Village Elections Coming in April Nomination Petitions Now Available for River Hill Board and Columbia Council Rep Positions

River Hill residents who are invested in the community and its future are needed to run for election to the River Hill Board of Directors (RHBOD) and for the Columbia Council Representative position. All positions have a two-year term that runs May 1, 2019 – April 30, 2021. The River Hill Community Association annually holds elections for its Board of Directors. This year there are three positions to fill. Columbia’s village community associations were established to enhance the quality of life and to provide opportunities for residents to become involved at a very local level. The RHBOD is responsible for overseeing the finances and management of the organization that handles covenant enforcement, provides community sponsored events and programs, publishes The Villager newsletter and sends electronic communications, and operates Claret Hall and The Meeting Room. The RHBOD appoints the village manager, sets association policy, and advocates on behalf of community residents. Local development, traffic congestion and safety, and improving amenities in the village are areas that the RHBOD has focused on in the past year. The RHBOD typically meets one Monday evening per month.

Every two years village residents also elect a resident to serve as the community’s Columbia Council Representative. The council elects itself to serve as the Columbia Association’s Board of Directors (CABOD), which is the governing body of CA. As a CA Board Member, the village representative is responsible for establishing CA policies and strategic initiatives, has a fiduciary responsibility to CA, communicates CA-related information to River Hill residents, and serves at the CA Board committee level. The CA BOD addresses community issues and appoints CA’s president, who oversees a team of approximately 1,300 professionals who carry out the day-to-day operations. CA Board Meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month and each CA Board Member has committee responsibilities. The River Hill Council Representative is an ex-officio member of the RHBOD and is expected to regularly attend RHBOD meetings.

Want to make a difference in River Hill or Columbia as a whole? Complete a nomination petition (see below) and return it to Claret Hall by the March 21 deadline.

NOMINATION PETITION 2019

Winter Makes a Mess!

Remember that resolution you made back in January – to be a good neighbor? Although March 20 is the official first day of spring, wintery weather may hang around for a few more weeks. With all the rain and snow that we’ve been experiencing, winter has surely affected the appearance of houses and yards throughout River Hill! It’s time to remember that resolution and begin planning your spring cleanup. Part of being a good neighbor means maintaining your property to maintain high property values. As you begin making a list of what needs to be done, keep in mind the village covenants in order to have the community looking its best.

Here are some things that probably require your attention and need improvement as soon as the weather permits:

Driveways: With all the water runoff, driveways are soiled and stained. Perhaps you have driven on the grass along the edge of your driveway creating deep ruts that need to be repaired and returned to the lush grass that was once there. Remember that parking cars on your lawn is never an option. If you need additional parking and want to widen your driveway, please complete an Exterior Alteration Application, which is available on the association’s website at www.villageofriverhill.org or at Claret Hall.

Trash Can/Recycle Bin Storage: Your garage is jam-packed. We get it. That’s still no excuse for leaving your trash cans and recycle bins in plain view at the front of your house, or even in your side yard. The covenants state in Article VIII Section 8.06 that other than the day of pickup, ” …at all other times such containers shall be stored in such a manner so that they cannot be seen from adjacent and surrounding property.”

Yards: Branches, leaves and debris are scattered across many yards and gardens throughout the village. Please pick them up and dispose of them with other yard waste in paper bags or tied in small bundles on your regular recycling collection day. River Hill receives year-round yard waste pick up

Holiday Lights: The holidays are over. Take the lights down!

Stay tuned for next month’s spring clean up guide and tips on how to clean vinyl siding, proper tree maintenance and much more! These are the little things that help preserve high property values in addition to showing a high-quality community.

CA Considering Classification as a “Community Benefit Association”

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.

For more information about this proposal, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit www.ColumbiaAssociation.org/CBA. To provide input on the proposal, email CBA@ColumbiaAs-sociation.org.

Suicide Help

Since the start of the year, Howard County police have responded to seven tragic suicides, several of which were young people. HCPD wants you to know that there is help. Counseling services are available 24/7 at the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Columbia at no cost, and the suicide hotline can be accessed by calling 410-531-6677, 24 hours a day. Counselors from a Mobile Crisis Team can come to you, through the hotline or by calling 911, if needed. The Howard County Health Department also provides mental health resources for everyone in need in Howard County. Dial 211 for 24/7 crisis support or visit www.hchealth.org/gethelp for more information.