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Piney Orchard Candidates Prep for Election

Five of the six candidates for Piney Orchard's board of directors met in a forum with community members on Wednesday.

 

Candidates for Piney Orchard’s Board of Directors met with community members on Wednesday, offering their opinions on issues ranging from pond repairs to nearby development.

The Piney Orchard Community Association held its annual “meet the candidates” forum, featuring five of the six residents seeking board positions in the April elections.

Candidates gave statements introducing themselves to the community, then answered a series of questions in a session lasting about an hour. About 25 residents attended the forum.

The community association is seeking to fill three board positions.

The candidates for those spots are:

Tyler Balderson—A River’s Edge resident who works for FA Bartlett Tree Company. Balderson was unable to attend Wednesday’s forum.

Kelly Bowlus—The POCA secretary and a member of several committees is seeking reelection to the board. 

Scott DiBiasio—A lobbyist in Washington who has lived in Piney Orchard for seven years. He has been critical of the POCA board for maintaining too large a reserve fund, arguing that a smaller fund would allow residents to pay lower assessment fees.

James Fraser—An engineering consultant who resides in Piney Orchard with his wife Jessica O’Kane, and his two children. Fraser and said he was running to ensure residents were informed of the status of the Odenton Town Center developments. He said he would prefer that his wife serve on the board.

Jessica O’Kane—The wife of James Fraser and a lawyer. Active in the MOMS Club of Piney Orchard.

Derek Olszanowski—Regional property manager with The Dolben Company, which owns apartment buildings in Piney Orchard.

Wednesday’s forum covered a wide range of issues, with questions submitted to the candidates from residents in advance.

Candidates agreed that the community should move forward in making upgrades to the pond near the community center and also supported stricter enforcement of POCA covenants.

There was some disagreement over the size of the community’s reserve fund, which is about $1.6 million. DiBiasio said the reserve was unnecessarily large and he would prefer to see residents pay lower assessment fees.

“The reserves are excessive, especially in these hard economic times,” he said.

Bowlus said the community worked with outside consultants to study the reserve as recently as 2010 and received compliments for not depleting it.

“They congratulated us for having our reserves at the level they should be,” Bowlus said.

DiBiasio was also critical of POCA by-laws that permit the Dolben Company to represent apartment residents in community elections. Dolben owns about 725 apartments, and is capable of casting all of those votes to a single candidate if it chooses.

DiBiasio also pointed out that Olszanowski, the Dolben employee running for the board, resides in Columbia and not Piney Orchard. 

Debbie Roebuck, a Dolben employee who will serve on the board through next month, clarified for those in attendance that an assessment is paid to POCA on each of the 725 units, not just three apartment communities as a whole.

Olszanowski told community members that he expected to spend considerable time in Piney Orchard if he were elected to the board and insisted that he would not be compensated by Dolben for serving. There is nothing in the POCA by-laws requiring Olszanowski to reside in the community.

Candidates all responded to a question about whether the POCA by-laws should be up for review, given that they were written more than 20 years ago. Most were noncommittal on the issue, but indicated that it was an issue worth examining.

“I wouldn’t necessarily go looking for problems if there were none apparent,” Fraser said.

POCA will hold its board elections during its annual meeting at 7 p.m. April 10 at

Residents can be added to the election ballot at the annual meeting if they receive a nomination from another community member.

