Columbia Council Rep Report

CA Board Work Session April 11, 2019


(Click here to see the agenda and background material.)

CA’s Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan – Goals

The meeting was initially hosted by Griff Hall and his partner, Gail.   The Board proceeded to work on the strategic plan in an open session.

There are many ways that CA is getting out the word to the community about the strategic planning process thus far.  People can access it on the CA website . They can also get information from others sources.  Questions about this are welcome.

The Board is working on goals this evening.  Specifically, five SMART goals:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.  These are the fundamental values that guide CA as a value driven organization. Broad goals will be decided with next level steps to achieve them.

The Board discussed how the goals may be met.  The strategies to meet the goals are necessary.   The goal creates the change, i.e. why and how will it look different, otherwise it won’t motivate the Board to change what is done now.

The group broke down to smaller groups to discuss the goals.  Then the Board broke to allow Resident Speakout.

The first goal was about identity and trying to improve relations and perceptions of CA in the community.  The Board is asking for community input into the goals that CA is putting on line.  Comments are needed so that firm goals can be established that include the comments from the community.    Please feel free to share your thoughts or ideas with me and or CA on the CA webpage.

Resident Speakout

Paul Verchinski spoke about CA’s lack of communication with the community about the strategic planning.  He also said that the community has no trust in Columbia Association. He said there should have been public hearings on the goals for the plan.  He asked for more community engagement.  He says CA isn’t reaching our constituents.  He says there is no sense of community.

Neal Vanderlipp spoke about an age restricted community.  He says the Planning Board will meet about ZRA 187 next week.  He asked for the CA Board’s support.   He wants to stop Jordan Overlook.

Alex Heikimian echoed what Paul Verchinski said.  He spoke about the past Board strategic planning sessions saying they were meetings that weren’t publicly announced to the public and they weren’t closed meetings.  He spoke about the public involvement and questioned the public input that had been received.  The feeling is that the process is being rushed.

Joel Hurewitz reiterated what Paul Verchinski said.  He also reiterated what Alex Heikimian said.  He spoke about various bills that have been presented as well.

Chiara D’Amore spoke to the Board about the Community Ecology Center.  The organization is raising funds to purchase an organic farm in Columbia.  If you want more information the website is:

Continuation – CA’s Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan – Goals

The first goal was about identity and trying to improve relations and perceptions of CA in the community. The Board is asking for community input into the goals that are being put on line.   Comments are needed so firm goals that include the comments from the community can be established.

There has been a lot of conversation about how the process should continue.  The CA website will provide an opportunity for the community to give input.  The Board is trying to continue and determine a schedule that both gives the community time to give input but also keep the process moving so it can be wrapped up and work can begin on the plan in the next fiscal year that begins May 1.

After the goals have been established, the Board will work on the objectives.  Goals will be defined along with what actions are needed to access our goals.

Easement Request – Grace Drive Pathway (formerly Robinson Overlook [River Hill] pathway)

The Board discussed an easement for a walking path in the new community to be built adjacent to River Hill.  Chesapeake Realty has requested this easement via the county.  In order for the Grace Drive pathway to be built a small piece of CA property is needed.  The pathway will go to the Robinson Nature Center.  The developer rejected the CA property lien; therefore the property will not become part of Columbia.  The pathway will be built by the developer but maintained by the county.  River Hill Community Association supports the plan.

The Board discussed trading the property for which the county is requesting the easement in order to get a piece of land that would benefit CA.  The issue will be discussed and voted on at the April 25 meeting.

Sexual Harassment Policy 

One Board member asked that the Board be made aware of the sexual harassment policies and issues that may arise.  The Board member has asked that this be handled through the audit committee but it is a Board responsibility.  The audit committee is the mechanism through which these matters should be handled

CA staff has been handling issues without informing the Board.  It is a concern that there could be problems that the Board has not been made aware and should be informed.  Board members are ultimately responsible for what happens at CA.  For this reason alone, the Board should be informed of any important issues such as this. This will be voted on at the next meeting at the end of April.

Happy Spring everyone!  The trees are in bloom and the flowers are out.  It is time to enjoy the wonderful sunshine and warmer temperatures.   Wilde Lake Park is a great place to visit this time of year.

If you have concerns or questions please feel free to contact me.  My email is [email protected]