River Hill Board of Directors
June 13, 2023
Opening (Agenda Item 2):
Mr. Bruening called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. The meeting was held remotely via Zoom. The following members attended: Kevin Bruening, Mark Combs, Moe Imran, and Rob Mekelburg. Renee DuBois (Village Manager) and Eric Greenberg (CA Representative) were present. The following guests attended the meeting: George and Holly Stone (Greenstone Ventures), Dr. Corinne Happel (Neighbors for Buses), and Jennifer Lynott (Communications & Events Coordinator).
Approval of the (Agenda Item 3):
Mr. Bruening made a motion to approve the agenda. Mr. Imran seconded the motion. The motion passed. 4-0
Announcement of Executive Session (Agenda Item 4A)
Executive Session held on May 23, 2023, for personnel matters and legal matters.
May 23, 2023, Minutes (Agenda Item 4B)
Mr. Bruening made a motion to approve the Minutes from the May 23, 2023, meeting. Mr. Combs seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent 4-0.
Leslie Barnett, CA Presentation (Agenda Item 4C):
George Stone/Clarksville Commons Presentation (Agenda Item 4D)
Mr. and Mrs. Stone shared their vision for the development of Phase 2 of Clarksville Commons. The plan is to have mixed use residential and commercial on the approximate 3.5-acre parcel. A pre-submission community meeting will be held on Thursday, July 6 at Claret Hall. Following that meeting, an application for the change in zoning will be submitted to Howard County’s Department of Planning and Zoning. The Stones’ goal is to begin construction by the end of 2024.
Resident Speak Out (Agenda Item 5)
HCPSS Transportation Policy (Agenda Item 6A)
Dr. Corinne Happel spoke about HCPSS’ Policy 5200 which cancels bus service for approximately 3,500 children beginning this fall. Dr. Happel, a resident of Ellicott City, has already spoken to several groups as both a parent and Board-Certified Pediatrician regarding the lack of transparency by the HCPSS Board of Education in making this decision. It affects all families with children in HCPSS, not just those that have had bus service cancelled. Dr. Happel encourages residents to express their concerns over Policy 5200 by speaking out during the Public Forum period at HCPSS Board of Education meetings and via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She also encourages residents to follow the “Neighbors4Buses” group on Facebook, which is called “Neighbors Buses” at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2481593048731404/user/100091637506253/. For additional information, email email@example.com.
Mr. Greenberg pointed out that by passing Policy 5200, HCPSS has created a liability issue for Columbia Association by necessitating students to rely on CA pathways to use for their walking routes. CA Pathways are unlit, and with the new non-transportation areas, students would likely be walking to school in the dark and on potentially icy, unsafe pathways at certain times of the year. Mr. Greenberg stated that CA will need to discuss this at an upcoming CA Board of Directors meeting.
Mr. Bruening made a motion to have the RHCA Board draft a letter expressing their concerns related to the HCPSS transportation policy. Mr. Mekelburg seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0
New Business (Agenda Item 7A)
Development Advisory Committee (Agenda Item 8Ai)
Mr. Imran and Mr. Mekelburg requested a definition of parameters for the committee. Mr. Bruening offered to share pertinent background information and links to the various Howard County departments such as DAP (Design Advisory Panel), CC (County Council) and more.
Traffic & Safety Committee (Agenda Item 8Aii)
Mr. Combs requested a history of the previous Board’s work to request sound barriers for River Hill. Mr. Bruening offered to share past correspondence from RHCA to Howard County. Ms. DuBois agreed to arrange a meeting with the past Chair of the RHCA Board, Mr. James Kirk, to obtain the necessary background information and to continue the sound studies. Ms. DuBois pointed out that the Board can draft a letter regarding transportation priorities to be submitted to Howard County Government each year. She also stated that Senator Guy Guzzone should be contacted about River Hill’s request for sound barriers.
Watershed Advisory Committee (Agenda Item 8Aiii)
Ms. DuBois will contact River Hill High School and inquire about student interest and reactivating the committee.
Village Manager (Agenda Item 8B)
Ms. DuBois that the personal property tax return has been filed. She also discussed the energy cooperative that CA uses for all the villages for cost savings. Ms. DuBois also shared the Mr. Jian Ni submitted his resignation from the RHCA Board of Directors effective June 15, 2023, so plans need to be made to appoint a new Board member.
Council Representative (Agenda Item 8C)
Mr. Greenberg reported that he and Andy Stack (Owen Brown’s CA Representative) will co-chair the CA Board of Directors this year. Mr. Stack will serve as the Board Chair through October, and Mr. Greenberg will serve as the Board Chair from November through April 30, 2024. Their focus will be on the search for a new CA President and the strategic plan. He also shared that all 23 of CA’s pool are open and staffed for the summer. Mr. Greenberg discussed the current plans for Howard Hughes Corporation to continue building residential units in downtown Columbia and queried, “Where are the schools to support all these units?”. The response from Howard Hughes Corporation is “Kids don’t live in these units.”
Board Chairperson (Agenda Item 8D)
Board Speak Out (Agenda Item 9)
Mr. Imran requested consistent formatting for the Board’s signature line for emails. Ms. DuBois clarified that the signatures should include River Hill Community Association and not River Hill Village. Mr. Combs shared ideas to fill the vacant seat on the Board and Ms. DuBois explained that the spot will be advertised in The Villager and electronic notifications to the community. The Board agreed that letters of interest would be accepted, and candidates interviewed at the August 22 Board of Directors meeting. Mr. Mekelburg and Mr. Imran expressed their interest in interviewing students that applied to be on the RHCA Teen Advisory Committee.
Adjournment (Agenda Item 10)
At 10:02 p.m., Mr. Combs made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Bruening seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0