2023 Columbia Elections

This year’s election in Columbia is very competitive. Here is a summary of all village elections and CA board election. Since the CA president is interim, the next new board will determine who will be the next CA president.

  1. Dorsey Search
    • No election this year.
  2. Haper’s Choice
  3. Hickory Ridge
    • Candidate Forum, In-person
    • This in-person Candidate Forum at The Hawthorn Center will feature candidates for the Hickory Ridge Village Board and the Hickory Ridge Representative to the Columbia Association Board. Residents may submit questions for candidates as they enter the Forum. As many questions will be answered as time will allow. Masks are strongly-recommended for this event.
    • 7:00pm – 9:00pm
    • Hawthorn Center
    • 6175 Sunny Spring, Columbia, MD 21044
  4. Kings Contrivance
  5. Long Reach
  6. Oakland Mills
  7. Owen Brown
  8. River Hill
  9. Town Center
  10. Wilde Lake

Message from CA leadership

Dear Columbia Association Community,

Columbia Association (CA) has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and like each of you, we’ve had to adjust. Following is a summary of CA’s efforts to keep our community safe, a preview of changes in programming, and a brief discussion of the rationale for these changes. Because of our accountability to diverse stakeholders – most notably the residents and businesses who pay CA’s Annual Charge as well as members whose dues support CA facilities and programs – our decisions have been complex and difficult. 

Keeping Columbia Safe
On March 15, CA closed all its facilities and cancelled programming indefinitely. The CA board of directors and CA team members (employees) immediately began planning for reopening community venues and programs, while at the same time delivering essential services (open space maintenance) in a manner that did not endanger residents, members or team members. 

Tough Decisions
Following Governor Hogan’s Maryland Strong 3 phase plan to reopen businesses, CA has modeled numerous approaches to reopening programs and facilities, depending upon timing of reopen decisions at the state and county level. 

  • We opened two outdoor tennis clubs and golf facilities on May 13, with training for staff and clear guidelines to keep members and staff safe. Hobbit’s Glen tennis remains closed for renovations to the clay courts.
  • We regret that we will not open outdoor pools or hold summer camps in 2020. We understand that this will deeply disappoint many of our residents and members. This decision was only made after careful consideration of all options available. (please read “Rationale” below)
  •  Final preparations are underway now to safely reopen fitness clubs, the Columbia Swim Center, and the Long Reach Tennis Club when we receive approval from Howard County leadership, hopefully within the next several weeks.

Rationale for Tough Decisions
CA is a unique organization. We are a homeowners association serving more than 100,000 residents. We are also a membership organization serving nearly 60,000 members using our sports and fitness facilities and community services and programs (including summer camps, before and after school services, etc.). On February 20, the CA board approved FY 2021 (5/1/20-4/30/21) budget which included projected operating income of $80M. With the March 15 closure of all CA facilities and programming indefinitely, leadership revised operating expenses to match the new reality. CA’s projected total income will be down 30% and non-Annual Charge income will be down 56%. This loss of income led to the difficult programming decisions outlined above, as well as the decision to layoff or furlough more than 90% of our team members (with the remaining ones taking pay cuts of up to 50%) and to reduce the FY 21 capital budget by 47% from $15M to $8M.

CA will continue to adjust as the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic crisis evolves. With your continued support CA will thrive but, inevitably, it must continue to change to adapt to this new reality. Please forward your comments or questions to us at https://pardot.columbiaassociation.org/e/22832/ct-us-contact-board-directors-/6zb5n6/1510369027?h=zKz3cA0ZV3SOEpOg4ZvTGNDG1mB-FXVvp9LCQohzVEE.


Andrew C. Stack, Board of Directors                       

Milton W. MatthewsChair,   President/CEO

CA considering classification as a “community benefit association”

Please provide your input to the CA board at Board.Members@columbiaassociation.org

Columbia Association’s (CA) Board of Directors is considering requesting that the Maryland General Assembly recognize CA under state law as a “community benefit association.”

The Columbia community is invited to learn more about the proposal at an information session on Tuesday, March 5 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road. There will also be a CA Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, February 28 and a CA Board of Directors work session on Thursday, March 14.

Since its founding in 1965, Columbia Association has been classified under Maryland Corporations Law as a private, non-stock corporation. When the state Homeowners Association Act (HOA Act) passed in 1984, CA was classified as a homeowners association as well. However, Columbia Association is very different than traditional homeowners associations. CA serves an entire community of homeowners, renters, commercial property owners, businesses and the people who work in Columbia, and provides far more services – including facilities, programs and activities – to a greater population than any other HOA.

When state lawmakers consider changes to the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, that legislation is usually in response to issues at much smaller homeowners associations – and typically will have unintended negative consequences on Columbia Association. Recognizing Columbia Association as a community benefit association would acknowledge its unique structure and the many and diverse stakeholders it serves, while protecting CA from legislation intended for more traditional HOAs. Becoming a community benefit association would change nothing about the way CA operates.

