The depth of the rift between the Columbia Association board and many residents of the Running Brook community over the proposed Fairway Hills golf course was again exposed at a sometimes heated Oct. 4 meeting at Slayton House.
The potential danger to residents, especially those living on Whetstone Road and Ten Mills Road whose homes will adjoin the fairways, is a major concern. The use of designated open space, and the destruction of woodlands and wetlands necessary to construct the course also remain as objections.
So far, there has been little compromise from either faction, but both have agreed to continue studying and debating various options and proposals.
There has been a conflict of interest charge raised over CA board member Joseph Merke's vote to approve the course. Those raising the charge claim that Mr. Merke stands to make a large financial gain because his home adjoins the course, thereby increasing the value of his property.
Despite the charges of impropriety, several disheartened Running Brook residents I have talked to since the meeting said they believed the CA board has already made its final decision, and that these meetings are little more than a pro forma attempt of justifying that decision to the rest of the Columbia community.
Additional meetings between the CA board and concerned property owners are planned in the months ahead.
Whether we are in a deep recession or a mild depression is arguable, but everyone is feeling the result in some way. Of great interest to everyone is knowing how we can make the most of our investments during these hard times. This week, there will be two free seminars discussing this subject.
The first seminar is today from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center. "Conservative Investment Alternatives in Today's Low-Interest Environment," will be the focus of the presentation by W. Talbot Daley of Legg Mason. Call 539-3400, Ext. 5514 for reservations.
The second seminar will be tomorrow from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Kahler Hall in Harper's Choice Village Center. "Strategies for the Small Investor," will be discussed by investment counselors Cathleen Jordan and Robert Stachura. For reservations, call 730-3888.
In early September, the Columbia Association moved into Columbia's new Town Hall at 10221 Wincopin Circle in Town Center.
Along with offices for the CA and various other community organizations, there is also a public meeting room.
This coming weekend, a special Open House marks the grand opening of The Welcome Center in the new Town Hall, replacing the Columbia Exhibit Center which closed in 1989.
The Open House hours will be Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.