, CA, Director of Sports & Fitness, said that after golf and tennis opened he thought that the three fitness clubs, Long Reach Tennis, the Swim Center, the Sports Park and Haven will open on June 20.  There will be no towels so if you go to a pool, please take your own towels.   Social distancing will still be needed.  Reservations will be needed for any visit.

The rules are constantly changing.  Families are able to use the Swim Center if they have membership for the outdoor pools.  CA is hoping to open the skate park soon.  All these facilities will give families a great summer in Columbia in spite of the loss of the outdoor pools.  There are restrictions at all of the facilities.  Be sure to call first to make sure you can get in.  You may need reservations.

Stay cool everyone and try to get out and enjoy our beautiful open spaces, parks, lakes etc.

Warm regards,

Nancy McCord

Feel free to email me at:  Nancy.[email protected]