CA Board of Director Meeting Summary 2016-11-10
- Presentation by Horizon Foundation, The Bikeway Concept. This is a 50 miles, networked bicycle and pedestrian route. More than half of county residents, schools and parks are located within 1 mile of the bikeway. 4 MARC stations (Laurel, Savage, Jessup, Dorsey) are within 2.5 miles of the bikeway. The cost is around 3 million dollars. We can support them online at http://bit.ly/HCbikeway.
- David M. Feehan, Downtown Columbia Partnership emphasized the importance of such organization.
- Chris Alleva, talked about: DPZ rejected the new alcohol store application within the Wegmans; Resident and commercial covenant enforcement should be improved; The Downtown Columbia Partnership is new to me.
- Stu Kohn, the president of Howard County Citizenship Association, talked about the Merriweather Post Pavilion noise. The purpose is not to close MPP, but to turn down the sound of the music. He would like CA to write a supporting letter.
- Dr. Terri Hill (District 12A delegate), talked about possible legislation to define where to measure the sound level. She did not mention turning down the noise.
- Eric Ebersole (District 12A delegate), and others legislators will meet to discuss this issue. No specific details.
- Russ Stawek, talked about Merriweather Post Pavilion noise.
- George , lived behind the library. He knew he was close to the MPP and would hear the music. But it is too much. The bass sound can vibrate the wall in his room. It used to be different before 2012,2013.
- Bonny and Alan, lived at Own Brown. They hear the constant bang, bang noise. They just had enough. They want to lower the voice as soon as possible since they are senior now.
- Jean Parker, general manager of MPP. Back to 2013, MPP proposed a bill (now a law) to increase the noise level. MPP has not changed the way the music is played. They think it is because of the new buildings nearby have changed the music transportation such that people now hear the noise differently. Elevation of the stage may play another role of the change. When people talk about Columbia is the number place to live, they think of Merriweather. She worked at MPP since 1977 and her hearing is fine.
- They county is going to give 9.5 millions to MPP for improvement.
- Many local competitions nearby, but only MPP asked the state law changed to fit their needs.
- MPP will be transferred to Downtown Arts and Culture Commission by Nov 30, 2016 since the TIF plan has been approved Wednesday at the County Council. But that will not change how they operate anyway.
- In 2016, there were 75 sound complaints, among them 48 were from individuals.
Discussion of MPP noise
Milton got 55 supporting emails for MPP and 4 opposing emails fro MPP since the board meeting agenda was posted last Monday. We got several (more than 20) residents speaking against the MPP noise from Oct.
Discussion on CA business
- Code of Business Conduct and Ethics;
- Conflicts of Interest Policy;
- Whistleblower Policy;
- Code of Business Conduct and Ethics,
- Conflicts of Interest Policy Special Requirements for Members of the Board of
Discussion on Lake Front Bell Tree
A temporary tree on the deck, costing $165000. CA tried to restore the old Bell Tower and the county Design Panel rejected the application. The board seems inclined to approve this new design.
Funding for Downtown Columbia Partnership
The board approved $250,000 to them conditioning another board seat. I voted NO because
1) This is substantial change to the original proposal and no enough discussion has been allowed. The original request was 482k. Then some board member proposed 250K, other proposed 200K, kind of a random number without any justification.
2) The administration overhead is too high (spanning from 30% to 40%) from their budget.
3) The county government should be in charge of funding it since it set up this organization.
4) In their proposed budget, they will continue requesting half million dollars from CA for several years. 2017(482K), 2018(557K),2019(432K),2020(421K), 2021(322K),2022(225K),2023(188K),2024(69K),2025(27K),2026(0K), which is troubling. I believe they will come back to CA next year for financial support.
5) CA need think about building more facilities for these new homes in the downtown area. It will cost substantially money in the future to build a swimming pool there, to build a gym there, etc to serve those 20,000 new residents.
From whether the MPP noise affects other people’s life to how much we should financially support Downtown Columbia Partnership, my first thought is always:
- What if I am the person who is 75 years old and bothered by the noise whenever there is a music?
- What if I am the person who have the money and is asked to give out money, without much say how the money is used?