Columbia Association’s (CA) Board of Directors is considering requesting that the Maryland General Assembly recognize CA under state law as a “community benefit association.”
The Columbia community is invited to learn more about the proposal at an information session on Tuesday, March 5 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road. There will also be a CA Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, February 28 and a CA Board of Directors work session on Thursday, March 14.
Since its founding in 1965, Columbia Association has been classified under Maryland Corporations Law as a private, non-stock corporation. When the state Homeowners Association Act (HOA Act) passed in 1984, CA was classified as a homeowners association as well. However, Columbia Association is very different than traditional homeowners associations. CA serves an entire community of homeowners, renters, commercial property owners, businesses and the people who work in Columbia, and provides far more services — including facilities, programs and activities — to a greater population than any other HOA.
When state lawmakers consider changes to the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, that legislation is usually in response to issues at much smaller homeowners associations — and typically will have unintended negative consequences on Columbia Association. Recognizing Columbia Association as a community benefit association would acknowledge its unique structure and the many and diverse stakeholders it serves, while protecting CA from legislation intended for more traditional HOAs. Becoming a community benefit association would change nothing about the way CA operates.
That is because this proposal also retains all protections for anyone who lives, works or owns property in Columbia. For example, CA would still be required under its bylaws and state law to provide the openness mandated by the HOA Act, such as the ability to attend and comment at open work sessions and meetings, and the ability to inspect and copy CA’s books and financial records, including salary information.