River Hill Board of Directors
May 24, 2022
Opening (Agenda Item 2):
Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m. The meeting was hybrid held in person at Claret Hall and virtually via Zoom. The following members attended: Kevin Bruening, Matthew Levine, Janet Munro, Jian Ni. Renee DuBois, Village Manager and Eric Greenberg, Columbia Council Representative were present. The following guests attended the meeting: Jason Heath (Columbia Association), Nathan Lee, Megan Williams (Howard County Liaison), and Jennifer Lynott.
Approval of the (Agenda Item 3):
Mr. Levine made a motion to approve the agenda. Ms. Munro seconded the motion. Mr. Greenberg made a motion to amend the agenda to include a discussion about food trucks in the Village. Ms. Munro seconded the motion. Mr. Levine did not accept the amendment to the motion. The vote failed 1-2-1.
Ms. Munro made a motion to move the Board of Directors appointment of Jian Ni to immediately follow the approval of the April 11, 2022, minutes. Mr. Levine accepted the amendment. The motion passed with unanimous consent.
Announcement of Executive Session(s) Held/To Be Held (Agenda Item 4A):
Board Meeting Minutes – April 11, 2022 (Agenda Item 4B):
Mr. Levine made a motion to approve the April 11, 2022, Minutes. Mr. Greenberg seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent.
Appointment of Village Manager & Election of Officers (Agenda Item 4C):
Mr. Levine made a motion to appoint Jian Ni for a two-year term (to end April 30, 2024) to the Board of Directors. Ms. Munro seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent.
Mr. Levine made a motion to appoint Renee DuBois as Village Manager for FY23. Mr. Greenberg seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent.
Mr. Bruening made a motion to nominate Mr. Levine to be the Board Chairperson. Ms. Munro offered a friendly amendment to the motion that the election of officers be for an interim period rather than for FY23 to allow for the vacant seat on the Board to be filled at which time a new election of officers could occur. Mr. Bruening did not accept the amendment to the original motion. The amendment failed due to lack of a second.
Ms. Munro nominated herself to be the Board Chairperson. There was not a second.
An open vote occurred on the motion to nominate Mr. Levine as Board Chairperson. The motion passed (3-1-0).
Mr. Levine nominated Mr. Bruening to be the Vice Chair. Ms. Munro nominated herself to be the Vice Chair. An open vote was held, and Mr. Bruening was elected as Vice Chair (3-1-0).
Committee/Liaison Assignments (Agenda Item 4D)
Ms. Dubois, Village Manager, proposed that the Board of Directors consider having liaisons instead of full committees for certain areas of interest. The Association has historically had a Development Advisory Committee, Traffic & Safety Committee, Watershed Advisory Committee, Election Committee, etc. Liaisons are recommended for the following categories: Development, Route 32 Sound Barriers, HOA Legislative Updates, and Special Events. Ms. DuBois proposed that the following Committees remain intact: Watershed Advisory and Traffic & Safety. Ms. Munro will be the liaison for the Route 32 Sound Barriers, Mr. Ni will work on special events, and Mr. Bruening will concentrate on Development issues.
Resident Speak Out (Agenda Item 5)
RH Tot Lots 12 and 16 Renovation (Agenda Item 6A):
Mr. Jason Heath (Columbia Association Open Space Department) presented the proposed plans for the full replacement of RH-12 – Reedy Song Knoll Tot Lot and the updating/renovation of RH-16 – Garden Walk. The RH-12 Tot Lot, which was built in 1997, will undergo a full replacement to include a cosmic warp climber, 4 swings, a seesaw, and 3 spring animals. The RH-16 Tot Lot will be updated to include replacement of the swings, spring animals and crawl tube. The fort will be “spruced up,” and CA is recommending the removal of the sandbox. According to a recent study done by CA, the tot lot sandboxes tend to get the most use by animals/wildlife, rather than children. The sandbox at RH-16 will be replaced by a metal picnic table (bolted down on a concrete slab). Mr. Heath will advise the Association of the start date for the projects.
