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Questions and
answers

Questions and answers

The following questions have been asked by residents and these are replies of the Reservoir Hill Association Steering Committee. The Steering Committee seeks to avoid conflict yet to be direct and forthright, which often requires a critical reply.

Community questions and answers from the October 27, 2020 Review, Revise, and Approve By Laws online meeting.

Once RHA has funds, Members can consider subsidizing other Members’ dues. Please join the RHA volunteers to work on fundraising, sponsor solicitation, grant writing, etc. to help RHA decrease barriers of participation. If Reservoir Hill Garden & Home Tour and other fundraising sources benefit from neighbors’ efforts and support, perhaps there will be no need for dues.

Sustaining Members who donate funds beyond the basic membership assist RHA by providing working capital and illustrate to other prospective donors that RHA is generously supported by its community base. Sustaining Members can be those within or outside of the Community and have no specific or additional benefits. Anyone can be an RHA Sustaining Member but only Reservoir Hill Community Members who qualify for voting will have voting rights.

RHA welcomes those who may no longer be a Reservoir Hill community member but enthusiastically support the neighborhood and businesses/entities interested in the neighborhood. If it is thought to be beneficial, the following could be added to the By Laws

“The RHA Board reserves the right to reject members if deemed appropriate.”

Most (possibly all) historic districts outside of Reservoir Hill are contiguous with the neighborhoods in which the Districts are located. There are two historic districts in Reservoir Hill and the remaining significant portion of Reservoir Hill is not currently designated an historic district (a suggested task for RHA to address). All Community Members are welcome to offer input to the Historic Districts but the properties within the Districts, and the respective owners, have obligations and rights that preceded RHA and will remain with the District’s designation. Any issue that pertains to properties within an Historic District shall be voted upon by Owners of the properties that are located within that Historic District.

Most neighborhoods operate Homeowners Associations. Instead, Reservoir Hill chose to include all neighborhood community members. Property owners’ concerns and obligations are often dissimilar to those of tenants. Therefore, it may be determined by the Board that there are issues that pertain to property owners and, if so, only owners will vote on those issues.

Voting is limited to active members in good standing to assure that those who vote on important issues are informed and active participants. RHA seeks to discourage those who attend a meeting solely to vote to discourage those who are seeking a specific outcome and may rally participants just for that goal. Most organizations require meeting attendance. We extended the attendance to allow including visibly active participation via Zoom.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (process underway), RHA is not permitted to be political. But our Mission Statement is direct and self-explanatory.

How RHA will measure success:
Satisfaction with actions and strategies, measured by qualitative resident surveys

Our commitment to equity is evident in our Mission Statement and a commitment to include members and leadership who represent our community. The Steering Committee is going to great lengths to assure all have the ability to provide equitable input to RHA By Laws that will reflect our community standards. Our Q&A should illustrate our efforts. Thank you!

See Article III, Section 5, b

Refer to Bylaws (Draft)

Yes. See Article XVII.

Refer to Bylaws (Draft)

Section VI, Section 3, b refers to the quorum requirement for the Board decisions. And the vote would not be confirmed until the meeting in which a quorum is confirmed.

A quorum of Active Members is required to hold elections. Perhaps the quorum should be a smaller number – 20% 25%? The By Laws will be edited that, for basic voting on issues proposed, the vote would be the simple majority of the Active Members who are in attendance at the meeting (if acceptable).

It has been suggested that, for the first year, given Active Membership cannot be calculated, that the quorum be considered Members considered in attendance at the previously announced By Laws Vote.

Refer to Bylaws (Draft)

Annually. Article II, Section 6
It has been proposed new residents will be offered free membership for their first year of residency.

Refer to Bylaws (Draft)

Meetings will ideally be held monthly. Not all meetings will include votes. The Agenda will be released prior to each meeting.

Refer to Bylaws (Draft)

General community questions and answers

Neighborhoods with advocates are stronger neighborhoods.

Baltimore is operating with insufficient staff and funds to proactively attend to things. An Association that is managed by and for the community seeks to coordinate to make things happen – the following are examples of efforts led by neighbors – if an Association had existed, it would have been the venue through which efforts would be proactively organized.

