Columbia Council Rep Report

CA Board Work Session October 8, 2020

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Work Session, October 8, 2020 (Click here for the agenda and background packet.)


The Board continues to meet virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.

Resident Speak out

Laurie Kight spoke about an incident at the Town Center Park pickle ball and tennis courts.   She complained about how disrespectful players are when playing on the court.  When two people are playing they get 60 minutes and when four people are playing they get 90 minutes.  She would like people to be more respectful and honor the “honor system.”

 Discussion of the Most Recent Development Tracker

Dorsey Overlook is still being discussed.  The development at the corner of Columbia Road and Routs 108 is currently planned for 82 units.  They will look like townhomes but are really two homes in what appears to be one.  The developer is trying to get too many units on the site and testimony is being prepared opposing the request for the 82 units.  There is concern about traffic and congestion in a narrow area.  The Dorsey’s Search community is very concerned about this.

There was a question about the Hickory Ridge Village Center hearing.  The Zoning Board hearings have a lot of presentation and cross examination.  This will continue and has a long way to go.  Many people are on both sides of the development.

Dennis Mattey, CA Director of Open Space and Facilities Services, updated the Board on the Symphony Woods pathway.  There is now an ADA accessible ramp at the Chrysalis that ties into the stage and the larger pathway.   There is no signage from Little Patuxent Parkway to the Chrysalis.  When there is more funding, there will be signs to mark the pathways.

Vantage Point tennis courts have been upgraded.  Some tot lots have been updated.  Some tot lots are being closed at least temporarily.  The usable equipment on the closed tot lots will be moved to renovated ones.

A kitchen remodel was done at Hawthorn Center.  Some repairs were made at The Other Barn.  Landscaping continues around the lakes.   Incredible numbers of people have been enjoying the lakes.  This is good but it does increase the work load for Open Space. Stream stabilization is underway near Wilde Lake.    A bridge is being built near Lake Kittamaqundi.

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and Operations Plan

Income from the annual charge is $43.4 million, total Income is $48.9 million and total expenses are $18.8 million thus far.  There will be further information in December when the Audit Committee meets.

A question was raised about whether CA has enough cash flow to hold $3 million in a reserved account for the loan which it currently holds.  At the same time, replace $1 million in an account and then create a reserve account with $1 million for this fiscal year.  There are continued demands to keep CA functioning.

Discussion regarding Columbia Association’s Core Values

Shari Zaret, Kings Contrivance representative, led the Board in discussion about CA’s values to the community and the web of alliances and friends of CA.  Many features of CA had positive responses that came out of a survey done this summer.   The Haven on the Lake was the only facility that did not get positive feedback.

Older villages vs. newer villages, older facilities vs newer facilities.  How do we bring equity to these features?   The need for better communication was universal.  Villages, Board members and community members want to see a cohesive plan moving forward.   There appears to be an understanding that CA’s business model needs to change.   Memberships, annual charge and loans for the organization’s fiscal needs must constantly be juggled.  Some pieces of CA need to be spun off.  The idea of diversity and equity, financially and leadership wise, was discussed.  The community sees a need to participate in the changing demographics.

As part of this discussion, the Board talked about outparcels.  This is a question that has never been resolved.  The county benefits by having the outparcels with properties that are valued higher because of their proximity to Columbia.  One approach is to have the county share some of the wealth it receives from these outparcels.  Residents who live in outparcels use CA’s lakes, open space, free events and the benefits of Columbia.  It is lovely to share the wealth but CA needs support for their use.  Maybe the county and the state government can help.

How do we move towards tomorrow and keep the goals of Columbia and what makes us unique into the next 50 years?  Money Magazine again gave Columbia high marks.  This year, Columbia is number 5 small city in the country to live in.

Timothy Pinel, CA Chief Marketing Officer, was introduced by Milton Matthews.    The Board let him know how important communications are for the community.

I again asked about people with specific health issues that are younger than 60, who need to exercise.  Specifically, how do we give them the same benefits of those 60 and older?  We should be getting a response in the next couple weeks.

Enjoy the beautiful fall weather.


Nancy McCord

[email protected]