CA seeks input on controversial homeowners association legislation

The Columbia Association is seeking community input on proposed legislation that would exempt CA from the Maryland Homeowner's Association act.

According to a news release, the CA board will hold a work session, open to the public, as well as  two public hearings for Columbia residents to testify about the legislation.

CA willl release times and dates of the three sessions following the board's meeting on Thursday, Sept. 13.

In addition to the work sessions, CA has placed a commenting feature on the legislation's web page on the CA website.

A draft of the controversial legislation, which would reclassify CA from a homeowners association to a nonprofit community service corporation, is also available for viewing on the web page.

Members of CA staff argue that the association's unique structure and size — CA consists of about 37,000 properties, while the average size of other associations under the HOA act is 131 properties — make the reclassification necessary.

According to staff, the proposed amendments to the HOA Act that come before the state legislature often don't apply to CA and pose unintended consequences to staff.

CA has been spending at least $50,000 a year and numerous staff hours monitoring and responding to the more than 20 proposed amendments, according to the news release.

But some residents have criticized the proposed change. The majority of the concerns raised come from the Alliance for a Better Columbia, a local citizens' group that has argued the legislation will decrease CA's transparency and openness.

Members of CA staff say the legislation borrows transperancy provisions from the HOA Act and will actually increase transperancy by allowing more members to attend CA meetings and view CA records.

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