Thursday, April 25, 2019
Columbia Association Board of Directors Work Session
(Click here for the agendas and background material.)
Alex Heikimian from Oakland Mills spoke about membership costs being too high. He also said many in the community have negative views of CA as far as communication, transparency and affordability issues are concerned.
Work Session Topic – CA’s Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan
The Board worked on goals as part of the strategic planning process. For further information about this please look on the CA website for updates on the strategic planning. Feel free to contact me with your questions or concerns.
Columbia Association Board of Directors Meeting
The Board meeting was called to order at 8:25 pm following the Worksession on strategic goals.
Brian England spoke about the Guilford Industrial park and the covenants. CA Board has agreed in principle to take over the responsibility if 50% of the owners in the park agree to it. CA can now begin the process of taking over the covenants. Brian said the owners are angry because they pay the CA annual charge but nothing has happened. They are eager for CA take on the role. Brian needs to write to each of the owners and have them contact CA to indicate their agreement to have CA take on the covenants role. Milton said they are working to identify the property owners from the tax data base. This process has been going on for years. The industrial park has become very run down. Brian has asked CA to communicate with them so they can help move this process forward.
Chris Alleva spoke about a grant he wants to submit to CA in order to apply for a ZRA (zoning regulation amendment). The total amount of the grant is $32,150. This is the cost involved in submitting an application to the county for the amendment. Chris also spoke on behalf of the property owners of the industrial parks. He says they have great frustration over the fact that they have been neglected for years and the park is very run down and there seems to be no help in sight.
Jervis Dorton spoke to endorse what Chris Aleva spoke about. He explained that the ZRA is needed. He said the industrial parks are larger than downtown and the village centers combined. These business centers are very low density because of their size made up of mostly one story buildings. They offer great potential for Columbia’s future. Existing zoning was created prior to Columbia. Now there are unintended consequences because of the old regulations. Redevelopment needs to be planned like the town was originally planned. The village centers and downtown were planned. Jervis says the grant will lead to a ZRA and help prepare a plan for the business center redevelopment. The amendment can be written to help planning. This grant would help guide these leaders decide who will be at the table to create the needed changes.
Ron Hartman spoke about his need for a rain garden. He called John McCoy but because of the timing, the money ran out for the rain garden program. Milton Matthews told Mr. Hartman that CA would work with him to get his rain garden.
Joel Hurewitz spoke about a bankruptcy court case and financial issues.
The Supreme Sports Club will close May 28 for rehab and improvements that are planned. Parts of the Supreme will be closed until the end of summer. Other parts will close later in the year. Regular updates will be provided on line at Columbiaassociation.org/sscrenovations
CA is constantly improving.
One Board member reported that she has heard very good reports about Fairway Hills Golf Club. People are very positive about the work that is being done there.
Milton was asked to report regularly on what is happening on the Guilford industrial parks. He will do that going forward in his reports to the Board.
Quarterly Update re: Membership Information
Dan Burns, CA Director, Sports and Fitness, spoke to the Board about the first quarter reports that demonstrate that there has been improvement in new members for the first two months of the year but down a bit the third month. There is a sales team in place and overall shows strong increase in new members.
The Haven on the Lake had a slow quarter. It hasn’t been as strong as last year. One Fit and Fit & Play have increased nicely. Extensive rain slowed down the Play memberships. Play is primarily outdoor pools and some other outdoor activities.
Fit & Play cancellations were reduced over the past year. Haven had slightly fewer cancellations. Play memberships canceled more (likely due to the rain) than last year. Many who didn’t use facilities canceled their memberships at a rate of 36% which was the highest number of overall cancelations. About 20% move each year. The other reasons for canceling memberships were much smaller percentages.
Overall the numbers are improved in FY2019 vs FY2018.
The development on Route 108 and Columbia Road was discussed. Currently the plan is to build five separate buildings of 55+ rental units. They are expected to be five stories high with the first floor used as garage space.
There was discussion of the development tracker itself. Please let me know if you look at it and what you think of it. It’s a good way to keep track of what is upcoming in Columbia.
Capital Projects and Open Space Updates
The Board was brought up to date with some of the changes to open space. New bridges on pathways use a new material that is less slick and better for bikers and walkers. There is also a Boardwalk in the Crescent area that helps preserve the fragile ground below it. A chicken bone was found in the fountain at the lakefront. The bone was removed and the depth of the fountain has increased greatly. Go take a look.
Symphony Woods is now looking wonderful. There is concern about what will happen when Wine in the Woods comes to town. If it rains, there could be damage but many tents will be in the parking lot and other things are happening to improve the grounds. The county has agreed to put in sod if needed after the event.
There is a new event pad at Fairway Hills. It was moved from the parking lot to the area near the course because the parking lot space was needed for cars.
Special CA Employee Recognition
Erin Cassell is the attendant at the Dog Park. She loves her work and does a great job. Say hello the next time you take your dog to the park.
A question was asked if CA has a policy for granting easements. This will be researched and the Board will be informed of this soon.
Happy spring everyone. The next work session is May 9.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions or concerns
Wilde Lake CA Representative.