River Hill Board of Directors
October 11, 2022
Opening (Agenda Item 2):
Mr. Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The meeting was hybrid held in person at Claret Hall and virtually via Zoom. The following members attended: Kevin Bruening, Jim Kirk, Janet Munro, Jian Ni and Muyiwa Odeniyide. Student Advisory member Jennifer Gao also attended. Renee DuBois, Village Manager, and Eric Greenberg, Columbia Council Representative, were present. The following guests attended the meeting: J. Pierre, Steve Shuman, and Jennifer Lynott (Communications Coordinator).
Approval of the (Agenda Item 3):
Mr. Bruening made a motion to amend the agenda to include a discussion of the River Hill High School (RHHS) lockdown and evacuation on October 4 and the subsequent lockdown on October 11. There was no dissent. Mr. Kirk made a motion to amend the agenda to with the addition of the RHHS discussion as Agenda Item 8C. Mr. Bruening seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.
Announcement of Executive Session (Agenda Item 4A)
An Executive Session is scheduled to be held remotely on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
Board Meeting Minutes – September 13, 2022 (Agenda Item 4B):
Ms. Munro asked to amend a statement in the Sound Barrier Liaison report from the September 13, 2022, meeting. Ms. Munro would like it to read, “Ms. Munro will follow up with State Delegate Jen Terrasa’s office and State Delegate Reid Novotny’s office to explore how to address the eligibility requirements for noise barriers on Rt 32 near the River Hill community.” Mr. Bruening made a motion to approve the September 13, 2022, Minutes as amended. Mr. Kirk seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.
Resident Speak Out (Agenda Item 5)
Teen Advisory Report (Agenda Item 6A):
Ms. Gao reported on the recent lockdowns and evacuation at River Hill High School. She summarized her experiences and shared some of the experiences that other students reported. Additionally, Ms. Gao shared plans for the upcoming Haunted Hollow’s Eve event scheduled for Friday, October 28 at Claret Hall and the Village Center.
Ms. Gao left the meeting following the conclusion of her report at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Food Trucks (Agenda Item 7A)
Ms. Munro requested the Board take a position on the presence of food trucks in the Village of River Hill, as they have caused issues for residents, and that the trucks find a more suitable location (other than Empty Song) because a precedent is being set with food trucks uncontrolled on residential streets. Mr. Kirk concurred that the food trucks, while welcomed in the Village during the pandemic, have now become disruptive. Ms. Munro suggested drafting a position statement on the topic of food trucks not being supported by the Board of Directors and for that statement to be shared in The Villager and via the Association’s other communication platforms. Mr. Greenberg suggested having the Board of Directors take over the food truck process (scheduling of dates, times, locations, etc.) to better monitor them and to determine the number of times they would be permitted at various spots in the Village.
Mr. Kirk made a motion to have Ms. Munro draft a letter to the Board and Village residents regarding the coordination and scheduling of food trucks. Ms. Munro declined. Mr. Kirk offered to draft a letter to work on scheduling a coordinated effort for food trucks in the Village.
Drag Racing (Agenda Item 7B):
Mr. Kirk stated that police have been enforcing the drag racing/modified car issues and the problem had diminished. He would like the Board to encourage police to address the noise abatement issue but recognizes that the police response to his request for an update on this likely won’t occur until January 2023 after local elections have concluded and new officials are seated. Ms. DuBois stated that the Association’s working relationship with the Howard County Police Department is very positive. The Board agreed to table the topic until the January.
At 8:30 Student Advisory Member Ms. Gao rejoined the meeting.
Teen Advisory Committee Plan (Agenda Item 8A)
Ms. Munro inquired what new activities and programs the Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) is interested in for this year. Ms. DuBois stated that she’d like to get them involved in more meaningful tasks such as a Lunar New Year celebration, researching grants, and other experiences. Ms. Gao, Student Advisory Member, said that she would ask the Teen Advisory Committee for input, but that one idea already discussed related to offering a technology help session for adults that need assistance with their smart devices. Ms. DuBois recommended that a Position Description be developed for Student Advisory Members and noted that Maryland law requires the filing of a charter with the Department of Land Records for any type of committee. Ms. DuBois hopes to expand the offerings for the TAC to include more meaningful and relevant activities this year.
Ms. Gao left the meeting at 8:32 p.m.
July 31, 2022, CA Financial Reports (Agenda Item 8B):
Ms. DuBois provided information about the management contract that allows the Association to rent/lease Claret Hall and The Meeting Room. July 31, 2022, marked the end of the first quarter. Leases and rentals are up so far this year, as are staff salaries (due to high number of rentals/private events and to bring salaries closer to market rate), payroll taxes, janitorial expenses, insurance costs and legal fees. Building maintenance items needed to be completed such as power washing the back patio area, while other items such as stripping and redoing the areas of concrete tile in the Banquet Room and Lobby of Claret Hall still need to be completed. Currently the Association is budgeted to lose approximately $25,000 mainly due to money that was paid and carried over from last year and the lack of time to seek out sponsorships for special events thus far.
Mr. Kirk made a motion to approve the CA Financial Reports as presented. Mr. Bruening seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
At 8:55 p.m., Mr. Kirk made a motion to take a brief recess. There was no dissent.
The meeting resumed at 9:05 p.m.
New Business (continued)
River Hill High School Discussion (Agenda Item 8C):
Mr. Bruening summarized the events that occurred on October 4 (lockdown and evacuation) and October 11 (modified lockdown) at River Hill High School (RHHS). He then read the principal’s letter that was sent to parents later in the day on October 11 which mentioned the trend known as “Swatting” where numerous threats are being called in to schools around the country in an attempt to elicit a significant police response. The threats to RHHS are not deemed as credible. Mr. Bruening requested that a letter be drafted in support of the school and to let them know the Board of Directors wishes to express appreciation for the efforts of the school staff to keep the students safe and the efforts of all who were involved in the response and reunification process. Mr. Bruening offered to draft the letter which would require unanimous consent before being sent to RHHS. There was no dissent.
Development Advisory Committee Liaison (Agenda Item 9Ai):
Mr. Bruening attended the recent “HoCo by Design – County in Motion” meeting which was focused on the need to increase and improve rapid transit, bus routes, and micro-mobility (scooters and bikes) in the County. Routes 108, 32 and 95 were monitored for travel time and deemed “Not reliable.” Improvements to regional transit connections are needed. A large amount of money is being spent on maintenance of buses, bridges, and roadways. The final report of HoCo by Design is due in November.
Traffic & Safety Committee (Agenda Item 9Aii):
No separate report other than what was spoken about during the earlier Drag Racing portion of the meeting (Agenda Item 7B).
Watershed Advisory Committee (Agenda Item 8Aiii):
Sound Barrier Liaison (Agenda Item 8Aiv):
Ms. Munro stated that State Delegate Jen Terrasa replied that she had reached out to State Highway Administration (SHA). County Council member Deb Jung also brought up the issue to SHA. They are still advocating for the Village and have asked for residents’ patience until after elections. Ms. Munro will also forward the information to State Delegate Reid Novotny’s office.
Village Manager (Agenda Item 8B):
Ms. Dubois provided copies of the slide deck in the Board packet for the October 13, 2022, Presentation to the Columbia Association Board of Directors which provides a Village Community Associations Overview. It discusses River Hill’s position in relation to other Villages and Town Center and an overview of how the Villages operate, their financial information, etc.
Ms. DuBois also mentioned the 10/12/22 pre-submission meeting for the St. Louis School to add classrooms onto its buildings.
Columbia Council Representative (Agenda Item 8C):
Mr. Greenberg reported that Columbia Association Board of Directors has approved the renovation of a tot lot in Hickory Ridge known as the “Sixpence Tot Lot.” The play structure will be the “Towers” design rather than the proposed “Rascal” design which was smaller and cheaper. At this time this is not a date for the Town Hall requested by CA for residents to provide input on their vision of play areas in Columbia.
Board Chairperson (Agenda Item 8D):
Mr. Kirk inquired about a possible complaint by Mr. Bruening towards a Board member and he withdrew his complaint.
Board Speak Out (Agenda Item 10):
Mr. Odeniyide expressed his pleasure to be at the meeting and to serve the community. Mr. Bruening also said he was glad to be able to serve the community.
Adjournment (Agenda Item 11):
At 9:43 p.m., Mr. Greenberg made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Kirk seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent.