VOM Open Areas Updates
December 2017 Update
 
October 2016 Update
 
INSPECTION OF THE GOLF COURSE

Sandy Motz met with the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcements (DPIE) inspector on June 25, 2015. We spent over an hour touring the areas and items in our community that Codale has neglected for sometime.  I found the inspector to be sympathetic to our situation and he stated that he is dedicated to bringing Codale into compliance.
If anyone finds an area or sees an issue that we may have missed, please forward it to the board president and I will add it to the inspectors long list.
Here are the area's covered with the inspector:
1.  Property between Lord Fairfax Place and Bishops Bequest Road.
2.  Property behind the common area located at the end of Lord Fairfax Place.
3.  Property at the end of Reverend DeWult Pl.  This included a view of the unsecured bridge.
4.  Property located between the homes on Col. Ashton/Col. Fenwick and Gov. Lee Place.
5.  Overgrowth of the sidewalks as you descend down the hill, past Hampshire Hall on Colonels Choice.
6.  Overgrowth of tree, weeds and vines behind homes on Colonel Addison Place, Col. Beall Place and Col. Contee Place.
7.  Property located between the Marlboro Single Family homes and  Marlboro Town homes. (This includes the debris in the pond behind the town homes).
8.  Property and pump house located at the end of Gov. Grove.
Not all of the offenses noted were for long grass.  There were also many areas sited for overgrown trees, bushes and vines.  There was evidence that some homeowners have been using the property to dump their yard debris.  I understand that this situation is very frustrating and that it is tempting, especially if your property borders the old golf course, to dump yard debris instead of placing it at the curb for the county to pick it up.  However, this only adds to our already existing problems.  We ask that if the county is successful in forcing the Codale to clean up these locations, that homeowners in turn refrain from using them as their personal dump site.
The Villages of Marlborough Community Association, Inc., ask that you respect your community and respect your neighborhood.
MEETING WITH CONSULTANT REGARDING THE FUTURE OF THE GOLF COURSE

The Representatives of the Board of Directors and our attorney met with Consultant Donzell Robinson, Director of Key Bridge Foundation, on July 30, 2014, and August 6, 2014, as requested. The purpose was to find a way to move forward. Mr. Robinson was hired by the Park and Planning Commission at the request of Councilman Darrick Leon Davis to help the investor group, Codale, and VOM to find a way to resolve any differences we may have. One of the many questions asked by our representatives was to define moving forward. We are waiting for an answer.

Mr. Robinson reiterated that the main purpose of the meeting was to explain the process. As far as our side in concerned the process was explained it the covenant that runs with the land. That covenant basically states that if the golf course ceases to exist for 365 days, that open space automatically reverts to the Villages of Marlborough Community Association. The recorded covenant cannot be changed without the consent of a requisite percentage of the entire membership for the community and first mortgagees.

Mr. Robinson mentioned that he wanted to meet with the community to explain the process. The representatives were open to such a meeting. All we need is to set a date and time agreeable to the community. It’s unclear if Mr. Robinson will pursue this option.
 
SEEKING A CLEAR TITLE TO THE OPEN SPACE

In accordance with the meeting minutes for the May 19, 2014, annual makeup meeting, there was a unanimous vote by the membership for the Board of Directors to pursue a clear title to the open space (aka Golf Course), in accordance with the covenant that runs with the land. The Board of Directors are acting in accordance with that mandate.
 

EXCERPTS FROM FACILITATOR’S REPORT REGARDNG THE OCTOBER 2014 MEETING WITH VOM HOMEONWERS.

On October 22, 2014, Key Bridge Foundation with the assistance of the Villages of Marlborough (VOM) Community Association held a meeting with VOM Residence at the Prince George’s County Equestrian Center. A copy of the full report will be available on this site soon.
Because of the size of the report excerpts from the report are presented below:.
“In 2013, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) initiated a study at the request of the County Councilmember Derrick Leon Davis. From the study and subsequent unsuccessful attempts to resolve the matter, the M-NCPPC solicited the Key Bride Foundation (Key Bridge) to work with all stakeholders in attempting to achieve a comprehensive and unbiased understanding of the challenges of reaching a consensus of future usage of the golf course and assist those stakeholders with identifying opportunities to come to consensus.”
 
“Key Bridge began its process by convening the stakeholders separately to elicit from all
stakeholders a shared understanding and commitment to clarified roles and shared principles that
would help guide the community and course owner in arriving at a mutually acceptable solution
that meets the state, county and local development requirements.”
 
“To design a process appropriate for the physiognomy of the Marlboro Country Club Golf Course(golf course) matter, Key Bridge met individually with all stakeholders. The purpose of  the meetings was to develop an understanding of the position, goals and objectives of the parties,
seek understanding and gain perspective, and articulate our goal of developing shared
expectations for acceptable resolutions to the presented issues out of which, the parties could
come to agreement. Key Bridge held meetings with Ted Kowaluk of the M-NCPPC Countywide Planning Division, Prince George’s County Councilmember Derrick L. Davis, and Codale Commercial Funding, LLC (Codale).     “
 
“On July 8, 2014, Key Bridge met with the members of Codale and their attorneys. At this
meeting, Codale articulated the course of events around the Marlboro Country Club from their
perspective. This narrative included Codale meeting with the previous Board of Directors for the
Villages of Marlborough to generate options for potential use of the open space. Further, that
from these meetings, next steps were to include the board communicating with the community to
share the progress made and further generate options; and then reconvene. According to Codale,
no further meetings occurred and communications ceased after the election of new board
members in April 2014. As noted in this quote from the association's website, "In accordance
with the meeting minutes for the May 19, 2014, annual makeup meeting, there was a unanimous
vote by the membership for the Board of Directors to pursue a clear title to the open space (aka
Golf Course), in accordance with the covenant that runs with the land. The Board of Directors
are acting in accordance with that mandate." Codale indicated that they were eager to begin the
negotiations with the community and expressed a willingness to incorporate the community’s
ideas in a facilitated compromise plan. During the meeting, Key Bridge attempted to reality test
with the representatives of Codale to assess their commitment to the process. Codale
communicated an openness to “support any idea that allowed the current residents to maintain
the characteristics of the open space that they, the members of the community, cherished as longas those ideas were economically feasible.”
 
“On July 21, 2014, Councilmember Davis hosted an initial meeting with the community to
introduce Key Bridge to the residents of the Villages of Marlborough. During this initial
meeting, Key Bridge sought to promote an environment that facilitated a cultural shift that would
improve interaction between stakeholders, develop a collaborative communication style, and
suggests conventions and ground rules for constructively addressing the presented issue. Key
Bridge further sought to foster an environment that allowed everyone to communicate their
interest both, collectively and individually, establish confidence in and comfort with the
resolution making processes and potential solutions, and move forward in a shared solution.
On July 30, 2014, Key Bridge convened a follow-up meeting with Villages of Marlborough
Association Board Members and their attorney. The goal of the meeting was to develop a process
that meet the needs of transparency in communication expressed at the initial meeting. Further, to hear their process for conveying ideas generated by the facilitation for the approval of the
community. Key Bridge also wanted to develop strategies in supporting the Board of Directors in
their representation of all community stakeholders, create a plan to obtain “buy-in” from those
residential stakeholders, and afford them the opportunity to explicitly approve or reject any ideas
created between the board and Codale. At this meeting, the board communicated that the
community was not interested in engaging in any conversation with Codale regarding future use
of the golf course and saw no further need for a facilitated process.”
 
“From the initial meeting with the community, as well as communications received by email and
telephone calls following that meeting, it became clear that there were subgroups with
conflicting ideas of how to move forward. Specifically, while there was a shared distrust of
Codale, and a commitment to maintaining the “open space” characteristics inherent to the golf
course, there was a diversity of opinions on how to engage Codale to obtain the shared goal.
Further, it was clear that there was great concern that those diverse opinions actively
marginalized and suppressed.”
 
“When it became clear that the Villages of Marlborough Board of Directors were not going to
move forward in a facilitated conversation with Codale, Key Bridge transitioned its focus on
memorializing the diverse opinions of the community and finalizing the Board of Director’s
decision for this report.”
 
“On October 22, 2014, Key Bridge held an open meeting with the Villages of Marlborough. From the meeting Key Bridge was able to ascertain that there is little trust towards any entity involved in the process. After some discussion, the Board of Directors reiterated their decision regarding the golf course; 1) no development of the golf course with near unanimous support and 2) that it would hold no further conversation with Codale.”
 
The report ended with lists of comments gathered from homeowners in attendance.
 
                                                               END
 
 
 
VOM RESPONSE TO COUNTY OFFIICIALS REGARDING THE FACILTATOR’S OCTOBER 2014 MEETING REPORT
 
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Bowers
To: Nell Johnson ; ted.kowaluk
Cc: MICHAEL H WEEKLEY ; Maceo BARBOSA
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 11:36 AM
Subject: Key Bridge Foundation Villages of Marlborough Report
 
Dear Sir and Madam:
 
I received the included email from the Key Bridge Foundation, on December 12, 2014. It is the mediator’s report of the process that was commissioned by District 6 Council Member Derrick Davis. In regards to the sequences of events there are some major omissions. Contrary to what is stated Codale did meet with the community on two separate occasions. The last occasion was in April 2014. Codale made a presentation during the Villages of Marlborough Community Association’s Annual Meeting, describing its plans for the community. The plans were designated as Plan A and Plan B. Plan A was to build a 400 unit apartment complex on the 6.4 acres of land on which the golf course facility buildings are located. Plan B was to build 350 townhomes on 104 acres of the remaining 125.2 acres of land.  Those 125.2 acres, according to the covenant that runs with the land, is to revert to VOM after 365 days if the land is not owned or operated as a golf course. In order to own or operate it as a golf course, it must be maintained as a golf course. That operation ceased in 2010. 

 Some homeowners who live directly across John Rogers Blvd from the 6.4 acres expressed their opposition to having an apartment complex built directly across the street from their homes. In addition the present Board was not seated until late May 2014 and Codale made no attempt to communicate with it.
Members of the VOM Board of Directors and their attorney met with the Key Bridge Foundation Executive Director on July 30 and August 6, 2014. The results of those meetings are reported on the VOM website and follows:

“The Representatives of the Board of Directors and our attorney met with Consultant Donzell Robinson, Director of Key Bridge Foundation, on July 30, 2014, and August 6, 2014, as requested. The purpose was to find a way to move forward. Mr. Robinson was hired by the Park and Planning Commission at the request of Councilman Darrick Leon Davis to help the investor group, Codale, and VOM to find a way to resolve any differences we may have. One of the many questions asked by our representatives was to define moving forward. We are waiting for an answer.

Mr. Robinson reiterated that the main purpose of the meeting was to explain the process. As far as our side in concerned the process was explained it the covenant that runs with the land. That covenant basically states that if the golf course ceases to exist for 365 days, that open space automatically reverts to the Villages of Marlborough Community Association. The recorded covenant cannot be changed without the consent of a requisite percentage of the entire membership for the community and first mortgagees.
Mr. Robinson mentioned that he wanted to meet with the community to explain the process. The representatives were open to such a meeting. All we need is to set a date and time agreeable to the community. It’s unclear if Mr. Robinson will pursue this option.” 
 
The Key Bridge Foundation called for a meeting on October 22, 2014, at 5:30 pm. The meeting was to take place at the Upper Marlboro Equestrian Center. The Villages of Marlborough Community Association (VOM) Board of Directors (BOD) requested that the meeting be changed to 7:30 pm, a time more suitable for maximum participation of homeowners. The request was granted.

At the meeting Key Bridge Foundation’s Executive Director immediately called the VOM BOD President, Robert Bowers to the podium. Mr. Bowers gave a presentation and presented Mr. Robinson with 330 signed petitions against development of the open space in question. He also gave Mr. Robinson a copy of the May 19, 2014 VOM Annual Meeting minutes that recorded the unanimous vote to acquire the golf course. Mr. Robinson expressed that this meeting was not the place to present those documents, basically discounted them. However, he said he would pass them on. Yet, later Mr. Robinson tried to hold a vote of the hundred or so persons in attendance as to how we would proceed. Mr. Bowers successfully argued that such a vote was interfering with the Associations internal affairs and was inappropriate after Mr. Robinson had rejected the petitions against development.

Even after Mr. Robinson conceded that the majority of homeowner do not want development of the grounds he attempted to get some homeowners to agree to a meeting with Codale. A few in the opposition wanted a meeting. The question to them was “what would be the point”. The answer was to find out what Codale was offering. The majority knew what Codale was offering; building houses on the open space, which we oppose. Key Bridge Foundation did everything it could to convince Villages of Marlborough Homeowners to negotiate with Codale. The simple truth is that Codale wants to build on the open space; The VOM Homeowners want the open space to remain open. There is no room for negotiations.

Regarding the comments made by homeowners at the meeting in favor of meeting with Codale, they simply do not represent the majority. The email list that was referred to by a homeowner is privately owned and operated. It consists of homeowners who have signed the privately funded petition against the development of the golf course. This is not Robert Bowers' petition, but a petition written by individual homeowners and distributed to the community by other homeowners. Those on the list are the base against development of the open space. Like a political party, in order to vote in a primary you must be a member of that party. If the opposition was allowed to vote in a primary election the voice of the faithful would be diluted, and continues conflicts would result. In order to keep our message clear we only allow those who have signed the petition onto the email network.  All views offered by those on the network are accepted and disseminated. This network is not only for open space issues. Our discussions go beyond that. Other quality of life issues are also discussed.  The persons who complain the most about this network have the ability to start one of their own. In regards to the VOM webpage, it is now up and running. All outdated and irrelevant information left over from the previous BOD has been deleted.

 It is clear that the subgroups that emailed and called Key Bridge Foundation before and after the October 22, meeting were not part of the majority. Key Bridge Foundation assertion in this report that there was a diversity of opinion on how “to engage with Codale” and that “it was clear that there was a great concern that those opinions actively marginalized and suppressed” is disingenuous. What is clear is that those who complain of being “marginalized and suppressed” are members of the loud minority. Some who have appealed directly to Codale attorneys, County officials and Key Bridge Foundation Representatives to override the majority. There seems to be an effort in this report to hold those who want development equal to those who oppose it. This certainly is not the case. When presented to the homeowners the majority voted against development, as was the case at the Key Bridge Foundation meeting on October 22, 2014. The small, but loud faction that favors negotiations with Codale are given a louder voice than deserved in this report.
This report states that the VOM BOD, as if on its own accord, “was not going to move forward in a facilitated conversation with Codale….”  That and other statements subtly suggest that the BOD marginalized and suppressed the membership. Let me remind the readers that a vote of the membership at our May 19, 2014 meeting and as Key Bridge Foundation Director conceded at his meeting, the majority of homeowners are against development of the open space. The Board of Directors reflect the membership’s position and considering that the membership and Codale are at opposites ends of the spectrum, and find there was nothing to be gained for VOM in discussions with Codale. Such an endeavor would be pointless and a waste of time.  
 
We are hopeful that any entity that does not represent Codale or the Villages of Marlborough refrain from interfering in this process as it moves forward.
Respectfully,
Villages of Marlborough Community Association, Inc.
Robert Bowers, President