Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 7:30 pm - Wheaton Library
I. Call To Order - Sean Corbett
II. How We Got Here - Sean Corbett
- Reason for the perceived "rush" to get the Wheaton Hills Civic Association (WHCA) started: The Montgomery County Budgeting sessions begin in January 2015. In the 2014 budget, Wheaton Hills/Wheaton was not a line item anywhere. We would like to change that for 2015.
- The Wheaton Hills Neighborhood Watch started up about a year and a half ago. Aside from this group, Wheaton Hills has no representation anywhere.
- Montgomery County does tend to listen to Civic Association (CA). Example: The Kensington Heights CA took a stand against the proposed gas station at Costco and, thus far, has been successful in blocking it's installation.
- Montgomery County is planning on moving ahead with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes on Georgia Avenue and is asking for community representatives to sit on boards to review the matter. Civic associations are getting members on those boards whereas, without a CA in Wheaton Hills, members from our community would have to apply as "At Large" members, of which there is a limited number of positions. Those members would also not carry the full weight of a CA - meaning they don't have the support of the community behind them in the eyes of the county.
- As a CA, we could apply for 501(c)3 status which would allow all donations to the CA to be tax deductible. We would also be able to apply for special grants from the county.
- Want to stress, the CA is not an HOA. It is not meant to be punitive. No one will be dictating what you may or may not paint your shutters, etc. The CA is meant to bring the community together to make where we live a better place.
- The WHCA would include about 1,100 homes (Boundaries are Veirs Mill Road, University Boulevard, Georgia Avenue, Henderson Avenue, and Claridge Road).
- Regarding addressing the language barrier in our community, the group who created the bylaws did ask through NextDoor and word of mouth for a volunteer to translate the bylaws but no volunteer has come forward to date. If anyone is interested, please email WheatonHillsCivicAssociation@gmail.com. We can also consider sending flyers to Highland Elementary as there is some student overlap.
- Regarding the need to have increased participation amongst members of the community, there have been some limitations only because the flyers that have been done to date have been paid for by the group who created the bylaws, in addition to the limitations of NextDoor (not 100% representation in the neighborhood). WHCA will need to create a strong outreach plan so that members in the neighborhood are aware that the CA exists and that they have representation.
- The bylaws presented came together through speaking with members of local CA's (Kensington Heights, Glenmont Forest, etc) and determining what worked for them, what didn't. The goal was to draft them without any outside influence from local politicians or special interest groups.
- The group who worked on the bylaws will not be self nominating for any position. We will be doing the nomination process through the nominating committee.
- Associate Member means you live in the neighborhood, within the boundaries. Active Member means that you have filled out the form stating your address and thus have implied your interest to be an active participant in the CA. Active Members have voting rights. Anyone can become an active member at any time, even at meetings before a vote, so they can have voting rights.
- Details on a few changes made to our bylaws from the other bylaws that were reviewed/used as a template:
a. The group used the name "Wheaton Hills" and not "Wheaton Crest" because there was already some name recognition with "Wheaton Hills" due to the Neighborhood Watch program.
b. For the Annual Meeting, during which elections for office are held, the quorum was raised to 20% from 10% (as was used in the Kensington Heights bylaws).
- Overall, the bylaws as written are standard and basic. We will have a committee to work on edits/changes to the bylaws as needed throughout the evolution of the WHCA.
- Regarding the President's duties, it was noted that the President seems to have a lot of duties. That is a fact. In speaking with the Presidents of other local CA's, it was clear that the President has to attend many meeting with local groups, organizations, and county officials. The President can, at his/her discretion, delegate responsibilities to any other member of the board.
- Regarding the Executive Committee Confidential Meeting, it was noted that these meetings would be rare and would likely occur when an issue occurred that was of a time sensitive nature (ie: the county called a special meeting which might impact our neighborhood and thus a member of the Executive Committee would need to attend). There are no votes at these meetings. It was suggested that notification be sent to the membership after the fact so they would know that such a meeting had taken place.
- Regarding the committees listed in the bylaws, there are five suggested. The committees, once formed, will determine for themselves who will chair each. There was a suggestion put forth that the Committee on Communication & Bylaws be merged with the Committee on Membership.
- There was a general suggestion that it would be great to get a good geographical representation for the Officers so that all areas of our large CA map feel they have representation.
IV. Vote on Bylaws - Norris Thigpen
- Norris Thigpen put forth the motion to vote for acceptance of the Bylaws as written.
- Ezra Towne & Ellen Jane Pairo seconded the motion.
- 31 "Yea," 0 "Nay"
- The Bylaws for the Wheaton Hills Civic Association were approved.
V. Call for Volunteers for Officer Nominating Committee
- Per the bylaws, three volunteers were needed to volunteer to collect nominations for positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
- Officer Nominating Committee = Paul Dever, Tim Hanes, Rob Salerno
- Nominations for Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) will be taken via email, through the ONC, in advance of the next meeting. Further details will be distributed via the WHCA Gmail account.
VI. Steps for Next Meeting
- Proposed for the second week in December (tentatively Wednesday, December 10).
- Next meeting will cover Officer Elections only.
- Committees and suggestions for edits to the bylaws (for the bylaw committee to review) to be decided upon at a later date (tentatively in January).
DON'T FORGET: Sunday, December 7th @ the Wheaton Claridge Park Activity Building there will be a neighborhood Holiday Party from 2:30p - 5:30p! Bring a snack/dessert/beverage to share and come enjoy the company of your neighbors!
- Sean Corbett put forth the motion to adjourn the meeting.
- Norris Thigpen seconded the motion.
- A resounding "Yea" to "All In Favor"
- The meeting was adjourned.