On CA agenda: a bright sign and bird droppings Seemingly minor issues draw residents' attention

July 12, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Association's governing body last night tackled two seemingly small issues that have caught the attention of Columbia residents -- a brightly lighted sign and bird droppings.

In the sign matter, the governing body -- also known as the Columbia Council -- voted to send a letter to the Howard County Board of Education asking school officials to meet with residents of the Oakland Mills village to work out an "amicable solution" to ++ a controversial sign recently erected in front of Oakland Mills High School.

The double-sided, 6-foot-tall by 8-feet-wide sign is lighted at night. It has a marquee listing of future school events.

Some nearby residents say they were not given proper warning before the school system put up the sign. And in Columbia, where planners have often restricted signs in favor of trees and natural surroundings, bright signs are a big deal.

In this case, though, the Oakland Mills' covenants have no jurisdiction because the sign is on school property.

But village residents say the school should follow the spirit of the village's rules.

"Illuminated, the sign is totally unfit for the neighborhood," said David Hatch, chairman of the Oakland Mills village board. "[It] stands out [with] non-Columbia, nonearth tones."

The Columbia Council did not take an official position on the sign -- other than urging school officials to work things out with the residents and develop a set of procedures for notifying the public of future signs.

In the bird-droppings matter, the council indicated it would either lease or buy a border collie to patrol for Canada geese along the shore of Lake Kittamaqundi near the outdoor eating areas in Columbia's Town Center.

"The problem is, [bird] feces and human beings don't mix very well," said council Chairman Mike Rethman, saying that bird droppings can cause serious health problems.

The council asked staff members of the Columbia Association to determine which is the better deal -- buying a border collie or leasing one. The dogs are not cheap -- $2,500 to purchase or $700 to lease monthly, not to mention the cost of the handler.

Last month, a border collie named Jezebel gave an impressive demonstration along Lake Kittamaqundi, running geese back into the lake. In other areas, the dogs have successfully herded ++ geese from golf courses.

Pub Date: 7/12/96

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