  1. created a neighborhood voice in the development of Druid Hill Park, Madison Park North, 600 West North Ave.
  2. R.A.T.T. opposed train track vent locations that will likely deposit toxins on our homes and schools and possibly weaken property structures due to excavation and resulting vibration
  3. worked with the City’s Department of Public Works to get the sewer lines replaced properly and position Reservoir Hill on the radar for major infrastructure improvement planning
  4. advocated for responsibly positioned cell towers instead of seeing them installed in the center of parks or on main streets of an historic neighborhood
  5. interfaced with real estate developers to arrange for the neighborhood’s awareness and input
  6. collaborated with BG&E on the gas line replacement project to assure things like cars are not towed in error, tree wells are expanded, historic stones are returned to their positions, etc.
  7. prompted the City to respond when properties are a public hazard and could harm pedestrians

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Neighborhoods with a voice get more attention and better solutions. It’s that simple.

There is no single neighborhood association that represents all of Reservoir Hill. There are approximately thirty (30) organizations in Reservoir Hill including Associations with specific audiences. RHA invites all neighbors, non-resident owners, and business owners and tenants who are not part of groups as well as all members of all groups (without disrupting the groups) to collectively manage one Association acting in the majority’s interest. Examples of existing groups

  1. Two City Historic Districts (Upper Eutaw Madison Historic District and Mount Royal Terrace Historic District) that pertain to properties within a specific area of the neighborhood
  2. Community Development Corporation such as RHIC that is operated by a private Board
  3. Gardening and Park groups (Friends of German Park, Lady Baltimore Park, Secret Garden, Whitelock Community Farm), Lennox Street Community Garden, Friends of Park Avenue, Friends of Reservoir Hill Park, Larry’s Garden Group)
  4. Churches (Christ Apostolic Church, Beth Am Synagogue, First Emmanuel Baptist Church, etc.)
  5. School (Dorothy Height Elementary, various daycare providers)
  6. Upper Eutaw Madison Neighborhood Association for Eutaw and Madison Streets and Historic Mount Royal Terrace Association for the eastern border of Reservoir Hill, Bolton Park Neighbors for the area surrounding Reservoir Street
  7. Apartment properties (Lakeview Towers, Chateau, Riviera, Reservoir Hill Mutual Homes etc.)
  8. Parent groups (Men of Reservoir Hill, Moms of the Hills, Parents on the Hill, etc.)
  9. St. Francis Neighborhood Center
  10. Interest groups – Residents Against the Tunnel (RATT), 2001 Park Avenue Task Force, Communication Tower Task Force, Murals on North Avenue, New Lens, Bolton Hill-Reservoir Hill COVID Response Team, etc.
  11. Businesses

Isn’t RHA just another group like all the others I hear about?
It’s the only group that includes everyone — RESERVOIR HILL ASSOCIATION
We are seeking to reach EVERYONE who is associated with the Reservoir Hill Community to invite them to be members – it is difficult given that there are ~1700 addresses and ~5,000 residents, most of whose contact information we do not have, amidst COVID-19. Many neighbors have said they feel left out of things because most events depended on electronic means for announcement. So, we are going door-to-door with this initial launch trying to speak to as many residents and non-resident owners and businesses as possible and ask that they become members and get actively involved.

Several past attempts at doing what RHA is seeking to do have failed. Mount Royal Community Development Corporation promoted Reservoir Hill and that, unfortunately, dissolved. We are told that, in 2013, an attempt was made to start an Association without sustained support. And Friends of Reservoir Hill was founded a few years ago by those who were running some of the smaller groups and unfortunately it dissolved due to lack of sustained neighbor involvement.

This Steering Committee is diligently trying to contact everyone in Reservoir Hill as the time is critical and what has been happening and what is ahead requires our input.

Incorrect!

The opposite is true – See answer to Question #2, the RHA web site, and the announcement that we are circulating.  The Steering Committee is not seeking to eliminate any group  – instead to leave the groups to focus on their specific interests and activities and encourage all to join RHA as a means to address issues that affect most or all of the neighborhood.

Most importantly, we are including all those who may not choose to be members of any group.

The Steering Committee is in the process of sending groups, businesses, and churches an invitation to join RHA, distribute the announcement to their audience, endorse RHA if they agree, and recruit their members to participate in RHA. Please let us know whom you suggest we contact to include them.

