Monday, December 15, 2014

Notes: Emerson HOA Meeting & Elections 11/24/14

Highlights of the Emerson Board Meeting on 11/24/14:
  • Elections
    • Three new Board Members elected, very heavy participation in the election
  • Howard County Officials in attendance
    • Councilwoman Jen Terrasa (District 3)
    • Howard County Chief of Traffic Kris Jagarapu 
      • Extended Q&A Session
        • Local road projects
        • Wincopia Farms/Walden Woods
        • Process for upgrading roads, adding traffic calming
  • Open Resident Forum

  1. Elected to the Emerson Board of Directors for 2-year terms:
    1. Narsimha Doma
    2. John Jurgensen
    3. Erica Root Cikanek
  2. Election notes:
    1. 436 proxies were submitted (over 40% of community), 9 commercial entities
    2.  Approximately 60 residents attended in person
    3. Board thanks outgoing President DeVon Saunders who has volunteered for 12 years, including chairing Safety Committee, and will remain active
  3. Howard County Officials in attendance
    1. Jen Terrasa (Councilwoman for Howard County District 3); Howard County Chief of Traffic Engineering Kris Jagarapu
    2. Traffic questions submitted by Emerson Board
    3. Kris Jagarapu summary of projects affecting Emerson:
      1. Stephens Road widening between Gorman Road and Whiskey Bottom Road, started as bridge in flood area
        1. Bids for work next summer, working to get right of way, design is done
        2. Expects sidewalk up to southeast corner of Gorman and Stephens, probably on both sides of road - still TBD
      2. Wincopia Farms
        1. 220 new homes, 171 single family, 49 townhomes
        2. Road plan within community followed process: idea submitted to community for public comment, preliminary plans ("sketch plan") submitted to County with location of roads, amenities, sidewalks, trees
        3. Then afterward decide where the lots will be
        4. Work this past summer: 
          1. Decided to close road because required to cut open road for new culvert, pedestrian tunnel; also added shoulders (none before)
          2. Would have been one lane for 8-9 months vs. full closure for just the summer
      3. Walden Woods
        1. On south side of Wincopia
        2. 87 age-restricted units
        3. Required to make some improvements to Gorman (turn lanes, shoulder for bikes)
        4. As "scenic road" between Skylark and Leishear, some changes not permitted except for safety
        5. Bicycles: "Share the Road" (as it is now) versus dedicated bike lanes
      4. Skylark to MD-216 
        1. Emerson Developer (Hughes) required to provide secondary connection to MD-216 
        2. But, no set timeline
          1. Would be triggered if the Developer ever develops the couple of parcels zoned commercial in western area of Emerson
          2. Would be funded by Developer and not County
      5. Discussion of criteria for road improvements
        1. Traffic volume is graded, standard is Level D (Level E for County/State roads, where more traffic is expected), best is Level A
          1. Standard is 1100(?) vehicles per day, if greater than 1800 is above capacity
          2. Grade of Gorman/Murray Hill was A in 2009, projection even after Wincopia Farms and Walden Woods is B
        2. Traffic calming
          1. Criteria
            1. For minor collector or local roads with direct residential frontage at least 1200 feet long
            2. Speed requirement: if > 85% of cars 10 mph over limit
            3. Also volume requirement at least 1200 vehicles per day
          2. If criteria met, will respond to requestor and then engage the community
            1. Must be requested by two-thirds of those affected
            2. If you can exit without driving over the traffic hump, you are not affected
            3. 6 volunteers requested to assist process to ballot
            4. If get two-thirds vote, added to County Budget Cycle
              1. Specific process for speed humps, usually cost about $5K per speed hump
          3. Resident expresses concern with a specific area near intersection in Haddon Hall
            1. Likely doesn't meet the frontage or volume requirements
            2. But, County agrees to contract for a study
              1. Will occur over a complete 48 hour period
              2. Will try to get a reasonably accurate measurement of traffic
                1. Typically Tue-Wed or Wed-Thu
                2. Don't want to do on windy, rainy, or snowy days which would skew results, so will probably happen when weather improves in Spring
      6. Further questions and requests can be directed to traffic(at)
  4. Open Resident Forum:
    1. Q: Who is responsible for broken sidewalks?
      1. If adjacent to a home, sidewalk is homeowner's responsibility per County Code
      2. If adjacent to common area, HOA responsibility
        1. Let HOA know of any issues
        2. Will assess in Spring all sidewalks that are HOA responsibility
    2. Q: What is the status of the commercial parcel east of the I-95 overpass?
      1. Don't expect anything for at least 5-8 years
      2. Likely only a small amount will be retail, but don't know
    3. Q: Pedestrian tunnel?
      1. County felt it was better than a crosswalk
      2. Not clear who maintains it
      3. 50 feet long
    4. Q: Street lighting? (That is, who to contact if there aren't enough street lights in an area?)
      1. Managed by Traffic Office
        1. Signs in County
        2. Pavement markings
        3. Signals
        4. Traffic calming
        5. Street lights
        6. Calming
      2. Further questions and requests can be directed to traffic(at)
    5. Q: In many of our communities, parking problems with cars parked on both sides of street, making it difficult to get through (e.g. for trash trucks)
      1. In one townhouse community, managed to get signs restricting parking put in which alleviated problem
      2. Mr. Jagarapu says that if trash trucks cannot get through they will call Traffic Office
        1. Did not receive any calls
        2. Rule is 12 feet clearance, typical road is 24 feet with most cars 6 feet wide, buses are wider
      3. Engineer reviewed roads with Emerson Community Manager that morning
        1. If restrictions are needed, County wants the community to decide which side of road will prohibit parking
    6. Q: Eastern side of Emerson requests that HOA make more of an effort to include them in activities, especially children's events
      1. New Assistant Community Manager requests that residents let her know what they want
      2. Call for volunteers for Activities Committee also
    7. Q: Status of Clubhouse?
      1. Clubhouse Renovation Committee (Tyler): spent lots of time, met with County, others
      2. Main issue now is budget and how to make the Clubhouse bigger
      3. Many don't want to see an increase in HOA fees, working with Board to establish budget
    8. Communications Committee asks for volunteers

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