Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Meeting Notes: Emerson Town Hall #2 on 8/24/15

The second Emerson Town Hall was held on Monday, August 24, 2015 in the Clubhouse.

Emerson HOA Board President Jack Jurgensen and the Emerson CMC managers (Channel and Steffanie) attended, as did a light turnout of 5 residents (perhaps because it was also the first day of school).

  1. Fire Lanes - including our street
  2. Emerson Draft Design Guidelines
  3. Security Contract
  4. Route 1 Revitalization Plan
  5. Miscellaneous Q&A

  1. Fire Lanes
    1. Emerson's Board has decided to ask Howard County to designate fire lanes in the community
      1. A list of problematic streets was provided to the Howard County fire marshal, who reviewed every street in the community on various days (weekdays, weekends, morning and evening) to gauge traffic load
    2. Surprisingly, the fire marshal also added our street to the list and recommended that the inner curb on the large island at the end of the street be designated a fire lane (no parking)
      1. It is unclear if this means only the end of the island or the entire island
      2. Follow up: I provided pictures and measurements to Jack showing that:
        1. The street is 25 feet wide at its most narrow
        2. Cars only park on one side of the street (the inner side), since the outer side consists entirely of driveways
          1. This leaves about 18 feet of clearance
    3. Overall the fire marshall recommended:
      1. 8 streets with cul de sacs should have the inner curb marked as a fire lane
      2. 4 other streets have certain areas marked as fire lanes
      3. 3 streets be addressed where cars parked on both sides would create access problems for fire department vehicles
    4. Curb painting
      1. Fire marshall prefers signs over painted curbs
      2. Marking fire hydrants would be an Emerson expense
  2. Emerson Draft Design Guidelines
    1. To be voted upon by Emerson Board in September
    2. Only one comment received from community
    3. Q&A:
      1. Q: Existing installations? 
        1. Will be grandfathered in for approval
      2. Q: What does it mean that ground under decks must be stabilized?
        1. Largely addresses decks under which grass doesn't grow and the ground becomes muddy
        2. Typically low decks, but can see ground under it
        3. Recommend gravel, mulch, etc. to prevent erosion and improve appearance
    4. Q: Do sub-HOAs need to check with Emerson Master HOA on maintenance of property (e.g., replacing or removing dead trees)?
      1. No; Channel reviews all properties with landscaping contractor, but does not direct sub-HOAs
      2. Architectural guidelines appear to address individual homes, not sub-HOAs
  3. Security Contract
    1. Current contract is with Howard County, also possible private contractor as well
      1. Both use off-duty Howard County officers
    2. Emerson is talking to them about how to structure their efforts for more effective policing, possibly have more input into scheduling of patrols
    3. Current contract has had a beneficial effect 
  4. Route 1 Revitalization Plan
    1. Broad discussion of redevelopment in the area and how it can have a positive effect on Emerson
      1. Towne Center at Laurel; Konterra; new library; Laurel Park; etc.
      2. Also discussion of new Southeast Howard County Civic Association
    2. Possibly ask Howard County (e.g., Councilwoman Jen Terrasa and County officials) to address the plan for this area (Southeast Howard County)
      1. We are unclear on status of Howard County's Route 1 Revitalization Plan
      2. Eastern Emerson actually falls within the zone
      3. Q: Could we get noise walls like on MD-216?
    3. Note that North Laurel designated #23 Best Places to Live by Money Magazine
      1. Emerson will send out a note in email
      2. Channel plans to submit to CMC for recognition program for large communities
    4. Emerson tracking issues such as use of Whiskey Bottom by trucks going to MD-216
    5. Discussion of whether we should develop cooperative relationships with nearby communities
      1. For example: Stone Lake; Bolling Brook
        1. Marci/Katie know some POCs
      2. Also look for ideas in other neighborhoods such as Maple Lawn
    6. Tangential: Suggestion that Emerson needs signage as many people don't know who we are
      1. Specifically, intersection of Gorman/Stephens and Gorman/Skylark
  5. Miscellaneous Q&A
    1. Q: Who is responsible for driveway between sidewalk and curb? (In this case, it is disintegrating because snow with salt is pushed there by plows)
      1. County owns it, but homeowner is responsible for it
    2. Q: Can a sidewalk be installed in Haddon Hall for kids to walk to school at Forest Ridge Elementary? This is at end of private driveway (brown signs) plowed by residents, over a grassy berm
      1. Channel will follow up
      2. If HOA property, Emerson will consider it
    3. Q: Suggestion that Emerson work more closely with schools and PTAs
      1. Emerson is trying, has found a contact at Gorman Crossing and started some things
        1. Emerson helps publicize some things for Gorman Crossing PTA, willing to do same for Forest Ridge
        2. Katie (resident in attendance) is POC for Forest Ridge
      2. Tangential comment: Please be careful, one crossing guard was hit
    4. Q: Suggestion that when directing residents to documents or pages on web site, need a link (e.g., bitly)
      1. People won't access if they need to log in and navigate through multiple screens
      2. Emerson will take under advisement
    5. Q: Clarification of construction near Haddon Hall?
      1. This belongs to Knott, who also owns commercial buildings off Stephens Road/Sterling Drive
      2. They are completing Eternal Rings, as called for in the plan
    6. Q: Renovation of tot lot in Haddon Hall?
      1. Already proposed, Board is in the middle of voting process
    7. Q: Status of Clubhouse renovation?
      1. Still waiting for Budget Committee to give them a number to know how much they have to work with
    8. Q: Volunteering
      1. Channel looking for help as the scale of Emerson is just too large for her to do everything
        1. Hoping for Activities Committee to take over
      2. Signup Genius may help, got some volunteers
      3. Jack wants to get Facebook up and running 

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