Thursday, November 7, 2013

Leaders of HOAs, Condo Associations Exchange Ideas, Seek Answers to ‘Common’ Problems


Approximately 100 people representing more than 60 homeowners and condominium organizations from across Montgomery County on Oct 23 attended a forum in Rockville designed specifically for homeowner association and condo board leaders. During the forum, which was hosted by County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, participants exchanged ideas about problems they share and asked the representatives of twelve County Government departments and agencies how they could better work together.

Issues raised during the forum ranged from speed humps on neighborhood roads to nuisance animals. Many participants said homeowner associations, and especially condo boards—which can assess monthly dues in the hundreds of dollars—need better tools for collecting overdue fees. Several people had questions about the County’s recently revamped Water Quality Protection Charge and its associated credits. Others expressed a need for individual utility meters in multi-family buildings.

With so many department and agency heads on hand, many participants who came with questions or unresolved problems were able to leave the forum with answers or commitments for further follow-up. Several participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to meet with leaders and decision-makers face-to-face.

“I organized this forum because people who are involved with their homeowner associations are connected to their community in a unique and highly localized way,” said Councilmember Floreen, who chairs the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “I wanted to make sure these volunteers have the tools they need to continue in their good work.”

The forum can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube.  Many of the subjects discussed apply to homeowners and condominium associations that were not represented at the forum. To view the forum, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_yPosvaJPY .

Among the representatives of County departments and agencies present at the forum were: Jewru Bandeh (East County Regional Services Center), Ken Hartman (Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center), Cathy Matthews (Upcounty Regional Services Center); Nadim Khan (Health and Human Services), Reginald Jetter (Permitting Services), Eric Friedman (Consumer Protection), Peter Drymalski (Commission on Common Ownership Communities), Steve Shofar (Environmental Protection), Rick Nelson (Housing and Community Affairs), Walter Wilson (County Attorney), Gwen Wright and Pam Dunn (Park and Planning), Bruce Johnston and Gary Erenrich (Transportation), Commander James Fenner and Lt. Jaques Croom (Police) and Susan Hoffman (Recreation).