Neighborhoods make the effort via involved neighbors or hire people to do it for them. Reservoir Hill, recently, has lacked sufficient neighbor involvement and the burden has fallen on a few core neighbors. The neighborhoods with devoted help and active participation of residents and non-resident owners are those that illustrate that strong engagement. We hope Reservoir Hill becomes an example to others.

RHIC is NOT a neighborhood association.

Founded in 1985, RHIC is a corporation (formerly, the Reservoir Hill Community Association created in the early 1970s). Over recent years, RHIC has stumbled – hiring staff who were previously convicted of wrongdoings involving funds and contracting an accountant who embezzled $133,000 in RHIC funds that resulted in convictions (https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/bookkeeper-pleads-guilty-embezzling-non-profit-organizations). RHIC has negotiated with businesses without our neighborhood’s knowledge, pursuing projects that are widely regarded as not in Reservoir Hill’s best interest, etc. In 2018, Councilman Pinkett learned of RHIC’s negotiation with a prospective occupant of 2001 Park Avenue that was recognized as not in Reservoir Hill’s best interest, which prompted a neighborhood meeting in which the Councilman created the 2001 Park Avenue Task Force to survey the neighborhood about what neighbors wanted the Property to become – instead of reflecting the desires of RHIC (see the Survey report in the RHA web site’s library). The 2001 Park Avenue Task Force, after meeting the City’s March 31, 2019 deadline for the Survey so it would be included in the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Property’s sale, learned that the RFP process was inexplicably suspended last year. The Task Force, after investigation and being provided first-hand evidence of tampering, was assured months ago by the Mayor’s Chief of Staff that it was “back on track” – yet the RFP process appears suspended.

Carl Cleary, who was considered by many to be an asset on RHIC’s staff, resigned recently. RHIC has issued opinions on behalf of the neighborhood without being given the authority to do so and, in some cases, without having publicly disclosed topics nor having reviewed proposals seeking the neighborhood’s opinion nor having polled the community. RHIC operates by its non-disclosed rules and By Laws. RHA is being established to be operated by Reservoir Hill community members.

RHA’s time has come.

“What do the RHA Founders have against RHIC?”
Founders and supporters of RHA are not on a mission against RHIC or any other group. The Association is actively contacting all neighborhood groups, including RHIC, to invite their members to join RHA to improve Reservoir Hill.

Reservoir Hill lacks leverage because those who want to “contact Reservoir Hill” do not readily locate a “go to” for neighborhood input, answers, or help unless they have a name for one of the individual groups. Therefore, Reservoir Hill is often omitted from information, discussions, or negotiations.

A recent example is a letter written by surrounding neighborhoods and sent to the City’s Development Director that did not include an opinion of Reservoir Hill. Reservoir Hill appears to have been left out of the effort. Think about it from an outsiders’ standpoint — who do they contact? Thirty interest groups? When someone wants to get things done in a neighborhood this separated, they seek the path of least resistance or the smallest group just so they can say “they asked Reservoir Hill” when, in fact, they never did. Recently, proposals were going to a few in a small group who acted on the neighborhood’s behalf when they never had been given that right and few in Reservoir Hill were aware the group existed. It is time that we have a group elected by the neighborhood to do what the neighborhood authorizes them to do on its behalf.

All were invited to attend the meetings in February 2020 from which the group formed and brainstormed about Reservoir Hill’s needs and how best to address them. That group evolved into the diverse Steering Committee that is taking responsibility to launch RHA. Others on the Advisory Committee are engaged in helping RHA securely establish itself.

About four years ago, Kim Forsyth, of Mount Royal Terrace, began to interview Officers of neighborhood groups in Reservoir Hill and throughout Baltimore to learn what kept them going. She interviewed actively involved Reservoir Hill residents and former residents to learn from them what caused previous efforts to fail. Kim started researching creating RHA after she arrived in 2010 as a tenant, tried to join a Reservoir Hill neighborhood association, and realized there was none.

Kim approached Jericka Robinson to collaborate and launch the effort to create and Association. Jericka and Kim hosted two open brainstorming meetings, the second of which was February 23, 2020. Those who attended meetings evolved into the Founders group whose members worked to get RHA up and running and from which the Steering Committee has evolved. The RHA will serve as an efficient way to communicate with all who would like to be informed and involved in running our neighborhood.