Michael March 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Holy crap, Scott. Is that true? Do you support the new landfills in Odenton?
david young March 16, 2012 at 06:26 PM
It got awfully quiet in here, didn't it?
Jeff Andrade March 16, 2012 at 09:07 PM
That's right Scott. I live on the East side of Piney Orchard near the proposed landfill, along with nearly 2,000 other Piney Orchard residents. No secret there. Residents have been donating their time and in-kind support in printing flyers, etc. and for the record, I have not submitted any requests for reimbursement for any of the several hundred dollars of expenses I have incurred in fighting the landfill, including large copy exhibits, maps, establishing a web site, and travel from current project site in NYC. Nor have we engaged the Association's legal counsel on this matter. In contrast, according to our legal counsel, the cost to all POCA homeowners for our lawyer having to respond to all the harrassing formal and informal complaints and inquiries that you have raised against POCA since May 2011 -- all which have been found to be without merit and not resulted in any findings -- is about $3,250. Too bad, this money could be better spent to improve the community, rather than defending against your own personal vendettas against POCA Board members.
david young March 16, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Scott-really dude get a life or move. I hope Piney Orchard plans to bill you for there legal fees. For someone so critical of POCA finances you sure have no problem running up the legal bill that your neighbors are now paying for. Your frivolity toward Mr. Andrade and POCA boarders on criminal harassment in my opinion.
Michael March 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM
"As a matter of fact, I do not have a problem with the Toalson landfill. There are no risks associated with this landfill." Scott Dibiasio will not be getting my vote.
Tim Lemke (Editor) March 17, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I have deleted a comment from David Young because it violates our terms of use against personal attacks. Many of these other comments come very close to crossing that line as well. Please keep the tone of everything civil, or I'll be forced to cut off the comment thread altogether. Thanks!
Michael March 17, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Tim, please do not cut off the comment thread. I believe many Piney Orchard residents visit this site and it is important for them to learn more about the candidates running for the board. For instance, I had no idea that Mr. Dibiasio had no problem with the proposed landfill. I believe the vast majority of Piney Orchard residents strongly oppose this landfill and should now know not to vote for Mr. Dibiaisio. I was also hoping Mr. Dibiasio would respond to his comment accusing Dolben of helping to make Piney Orchard "Seven Oaks South". I understand there is a fine line between keeping people informed and keeping these comments civilized, but I just hope the voters can learn important things like which candidates are for the landfill and which are against it. Thank you for the good work - I come on this site every day to get true local news!
Jeff Andrade March 17, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I too would also like to thank you for your good work,Tim. Since he is about "policies and principles", I would like to ask Scott what is the basis for his claim that POCA's Replacement Reserves are "excessive" and since he appears to disagree with the recommended funding levels of POCA's consultants, what amount would he propose our annual contribution to the Replacement Reserve fund in its budget be?
david young March 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Mr. Lemke, I apologize to you for the violation. I will try to do better. Let me see if I have the facts straight on this candidate. Fact #1: This candidate admits he has never seen the reserve study yet he continuously states reserves are excessive. Fact #2: This candidate is on the record for being in favor of both landfills. Fact #3: At Meet the Candidates (my wife and I were there) the candidate did not know the day of the week the monthly meetings are held on. He had to be corrected by another candidate. He also said that he travels extensively and is unable to attend meetings. Fact #4: The candidate acknowledges the legal bill that he is forcing his neighbors to pay. Fact #5: The candidate believes he is entitled to the name, address and email of all Piney Orchard residents. Fact #6: The candidate has insulted the fine residents of Seven Oaks. Combining these facts which this candidate is on the record as stating on this very website, I find him utterly unsuitable for any leadership role and a detriment to what the entire Odenton community stands for.
Scott DiBiasio March 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I'm traveling and don't have a lot of time to draft a long response, but I can tell you that the previous poster (who very obviously committed the intentional tort of libel in a previous post that was deleted, but not before it was screen captured...this will be dealt with separately) is wrong on numerous fronts. The most obvious of which is that I do not support the Chesapeake Terrace landfill, as it could have potential direct impacts on the Piney Orchard area.
Jeff Andrade March 18, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Scott still didn't answer the question. He has said that Reserve funds are "excessive" and that assessments, which actually were lowered each of the last four years, are "higher than necessary". So if not the amounts adopted unanimously by the Board, what should those two numbers be? Apparently, Scott now admits that he made his criticisms without actually having reviewed the data in the studies on what needs to be replaced and when, and what the estimated replacement costs will be. As Mark Twain once said, "Get your facts first, then you can distort them how you please." The reason why POCA is in a position now to be able to undertake this year's projects -- major structural replacements at the Community Center pool, replacing the 21-year old Community Center roof and HVAC systems, poolhouse restorations, sidewalk replacements, parking lot coatings, tree replacements and the major renovation of the Community Center pond with its pumps, waterfall and fountains is because they were planned for in advance and the Board set aside adequate funds for these purposes. Finally, on transparency, every Member is mailed a copy of the budget each year with their bill. At the last three Annual Meetings, as Treasurer I provided Members with detailed briefings and charts on the budget and the five-year oulook on the Reserve replacements. The problem isn't transparency, it's that Scott hasn't been visible at POCA meetings for the last 7 years.
