Columbia candidates outline positions

Competition is scarce for seats on the 10 village boards

April 17, 2003|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

Competition is scarce for seats on Columbia's 10 village boards.

Only Oakland Mills has a contested race, with six candidates vying for five open seats during the elections April 26.

The Oakland Mills Village Board has had a busy year working to revitalize its village center. The board successfully lobbied for a new grocery store in the village center to replace the Metro Food outlet that left in 2001 and is supporting plans for a senior housing apartment building to be constructed in the center.

Those apartments could be built only if the county increased the permitted density for residential units throughout Columbia, and the Rouse Co. will petition the county for those additional units.

"I think that in Oakland Mills, with the series of challenges that we've had, there is more interest in people to do something," said Barbara Russell, the village's Columbia Council representative who is running uncontested for her seat. "The people in our village, they like their village and they realize we have some problems and they're willing to put themselves on the line to resolve them."

But elsewhere, competition is nonexistent. Town Center and Owen Brown are not holding elections because of uncontested races. Those candidates will be appointed to the boards.

Six villages - Hickory Ridge, Wilde Lake, Kings Contrivance, Owen Brown, Harper's Choice and Dorsey's Search - all have an equal number of candidates and available seats for the village board.

River Hill, Long Reach and Town Center each has more open spots than candidates. The remaining seats in those villages will be filled by appointment after the elections.

Although there are no contested races in nine villages, the eight villages holding elections are still required to get a certain number of votes to validate the elections.

Hickory Ridge must have 333 votes, Kings Contrivance needs 113 votes, Harper's Choice calls for about 320 votes and Wilde Lake requires 260 votes. In Oakland Mills, 342 residents must vote in the contested elections.

Other villages have lesser requirements. River Hill needs 46 people to vote, and Long Reach requires 50 voters. In Dorsey's Search, all that is needed is a simple majority - one vote for each candidate will validate the election.

Here are brief remarks from candidates seeking positions on the village boards, excerpted from the statements they wrote for their villages:

Dorsey's Search: Three candidates, three open seats.

Jeff Marcus: Marcus has lived in the village since 1999 and has been a member of the village board since 2001. "Dorsey's Search is a great place to live, and I want to do everything possible to maintain our high quality of life," he wrote.

Cathy Sagrillo: Sagrillo has lived in the village since 1992 and has served on the village board for the past two years. " ... I, along with fellow Board members, blocked plans for retail development along Old Annapolis Road," she wrote. "Further, I continue to uphold residents' opposition to zoning changes that would allow that area to be developed into planned office research and high-density housing."

Deborah Seate: Seate is chairwoman of the village board. She has been a member for the past two years. "When previously elected, I thought to serve on the Board was to serve our village. That was only part of the picture," she wrote. "To serve on the Board, is to also periodically interact with the Columbia Council and the Columbia Association staff."

Harper's Choice: Six candidates, six open seats.

Donald Gregory Ault: Ault has been an urban planner for 23 years. "I've worked on numerous planned communities, giving me a unique perspective on trends in town planning and the development of community associations," he wrote.

Curtis Lee Potter: Potter has served on the village board for five years and has lived in the village for 29 years. "I am especially interested in the oversight of our Village Center operations. As a result, I have accepted leadership roles with important accomplishments, including: updated Village management manual of polices and procedures, developed Harper's Choice Merchant Handbook, performed salary study for Village employees and updated salary ranges ... ," he wrote.

Juanita S. Robinson: Robinson chairs the village board. "My first goal is to work toward a litter-free Harper's Choice. Secondly, I will continue to address safety issues in our Village. Finally, I plan on involving more community members in our Community Association activities and in volunteer opportunities throughout our Village," she wrote.

Jacqueline Rose: Rose has served on the village board for the past two years and has lived in the village for 16 years. "During the last two years, we have worked to improve communications with our schools and throughout our community," she wrote. "I would like to remain on the HCVB to continue this process."

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