Who’s behind RHA?
STEERING COMMITTEE

Those who are actively involved in launching and leading this organization

Lee Brown (Reservoir St.)Randy Howell-Bey (Reservoir St.)
Darryl Carter (Druid Park Lake Dr.)Keondra Prier (Eutaw Pl.)
Kim Forsyth (Mount Royal Ter.)Jericka Robinson (Bolton St.)
Rolando Maxwell (Brooks La.)Brian Salsberry (Madison Ave.)
David Pierre (Linden Ave.)Brittany Sink (Park Ave.)
Melda Washington (Eutaw Pl.) 

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Those who are providing critical input but cannot currently commit to being a member of the Steering Committee

Dale Terrill (Eutaw Pl.)Charles Myers (Reservoir St.)
Patrick Redmond (Mount Royal Ter.)Paul Gentner (Park Ave.)
Jacob Puhl (Reservoir St.)Thomas Cudjoe (Park Ave.)
FOUNDERS

Those who attended meetings in February 2020 to brainstorm about the neighborhood’s needs, agreed with those who held the meetings who proposed that the Reservoir Hill Association be established, and proceeded to collaborate to do so

Melda Washington (Eutaw Pl.)Randy Howell-Bey (Reservoir St.)
Brian Salsberry (Madison Ave.)Paul Gentner (Park Ave.)
Jericka Robinson (Bolton St.)Kim Forsyth (Mount Royal Ter.)
Patrick Redmond (Mount Royal Ter.)Thomas Cudjoe (Park Ave.)
Keondra Prier (Eutaw Pl.)Darryl Carter (Mount Royal Ter.)
Charles Myers (Reservoir St.)Lee Brown (Reservoir St.)
Rolando Maxwell (Brooks Ln.) 

Why do those who are starting RHA think they have the right to start it?

How does any organization get started? Some oppose change and others embrace change. Neighbors are starting a neighborhood association for all neighbors. Most neighborhoods in Baltimore benefit from having an association that Reservoir Hill lacks and needs. Unfortunately, a neighborhood without an obvious core group may result in the neighborhood lacking leverage to effect change in its community.

I heard this was being started by a bunch of white people who want to gentrify the neighborhood.
This effort was initiated by a white woman and a black woman — in partnership. The group grew — see those listed previously in “Who’s behind RHA?.”

Steering Committee6 males/5 females9 black/2 whitegeographically distributed
Advisory Committee6 males1 black/5 whitegeographically distributed
Founders9 males/4 females9 black/4 whitegeographically distributed

The Steering Committee is seeking leaders who are diverse in age, race, gender, neighborhood location, expertise, etc. to be leaders of the RHA. Please contact us about yourself or others whom you suggest might be interested. Gentrification is perceived differently by each person. Many see it as positive neighborhood improvement that attracts property owners and tenants who invest in the neighborhood and that interest increases property values.

Gentrification is not white-ification or a “dirty word.”

Anyone can criticize. Helping requires effort. We invite critics to help form the Association.

How will RHA maintain diversity?

The RHA Steering Committee is launching RHA to attract involved members so RHA is managed by a group who represent the neighborhood in age, race, gender, and geographical location within Reservoir Hill. But the only way to assure it succeeds is for you to be an active member, recruit diverse RHA leadership, and vote about subjects that affect the majority.

How will geographical diversity be measured in terms of leadership’s location within Reservoir Hill?

The Steering Committee proposes that RHA seeks leadership and active membership so the neighborhood’s areas and borders are considered – particularly in light of the key location of its borders along I-83, North Ave., McCulloh, and across from the Druid Park Lake. We seek leadership from the two historic districts, all four borders, and then within all four of the proposed quadrants seen in the map below.

(the following Map is DRAFT and is in the process of being finalized to assure that each quadrant includes roughly the same number of addresses)

The By Laws that have been drafted, and will soon be posted for everyone’s review, will dictate how RHA is operated. The By Laws will be open for input, revised if necessary, and will require approval by the Active Members to then be RHA By Laws. Until the vote, the Steering Committee manages the Association.