Ronald Grossman March 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
This is about personal attacks when there are agendas that you believe are not newsworthy. No word about the questions being censured by a Board that has the most to lose if fully exposed. No comments on reviews of the by-laws because they cannot be changed without the permission of the apartment owners. Now the 'blessed three' will have another representative when the Dolbert 'proxies' are made? I believe the POCA President violated confidentiality by disclosing how much was spent to 'research and defend' against 'baseless' complaints by a homeowner. The Board's attorney represents the Board. Not the homeowners. She is paid by us to protect them. How about an opinion from the Attorney General's Office? Fat Chance that the Board will will request an opinion from the Attorney General. With respect to the 'press' it appears as if you have crossed the line by appearantly violating Freedom of Speach Rights and printing one sided 'news' stories that fit POCA's agenda. I think you should explore a different line of work. Will you print these comments on what is supposed to be a public blog or is it a marketing tool for your personal agenda. I want to see David Young's comments and if he or Scott DiBiasio ever decides to file suit against POCA or you please rest assured I, and a lot of others, would join him. Ron Grossman, resident, Decorated Viet Nam Veteran, Desert Storm Participant This is not what I wore the uniform to defend. What has this country come to?
david young March 18, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Mr Grossman, I have no issue with Mr. Lemke removing my comment. I don't regret what I said in it, but I understand Mr. Lemke's job of maintaining decorum. Mr. Dibiasio submits frequent diatribes about transparency. Knowing what he is costing me and my neighbors with frivolous nonsense is as transparent as it gets. Dibiasio got his wish.
Ronald Grossman March 19, 2012 at 06:15 AM
You're a better person than I am. Either this is a 'news' article on the internet or a personal blog and the real issue continues to be one of censurship. I understand the issues with Scott but it is what it is. Why isn't the PATCH telling it's readers the real story about POCA? As a side note: isn't it a conflict of interest for the person that is on the Odenton Town Center Committee to be on the POCA Board as well given that the POCA Board is controlled by 3 apartment complex owners? And isn't it a violation for the POCA Board President to release financial information conerning legal fees against one homeowner?
Ronald Grossman March 19, 2012 at 06:21 AM
Aren't the legal fees asociated with specific homeowners confidential and priveleged? It is my understand that these specifics are for the Executive Board only. As Board President can you please provide us all with a detailed statement of all legal fees paid to Ms. Rapport so that we can see how our money is being spent. If it is Confidential or priveleged and you intentionally released the information please resign from the Board immediatly.
Ronald Grossman March 19, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Although I disagree with a lot of what you say I want to thank you for the last comment. I submitted my application to run for election and was denied that opportunity because the Board's Nominating Committee didn't like my position that I would do everything possible to remove all Board members that were put there via the proxie votes submitted by Debbie R. and representative of only 3 individuals that do not live within Piney Orchard. I believe that the process was developed for the purpose ofcontrolling the resident homeowners and pre-determining who is on the Board and I believe that the Board, as is presently constituted, actually works for those 3 individuals and not the resident homeowners. As it stands now it is my intention of filing suite to have the General Election declared null-and-void. All of these legal fees could have been avoided by allowing the resident homeowners a say in who is on the Board.
Ronald Grossman March 19, 2012 at 06:36 AM
The comments, or questions, I have to the POCA is BOARD are: 1-why are we continuing to spend so much money of private police protection when it is the responsibility of the county to provide that protection and why isn't the Board taking a more proactive role is pushing the county to give us what we are entitled to? and, 2-With so many potential voters in Piney Orchard why aren't the Board Members looking at a redistricting plan that would give us all ONE state representative that would represent Piney Orchard instead of THREE? Is it because that one representative would have to answer to the voters and not those that control proxies for apartment units that they do not live in? Isn't this a direct conflict on what is best for the residents of Piney Orchard and should the by-laws be changed to allow resident homeowners a say?
Tim Lemke (Editor) March 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Ron- under the new redistricting, all of Piney Orchard is now in District 21. This went into effect on Feb. 24. We reported on it when the plan was released. http://odenton.patch.com/articles/more-odenton-in-district-21-omalley-redistricting
Jeff Andrade March 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Actually Mr. Olzanowski called me that morning to let me know that he was going away on travel. He's been at the last three when you were not. In fact this is the only the 2nd Board meeting you have attended in my four years on the Board and I have not seen you at any of the Annual Meetings. Have you ever even bothered to vote in the 7 years you have lived here? The residents of Piney Ridge had a legal matter to discuss with the Board and the law allows legal matters to be discussed in closed session. Sorry you didn't find the meeting exciting. Maybe next time I will bring in someone to make balloon animals to keep you entertained while we do our work.
Jeff Andrade March 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
In my President's report I announced the dismissal of Ryland Group, et al v. POCA in mid-February, the filing of Ronald S Grossman v. POCA, and the denial of the Temporary Restraining Order in Grossman v. POCA by Judge Goetzke within hours of its service. The statement I read was directly from the required disclosure on pending litigation against the Association that we are required to make in our resale packages. Once again, you seem to be desperately trying to find something -- anything -- to complain about without being able to back it up. Hopefully, most people are wise to it by now.
Derek Olszanowski March 21, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Scott- I cannot help but wonder what a better place the community, and this world would be if people like yourself took all of their negative energy and complaints...and turned it into something positive. I guess that's why we have heroes and villians, so I thank you for keeping the good guys busy.
Scott DiBiasio March 21, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Perhaps you should take all of your positive energy and put it to work improving the community in which you live - Ellicott City. In the meantime, I'm going to go out and try to join an HOA board in DC...because that is where I work, spend much of my time, and I really like the city and want to make it better...LOL!
Jeff Andrade March 21, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Scott you really need to learn what the heck you are talking about. There is an annual operating budget, replacements (which are funded from the long-term Replacement Reserve fund), and New Capital Improvements (which are new capital items that would be added from current budget). For 2012, the Board did not include any New Capital Improvements in the annual budget given the decrease in revenue resulting from the 2011 property revaluation. The projects approved at this month's meeting were a combination of maintenance and repairs (which are annually budgeted operating expenses) and Reserve replacements (some of which were deferred from previous years, some scheduled for this year, and some where accelerated deterioration was discovered necessitating replacement earlier than planned) which are paid out of the Reserve fund set aside for future major repairs and replacements of components of common property. The funding for these major repairs and replacements is based on outside expert estimates of the remaining useful lives of these components, estimates of their replacement cost, and consideration of amounts previously accumulated in the Replacement Reserve Fund. Actual replacement cost expenditures and useful life does sometimes vary from the estimates, which is why a full on-site Reserve Study is conducted every 5 years with an administrative update conducted in the middle of that period. A new study will be done late this year reflecting current conditions/changes.
Ryan Stavely March 21, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Ron, That "With respect to the 'press' it appears as if you have crossed the line by appearantly [sic] violating Freedom of Speach [sic] Rights" that you keep reminding us that you fought for (and I also swore an oath to support and defend) restricts the GOVERNMENT from preventing free speech. It says nothing about what private organizations can do. Tim can delete whatever comments he feels like. You'd think someone that keeps trumpeting the fact that they're a veteran would understand basic Constitutional principals like that.
Ronald Grossman March 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Thanks for the update. I must have missed it. It will be interesting to see if the Representative represents the voters or the apartment owners.
Ronald Grossman March 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Understood. I want to know how much was paid to Ms. Rappap for 'opinions' concerning any complaints. Jeff has already disclosed what was paid based upon yor complaints. At a Board meeting he disclosed what was paid based upon my complaints. All of this appears to be a violation of Confidentiality unlees all fees are disclosed. I guess I should ask theapartment complex owners since they obviously run the Board. And why would anyone comment on changes to the by-laws since they can never happen without the apartment complex owners permission? What a joke!!!
Ronald Grossman March 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM
If this isn't a personal attack then I don't know what is. Why are you still allowed to post. The truth is that everything has already been decided before the meeting and this is a public farce and fraud. I think you know where you can put those baloon animals.
Ronald Grossman March 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM
The dismissal was not ruled on for several days. The lawsuit to be filed after the General Election will not be able to be dismissed so easily. AND this one will name the mebers of your so called Nominating Committee. Based upon your assertions I will ask the Clerk of the Court to investigate your claims of an immediate dismissal. I believe that most people are truly getting wise to you at this point.
Ronald Grossman March 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Not sure who this is directed at. The only thing that would make this a better place is simply getting all the lazy people that live here out to vote. Maybe then the Board would truly represent us instead of the apartment owners.
Ronald Grossman March 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM
All of this carefullly manipulated by those that choose to do so.

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