That is because this proposal also retains all protections for anyone who lives, works or owns property in Columbia. For example, CA would still be required under its bylaws and state law to provide the openness mandated by the HOA Act, such as the ability to attend and comment at open work sessions and meetings, and the ability to inspect and copy CA’s books and financial records, including salary information.

For more information about this proposal, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit ColumbiaAssociation.org/CBA. To provide input on the proposal, email CBA@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

Love Columbia Swim center

Went there yesterday. Especially the kids pool. It is clean, large and safe for 16-month old. The water is a little warmer comparing with the temperature in the Columbia Gym and other outside pools. The design for this pool is unique with an transparent, triangular cover. Probably it can take some sunlight in to warm the pool. And some water from the underground hose is warm.

Make a positive impact (The Villager 2015-6)

Make a positive impact (The Villager 2015-6)

(This article is published in our Villager.)

Upon The Villager’s call to make an impact, I submitted my nomination petition and ran a small local campaign for River Hill’s Columbia Council Representative position. For the first time, I brought my daughter with me to knock on our neighbors’ doors one by one. Talking to them and asking for a vote was quite a different experience for me. Now I am the community’s new council representative, and I feel honored to serve both River Hill and all Columbia residents.

Our community is always watching what the Columbia Association (CA) and Howard County Government are doing. When I knocked on one neighbor’s door, he thanked me for coming forward to serve our neighborhood and then complained about a road near the Columbia Gym. He said the problem has been there for 15 years and has not been fixed. While I had complained about the road to myself, it is muddy when raining and slippery when snowing, I had never thought this was a big problem for others. At that moment I realized this condition is actually affecting many people in the community, and as individuals we all have a responsibility to take steps to improve situations that are of concern to us. I will make sure that each complaint or concern that I receive from our residents will be heard, considered, forwarded to the appropriate organization for resolution when necessary, and factored into my decision-making.

In today’s society, it is not difficult to make a living if we work hard. However, to make a positive impact is not all that easy. For the majority of people, our family is our highest priority, and that is what we focus on. As residents of River Hill, how can each of us make a positive impact on our community?

We just need to get involved. We need to spend extra time and energy to dedicate ourselves to the issues that are important to us. We need to balance our job, our family, and our community involvement. Since volunteering in the community may not lead to a direct benefit to one’s family, sometimes we don’t have the support for a huge time commitment. However, there are many small ways that individuals can make an impact in our community. We occasionally need to get out of our comfort zone, deal with people from other backgrounds, and learn new stuff, all of which is challenging and even a little scary.

To serve the people, it is very important to listen to others and take a balanced approach. A positive impact for one group may mean a negative impact for another group. Elected representatives need to make choices when we vote. As your Columbia Council Representative, I recognize that at times I will have to make difficult choices. Our community is more complex than ever. Issues such as “not in my backyard”, green energy, social integration, big business bullying little people, and corrupt politicians are among those I heard about from residents when I talked to our neighbors. These various viewpoints will make the decision-making process much harder and require patience and collaboration from all involved parties.

We don’t need to be a significant figure to make an impact. Our participation and leadership in any activity will make an impact. Volunteering to help count the number of pedestrians on a section of the CA pathways is one way to make an impact. Serving on the Board of Directors of CA is another way to make an impact. We just need to get involved in the manner that works best for us as individuals and for our families. I hope to make a positive impact on our Columbia community, and I will devote my time to make our quality of life better.

I am looking forward to hearing from you on the matters that are of importance to you. Chao Wu, PhD River Hill Representative to Columbia Council Columbia Association Board of Directors Email: superbwu@gmail.com Tel: 240-481-9637.

Issues in our neighborhood

We have many residents who voiced their concerns when four county councilmen and councilwomen had a town hall meeting at the River Hill. As a council representative to the Columbia Association, I have kept receiving many residents’ concerns related to the following issues:
1) Adding a new traffic light between the Linden Linthicum Lane and Clarksville Pike,
2) Realigning the Shepard Lane at the intersection of Clarksville Pike,
3) Rejecting the construction on the Donaldson funeral home
Not sure how exactly or how soon any issues will be addressed. We just need keep pressures on elected officials.

You can voice your concerns and sent email to the following recipients:

 Howard County Dept. of Zoning:  wmackey@howardcountymd.gov and rkudchadkar@howardcountymd.gov

County Executive:  akittleman@howardcountymd.gov
River Hill Village Board:  manager@villageofriverhill.org
Board of Education:  BOE@hcpss.org and superintendent@hcpss.org

Your inputs will be greatly appreciated and hopefully our residents’ opinions will help the officials make the proper decision on these key issues. If you do not do it now, after new constructions are finished, it will be even more difficult to have any changes to accommodate residents’ reasonable request. It is never too late to email or call our elected officials.

Quick summary of Columbia Association

from wiki The Columbia Association (CA) is a management organization for the financing, and maintenance of common-use facilities of the Rouse Company planned development of Columbia, Maryland. CA has 260 full-time employees, 800 part-time year-round employees and 150 to 500 seasonal employees.

Type Not for profit
Headquarters Columbia, Maryland, United States
Membership Individuals and companies
Budget $74.1 Million (2015)[1]
Number of Members 100,000+