The River Hill Community Association had another busy fiscal year focused on informing the community, engaging residents, and improving and enhancing life in the village and surrounding area. The Association’s Board of Directors, staff, and numerous volunteers including the members of the community who serve in volunteer capacities on the Architectural Committee, Resident Architectural Committee, Teen Advisory Committee, Traffic & Safety Committee, and Watershed Committee worked enthusiastically and diligently to strengthen the River Hill community. Throughout the year, Claret Hall and the River Hill Meeting Room, facilities owned by the Columbia Association but managed by the village association, served as community hubs for gathering, learning, and celebrating. Here are some of the year’s highlights:
• Shared resident concerns and provided feedback on Howard County’s Office of Transportation’s (OOT) plans for bike lanes on Summer Sunrise Drive. Provided opportunities for residents to meet with OOT representatives.
• Reviewed concept and subdivision plans for re-development of the former Ruby Tuesday property. Met with representatives from JPMorgan Chase, the new owners of the site. Coordinated with JPMorgan Chase, Kimco
Realty, and Howard Hughes Corporation. Advocated for maintenance improvements.
• Monitored other local development projects: Erickson Living’s Limestone Valley Continuing Care Retirement Community, Cedar Creek and Robinson Overlook residential developments, and River Hill Square retail project.
• Provided input on Howard County Public School System’s redistricting proposal. Advocated for retaining village students at local, community-based schools. Sponsored meetings for residents to discuss redistricting.
• Met with representatives from Kimco Realty to discuss maintenance, leasing, and other matters related to the River Hill Village Center.
• Advocated for the community with the County Executive’s office and provided input on the County’s FY21 budget.
• Continued as the Chartering Organization for Boy Scout Troop 618.
• Reviewed 210 Exterior Alteration Applications and 1 In-Home Business Application. One decision was appealed to the Architectural Committee.
• Processed 126 requests for Letters of Compliance. Upon first inspection, 20 Properties were found to be non-compliant with the Covenants. All non-compliant issues were rectified prior to sale.
• Responded to 78 complaints, the majority of which were property maintenance complaints.
• Maintained communications and informed River Hill residents through monthly issues of The Villager, the association e-News – sign up by texting CLARETHALL to 22828 or on our website, the association’s website
www.villageofriverhill.org, Facebook – follow us at River
Hill Community Association/Claret Hall, and Twitter –
Association Sponsored Special Events and Programs:
• Master Gardener Seminars – numerous sessions and topics throughout the year
• Annual Flea Market
• Pull and Plant events – organized by the association’s Watershed Committee
• Annual Independence Day Parade – 1st year with a full
Marching Band courtesy of Atholton High School.
• Bugs that Bite Seminar, by Columbia Association
• Coffee with a Cop, with the HoCo Police Department
• Family Pool Party
• Block Party Grants
• Annual Haunted Hallow’s Eve – including Trick or Treating at village center businesses, crafts, games, and a Haunted House by the Teen Advisory Committee, and a Magic Show held in collaboration with Kimco Realty, owners of the River Hill Village Center.
• Neighborhood Yard Sales
• Town Hall Meeting with Deb Jung, District 4 County Council Member.
• Breakfast with Santa
• The Village in Howard information session
• Solar Co-op Information session
• Collection Site: Food on the 15th, Prepare for Success, and Level the Playing Field.
• Class Offerings at Association-Managed Buildings:
• Aphasia Book Club
• Bollywood Cardio
• Chinese WuShu
• GOSU Martial Arts
• Music Together
• Senior Center without Walls with the Howard County Chinese School
• Tai Chi for Health & Wellness
• Tien Shan Kung Fu
What Lies Ahead:
Despite the closure of both Claret Hall and the River Hill Meeting Room in December and January for capital improvements made by the Columbia Association and the subsequent closure of the buildings in mid-March, the association ended FY20 with cash reserves. These reserves will help the association to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout in FY21. Due to losses attributed to the pandemic, the Columbia Association has twice reduced the FY21 Annual Charge Shares provided to the village associations for basic operations. Rental and lease revenue generated by the association’s management of the facilities, which supplements the annual charge share, will be severely reduced in FY21 and it is difficult to predict when or if pre-pandemic levels will return. To help cope, the association has made difficult decisions to modify operations and reduce expenditures, including staff layoffs and furloughs in the 4th quarter of FY20 and again in early FY21. Meanwhile, the association has pivoted to virtual Board of Directors and Resident Architectural Committee meetings and is focusing on events and programs that can be held virtually or outside to promote health safety. New policies and procedures have been developed and implemented to help minimize the health risks posed by the virus. Capital improvements and operating expenditures to address COVID-related concerns and maintain continuity of operations have been necessary. FY21 will be a challenging year for all of us. With flexibility, mutual support, collaboration, and understanding, we will get through this together.