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Commission on Common Ownership Communities

Minutes of the Monthly Meeting

April 7, 2016

(Approved)

 
 
The monthly meeting of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities was called to order at 7:04pm by Chairperson Rand H. Fishbein.
 
Present: Commissioners Brandes, Coyle, Ethier, Fine, Fishbein, Fonoroff, Weinstein, Winegar, Zajic (9).
 
Absent: None.  (There are 6 vacancies.)
 
Also attending: Associate County Attorney Walter Wilson; OCP Director Eric Friedman; CCOC staff Peter Drymalski; Mr. Larry Dorney; Mr. Dallas Valley.
 
            1. MINUTES.  The minutes of the March, 2016, meeting were approved as drafted (Brandes, abstaining).
 
            2. COMMUNITY FORUM:
                       
            None.
 
            3. OFFICERS’ REPORTS
 
            Dr. Fishbein reported on the status of Bill 50-15 and the proposed CCOC budget.  The Council unanimously adopted Bill 50-15 as amended on April 5, 2016, and it will go to the County Executive for his signature.  The law will become effective 90 days after the Executive signs it.  CCOC representatives will meet again with the DHCA director to discuss CCOC’s position in the DHCA administrative framework.  He believes the CCOC should have as much autonomy as possible and report directly to the DHCA director; the CCOC should have its own assigned staff, and the CCOC should have a voice in the selection of the staff.
 
            Dr. Fishbein reported that the CCOC had voted by email to offer its own comments to the Council before the Council voted upon Bill 50-15.  These comments are now part of the Council’s hearing packet for April 5.  The email vote was 6 ayes and 1 abstention.   He asked the CCOC to ratify that vote.  The CCOC thereupon voted unanimously to ratify the email vote.
 
            Dr. Fishbein stated that the CCOC’s proposed budget will go to the Council PHED committee for a work session on April 20.  Because the CCOC would not meet until after that work session, he conducted a vote by email.
 
            The first vote was to support each of the two sections of the memorandum analyzing bill 50-15 and to send the memo to the Council for inclusion in the Joint PHED-PS Committee work session packet for March 10.  This motion passed unanimously (Ethier abstaining, Don Weinstein not responding).
 
            The second vote was to support the memorandum to the County council proposing amendments to Bill 50-15 as it was reported out of the Joint PHED-PS Committee work session on march 10, 2016.  The motion passed by a vote of 7 to 1 (Ethier voting nay).
 
            Dr. Fishbein also stated that he and Ms. Winegar had presented the CCOC’s annual report to the County Executive at a meeting of all the boards and commissions.  He expressed the CCOC’s appreciation to Mr. Leggett for his support of increased funding for the CCOC.
 
            Ms. Winegar reported that she will conduct a training session for applicants who wish to teach the CCOC’s director education class.  So far she has received approximately 20 applicants.  The class will be held on May 19 at 7pm in Room 225.
 
            4. NEW CASES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW:
 
            The CCOC voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #74-14, Greencastle Lakes CA v. Maslowe and to set it for a hearing May 18.  The panel will be Fleischer, Fine and Winegar.
 
            The CCOC voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #49-15, Longmead Crossing CSA v. Owumi and to issue an order of default.  The hearing panel will be Brandes and Zajic.
 
            The CCOC voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #18-15, Daniel v. Park Bradford Condominium and to refer it to a hearing panel for further proceedings with the recommendation that the hearing panel consider whether the case can be decided on a summary basis.  (Brandes, abstaining.)  Mr. Wilson noted that both parties accuse each other of violating the mediation agreement they signed, but that the CCOC cannot enforce that agreement.  In his opinion, the CCOC can determine if the mediation agreement was violated, and if so, to rule upon the merits of the original complaint.  If the parties wish to enforce the agreement as written, they must do so in Court.  The hearing panel will be Winegar and Zajic.
 
 
 
            5. REQUESTS TO THE COMMISSION:
 
            None.
 
            5. DECISIONS AND ORDERS ISSUED; OTHER LITIGATION:
 
            Ms. Winegar and Ms. Ethier reported on the recent decision in Bishow v. King Farm Village Condominium II, a case involving a disabled couple’s request for reserved parking.  They praised the panel chair, Charles Fleischer, for excellent work managing the case and drafting the Decision.
 