“Why does RHA need Officers?”

Sometimes, there is insufficient time to hold a meeting to discuss urgent matters. In instances where there is insufficient time to poll members to respond, the Officers will have been elected by Active Members to act in the best interest of Reservoir Hill. Leadership is critical to efficiency.

“Who are “Officers” and “Directors-at-Large” of RHA?”

Officers are typically President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer.
For the initial four years, some members of the Steering Committee will hold positions to support RHA with others who are elected by Active Members. Elections will hopefully take place in December 2020 or shortly thereafter. The Association is actively seeking candidates for officers, committee chairs, and committee members – please submit your name and what role you would like to serve in RHA. Those who are not in leadership positions elsewhere in the neighborhood are preferred to lead RHA to encourage more neighbors’ involvement, enhance leadership diversity, and reduce the time required of each of all of our neighborhood leaders in every group and the Association.

“Who will decide Reservoir Hill’s “position” on topics when it is requested?”

The Active Members will elect Officers. If an issue is significant and time allows for solicitation of Members’ opinions and vote, Active Members will vote and the majority vote, per By Laws, will be the official position. For something considered a minor or urgent issue for which there is insufficient time to solicit the neighborhood’s position, the Officers and/or Board who have been elected by the Active Members will vote and the majority vote will be the official position regardless of any leader’s personal opinion. The doctrine of all Officers and Directors-at-Large is to act in the best interest of the Community.

“Who decided the objectives on the web site?”

The web site, Facebook, and twitter are perpetually “under construction” and reflect RHA membership. Drafted By Laws will be posted for members’ review and eventually will be approved by Active Members to dictate how the Association is operated. What you see on the web site are the Steering Committee’s best efforts to illustrate what has motivated our investment to launch RHA. What is done by this Association will be decided by the active member majority and, where appropriate, by Officers on their behalf.

“What if someone thinks a Director or Officer should be removed?”

The By Laws have mechanisms for the removal of persons who serve in various roles. Please see the web site “Reference Documents” for Articles of Incorporation, DRAFT By Laws and, eventually, Annual Reports.

“What if we don’t like the way things are being done once RHA is up and running?”

Get involved. Active Members will vote and elect Officers who will recommend Committee Chairmen/Chairwomen and anyone linked with Reservoir Hill can serve on a committee. All compliments and complaints will be considered as RHA is operated with transparency.

“What is the most important goal of RHA?”

RHA seeks to strengthen Reservoir Hill and enhance the efficacy of its many neighbors who are currently working hard, but separately, toward common goals. RHA seeks to strengthen Reservoir Hill’s leverage in negotiating with the City, the State, and all interested parties for optimal outcomes.

“What if I have a topic that I want to bring up at a meeting or publicize?”

At every meeting, there will be a few minutes allocated to allowing attendees to make announcements or raise topics that require investigation or discussion at a following meeting. Anyone can contact a Board Member in advance to suggest a topic for the Agenda.

“How will RHA obtain input about important or controversial topics?”

1. The web site will have a section “time-sensitive issues” where there will be postings for public review.
2. Officers and Board Members (now Steering Committee) are always available to be contacted.
3. The Facebook page will eventually allow open conversation to obtain input from neighbors.
4. Letters may be sent to RHA, 2100 Bolton Street, Baltimore, MD 21217 or dropped off there.

join@reservoirhillassociation.org become a member and tell us what you would like to do – offer to serve as an officer, committee chair, committee member, occasional advisor on a specific topic, resource because of your connections or your employer’s interest in neighborhood groups and donating items or funds. Invite others and rally neighbors when we need help distributing things.

“Why should I join?”

You decide. Many neighbors have worked over the years to make an Association happen. The Steering Committee is launching RHA but the neighborhood must embrace it to make it work. It will take all those who have roots in Reservoir Hill to contribute time, effort, and money to sustain RHA.

“Why would renters (tenants), students, and non-resident owners be interested in RHA?”

Regardless of whether you own or rent, it’s your community. Anyone can attend RHA meetings. All residents, non-resident owners, business owners, and business tenants are invited to be Members. Renters often become owners and some renters never want to own property but are dedicated neighbors – several who are starting RHA rented here initially. All community members have a vested interest in assuring Reservoir Hill is a wonderful neighborhood for their residence, investment, and/or business.

