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, or CBA.
Since its founding in 1965, CA 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 homeowner’s association as well.
However, CA is different than traditional homeowners’ associations since it 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 smaller homeowner’s associations – and typically will have unintended negative consequences on CA. Recognizing CA 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 CBA would change nothing about the way CA operates 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.
The first information session will be held 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 meeting on Thursday, Feb. 28, and a CA Board of Directors work session on Thursday, March 14. For more information, visit ColumbiaAssociation.org/CBA; to provide input on the proposal, email CBA@ColumbiaAssociation.org.