Columbia Council Rep Report

CA Board Work Session and Meeting November 14, 2019

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Work Session

Thursday, November 14, 2019


(Click here to view the agenda and packet.)

Resident Speakout

Eileen Brewer spoke on behalf of the Longfellow Nursery School. Eileen spoke about the problems they had at the school because of building issues.  They had moved out and have returned. She explained how important it is having a specific location. They celebrate their 50th anniversary next year. For these years they have been able to offer low cost pre-school as compared to other pre-schools. Co-ops are a huge benefit to the young families that are settling into the community.

Alex Hekimian spoke about protecting the roads and the environment. He agrees with the proposal to protect the road around the Chrysalis. He also expressed his support for the neighborhood centers.

Rebeca Palmquist is Board President of Wilde Lake Children’s Nursery in the Faulkner Ridge Neighborhood Center. This co-op is a non-profit staffed by volunteers. Nearly 60% are Columbia residents who live nearby. Most can walk to school.  They have easy access to facilities in the community nearby like the Wilde Lake Village Center and the elementary school at Bryant Woods. If the facility is made smaller, it reduces the number of children that can have access to the school. There are only six co-op nursery schools in Howard County. Five of them are in Columbia.

Wendy Greenfield is a staff member of the co-op who read an e-mail from the director of Wilde Lake Children’s Nursery. She spoke about the importance of the community of co-ops. The families are an essential part of the working group that makes the schools so successful. A community is created by parents working together to help their children. The neighborhoods have changed but the need to keep the community alive and vibrant hasn’t changed. People still need to connect with others. This is a meaningful way to support the families and give the children great opportunities to learn and grow in a safe and happy environment.   Wendy spoke of the irresponsible use by others who rent the space evenings or weekends. It is possible to have responsible renters. But it’s not the job of the schools to patrol the renters who use facilities when the school is closed.

Work Session Topics: Neighborhood Centers

The Board discussed how to include Village Boards, managers and CA Board to discuss proposed principles for moving forward with the Neighborhood Centers. It would be an open meeting. January 9 and 23 are regular CA Board meetings. January 16 is a possible date for the joint session. This will be decided at a later date. A suitable place for the community meeting must be found. Also, the agenda must be defined and a decision about who will facilitate the meetings must be decided.

The draft document that was developed for the Board to discuss the centers seemed to not have full support. I voiced my concerns about the attitude that doesn’t fully support the centers and what they do to help create community. They bring inexpensive nursery schools to young families and can be used not only for nursery schools but also for non-profit groups that need inexpensive places to meet.

It was suggested that we need to be assured that the renters are in need of low cost rentals and are non-profits.  Affordability and accessibility are major issues for small groups to access. We need be certain to provide what is needed to our families.  “Building Community” is what makes Columbia special.

The management agreement may negotiate the use of neighborhood centers. There was also discussion about profit vs non-profit. It needs to be determined whether commercial uses should be allowed. The Board will proceed developing how the centers will be leased in the future and how they will be handled by CA. It appears the majority of the Board supports the centers to remain. Many of the facilities need to be upgraded to some degree.  This can be done over the next several budgets.

Work Session Topics: Policy on Vehicular Events on CA-owned Land at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods

There is concern about an easement that has been granted that is not properly used. Users who use the park for vehicular drive through traffic should be stopped. CA needs to maintain the land and keep it well cared for and safe. The environment must be respected. This respect is also demanded from those who use CA facilities and land. CA will not permit an event that provides vehicular drive through traffic driving through the park.

Work Session Topics: Most Recent Development Tracker

Work is continuing on the plans for development in the Lakefront area downtown.  It is expected that there will be 775 residences built there in the parking lots that were on either side of what was the American City Building.

The Hickory Ridge Village Center meeting took place last evening. It appears a county council member has opposed the redevelopment of the village center prior to her election. It is hoped she will recuse herself at the time of the Zoning Board vote

The Enterprise Foundation is moving forward with approvals for the mixed housing units of affordable and market rate to be built in Wilde Lake and Harper’s Choice. It will still take at least a couple years before these are built, but the process is continuing.

The Sheraton, downtown is planning a big renovation and a pre-submission community meeting will take place on November 25 at Slayton House.  If you are interested you are welcome to attend.

Work Session Topics: Capital Projects and Open Space Updates

Dennis Mattey, CA Director of Open Space and Facility Services, updated the Board on the latest projects that have been completed. Supreme Sports Club has new HVAC units and updates all over the building. CA is also working on various grass seeds that may be suitable to allow much fewer mowings of the grassy areas. If this is successful, CA may sell the seed at cost. It needs to be determined if the seed will allow grassy areas to be mowed only a couple times a year vs. every week or two.

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Board Meeting, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Report from the CA Representatives to the Inner Arbor Trust Board of Directors

The Inner Arbor Trust pathway has been designed and money for the pathway has been approved by the Board.

Per the discussion during the work session, CA will not allow any drive through events on Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods property. It was decided that CA will give this new policy to DPZ. If anyone applies for a temporary use permit, the policy will be recorded at DPZ.

Neighborhood Centers

Per the discussion during the work session, the Board will invite the Village Boards, managers and CA Board members to a meeting in January to discuss the proposed neighborhood center policy. Further details will be worked out during the December work session/meeting.

I will not be here for that meeting so there will not be a “Nancy’s Notes” next month. I wish you all happy holidays, whatever you celebrate. Happy, Healthy, 2020 to you and your families and friends.


Nancy McCord

[email protected]