“I don’t have time – I’m too busy.”

No one has time. Everyone’s time is equally valuable. Please do not depend on others to maintain and improve your neighborhood. It’s your choice — get involved and contribute time and/or money to help or things will reflect your lack of involvement. If you don’t contribute, please don’t complain unless it is directly to your Senator, City Councilperson, other elected individuals, and City staff.

A principal goal of RHA is transparency – which means that information about anything RHA is doing is available to its members. Much has happened in recent years without the knowledge of Reservoir Hill community members that has impacted, and will continue to affect, our quality of life and property values. Finances, voting tallies, topics, annual reports etc. will be posted on the web site.

The Association requires passion, time, and funding to maintain momentum as do all neighborhood Associations. For those unwilling or unable to offer their time, financial contributions help cover costs to make things easier.

Several generous Steering Committee members provided working capital to purchase the web domain rights, obtain software to design the web site, pay monthly fees for the web site, subscribe to Zoom, print the announcements, pay for signage, register the company, etc. (~$1000 so far). We are confident as members see evidence of the Association, neighbors, non-resident owners, and businesses will donate to help pay for operating expenses.

“Financial reporting”

We are seeking an accountant who will file the annual report and, ideally, submit their name to be considered to serve as the Treasurer. The President and Treasurer will be co-signers on the bank account and will both be required to sign on any withdrawal larger than petty cash which is proposed as $100 (to be voted upon with By Laws).

“How can my company or church contribute?”

donate@reservoirhillassociation.org
See below. We cannot avoid that any organization needs funds. The Steering Committee will gladly speak with your church, employer, or organization, do a zoom call, or send a printed proposal. We welcome your help and ideas for sources. We are sending letters to churches, organizations, and businesses to request a zoom call or distribution of the announcement letter. We welcome your help and seek grant writers and managers. If you have ideas about sources, please suggest them contact@reservoirhillassociation.org.

“Why is “Lady Baltimore Park” the name for donations?”

To open a bank account to receive donations/cash checks/maintain records, a bank must have a State of Maryland I.D. number that is assigned to an organization. The IRS Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) can then be obtained and both are used to open a bank account. Then it costs $275 to apply for a tax-exempt i.d. – so it costs ~$445 total if we seek to obtain a tax-exempt status to apply for grant funding for all the wonderful things we hope to do. MECU currently does not charge a monthly fee after an initial $105 deposit. So, $550 is needed for all of this. Lady Baltimore Park had obtained its State and Federal i.d.s and we thought it intelligent to use the account and earmark funds donated for the RHA – this is no different than the Garden & Home Tour depositing funds to Bolton Park Neighbors’ account — balances are earmarked separately. Eventually, if RHA members agree and other organizations choose, RHA could obtain its tax-exempt status and serve as a repository of funds for other groups that could thereby avoid that cost.

“Is there a charge to be a member?”

Anyone can join RHA via the web site www.reservoirhillassociation.org – no fee is currently required to be a member. Any organization requires funds to operate. A Membership Fee will be proposed and recommended to the RHA members for approval. In the draft By Laws, that will be circulated to members and eventually voted upon, there are proposed Annual Membership Fees of $20/person, $5 for students or those under age 16, and $200 minimum for Sustaining Members who annually donate large contributions (min. 10 times annual Membership Fee) to sustain RHA. Proposed By Laws state that anyone who, in confidence, approaches the President or Treasurer and notifies them that a Fee is unaffordable will have the fee waived without question. The Association’s Active Members will vote on all decisions. But anyone is welcome to serve on a committee and attend meetings. RHA asks for, and gladly accepts, contributions of whatever you can give. We have already spent ~$1000 and estimate the first year will cost ~$2,500-3000.

HOW TO DONATE

  • Drop off cash marked “Lady Baltimore Park” at 2100 Bolton Street (corner of Lennox) – home of Jericka Robinson. Unmarked cash will be listed an “anonymous”
  • Drop off or mail a check payable to “Lady Baltimore Park & “RHA” noted in the bottom corner of the check to RHA, 2100 Bolton Street Baltimore, MD 21217
  • Approach your employer, others who would like to support the neighborhood, or businesses to suggest they consider making a donation
“It seems presumptuous for RHA to ask for money when we don’t even know what we are getting in return.”

