CA board rejects controversial homeowners legislation

Controversial legislation that would exempt the Columbia Association from the Maryland Homeowners Association Act could be dead for good after the CA board voted Thursday night to reject the bill.

The 5-4 vote comes five months after the board tabled the bill and failed to send it to the state delegation for the 2013 legislative session.

In front of a room of empty seats at CA headquarters on April 11, the board voted to reject the CA staff proposed legislation that would reclassify CA under state law from a homeowners association to a nonprofit community services corporation.

"I'd like to be more final with this, so the public does not perceive or misperceive that the board is keeping this on life support," said Hickory Ridge resident Gregg Schwind.

Schwind, Harper's Choice representative Cynthia Coyle, Oakland Mills representative Alex Hekimian, Wilde Lake representative Regina Clay and River Hill representative Michael Cornell voted to reject the legislation.

The legislation, which fueled many tenuous and extended resident speak out sessions at CA board meetings, was originally introduced to the board in 2011.

After discussion was put off, it was reintroduced last year in October, and since then has been criticized by many who felt it was unnecessary.

For some, the issue reached a tipping point in early November at a meeting with members of the state delegation when residents and delegates overwhelmingly voiced their opposition.

Columbia delegates Guy Guzzone and Frank Turner doubted the bill would make it to the delegation for the 2013 session, while Turner questioned the merits of the bill entirely.

Part of the reason why the board voted to table the bill in December was to give the 10 villages, which would also be reclassified under the legislation, an opportunity to seek outside legal counsel.

Lawyers advised the villages to exempt themselves from the legislation, according to multiple CA board members.

The purpose of the bill was to reclassify CA, and the 10 villages, into a category that better suited the organization's unique size and structure, according to CA general counsel Sheri Fanaroff.

In addition, CA would have become exempt from future amendments to the HOA Act that, if passed, would pose unintended consequences to the organization, according to CA spokesman David Greisman.

Copyright © 2018, Columbia Flier, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad