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open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods

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  • Allen Dyer
    the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the dark side. see
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 19, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county
      behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the
      dark side.  see appended.
       
      if rumors are true, the extra 5,500 residential units are still "planned"
      to be usable only by people without children.  apparently, GGP is trying
      to develop support for their plan by offering specific groups "special deals"
      that won't involve GGP having to invest in public education infrastructure.
       
      if you live in columbia, or have friends that do, please help support those
      columbia association board members that are trying to bring the GGP
      master plan shenanigans out into the public eye.
       
      there is NO REASON to trust a private, profit driven corporation to develop
      a land use plan that is going to be of LONG TERM benefit to the county.
      PROFIT = SHORT TERM, NOW!!  BOTTOM LINE THIS QUARTER.
       
      there is nothing wrong with being a profit making entity but....that is not
      what government is about.  we need LONG TERM thinking for land use.
       
      meanwhile, back on wall street....
       
      allen dyer
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:29 AM
      Subject: Re: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


      I also attended that meeting - it was bizarre.  Only 8 board members were there.  Four of them tried repeatedly to close the meeting.  When that failed that they then sabotaged efforts to direct staff to submit a detailed report that could be released in open session.

      Miles Coffman, Tom O'Connor, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart and Suzanne Waller all favored closing the meeting.  Alex Hekimian, Phil Kirsch, Evan Coren and Cynthia Coyle all favored open session.

      Rob Goldman (legal) was there and directly refused a request from the board to discuss the memo from staff after it was determined the meeting was not going to be closed.

      It was repeatedly pointed out that in no way could this memo from staff possibly contain information warranting a closed session according to Maryland law.  I do not know who the members favoring closed session think they are serving, but I think their qualifications and temperament for their job should be re-examined.

      Further amazing was that the board then adjourned with no discussion of where they go from here to resolve their differences.  It looked like the board was relegating themselves to irrelevance, and that Maggie Brown & staff would make the CA decisions.

      Russ Swatek

      --- On Thu, 9/18/08, Phil Marcus <pm@...> wrote:
      From: Phil Marcus <pm@...>
      Subject: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
      To: Howard-citizen@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 9:31 PM

      Dear fellow citizen,

      When folks work tirelessly not to reveal anything in public, you eventually decide something must be going on, maybe a backroom deal.

      A few weeks ago, Maggie Brown, President of C.A., when asked by a Board member, refused totally to discuss in public her ongoing discussions with GGP about the downtown plan and Symphony Woods.  Then a rumor circulated that a member of her staff (she is on vacation) would present a report to the Board behind closed doors last Monday, 9/15/08.  I wrote to the Board (copying this forum) that such a closing of doors would not be wise.  Two Board members responded that me there was no closed meeting planned.  But when I looked on CA’s website, I found that in fact a closed meeting was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

      Well Monday came, and people who went told me some Columbia residents showed up to speak against closing the meeting.  At first, Chair Tom O’Connor tried to prevent any Citizen Speakout at all, even though what was in session was a meeting of either the Board or its Operations Committee.  Eventually he relented and people spoke.  Then there was long discussion and repeated voting on whether to close the meeting, but the motions failed 4:4.  A motion to require an open report by staff also failed 4:4.  Later a Board member requested information from staff on these discussions, a board member prerogative; he was refused.  Stay tuned on that.

      Actually, C.A. staff should not even be involved, except maybe as messengers. Staff deals with day-to-day stuff and Board’s deal with long-term planning.  That is why, for example, C.A. has a Board Planning and Strategy Committee.  But GGP has ducked for almost a year talking with the C.A. Board, although invited.  Do they think Ms. Brown and her people are more sympathetic than some Board members are?

      Frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the merits.  GGP’s website is unclear about what they plan for C.A.’s Symphony Woods, because GGP conflates it with their own pieces of property in the area, including the Merriwether site. GGP says:

      What will happen in Symphony Woods? It appears that GGP is proposing the removal of some of the trees.
      A. GGP does not own Symphony Woods. It is owned by the Columbia Association. However, GGP has contracted with Biohabitats to conduct an environmental assessment of Symphony Woods so recommendations on restoring Symphony Woods can be included as part of the Master Plan.

      As a result, the following improvements have been incorporated into the Master Plan. Recommended improvements include: 34.5 acres of reforestation, 56 acres of forest restoration, 4,880 linear feet of stream restoration, 1.7 acres of wetland enhancement and at least 15,000 new trees to be planted.

      But Symphony is only about 14 or 15 acres, so you see the conflation and confusion.  There is also talk about an artist’s space, a library extension and cultural facilities, apparently on Symphony Woods.  And talk, somewhere, of 40% of the trees coming down under the GGP plan.

      As I said, I am in no position to take any positions on the merits.  The plans are too vague.  What does trouble me is that C.A.’s staff has cooked something up, to spring a detailed plan on the Board and try to ram it through.  Staff—and the same people are still there—sometimes brought plans with them to meetings, apologized for no advance distribution, and tried to get a vote that night.

      I thought they had gotten out of that habit while I was on the Board.  The amount of secrecy surrounding whatever the talks with GGP have spawned scares heck out of me.  More transparency would produce a lot more cooperation from citizens. Still, old habits die hard, and Maggie Brown has always—mostly in private—voiced her belief that C.A. is a private corporation, ignoring the almost $30 million a year Columbians pay involuntarily to C.A.  This situation could so easily be cured by openness.  Instead, we are I am afraid going to see more wrangling between the “private-” and “public-” oriented halves of the Board.

      Phil Marcus

    • Deborah Sell
      Allen,   I m not an attorney but I have tried to become familiar with fair housing law as it affects age restricted housing.    I am in my late 50 s and
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 19, 2008
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        Allen,
         
        I'm not an attorney but I have tried to become familiar with fair housing law as it affects age restricted housing.    I am in my late 50's and have a learning disabled daughter who turned 19 in July.    She has a twin sister, who is also learning disabled and hearing impaired, but who is less impacted that her twin.    This daughter is attending Goucher College as a Freshman.    The twin who is more learning impacted is in a non-public placement.   As it stands now, I am not sure that she will ever be able to live independently.  
         
        When she entered this non-public placement back in July of 2000, she was taking all of the alternative state tests.    After a year there, she improved and took the regular MSA.   Once she entered the High School portion of the school she entered the diploma track.   She should be able to graduate in 2010.   At least that is the plan.   However, math seems to be only hinderance.    She will need to successfully complete Algebra and Geometry and pass the Algebra HSA.
         
        My husband and I had been looking into a couple of the age restricted, active 55 sites.    They allow spouses who are under the age of 55 to live there but they do not allow adult children under the age of 55 to live with their parents.
         
        Its my understanding that they only developments that can impose restrictions on children living there are age-restricted developments.    Its also my belief that California is the only State that has effectively challenged the provision about not allowing disabled adult children to live with their parents in such developments.    California also allows a qualifed care giver to live with the owner in one of these developments.
         
        If I'm incorrect in these assumptions please let me know.
         
        Deborah Sell
        --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@...> wrote:
        From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@...>
        Subject: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
        To: "Howard Public Education List" <howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 10:15 AM

        the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county
        behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the
        dark side.  see appended.
         
        if rumors are true, the extra 5,500 residential units are still "planned"
        to be usable only by people without children.  apparently, GGP is trying
        to develop support for their plan by offering specific groups "special deals"
        that won't involve GGP having to invest in public education infrastructure.
         
        if you live in columbia, or have friends that do, please help support those
        columbia association board members that are trying to bring the GGP
        master plan shenanigans out into the public eye.
         
        there is NO REASON to trust a private, profit driven corporation to develop
        a land use plan that is going to be of LONG TERM benefit to the county.
        PROFIT = SHORT TERM, NOW!!  BOTTOM LINE THIS QUARTER.
         
        there is nothing wrong with being a profit making entity but....that is not
        what government is about.  we need LONG TERM thinking for land use.
         
        meanwhile, back on wall street....
         
        allen dyer
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:29 AM
        Subject: Re: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


        I also attended that meeting - it was bizarre.  Only 8 board members were there.  Four of them tried repeatedly to close the meeting.  When that failed that they then sabotaged efforts to direct staff to submit a detailed report that could be released in open session.

        Miles Coffman, Tom O'Connor, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart and Suzanne Waller all favored closing the meeting.  Alex Hekimian, Phil Kirsch, Evan Coren and Cynthia Coyle all favored open session.

        Rob Goldman (legal) was there and directly refused a request from the board to discuss the memo from staff after it was determined the meeting was not going to be closed.

        It was repeatedly pointed out that in no way could this memo from staff possibly contain information warranting a closed session according to Maryland law.  I do not know who the members favoring closed session think they are serving, but I think their qualifications and temperament for their job should be re-examined.

        Further amazing was that the board then adjourned with no discussion of where they go from here to resolve their differences.  It looked like the board was relegating themselves to irrelevance, and that Maggie Brown & staff would make the CA decisions.

        Russ Swatek

        --- On Thu, 9/18/08, Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com> wrote:
        From: Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com>
        Subject: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
        To: Howard-citizen@ yahoogroups. com
        Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 9:31 PM

        Dear fellow citizen,

        When folks work tirelessly not to reveal anything in public, you eventually decide something must be going on, maybe a backroom deal.

        A few weeks ago, Maggie Brown, President of C.A., when asked by a Board member, refused totally to discuss in public her ongoing discussions with GGP about the downtown plan and Symphony Woods.  Then a rumor circulated that a member of her staff (she is on vacation) would present a report to the Board behind closed doors last Monday, 9/15/08.  I wrote to the Board (copying this forum) that such a closing of doors would not be wise.  Two Board members responded that me there was no closed meeting planned.  But when I looked on CA’s website, I found that in fact a closed meeting was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

        Well Monday came, and people who went told me some Columbia residents showed up to speak against closing the meeting.  At first, Chair Tom O’Connor tried to prevent any Citizen Speakout at all, even though what was in session was a meeting of either the Board or its Operations Committee.  Eventually he relented and people spoke.  Then there was long discussion and repeated voting on whether to close the meeting, but the motions failed 4:4.  A motion to require an open report by staff also failed 4:4.  Later a Board member requested information from staff on these discussions, a board member prerogative; he was refused.  Stay tuned on that.

        Actually, C.A. staff should not even be involved, except maybe as messengers. Staff deals with day-to-day stuff and Board’s deal with long-term planning.  That is why, for example, C.A. has a Board Planning and Strategy Committee.  But GGP has ducked for almost a year talking with the C.A. Board, although invited.  Do they think Ms. Brown and her people are more sympathetic than some Board members are?

        Frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the merits.  GGP’s website is unclear about what they plan for C.A.’s Symphony Woods, because GGP conflates it with their own pieces of property in the area, including the Merriwether site. GGP says:

        What will happen in Symphony Woods? It appears that GGP is proposing the removal of some of the trees.
        A. GGP does not own Symphony Woods. It is owned by the Columbia Association. However, GGP has contracted with Biohabitats to conduct an environmental assessment of Symphony Woods so recommendations on restoring Symphony Woods can be included as part of the Master Plan.

        As a result, the following improvements have been incorporated into the Master Plan. Recommended improvements include: 34.5 acres of reforestation, 56 acres of forest restoration, 4,880 linear feet of stream restoration, 1.7 acres of wetland enhancement and at least 15,000 new trees to be planted.

        But Symphony is only about 14 or 15 acres, so you see the conflation and confusion.  There is also talk about an artist’s space, a library extension and cultural facilities, apparently on Symphony Woods.  And talk, somewhere, of 40% of the trees coming down under the GGP plan.

        As I said, I am in no position to take any positions on the merits.  The plans are too vague.  What does trouble me is that C.A.’s staff has cooked something up, to spring a detailed plan on the Board and try to ram it through.  Staff—and the same people are still there—sometimes brought plans with them to meetings, apologized for no advance distribution, and tried to get a vote that night.

        I thought they had gotten out of that habit while I was on the Board.  The amount of secrecy surrounding whatever the talks with GGP have spawned scares heck out of me.  More transparency would produce a lot more cooperation from citizens. Still, old habits die hard, and Maggie Brown has always—mostly in private—voiced her belief that C.A. is a private corporation, ignoring the almost $30 million a year Columbians pay involuntarily to C.A.  This situation could so easily be cured by openness.  Instead, we are I am afraid going to see more wrangling between the “private-” and “public-” oriented halves of the Board.

        Phil Marcus


      • cynthia vaillancourt
        Three caveats that may present a problem/manipulation... one, when the age restricted status is voluntary it can be rescinded... and two, the rules can change
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 19, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Three caveats that may present a problem/manipulation... one, when the age restricted status is voluntary it can be rescinded... and two, the rules can change down the line.

          i am also aware of senior housing developments that have these kinds of restrictions - which leads to the third... the question of enforcement.  if the development chooses not to enforce the rules - the schools still have to take the residents.

          cindy v


          To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
          From: danzidora@...
          Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 08:57:56 -0700
          Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


          Allen,
           
          I'm not an attorney but I have tried to become familiar with fair housing law as it affects age restricted housing.    I am in my late 50's and have a learning disabled daughter who turned 19 in July.    She has a twin sister, who is also learning disabled and hearing impaired, but who is less impacted that her twin.    This daughter is attending Goucher College as a Freshman.    The twin who is more learning impacted is in a non-public placement.   As it stands now, I am not sure that she will ever be able to live independently.  
           
          When she entered this non-public placement back in July of 2000, she was taking all of the alternative state tests.    After a year there, she improved and took the regular MSA.   Once she entered the High School portion of the school she entered the diploma track.   She should be able to graduate in 2010.   At least that is the plan.   However, math seems to be only hinderance.    She will need to successfully complete Algebra and Geometry and pass the Algebra HSA.
           
          My husband and I had been looking into a couple of the age restricted, active 55 sites.    They allow spouses who are under the age of 55 to live there but they do not allow adult children under the age of 55 to live with their parents.
           
          Its my understanding that they only developments that can impose restrictions on children living there are age-restricted developments.    Its also my belief that California is the only State that has effectively challenged the provision about not allowing disabled adult children to live with their parents in such developments.    California also allows a qualifed care giver to live with the owner in one of these developments.
           
          If I'm incorrect in these assumptions please let me know.
           
          Deborah Sell
          --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com> wrote:
          From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com>
          Subject: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
          To: "Howard Public Education List" <howardpubliced@ yahoogroups. com>
          Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 10:15 AM

          the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county
          behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the
          dark side.  see appended.
           
          if rumors are true, the extra 5,500 residential units are still "planned"
          to be usable only by people without children.  apparently, GGP is trying
          to develop support for their plan by offering specific groups "special deals"
          that won't involve GGP having to invest in public education infrastructure.
           
          if you live in columbia, or have friends that do, please help support those
          columbia association board members that are trying to bring the GGP
          master plan shenanigans out into the public eye.
           
          there is NO REASON to trust a private, profit driven corporation to develop
          a land use plan that is going to be of LONG TERM benefit to the county.
          PROFIT = SHORT TERM, NOW!!  BOTTOM LINE THIS QUARTER.
           
          there is nothing wrong with being a profit making entity but....that is not
          what government is about.  we need LONG TERM thinking for land use.
           
          meanwhile, back on wall street....
           
          allen dyer
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:29 AM
          Subject: Re: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


          I also attended that meeting - it was bizarre.  Only 8 board members were there.  Four of them tried repeatedly to close the meeting.  When that failed that they then sabotaged efforts to direct staff to submit a detailed report that could be released in open session.

          Miles Coffman, Tom O'Connor, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart and Suzanne Waller all favored closing the meeting.  Alex Hekimian, Phil Kirsch, Evan Coren and Cynthia Coyle all favored open session.

          Rob Goldman (legal) was there and directly refused a request from the board to discuss the memo from staff after it was determined the meeting was not going to be closed.

          It was repeatedly pointed out that in no way could this memo from staff possibly contain information warranting a closed session according to Maryland law.  I do not know who the members favoring closed session think they are serving, but I think their qualifications and temperament for their job should be re-examined.

          Further amazing was that the board then adjourned with no discussion of where they go from here to resolve their differences.  It looked like the board was relegating themselves to irrelevance, and that Maggie Brown & staff would make the CA decisions.

          Russ Swatek

          --- On Thu, 9/18/08, Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com> wrote:
          From: Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com>
          Subject: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
          To: Howard-citizen@ yahoogroups. com
          Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 9:31 PM

          Dear fellow citizen,

          When folks work tirelessly not to reveal anything in public, you eventually decide something must be going on, maybe a backroom deal.

          A few weeks ago, Maggie Brown, President of C.A., when asked by a Board member, refused totally to discuss in public her ongoing discussions with GGP about the downtown plan and Symphony Woods.  Then a rumor circulated that a member of her staff (she is on vacation) would present a report to the Board behind closed doors last Monday, 9/15/08.  I wrote to the Board (copying this forum) that such a closing of doors would not be wise.  Two Board members responded that me there was no closed meeting planned.  But when I looked on CA’s website, I found that in fact a closed meeting was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

          Well Monday came, and people who went told me some Columbia residents showed up to speak against closing the meeting.  At first, Chair Tom O’Connor tried to prevent any Citizen Speakout at all, even though what was in session was a meeting of either the Board or its Operations Committee.  Eventually he relented and people spoke.  Then there was long discussion and repeated voting on whether to close the meeting, but the motions failed 4:4.  A motion to require an open report by staff also failed 4:4.  Later a Board member requested information from staff on these discussions, a board member prerogative; he was refused.  Stay tuned on that.

          Actually, C.A. staff should not even be involved, except maybe as messengers. Staff deals with day-to-day stuff and Board’s deal with long-term planning.  That is why, for example, C.A. has a Board Planning and Strategy Committee.  But GGP has ducked for almost a year talking with the C.A. Board, although invited.  Do they think Ms. Brown and her people are more sympathetic than some Board members are?

          Frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the merits.  GGP’s website is unclear about what they plan for C.A.’s Symphony Woods, because GGP conflates it with their own pieces of property in the area, including the Merriwether site. GGP says:

          What will happen in Symphony Woods? It appears that GGP is proposing the removal of some of the trees.
          A. GGP does not own Symphony Woods. It is owned by the Columbia Association. However, GGP has contracted with Biohabitats to conduct an environmental assessment of Symphony Woods so recommendations on restoring Symphony Woods can be included as part of the Master Plan.

          As a result, the following improvements have been incorporated into the Master Plan. Recommended improvements include: 34.5 acres of reforestation, 56 acres of forest restoration, 4,880 linear feet of stream restoration, 1.7 acres of wetland enhancement and at least 15,000 new trees to be planted.

          But Symphony is only about 14 or 15 acres, so you see the conflation and confusion.  There is also talk about an artist’s space, a library extension and cultural facilities, apparently on Symphony Woods.  And talk, somewhere, of 40% of the trees coming down under the GGP plan.

          As I said, I am in no position to take any positions on the merits.  The plans are too vague.  What does trouble me is that C.A.’s staff has cooked something up, to spring a detailed plan on the Board and try to ram it through.  Staff—and the same people are still there—sometimes brought plans with them to meetings, apologized for no advance distribution, and tried to get a vote that night.

          I thought they had gotten out of that habit while I was on the Board.  The amount of secrecy surrounding whatever the talks with GGP have spawned scares heck out of me.  More transparency would produce a lot more cooperation from citizens. Still, old habits die hard, and Maggie Brown has always—mostly in private—voiced her belief that C.A. is a private corporation, ignoring the almost $30 million a year Columbians pay involuntarily to C.A.  This situation could so easily be cured by openness.  Instead, we are I am afraid going to see more wrangling between the “private-” and “public-” oriented halves of the Board.

          Phil Marcus




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        • Allen Dyer
          deborah, thank you for the background information on age restricted housing. i would hope that any age-restricted housing in howard county would provide for
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 19, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            deborah,
             
            thank you for the background information on age restricted housing.  i would hope
            that any age-restricted housing in howard county would provide for disabled adult
            children to live with their parents.
             
            i honestly can make any informed statements about the 5,500 units that are, supposedly,
            in the GGP plan, but, my best understanding of the rumors is that there will be no age
            restrictions because GGP wants to also attract "young professionals" which, i suppose,
            are predicted to be too busy working to have children.
             
            allen dyer
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 11:57 AM
            Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods

            Allen,
             
            I'm not an attorney but I have tried to become familiar with fair housing law as it affects age restricted housing.    I am in my late 50's and have a learning disabled daughter who turned 19 in July.    She has a twin sister, who is also learning disabled and hearing impaired, but who is less impacted that her twin.    This daughter is attending Goucher College as a Freshman.    The twin who is more learning impacted is in a non-public placement.   As it stands now, I am not sure that she will ever be able to live independently.  
             
            When she entered this non-public placement back in July of 2000, she was taking all of the alternative state tests.    After a year there, she improved and took the regular MSA.   Once she entered the High School portion of the school she entered the diploma track.   She should be able to graduate in 2010.   At least that is the plan.   However, math seems to be only hinderance.    She will need to successfully complete Algebra and Geometry and pass the Algebra HSA.
             
            My husband and I had been looking into a couple of the age restricted, active 55 sites.    They allow spouses who are under the age of 55 to live there but they do not allow adult children under the age of 55 to live with their parents.
             
            Its my understanding that they only developments that can impose restrictions on children living there are age-restricted developments.    Its also my belief that California is the only State that has effectively challenged the provision about not allowing disabled adult children to live with their parents in such developments.    California also allows a qualifed care giver to live with the owner in one of these developments.
             
            If I'm incorrect in these assumptions please let me know.
             
            Deborah Sell
            --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@...> wrote:
            From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@...>
            Subject: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
            To: "Howard Public Education List" <howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com>
            Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 10:15 AM

            the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county
            behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the
            dark side.  see appended.
             
            if rumors are true, the extra 5,500 residential units are still "planned"
            to be usable only by people without children.  apparently, GGP is trying
            to develop support for their plan by offering specific groups "special deals"
            that won't involve GGP having to invest in public education infrastructure.
             
            if you live in columbia, or have friends that do, please help support those
            columbia association board members that are trying to bring the GGP
            master plan shenanigans out into the public eye.
             
            there is NO REASON to trust a private, profit driven corporation to develop
            a land use plan that is going to be of LONG TERM benefit to the county.
            PROFIT = SHORT TERM, NOW!!  BOTTOM LINE THIS QUARTER.
             
            there is nothing wrong with being a profit making entity but....that is not
            what government is about.  we need LONG TERM thinking for land use.
             
            meanwhile, back on wall street....
             
            allen dyer
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:29 AM
            Subject: Re: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


            I also attended that meeting - it was bizarre.  Only 8 board members were there.  Four of them tried repeatedly to close the meeting.  When that failed that they then sabotaged efforts to direct staff to submit a detailed report that could be released in open session.

            Miles Coffman, Tom O'Connor, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart and Suzanne Waller all favored closing the meeting.  Alex Hekimian, Phil Kirsch, Evan Coren and Cynthia Coyle all favored open session.

            Rob Goldman (legal) was there and directly refused a request from the board to discuss the memo from staff after it was determined the meeting was not going to be closed.

            It was repeatedly pointed out that in no way could this memo from staff possibly contain information warranting a closed session according to Maryland law.  I do not know who the members favoring closed session think they are serving, but I think their qualifications and temperament for their job should be re-examined.

            Further amazing was that the board then adjourned with no discussion of where they go from here to resolve their differences.  It looked like the board was relegating themselves to irrelevance, and that Maggie Brown & staff would make the CA decisions.

            Russ Swatek

            --- On Thu, 9/18/08, Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com> wrote:
            From: Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com>
            Subject: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
            To: Howard-citizen@ yahoogroups. com
            Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 9:31 PM

            Dear fellow citizen,

            When folks work tirelessly not to reveal anything in public, you eventually decide something must be going on, maybe a backroom deal.

            A few weeks ago, Maggie Brown, President of C.A., when asked by a Board member, refused totally to discuss in public her ongoing discussions with GGP about the downtown plan and Symphony Woods.  Then a rumor circulated that a member of her staff (she is on vacation) would present a report to the Board behind closed doors last Monday, 9/15/08.  I wrote to the Board (copying this forum) that such a closing of doors would not be wise.  Two Board members responded that me there was no closed meeting planned.  But when I looked on CA’s website, I found that in fact a closed meeting was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

            Well Monday came, and people who went told me some Columbia residents showed up to speak against closing the meeting.  At first, Chair Tom O’Connor tried to prevent any Citizen Speakout at all, even though what was in session was a meeting of either the Board or its Operations Committee.  Eventually he relented and people spoke.  Then there was long discussion and repeated voting on whether to close the meeting, but the motions failed 4:4.  A motion to require an open report by staff also failed 4:4.  Later a Board member requested information from staff on these discussions, a board member prerogative; he was refused.  Stay tuned on that.

            Actually, C.A. staff should not even be involved, except maybe as messengers. Staff deals with day-to-day stuff and Board’s deal with long-term planning.  That is why, for example, C.A. has a Board Planning and Strategy Committee.  But GGP has ducked for almost a year talking with the C.A. Board, although invited.  Do they think Ms. Brown and her people are more sympathetic than some Board members are?

            Frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the merits.  GGP’s website is unclear about what they plan for C.A.’s Symphony Woods, because GGP conflates it with their own pieces of property in the area, including the Merriwether site. GGP says:

            What will happen in Symphony Woods? It appears that GGP is proposing the removal of some of the trees.
            A. GGP does not own Symphony Woods. It is owned by the Columbia Association. However, GGP has contracted with Biohabitats to conduct an environmental assessment of Symphony Woods so recommendations on restoring Symphony Woods can be included as part of the Master Plan.

            As a result, the following improvements have been incorporated into the Master Plan. Recommended improvements include: 34.5 acres of reforestation, 56 acres of forest restoration, 4,880 linear feet of stream restoration, 1.7 acres of wetland enhancement and at least 15,000 new trees to be planted.

            But Symphony is only about 14 or 15 acres, so you see the conflation and confusion.  There is also talk about an artist’s space, a library extension and cultural facilities, apparently on Symphony Woods.  And talk, somewhere, of 40% of the trees coming down under the GGP plan.

            As I said, I am in no position to take any positions on the merits.  The plans are too vague.  What does trouble me is that C.A.’s staff has cooked something up, to spring a detailed plan on the Board and try to ram it through.  Staff—and the same people are still there—sometimes brought plans with them to meetings, apologized for no advance distribution, and tried to get a vote that night.

            I thought they had gotten out of that habit while I was on the Board.  The amount of secrecy surrounding whatever the talks with GGP have spawned scares heck out of me.  More transparency would produce a lot more cooperation from citizens. Still, old habits die hard, and Maggie Brown has always—mostly in private—voiced her belief that C.A. is a private corporation, ignoring the almost $30 million a year Columbians pay involuntarily to C.A.  This situation could so easily be cured by openness.  Instead, we are I am afraid going to see more wrangling between the “private-” and “public-” oriented halves of the Board.

            Phil Marcus


          • Deborah Sell
            Allen,   Its federal law that we are talking about and maryland has not challenged the law.   In Maryland, the American Legion has been advocating for
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 19, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Allen,
               
              Its federal law that we are talking about and maryland has not challenged the law.   In Maryland, the American Legion has been advocating for grandparents who have had to move out of their age-restricted housing when they became the guardians of their grandparents because the parents have been killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
               
              Tennessee challenged the law and was defeated in federal court.
               
              Deborah Sell

              --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@...> wrote:
              From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@...>
              Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
              To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 1:25 PM

              deborah,
               
              thank you for the background information on age restricted housing.  i would hope
              that any age-restricted housing in howard county would provide for disabled adult
              children to live with their parents.
               
              i honestly can make any informed statements about the 5,500 units that are, supposedly,
              in the GGP plan, but, my best understanding of the rumors is that there will be no age
              restrictions because GGP wants to also attract "young professionals" which, i suppose,
              are predicted to be too busy working to have children.
               
              allen dyer
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 11:57 AM
              Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods

              Allen,
               
              I'm not an attorney but I have tried to become familiar with fair housing law as it affects age restricted housing.    I am in my late 50's and have a learning disabled daughter who turned 19 in July.    She has a twin sister, who is also learning disabled and hearing impaired, but who is less impacted that her twin.    This daughter is attending Goucher College as a Freshman.    The twin who is more learning impacted is in a non-public placement.   As it stands now, I am not sure that she will ever be able to live independently.  
               
              When she entered this non-public placement back in July of 2000, she was taking all of the alternative state tests.    After a year there, she improved and took the regular MSA.   Once she entered the High School portion of the school she entered the diploma track.   She should be able to graduate in 2010.   At least that is the plan.   However, math seems to be only hinderance.    She will need to successfully complete Algebra and Geometry and pass the Algebra HSA.
               
              My husband and I had been looking into a couple of the age restricted, active 55 sites.    They allow spouses who are under the age of 55 to live there but they do not allow adult children under the age of 55 to live with their parents.
               
              Its my understanding that they only developments that can impose restrictions on children living there are age-restricted developments.    Its also my belief that California is the only State that has effectively challenged the provision about not allowing disabled adult children to live with their parents in such developments.    California also allows a qualifed care giver to live with the owner in one of these developments.
               
              If I'm incorrect in these assumptions please let me know.
               
              Deborah Sell
              --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com> wrote:
              From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com>
              Subject: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
              To: "Howard Public Education List" <howardpubliced@ yahoogroups. com>
              Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 10:15 AM

              the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county
              behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the
              dark side.  see appended.
               
              if rumors are true, the extra 5,500 residential units are still "planned"
              to be usable only by people without children.  apparently, GGP is trying
              to develop support for their plan by offering specific groups "special deals"
              that won't involve GGP having to invest in public education infrastructure.
               
              if you live in columbia, or have friends that do, please help support those
              columbia association board members that are trying to bring the GGP
              master plan shenanigans out into the public eye.
               
              there is NO REASON to trust a private, profit driven corporation to develop
              a land use plan that is going to be of LONG TERM benefit to the county.
              PROFIT = SHORT TERM, NOW!!  BOTTOM LINE THIS QUARTER.
               
              there is nothing wrong with being a profit making entity but....that is not
              what government is about.  we need LONG TERM thinking for land use.
               
              meanwhile, back on wall street....
               
              allen dyer
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:29 AM
              Subject: Re: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


              I also attended that meeting - it was bizarre.  Only 8 board members were there.  Four of them tried repeatedly to close the meeting.  When that failed that they then sabotaged efforts to direct staff to submit a detailed report that could be released in open session.

              Miles Coffman, Tom O'Connor, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart and Suzanne Waller all favored closing the meeting.  Alex Hekimian, Phil Kirsch, Evan Coren and Cynthia Coyle all favored open session.

              Rob Goldman (legal) was there and directly refused a request from the board to discuss the memo from staff after it was determined the meeting was not going to be closed.

              It was repeatedly pointed out that in no way could this memo from staff possibly contain information warranting a closed session according to Maryland law.  I do not know who the members favoring closed session think they are serving, but I think their qualifications and temperament for their job should be re-examined.

              Further amazing was that the board then adjourned with no discussion of where they go from here to resolve their differences.  It looked like the board was relegating themselves to irrelevance, and that Maggie Brown & staff would make the CA decisions.

              Russ Swatek

              --- On Thu, 9/18/08, Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com> wrote:
              From: Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com>
              Subject: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
              To: Howard-citizen@ yahoogroups. com
              Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 9:31 PM

              Dear fellow citizen,

              When folks work tirelessly not to reveal anything in public, you eventually decide something must be going on, maybe a backroom deal.

              A few weeks ago, Maggie Brown, President of C.A., when asked by a Board member, refused totally to discuss in public her ongoing discussions with GGP about the downtown plan and Symphony Woods.  Then a rumor circulated that a member of her staff (she is on vacation) would present a report to the Board behind closed doors last Monday, 9/15/08.  I wrote to the Board (copying this forum) that such a closing of doors would not be wise.  Two Board members responded that me there was no closed meeting planned.  But when I looked on CA’s website, I found that in fact a closed meeting was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

              Well Monday came, and people who went told me some Columbia residents showed up to speak against closing the meeting.  At first, Chair Tom O’Connor tried to prevent any Citizen Speakout at all, even though what was in session was a meeting of either the Board or its Operations Committee.  Eventually he relented and people spoke.  Then there was long discussion and repeated voting on whether to close the meeting, but the motions failed 4:4.  A motion to require an open report by staff also failed 4:4.  Later a Board member requested information from staff on these discussions, a board member prerogative; he was refused.  Stay tuned on that.

              Actually, C.A. staff should not even be involved, except maybe as messengers. Staff deals with day-to-day stuff and Board’s deal with long-term planning.  That is why, for example, C.A. has a Board Planning and Strategy Committee.  But GGP has ducked for almost a year talking with the C.A. Board, although invited.  Do they think Ms. Brown and her people are more sympathetic than some Board members are?

              Frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the merits.  GGP’s website is unclear about what they plan for C.A.’s Symphony Woods, because GGP conflates it with their own pieces of property in the area, including the Merriwether site. GGP says:

              What will happen in Symphony Woods? It appears that GGP is proposing the removal of some of the trees.
              A. GGP does not own Symphony Woods. It is owned by the Columbia Association. However, GGP has contracted with Biohabitats to conduct an environmental assessment of Symphony Woods so recommendations on restoring Symphony Woods can be included as part of the Master Plan.

              As a result, the following improvements have been incorporated into the Master Plan. Recommended improvements include: 34.5 acres of reforestation, 56 acres of forest restoration, 4,880 linear feet of stream restoration, 1.7 acres of wetland enhancement and at least 15,000 new trees to be planted.

              But Symphony is only about 14 or 15 acres, so you see the conflation and confusion.  There is also talk about an artist’s space, a library extension and cultural facilities, apparently on Symphony Woods.  And talk, somewhere, of 40% of the trees coming down under the GGP plan.

              As I said, I am in no position to take any positions on the merits.  The plans are too vague.  What does trouble me is that C.A.’s staff has cooked something up, to spring a detailed plan on the Board and try to ram it through.  Staff—and the same people are still there—sometimes brought plans with them to meetings, apologized for no advance distribution, and tried to get a vote that night.

              I thought they had gotten out of that habit while I was on the Board.  The amount of secrecy surrounding whatever the talks with GGP have spawned scares heck out of me.  More transparency would produce a lot more cooperation from citizens. Still, old habits die hard, and Maggie Brown has always—mostly in private—voiced her belief that C.A. is a private corporation, ignoring the almost $30 million a year Columbians pay involuntarily to C.A.  This situation could so easily be cured by openness.  Instead, we are I am afraid going to see more wrangling between the “private-” and “public-” oriented halves of the Board.

              Phil Marcus



            • cynthia vaillancourt
              It s important to keep in mind who is bringing the suits - it is not the town where the age restricted housing is located.... it is usually the homeowner s
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 19, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                It's important to keep in mind who is bringing the suits - it is not the town where the age restricted housing is located.... it is usually the homeowner's associations.  While the private citizens duke it out, the children are enrolled in the local schools.

                However, as Allen has pointed out - the concept in question here is not only age restricted in the classic "over 55" sense - but a more vague notion of "appeal".... as in "these units will not 'appeal' to families with children".... or "our target audience" is "young professionals and empty nesters".    If the municipality buys into this argument and grants a waiver they have no recourse later when the place is filled with families and lots of kids (like the condos in river hill).

                If the developers can keep the public confused about which type of "restrictions" they are planning.... then they can successfully utilize the old "wink and nod" strategy to build what they want, sell to whomever is willing to buy, and laugh all the way to the bank while HoCo gets to pay the bills for the infrastructure improvements that were "not needed".

                Cindy V



                To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
                From: danzidora@...
                Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 11:30:11 -0700
                Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


                Allen,
                 
                Its federal law that we are talking about and maryland has not challenged the law.   In Maryland, the American Legion has been advocating for grandparents who have had to move out of their age-restricted housing when they became the guardians of their grandparents because the parents have been killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
                 
                Tennessee challenged the law and was defeated in federal court.
                 
                Deborah Sell

                --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com> wrote:
                From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com>
                Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
                To: howardpubliced@ yahoogroups. com
                Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 1:25 PM

                deborah,
                 
                thank you for the background information on age restricted housing.  i would hope
                that any age-restricted housing in howard county would provide for disabled adult
                children to live with their parents.
                 
                i honestly can make any informed statements about the 5,500 units that are, supposedly,
                in the GGP plan, but, my best understanding of the rumors is that there will be no age
                restrictions because GGP wants to also attract "young professionals" which, i suppose,
                are predicted to be too busy working to have children.
                 
                allen dyer
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 11:57 AM
                Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods

                Allen,
                 
                I'm not an attorney but I have tried to become familiar with fair housing law as it affects age restricted housing.    I am in my late 50's and have a learning disabled daughter who turned 19 in July.    She has a twin sister, who is also learning disabled and hearing impaired, but who is less impacted that her twin.    This daughter is attending Goucher College as a Freshman.    The twin who is more learning impacted is in a non-public placement.   As it stands now, I am not sure that she will ever be able to live independently.  
                 
                When she entered this non-public placement back in July of 2000, she was taking all of the alternative state tests.    After a year there, she improved and took the regular MSA.   Once she entered the High School portion of the school she entered the diploma track.   She should be able to graduate in 2010.   At least that is the plan.   However, math seems to be only hinderance.    She will need to successfully complete Algebra and Geometry and pass the Algebra HSA.
                 
                My husband and I had been looking into a couple of the age restricted, active 55 sites.    They allow spouses who are under the age of 55 to live there but they do not allow adult children under the age of 55 to live with their parents.
                 
                Its my understanding that they only developments that can impose restrictions on children living there are age-restricted developments.    Its also my belief that California is the only State that has effectively challenged the provision about not allowing disabled adult children to live with their parents in such developments.    California also allows a qualifed care giver to live with the owner in one of these developments.
                 
                If I'm incorrect in these assumptions please let me know.
                 
                Deborah Sell
                --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com> wrote:
                From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com>
                Subject: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
                To: "Howard Public Education List" <howardpubliced@ yahoogroups. com>
                Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 10:15 AM

                the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county
                behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the
                dark side.  see appended.
                 
                if rumors are true, the extra 5,500 residential units are still "planned"
                to be usable only by people without children.  apparently, GGP is trying
                to develop support for their plan by offering specific groups "special deals"
                that won't involve GGP having to invest in public education infrastructure.
                 
                if you live in columbia, or have friends that do, please help support those
                columbia association board members that are trying to bring the GGP
                master plan shenanigans out into the public eye.
                 
                there is NO REASON to trust a private, profit driven corporation to develop
                a land use plan that is going to be of LONG TERM benefit to the county.
                PROFIT = SHORT TERM, NOW!!  BOTTOM LINE THIS QUARTER.
                 
                there is nothing wrong with being a profit making entity but....that is not
                what government is about.  we need LONG TERM thinking for land use.
                 
                meanwhile, back on wall street....
                 
                allen dyer
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:29 AM
                Subject: Re: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


                I also attended that meeting - it was bizarre.  Only 8 board members were there.  Four of them tried repeatedly to close the meeting.  When that failed that they then sabotaged efforts to direct staff to submit a detailed report that could be released in open session.

                Miles Coffman, Tom O'Connor, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart and Suzanne Waller all favored closing the meeting.  Alex Hekimian, Phil Kirsch, Evan Coren and Cynthia Coyle all favored open session.

                Rob Goldman (legal) was there and directly refused a request from the board to discuss the memo from staff after it was determined the meeting was not going to be closed.

                It was repeatedly pointed out that in no way could this memo from staff possibly contain information warranting a closed session according to Maryland law.  I do not know who the members favoring closed session think they are serving, but I think their qualifications and temperament for their job should be re-examined.

                Further amazing was that the board then adjourned with no discussion of where they go from here to resolve their differences.  It looked like the board was relegating themselves to irrelevance, and that Maggie Brown & staff would make the CA decisions.

                Russ Swatek

                --- On Thu, 9/18/08, Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com> wrote:
                From: Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com>
                Subject: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
                To: Howard-citizen@ yahoogroups. com
                Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 9:31 PM

                Dear fellow citizen,

                When folks work tirelessly not to reveal anything in public, you eventually decide something must be going on, maybe a backroom deal.

                A few weeks ago, Maggie Brown, President of C.A., when asked by a Board member, refused totally to discuss in public her ongoing discussions with GGP about the downtown plan and Symphony Woods.  Then a rumor circulated that a member of her staff (she is on vacation) would present a report to the Board behind closed doors last Monday, 9/15/08.  I wrote to the Board (copying this forum) that such a closing of doors would not be wise.  Two Board members responded that me there was no closed meeting planned.  But when I looked on CA’s website, I found that in fact a closed meeting was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

                Well Monday came, and people who went told me some Columbia residents showed up to speak against closing the meeting.  At first, Chair Tom O’Connor tried to prevent any Citizen Speakout at all, even though what was in session was a meeting of either the Board or its Operations Committee.  Eventually he relented and people spoke.  Then there was long discussion and repeated voting on whether to close the meeting, but the motions failed 4:4.  A motion to require an open report by staff also failed 4:4.  Later a Board member requested information from staff on these discussions, a board member prerogative; he was refused.  Stay tuned on that.

                Actually, C.A. staff should not even be involved, except maybe as messengers. Staff deals with day-to-day stuff and Board’s deal with long-term planning.  That is why, for example, C.A. has a Board Planning and Strategy Committee.  But GGP has ducked for almost a year talking with the C.A. Board, although invited.  Do they think Ms. Brown and her people are more sympathetic than some Board members are?

                Frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the merits.  GGP’s website is unclear about what they plan for C.A.’s Symphony Woods, because GGP conflates it with their own pieces of property in the area, including the Merriwether site. GGP says:

                What will happen in Symphony Woods? It appears that GGP is proposing the removal of some of the trees.
                A. GGP does not own Symphony Woods. It is owned by the Columbia Association. However, GGP has contracted with Biohabitats to conduct an environmental assessment of Symphony Woods so recommendations on restoring Symphony Woods can be included as part of the Master Plan.

                As a result, the following improvements have been incorporated into the Master Plan. Recommended improvements include: 34.5 acres of reforestation, 56 acres of forest restoration, 4,880 linear feet of stream restoration, 1.7 acres of wetland enhancement and at least 15,000 new trees to be planted.

                But Symphony is only about 14 or 15 acres, so you see the conflation and confusion.  There is also talk about an artist’s space, a library extension and cultural facilities, apparently on Symphony Woods.  And talk, somewhere, of 40% of the trees coming down under the GGP plan.

                As I said, I am in no position to take any positions on the merits.  The plans are too vague.  What does trouble me is that C.A.’s staff has cooked something up, to spring a detailed plan on the Board and try to ram it through.  Staff—and the same people are still there—sometimes brought plans with them to meetings, apologized for no advance distribution, and tried to get a vote that night.

                I thought they had gotten out of that habit while I was on the Board.  The amount of secrecy surrounding whatever the talks with GGP have spawned scares heck out of me.  More transparency would produce a lot more cooperation from citizens. Still, old habits die hard, and Maggie Brown has always—mostly in private—voiced her belief that C.A. is a private corporation, ignoring the almost $30 million a year Columbians pay involuntarily to C.A.  This situation could so easily be cured by openness.  Instead, we are I am afraid going to see more wrangling between the “private-” and “public-” oriented halves of the Board.

                Phil Marcus





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              • Deborah Sell
                My feelings, exactly -- appealing to the over 55 age group is not the same thing as restricting the units to over 55.   In Anne Arundel County most of the
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 19, 2008
                • 0 Attachment
                  My feelings, exactly -- appealing to the over 55 age group is not the same thing as restricting the units to over 55.   In Anne Arundel County most of the new developments are Age Restricted because the local government did not want to fund new school construction.    If the units are indeed age restricted then there won't be an impact on schools.    However, there are other impacts in terms of increased traffic, which buses and parents, have to contend with.
                   
                  In Prince George's County, the developers pay a fee in lieu of testing for adequacy.   The fees are less inside the Capital Beltway and more outside.    The fees are not charged for age restricted housing.     In Prince George's County, however, the fees go into a general fund for school construction -- so very often they do not impact or help out the local community that has all of the growth.
                   
                  I can not see how 5500 residential units wouldn't affect school capacity.
                   
                  Deborah Sell

                  --- On Fri, 9/19/08, cynthia vaillancourt <CynthiaVaillancourt@...> wrote:
                  From: cynthia vaillancourt <CynthiaVaillancourt@...>
                  Subject: RE: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
                  To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 2:47 PM

                  It's important to keep in mind who is bringing the suits - it is not the town where the age restricted housing is located.... it is usually the homeowner's associations.  While the private citizens duke it out, the children are enrolled in the local schools.

                  However, as Allen has pointed out - the concept in question here is not only age restricted in the classic "over 55" sense - but a more vague notion of "appeal".... as in "these units will not 'appeal' to families with children"... . or "our target audience" is "young professionals and empty nesters".    If the municipality buys into this argument and grants a waiver they have no recourse later when the place is filled with families and lots of kids (like the condos in river hill).

                  If the developers can keep the public confused about which type of "restrictions" they are planning.... then they can successfully utilize the old "wink and nod" strategy to build what they want, sell to whomever is willing to buy, and laugh all the way to the bank while HoCo gets to pay the bills for the infrastructure improvements that were "not needed".

                  Cindy V



                  To: howardpubliced@ yahoogroups. com
                  From: danzidora@yahoo. com
                  Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 11:30:11 -0700
                  Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


                  Allen,
                   
                  Its federal law that we are talking about and maryland has not challenged the law.   In Maryland, the American Legion has been advocating for grandparents who have had to move out of their age-restricted housing when they became the guardians of their grandparents because the parents have been killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
                   
                  Tennessee challenged the law and was defeated in federal court.
                   
                  Deborah Sell

                  --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com> wrote:
                  From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com>
                  Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
                  To: howardpubliced@ yahoogroups. com
                  Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 1:25 PM

                  deborah,
                   
                  thank you for the background information on age restricted housing.  i would hope
                  that any age-restricted housing in howard county would provide for disabled adult
                  children to live with their parents.
                   
                  i honestly can make any informed statements about the 5,500 units that are, supposedly,
                  in the GGP plan, but, my best understanding of the rumors is that there will be no age
                  restrictions because GGP wants to also attract "young professionals" which, i suppose,
                  are predicted to be too busy working to have children.
                   
                  allen dyer
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 11:57 AM
                  Subject: Re: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods

                  Allen,
                   
                  I'm not an attorney but I have tried to become familiar with fair housing law as it affects age restricted housing.    I am in my late 50's and have a learning disabled daughter who turned 19 in July.    She has a twin sister, who is also learning disabled and hearing impaired, but who is less impacted that her twin.    This daughter is attending Goucher College as a Freshman.    The twin who is more learning impacted is in a non-public placement.   As it stands now, I am not sure that she will ever be able to live independently.  
                   
                  When she entered this non-public placement back in July of 2000, she was taking all of the alternative state tests.    After a year there, she improved and took the regular MSA.   Once she entered the High School portion of the school she entered the diploma track.   She should be able to graduate in 2010.   At least that is the plan.   However, math seems to be only hinderance.    She will need to successfully complete Algebra and Geometry and pass the Algebra HSA.
                   
                  My husband and I had been looking into a couple of the age restricted, active 55 sites.    They allow spouses who are under the age of 55 to live there but they do not allow adult children under the age of 55 to live with their parents.
                   
                  Its my understanding that they only developments that can impose restrictions on children living there are age-restricted developments.    Its also my belief that California is the only State that has effectively challenged the provision about not allowing disabled adult children to live with their parents in such developments.    California also allows a qualifed care giver to live with the owner in one of these developments.
                   
                  If I'm incorrect in these assumptions please let me know.
                   
                  Deborah Sell
                  --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com> wrote:
                  From: Allen Dyer <aldyer@lawlab. com>
                  Subject: [howardpubliced] open/closed meetings & columbia association -- Fw: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
                  To: "Howard Public Education List" <howardpubliced@ yahoogroups. com>
                  Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 10:15 AM

                  the continuing saga of the GGP developed master plan for howard county
                  behind closed doors threatens to pull the columbia association into the
                  dark side.  see appended.
                   
                  if rumors are true, the extra 5,500 residential units are still "planned"
                  to be usable only by people without children.  apparently, GGP is trying
                  to develop support for their plan by offering specific groups "special deals"
                  that won't involve GGP having to invest in public education infrastructure.
                   
                  if you live in columbia, or have friends that do, please help support those
                  columbia association board members that are trying to bring the GGP
                  master plan shenanigans out into the public eye.
                   
                  there is NO REASON to trust a private, profit driven corporation to develop
                  a land use plan that is going to be of LONG TERM benefit to the county.
                  PROFIT = SHORT TERM, NOW!!  BOTTOM LINE THIS QUARTER.
                   
                  there is nothing wrong with being a profit making entity but....that is not
                  what government is about.  we need LONG TERM thinking for land use.
                   
                  meanwhile, back on wall street....
                   
                  allen dyer
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:29 AM
                  Subject: Re: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods


                  I also attended that meeting - it was bizarre.  Only 8 board members were there.  Four of them tried repeatedly to close the meeting.  When that failed that they then sabotaged efforts to direct staff to submit a detailed report that could be released in open session.

                  Miles Coffman, Tom O'Connor, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart and Suzanne Waller all favored closing the meeting.  Alex Hekimian, Phil Kirsch, Evan Coren and Cynthia Coyle all favored open session.

                  Rob Goldman (legal) was there and directly refused a request from the board to discuss the memo from staff after it was determined the meeting was not going to be closed.

                  It was repeatedly pointed out that in no way could this memo from staff possibly contain information warranting a closed session according to Maryland law.  I do not know who the members favoring closed session think they are serving, but I think their qualifications and temperament for their job should be re-examined.

                  Further amazing was that the board then adjourned with no discussion of where they go from here to resolve their differences.  It looked like the board was relegating themselves to irrelevance, and that Maggie Brown & staff would make the CA decisions.

                  Russ Swatek

                  --- On Thu, 9/18/08, Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com> wrote:
                  From: Phil Marcus <pm@negotiationpro. com>
                  Subject: [howard-citizen] Symphony Woods
                  To: Howard-citizen@ yahoogroups. com
                  Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 9:31 PM

                  Dear fellow citizen,

                  When folks work tirelessly not to reveal anything in public, you eventually decide something must be going on, maybe a backroom deal.

                  A few weeks ago, Maggie Brown, President of C.A., when asked by a Board member, refused totally to discuss in public her ongoing discussions with GGP about the downtown plan and Symphony Woods.  Then a rumor circulated that a member of her staff (she is on vacation) would present a report to the Board behind closed doors last Monday, 9/15/08.  I wrote to the Board (copying this forum) that such a closing of doors would not be wise.  Two Board members responded that me there was no closed meeting planned.  But when I looked on CA’s website, I found that in fact a closed meeting was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

                  Well Monday came, and people who went told me some Columbia residents showed up to speak against closing the meeting.  At first, Chair Tom O’Connor tried to prevent any Citizen Speakout at all, even though what was in session was a meeting of either the Board or its Operations Committee.  Eventually he relented and people spoke.  Then there was long discussion and repeated voting on whether to close the meeting, but the motions failed 4:4.  A motion to require an open report by staff also failed 4:4.  Later a Board member requested information from staff on these discussions, a board member prerogative; he was refused.  Stay tuned on that.

                  Actually, C.A. staff should not even be involved, except maybe as messengers. Staff deals with day-to-day stuff and Board’s deal with long-term planning.  That is why, for example, C.A. has a Board Planning and Strategy Committee.  But GGP has ducked for almost a year talking with the C.A. Board, although invited.  Do they think Ms. Brown and her people are more sympathetic than some Board members are?

                  Frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the merits.  GGP’s website is unclear about what they plan for C.A.’s Symphony Woods, because GGP conflates it with their own pieces of property in the area, including the Merriwether site. GGP says:

                  What will happen in Symphony Woods? It appears that GGP is proposing the removal of some of the trees.
                  A. GGP does not own Symphony Woods. It is owned by the Columbia Association. However, GGP has contracted with Biohabitats to conduct an environmental assessment of Symphony Woods so recommendations on restoring Symphony Woods can be included as part of the Master Plan.

                  As a result, the following improvements have been incorporated into the Master Plan. Recommended improvements include: 34.5 acres of reforestation, 56 acres of forest restoration, 4,880 linear feet of stream restoration, 1.7 acres of wetland enhancement and at least 15,000 new trees to be planted.

                  But Symphony is only about 14 or 15 acres, so you see the conflation and confusion.  There is also talk about an artist’s space, a library extension and cultural facilities, apparently on Symphony Woods.  And talk, somewhere, of 40% of the trees coming down under the GGP plan.

                  As I said, I am in no position to take any positions on the merits.  The plans are too vague.  What does trouble me is that C.A.’s staff has cooked something up, to spring a detailed plan on the Board and try to ram it through.  Staff—and the same people are still there—sometimes brought plans with them to meetings, apologized for no advance distribution, and tried to get a vote that night.

                  I thought they had gotten out of that habit while I was on the Board.  The amount of secrecy surrounding whatever the talks with GGP have spawned scares heck out of me.  More transparency would produce a lot more cooperation from citizens. Still, old habits die hard, and Maggie Brown has always—mostly in private—voiced her belief that C.A. is a private corporation, ignoring the almost $30 million a year Columbians pay involuntarily to C.A.  This situation could so easily be cured by openness.  Instead, we are I am afraid going to see more wrangling between the “private-” and “public-” oriented halves of the Board.

                  Phil Marcus





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