Columbia Association board

The Columbia Association Board has scheduled two public hearings on legislation that would exempt CA from the Maryland Homeowners Association Act. (Luke Lavoie / September 13, 2012)

The Columbia Association has scheduled two public hearings on a controversial proposal to reclassify the association as a "nonprofit community service corporation" rather than a homeowners association.

The two hearings will be held Tuesday, Oct. 16, one at 1 p.m. and the other at 7 p.m., in the boardroom at CA headquarters, 10221 Wincopin Circle.

Each forum will include a briefing on the proposed legislation from CA President Phil Nelson, followed by testimony from Columbia residents.

In addition, on Nov. 1, the CA Board's External Relations Committee will host a presentation and question-and-answer session on the bill with Howard County state lawmakers, who must introduce the legislation, and members of the County Council and Columbia's village boards. That meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Historic Oakland, located at 5430 Vantage Point Road, and residents will have the opportunity to speak out there as well.

CA Board members will further discuss the legislation at their regular meetings Nov. 8 and 20.

The legislation, which has been debated off and on since last year, has proven controversial.

Members of CA staff argue that CA's unique size and structure calls for the reclassification, and that the recent increase in the number of proposed amendments to the Homeowners Association Act have unintended, unwanted consequences to the association.

Critics, however, have argued that the change would make CA less transparent.

—Pete Pichaske