            The Staff reported on the panel’s decision to lift the automatic stay in #04-16, Kreitner v. Grosvenor Park IV Condominium.  The hearing panel determined to lift the automatic stay on the grounds that the complainants were not likely to prevail on the merits of their claim, whereas the respondent might suffer financial harm for refusing to proceed with the disputed contract, therefore the balance of equities favored lifting the stay. 
 
            6. COUNTY ATTORNEY'S REPORT:
           
            Mr. Wilson reported that he was reviewing several CCOC proposed decisions including Alapati, Kobernick and Chaney and expected to complete his review in the near future.
 
            He also reported on proposed Bill 03-16, which improperly defined what a “commission” was; however, the bill would not affect the CCOC because the CCOC was grandfathered into the bill and need not change its name or function.
 
            Mr. Wilson stated that he will contact Mr. Ozkanian, who recently filed an appeal of the CCOC decision against him, to ascertain the grounds for he appeal.
 
            The County Executive has decided not to intervene in the appeal of #72-13, Potowmack Preserve v. Ball, on the grounds that the appeal does not present any issues that affect the County’s rights.  Likewise, the County will not intervene in the appeal of #73-12, Potowmack Preserve v. Ball.  In that case, the Balls are basing their appeal on the claim that they in fact won their case and therefore can’t be held liable for any attorney fees.
 
              Mr. Coyle moved that the CCOC write to the Council to express its concerns about Bill 03-16, and to state that the Bill was not necessary but that if it proceeded, it should make clear that it would not affect the CCOC.  The motion passed unanimously.
 
            Mr. Wilson also stated that an Executive Regulation to raise the CCOC registration fees is being drafted but has not yet been sent to the Council.  The Council has 60 days to act on the proposal or it becomes law, but the Council can extend the time in which it can act.
 
            Mr. Wilson said that he will prepare an training class for the CCOC to comply with Bill 50-15.  Ms. Ethier recommended a task force from the CCOC to assist in the effort.
 
            7. STAFF REPORTS:
 
            Mr. Drymalski reported that he is uncertain about the accuracy of the registration figures received from DHCA.  In spite of new registrations recently, DHCA reports it now licenses about 30 fewer associations than it did 6 months ago.  It is not clear why, and at some point a meeting with the Licensing Office will be necessary.
 
            Mr. Drymalski presented an amended Panel Chair Guidelines.  The amendments will allow panel chairs to serve as long as they wish, subject to removal by the CCOC.  They will also allow Commission members who are not attorneys to serve as panel chairs with the Commission’s approval.  The CCOC voted unanimously to adopt the amendments.
 
            Finally, Mr. Drymalski noted that the deadline for applications to the CCOC will be April 20, after which the Executive will transmit the applications to the CCOC for interviews.  The CCOC voted unanimously to appoint Ms. Ethier and Mr. Zajic as the interviewing committee.   (Winegar, Fine and Fishbein abstained.)
 
            8. COMMITTEE REPORTS:
 
            Mr. Fine reported for the Legislative Committee and circulated a status report from CAI on bills pending in the General Assembly.  There were none on which the Committee recommended that the CCOC take a position.
 
            9. OLD BUSINESS:
 
            None.
 
            10. NEW BUSINESS:
 
            Ms. Winegar asked Mr. Wilson if attorneys can be CCOC panel chairs if those attorneys do not practice before the CCOC but work for a law firm in which other attorneys do practice before the CCOC..  Mr. Wilson said they could not, because the Ethics Commission would consider such attorneys to have “outside employment” in an industry that the CCOC regulates.  He suggested that the CCOC contact the Ethics Commission for advice.  Ms. Winegar moved that the CCOC do so, and the motion passed unanimously.
 
            Mr. Drymalski asked Mr. Wilson if an attorney can act as a CCOC mediator if that attorney does not practice before the CCOC but does work for a law firm in which other attorneys do practice before the CCOC.  Mr. Wilson stated that such an attorney could properly do so because he did not represent the CCOC or make any decisions on its behalf.
 
            11. NEXT MEETING:  The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 11, and the following meeting will be Wednesday, June 1.
 
            The meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm.
 
 

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