Ethics Policy Update (Agenda Item 6B):
Ms. DuBois brought up this item for discussion as it has been mentioned to her recently by a current Board member and a past Board member. The RHCA Ethics Policy is based on Columbia Association’s (CA) Policy (currently being revised). As the CA Ethics Policy is more related to a purchase agreement (it contains contracts and purchasing policy), rather than a community association, Ms. DuBois recommends that RHCA consult an attorney for examples of other homeowner association policies. Ms. Munro stated that she would like background checks to be required for all Board of Directors candidates and members. Ms. DuBois questioned the legality of such measures since there is nothing contained in the RHCA By-laws and Articles of Incorporation related to background checks. Mr. Greenberg mentioned that Columbia Association has tabled their review of the Ethics Policy and that the draft update has not been finalized. Additionally, he recommended that RHCA table this discussion until Columbia Association can produce their updated policy. Mr. Levine requested that Ms. DuBois put forth recommendations for RHCA’s ethics policy. Ms. DuBois stated that she will inquire with the attorney retained by RHCA regarding background checks and other ethics policy examples. Mr. Ni mentioned that the general trend in corporate environments is that we should be more open-minded.
Approval of FY24 Voting Date & Hours, Place, and Quorum (Agenda Item 6C):
Ms. DuBois shared the public notice of the date for Village Elections in 2023, for FY 2024. Village Elections will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Claret Hall. The quorum to be attained is 77 votes. If a quorum is not reached, a second meeting date of May 9, 2023, has been scheduled. There will be three open seats on the River Hill Community Association’s Board of Directors and one open seat for the Columbia Council Representative. Ms. DuBois will appoint an Election Committee this fall.
Mr. Levine made a motion to approve the voting notice for 2023. Mr. Greenberg seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent.
Old Business (Agenda Item 7):
Development Advisory Committee Liaison (Agenda Item 8Ai):
Traffic & Safety Committee (Agenda Item 8Aii):
Watershed Advisory Committee (Agenda Item 8iii):
Storm drain stenciling was recently held.
Village Manager (Agenda Item 8B):
Ms. Dubois reported that much time has been spent getting files and other office items better organized. Additionally, the plan to transition from a “tribal knowledge” approach to written policies and procedures is being implemented to keep all daytime staff members familiar with aspects of each job in the event of an unexpected absence/emergency. Staff are being trained to handle recurring items such as financial reports, banking, facility rental contracts, etc. to maintain continuity of RHCA’s operations.
Ms. DuBois expressed concern about the increased frequency of and noise created by the car shows being hosted at the Clarksville Square shopping center. These events are being publicized by the owner of Blowfish Poke on Instagram, and the participants are parking their cars in the back parking lot by the new post office which backs up to Whistling Winds Walk. The revving engines, speeding through the parking lot, and public urination occurring during these events is nuisance to River Hill residents that live near the shopping center. Mr. Levine reported that he knows the owner of Blowfish Poke and would put Ms. DuBois in touch with him to discuss the situation.
Columbia Council Representative (Agenda Item 8C):
Mr. Greenberg reported that Columbia Association Board members are being relieved of their responsibilities as Board Liaisons to various committees as a way for CA to better manage Board members’ time. Board members are still welcome to attend committee meetings, but it is no longer a requirement.
Mr. Greenberg brought up the food truck events that have been taking place on Empty Song Road. He suggested that they be spread out across other places in the Village to allow more access from a variety of neighborhoods within the Village.
It was requested that RHCA send out the dates of CA Board meetings and committee meetings. Ms. Munro questioned when CA Board meetings would return to allowing residents to attend in person.
Board Chairperson (Agenda Item 8D):
Mr. Levine thanked the Board of Directors for re-electing him to be the Chairperson. He
thanked Mr. Bruening for his willingness to serve as Vice Chairperson. Mr. Levine thanked Ms. DuBois for her hard work and efforts to keep things running smoothly. Mr. Levine congratulated Mr. Greenberg for being elected as the Columbia Association Board Chairperson – a position that has never been held by a River Hill representative. Finally, Mr. Levine stated that he will try to make the RHCA Board meetings run smoothly and last no more than 2 hours.
Board Speak Out (Agenda Item 10):
Ms. Munro expressed interest in opening communication with the community and would like to have an opportunity to hear from more residents. Ms. DuBois recommended that she hold regular informal meet ups at the Bagel Bin and advertise the dates and times she plans to hold those sessions (like what Ms. DuBois had done previously as the CA Council Rep).
Mr. Bruening expressed resident concerns he has received about pedestrian safety in the Village, especially along Great Star, particularly on and around the Route 32 bridge vicinity. He also expressed the idea of holding a 5k run for the many runners/athletes that live in the area.
Mr. Levine questioned the impact of the bike lanes on Summer Sunrise Drive and whether parking for swim meets would be affected. Ms. DuBois shared that the bike lanes were there last summer when swim meets were held.
Adjournment (Agenda Item 11):
At 8:16 p.m., Mr. Levine made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Bruening seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent.