CA's quick movement on Symphony Woods deserve protest [Letter]

March 15, 2013

The historically slow to move Columbia Association Board of Directors is moving at breakneck speed to give away Symphony Woods. They are waiving, suspending and otherwise ignoring all of their long established due process procedures to finalize the deal prior to May 1 when they might face new members.

The Inner Arbor plan first appeared on the agenda of an open board meeting Feb. 14. Staff recommendations related to it were released belatedly just the day before, including a proposal to give a newly created corporation and other related "entities a perpetual easement for the development and use of Symphony Woods." These entities would be separate corporations not subject to the Maryland Homeowners Association Act mandating resident protections (e.g., open meetings, public access to records). After less than an hour of "discussions" on all of the recommendations including passing Symphony Woods and a good chunk of lien-payers' monies out of CA control, they were rushed through committee and approved by the full Board. This was obviously pre-orchestrated in secret.

One adopted recommendation specified the new corporation would have a five member Board of Directors, two of which would be CA Board Members.  At the March 14 Board meeting CA staff was supposed to make a presentation of a process by which these two would be selected; they instead simply said "let's vote" to select the two that night.  Some members had issues taking action when only a presentation was on the agenda. After confirming with the CA president that a delay would not unduly upset their plans, the Board agreed to postpone the vote two weeks. The same members then moved that the duties and terms of office of the two to be selected be defined prior to the next meeting. The Board rejected that motion, apparently not wanting to limit the powers of the two pre-ordained members to be "selected."

Protest loudly and strongly now at this legalized land grab, or forever hold your peace.

Russ Swatek

Long Reach

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