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Commission on Common Ownership Communities

Minutes of the Monthly Meeting

December 02, 2015


The monthly meeting of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities was called to order at 7:05 pm by Chairperson Rand H. Fishbein.
Present: Commissioners Fishbein, Ethier, Fine, Zajic, Coyle, Brandes, Fonoroff, Don Weinstein (8).
Absent: Commissioners Winegar, David Weinstein, Terry Cromwell (3).
Also attending: Associate County Attorney Walter Wilson; Director of OCP Eric Friedman; CCOC staff Peter Drymalski; Lawrence Dorney; Dallas Valley.
            The Commission thanked Commissioner Fine for providing a bounty of excellent sandwiches for the meeting.
            1. MINUTES.  The minutes of the November, 2015, meeting were approved as drafted.
            2. COMMUNITY FORUM:  None.
            Staff presented #04-15, Lin v. Fallsreach HOA and recommended that the Commission reject jurisdiction under the business judgment rule.  Mr. Wilson stated that the Commission could decide it had jurisdiction, or could decide that the business judgment rule applied to exclude jurisdiction.  By a vote of 5 (Fishbein, Fonoroff, Fine, Coyle, Zajic) to 3 (Weinstein, Brandes, Ethier) the Commission voted to accept jurisdiction and to assign the dispute to a hearing panel of Ethier, Coyle, and Brandes.
            The Commission voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #20-15, Alapati v. Meadow Ridge Villas, and of #38-15, Iserson v. Promenade Towers.  #20-15 was referred to a hearing panel of Stevens, Brandes and Zajic.  #38-15 was referred to Winegar and Fine, with a panel chair to be selected later.
            The Commission voted unanimously to table further action on #53-15, Dorney v. Grosvenor Park IV Condominium pending the disposition of a similar action between the parties on the same issues in the Circuit Court (Fine, abstaining).
            The Commission voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction of #56-15, Price v. Clarksburg Condominium and assigned it to a hearing panel of Fishbein and Cromwell, with a panel chair to be selected later.
            4. REQUESTS TO THE COMMISSION: None.
            Mr. Wilson reported that he is reviewing 2 draft CCOC decisions.  He will also file a Line in the McBeth v. Fountain Hills appeal to correct the caption.  The caption currently lists Montgomery County as the appellee, when in fact only Fountain Hills CA is the appellee.
            7. STAFF REPORTS:
            Mr. Drymalski reported that a meeting between the CCOC and the Office of Zoning has been arranged to discuss the regulation of accessory apartments and in-home businesses.  He also reported that Commissioner Tom Stone has resigned.  He circulated a copy of the statistical report for November.
            Mr. Friedman reported that the CCOC received 5 new complaints in October and 5 more in November, and that mediations are being scheduled for them.  He also reminded the commissioners that County law (section 2-148 of the Code) limits absences to 3 in 12 months after which a member can be removed.
            8. COMMITTEE REPORTS: None.
            9. OLD BUSINESS:
            Mr. Drymalski circulated copies of a proposed policy statement on the conduct of hearing panels and on a long form annual disclosure.  The Commission tabled consideration of these until January, 2016.
            10. NEW BUSINESS:
            Dr. Fishbein notified the Commission that it will hold its annual election of officers in January, 2016; and asked that all members interested in nominating themselves or someone else notify the staff before the next meeting.
            Mr. Weinstein asked that new commissioners be given more extensive and detailed training than they currently receive.
            At 8:20pm, the Commission adjourned.  The members of the public and Mr. Friedman departed.  At 8:25pm the Commission resumed its meeting.  Dr. Fishbein asked Mr. Wilson if the Commission could close its meeting at this point so that it could discuss its position on Bill 50-15.  Mr. Wilson stated that as long as a quorum was present, the Commission could not close the meeting for the purpose of discussion, and the meeting therefore continued as an open meeting. 
Mr. Wilson remained present for the entire course of the Commission’s meeting and discussion and provided counsel and interpretative clarification of Bill 50-15 as requested by the Commissioners.
            Dr. Fishbein reported that he and other commissioners had had a productive meeting with Clarence Snuggs, the Director of DHCA on the topic of how the CCOC and DHCA can work together.
            Dr. Fishbein reported that the County Council will hold a public hearing on Bill 50-15, which proposes to reorganize the CCOC, on January 12, 2016 at 1pm.  He urged the Commission to adopt its formal positions on the bill before then.  The commission agreed that  the chairperson should circulate proposed responses to the bill so that they could be considered and final positions voted upon at the January 6 meeting.
            Ms. Ethier asked Mr. Wilson for his legal opinion.  She asked if the CCOC can reach out to the public directly to notify it of Bill 50-15 and of the CCOC’s formal position responding to the bill.  Mr. Wilson said that the CCOC could present its own position to the public, and encourage the public to participate in the discussions of the bill, but it should not attempt to advocate to the public in favor of its own position. 
            11. NEXT MEETING:  The next meeting will be Wednesday,  January 6, 2016, and the following meeting will be Wednesday, February 3, 2016. 
            The Commission adjourned at 9:45 pm.

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