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Commission on Common Ownership Communities

Minutes of the Monthly Meeting

November 5, 2014

(Approved)

The monthly meeting of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities was called to order at 7:08 pm by Chairman Elizabeth Molloy.

Present: Commissioners Molloy, Rahmani, Mays, Fishbein, Stone, Kabakoff, Coyle, Weinstein, Brandes, Fonoroff, Ethier, Winegar, Cromwell (13).

Absent: Commissioners Dubin, Zajic (2).

Chairwoman Molloy opened the meeting by welcoming the CCOC’s newest member, Gianna Rahmani.

Also attending:

            1. MINUTES.  The minutes of the October, 2014 meeting were approved with modifications to Item 5, to the effect that the panel in Parkside v. Cayzedo upheld the association’s right to impose fines but reduced the fine to the amount the panel determined to be justified.  (All voted in favor except Fonoroff, Brandes, Weinstein and Kabakoff, who abstained.)

            2. COMMUNITY FORUM:  Mr. Larry Dorney introduced himself, and circulated a handout with links to video of the October 21, 2014 Committee Hearing on Bills 44-14 and 44-15 (with a note as to where to locate the testimony given by him, Elizabeth Molloy, and Vicki Vergagni) and Nancy Floreen’s October 24, 2013 HOA and Condominium Association Forum (with a note as to where to locate the testimony given by Vicki Vergagni).

            3. NEW CASES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW:

            The Commission voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #22-14, Lakeview Condominium v. Peverly, and to set it for a public hearing on December 17, 2014.  The panel will be Commissioners Ethier (chair), Cromwell and Winegar.

            The Commission voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #57-14, Torres v. Top of the Park Condominium, and to set it for a public hearing on December 10, 2014.  Commissioners Weinstein and Mays were appointed to the hearing panel.  (Mr. Brandes abstained and took no part in the consideration of the case.)

            4. REQUESTS TO THE COMMISSION:

            None.

            5. DECISIONS AND ORDERS ISSUED; OTHER LITIGATION:

            None.

            6. COUNTY ATTORNEY'S REPORT:

            Mr. Wilson reported on the pending appeal in McBeth and Muse v. Fountain Hills CA.  McBeth filed an appeal of a ruling requested by Muse.  The court seems confused as to who are the parties in the appeal; the County is not a party.  McBeth has not obtained the transcripts, which he must do in order to pursue his appeal, and he has requested an extension of time for this purpose.

            7. STAFF REPORTS:

            The staff circulated the monthly statistical report for October, and reported on a meeting of the regional CAI legislative committee, which may be making recommendations to the CAI’s Maryland Legislative Committee about whether there should be any changes to the State’s open meetings statutes for common ownership communities in light of the CCOC rulings in McBeth and Muse v. Fountain Hills CA.  The issues of concern are whether boards can do business by email without violating the open meetings statutes and, if they can,  what kind of record keeping and reporting is necessary.

            The staff also circulated a new CCOC member mailing list and asked members to send any corrections necessary.

            8. COMMITTEE REPORTS:

            Chairwoman Molloy reported for the Legislative Committee.  The County Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee held a public hearing on bills 44-14 and 45-14.  Ms. Molloy testified on behalf of the CCOC on Bill 45-14.  Approximately 15 other people testified on 45-14.  Most of those who testified supported the proposal to require mandatory education of association directors.  A few individuals testified on Bill 45-15; most commenters favored the bill but the realtors’ representative made some strong arguments against it. 

Mr. Fishbein reported that he, Ms. Molloy, and the staff met with the University of Maryland’s Institute for Government Service and Research to discuss the kind of online training that the CCOC could provide if Bill 45-14 passes.  The CCOC will be responsible for developing the substance of 3 classes—one each for homeowner associations, condominium associations, and cooperatives.  The visuals and the program itself would be developed by the IGSR, and will be housed in IGSR servers, which would greatly simplify operation of the program from the CCOC’s viewpoint.  The class would be designed to last approximately 2-2.5 hours.  While the thought was to use the current Open Meetings Act training as a starting point, the CCOC could provide IGSR with material to increase the visual interest.

            There was no report from the Annual Forum Committee.  Ms. Winegar volunteered to chair it.  Ms. Molloy asked the committee to pick a topic for the forum and to be prepared to discuss it at the next CCOC meeting.  She asked all other members to send their ideas to Ms. Winegar.

            Ms. Ethier reported for the ad hoc committee on budgets and planning.  She, Mr. Fishbein, the CCOC staff and OCP Director Eric Friedman met with Councilmember Nancy Floreen to discuss CCOC funding.  Ms. Floreen agreed that the CCOC was under-served and she was very supportive of the CCOC’s work.  She said the Council has asked its Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) to review the CCOC’s operations and, among other things, to decide if CCOC should be transferred to another agency.  The Council wanted a report by sometime in February.

            There was no report from the ad hoc committee on dispute resolution.  Ms. Molloy asked the committee to make a report at the next CCOC meeting.

            9. OLD BUSINESS:

            None.

            10. NEW BUSINESS:

            The CCOC staff circulated a draft policy statement on hearing panel procedures, written by Ms. Molloy.  Members should review it and be prepared to discuss it at the next CCOC meeting.

            Mr. Fonoroff reported that the current issue of Common Ground contained an article on the CCOC decision in Brown v. Americana Finmark Condominium, written by Benny Kass, in which he discussed the ruling and how to comply with it.

            11. NEXT MEETING:  The next meeting will be Wednesday, December 3, 2014, and the following meeting will be Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

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