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Commission on Common Ownership Communities

Minutes of the Monthly Meeting

September 2, 2015

(Approved)

The monthly meeting of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities was called to order at 7:10 pm by Chairperson Rand H. Fishbein.

Present: Commissioners Fishbein, Winegar, Brandes, Coyle, Cromwell, Ethier, Mays, Stone, David Weinstein, Don Weinstein.  (10)

A bsent: Commissioners Fine, Fonoroff, Rahmani, Zajic. (4)

A lso attending: Associate County Attorney Walter Wilson; CCOC staff Peter Drymalski, OCP Director Eric Friedman, Asadur Ozkanian, Dallas Valley.
 

            1. MINUTES.   The minutes of the August, 2015, meeting were approved as drafted.

         
            2. COMMUNITY FORUM:

            The CCOC reviewed the staff’s draft response to Mr. Muse’s letter of June, 2015, and to send a modified reply.

            None.

           
            3. NEW CASES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW:

            The CCOC voted unanimously (Cromwell abstaining) to accept jurisdiction of #24-15, Jacobson v. Sligo Station Condo Ass’n. and to refer it to a hearing panel for further proceedings.  Commissioners Fishbein and Cromwell will serve on the hearing panel.

            The CCOC voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #22-15, Ozkanian v. Walnut Grove Condo Ass’n., and to refer it to a hearing panel for further proceedings.  Commissioners Mays and Coyle will service on the hearing panel and Commissioner Winegar will chair the panel.

            The CCOC voted unanimously to table consideration of #18-15, Daniel v. Park Bradford Condo Ass’n. because the Association had filed its answer very recently and had agreed to mediation; the Commission tabled the case in order to allow the parties more time to participate in a mediation session.

            Concerning #18-15,  there was an extended discussion, initiated by Commissioner Stone, on the topic of whether the CCOC should vote on its jurisdiction as soon as it receives a complaint and before the responding party is required to answer it. Mr. Stone believed that the CCOC had no legal authority over complaints if it had no jurisdiction over the complaint.  He questioned why parties were required to answer and to go to mediation if the CCOC had not determined that it had jurisdiction.

            Mr. Wilson responded that under Chapter 10B, taking jurisdiction was optional, not mandatory; and that the CCOC could dismiss cases without  hearings if it determined it did not have jurisdiction.  The law also provides that either party can request mediation of a dispute.

            Ms. Mays suggested that a CCOC committee or hearing panel review all newly-filed complaints to decide if the CCOC had jurisdiction.

            Ms. Winegar agreed with Mr. Stone and Ms. Mays concerning the early screening of CCOC disputes.  She requested that the staff’s monthly report include summaries of all disputes filed that month, since currently the CCOC only sees the small number of disputes that cannot be resolved voluntarily.

            Mr. Coyle asked if the CCOC members could see the files for all CCOC complaints.  Mr. Wilson said yes, and said that oral requests from commissioners to inspect files were sufficient to meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
 

            4. STATUS REPORTS

            Dr. Fishbein reported that the Ethics Commission had rejected CCOC’s proposal to allow certain volunteer panel chairs to serve on its hearing panels if both parties were given disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and if the parties both signed waivers of those potential conflicts.  He said that the only remaining alternative was to amend the County Code along the lines of the CCOC’s proposal to Ethics.  Mr. Wilson concurred but added that such a bill was unlikely to pass given the likely opposition by the Ethics Commission.  CCOC must first discuss the matter with the director of OCP and OCP will then have to ask the County Executive to support such legislation.  This would create a conflict between two county agencies which the Executive would have to decide before he proposed any legislation.

            Ms. Ethier reported that the Process & Procedures Committee just concluded a 3-hour meeting to discuss its recommendations but has not yet finalized its proposals.  She said that the general philosophy of the proposals was to assign more resources to resolving disputes early in the process in order to resolve them more quickly and inexpensively.
 

            5. REQUESTS TO THE COMMISSION:

            None.

           
            6. DECISIONS AND ORDERS ISSUED; OTHER LITIGATION:

            No new appeals were filed in August, and no new CCOC rulings were issued in August.
 

            7. COUNTY ATTORNEY'S REPORT:

            Mr. Wilson reported that he was reviewing the draft decision in Kelly v. Longmead , CCOC #28-15.
 

            8. STAFF REPORTS:

            The Staff circulated its monthly report for August, 2015.
 

            9. COMMITTEE REPORTS:

            Ms. Winegar said that the Education Committee submitted its final draft text, plus suggested graphics, of the training class to OCP and the Department of Technology Services.  Ms. Winegar and Dr. Fishbein also stated that they were arranging a meeting with the Department of Housing and Community Affairs to discuss revision of the registration forms currently in use so that the forms can collect data that is more useful to the CCOC.  There was a general agreement to proceed with this effort.

            Mr. Stone reported on Bill 52-14, regulating pesticide use in the County.  The County Council will hold hearings on the bill; but the Attorney General has issued an opinion that the bill is “preempted by implication,” meaning that the State of Maryland alone can regulate this field.
 

           10. OLD BUSINESS:

            None.
 

            11. NEW BUSINESS:

            None.
 

            12. NEXT MEETING:  The next meeting will be Wednesday, October 7,  and the following meeting will be Wednesday, November 4.

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