RHA does not currently require that a membership fee be paid but obviously has operating expenses. See the previous answer. We are seeking voluntary contributions as “working capital” is needed to start any organization. If we had not spent money on the web site, letter, signs, etc., how would we have launched RHA?

An “ulterior motive” implies the motivated person typically reaps financial benefit from the action. Kim’s professional experience includes analyzing States, Cities, and their neighborhoods, identifying areas of potential improvement, and managing properties and estates. She obtained her real estate license in January 2020 and joined Monument Sotheby’s Realty to allow her to legally advise, and act in the best interest of, those who contact her for guidance involving commercial and residential real estate including owners and tenants in Reservoir Hill and those who would like to live and invest here. Kim moved to Reservoir Hill ten years ago as a tenant, bought her home shortly thereafter, and has been working since 2010 in various neighborhood roles, all volunteer. As a consultant, she is not earning a salary while volunteering. When Kim and Jericka Robinson first met about this, and at brainstorming meetings with Founders to collaborate and form RHA, Kim recused herself from seeking to serve as the President or Officer of RHA, explaining that she had recently written a proposal to seek funding to launch a Community Development Corporation (CDC), objectives of which included collaborating with the neighborhood to launch RHA and pursue major neighborhood improvement projects. The planned CDC, that has been impeded by COVID-19, is motivated by an objective similar to the original one for Mount Royal CDC that was launched a few years ago by her colleague, Dale Terrill.

Kim helped launch New Greenmount West Community Association, Charles North Code Enforcement Task Force, and served on Boards of several Associations. She managed the Garden & Home Tour with Chet Myers for 3 years. She co-authored the Proposal that named the Lady Baltimore Park in 2017. She worked, unpaid, for 4 years with BG&E on the Woodbrook Gas Line Replacement Project to protect the interests of Reservoir Hill, its residents, and property owners. She and Cal Buikema saved the lights at North Ave/Mount Royal from being destroyed when CHAP’s Director approved their removal and has spent 4 years working to have them reconstructed. She was asked by Councilman Pinkett to Chair a Task Force to survey the neighborhood about what we would like to see at 2001 Park Ave. after RHIC sought undesirable occupants without having solicited neighborhood input. Kim and Paul Gentner each spent over 100 hours, assisted by Keondra Prier, all as volunteers, to produce the Survey that the City Real Estate Division says will be included in the RFP. She had some new storm drains installed, existing ones cleared, and has been working with DPW heads toward developing a 10-year storm drain overhaul plan.

Like many others in Reservoir Hill, including all those launching RHA, Kim is passionate about Reservoir Hill and Baltimore City. Why would the single critic who voiced this concern not see a neighbor’s real estate expertise as an asset to Reservoir Hill but instead questioned her motivation for involvement? Should we turn away the webmaster since that’s her expertise, carpenters who are willing to help with landscaping the Garden, lawyers who offer to review the Association By Laws, architect on the Task Force, graphic artist who designed the Garden & Home Tour cards, or question the motivation of those who launch the 30+ neighborhood groups? Please embrace all neighbors’ talents and time investment. Reservoir Hill needs and welcomes the help it is offered.

https://youtu.be/Ryqv9REMpsg?list=PL139A69A037F3A12D

We got a knee-slapping laugh out of this one!

As we are all volunteer board members, who do not have time to establish board approved criteria for shrubs – plant whatever you like! Regarding breaking down your cardboard, well, Baltimore City Department of Public Works Recycling Services would like cardboard boxes and cartons to be flattened. We agree with Baltimore City D.P.W. when it comes to recycling: “When you recycle, it helps to protect Baltimore City’s environment and our region by reducing trash, preventing pollution, decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases which affect our climate, and reduces the number of items that are dumped into our landfills or would need to be incinerated.”

We don’t plan to be cutting 2” off of bush or mail box height but we also don’t want Direct TV disks on everyone’s front steps — so we can’t pick and choose to be or not to be a compliant environment – rules apply universally with full transparency to make sure they do. Please join the Code Enforcement Task Force of the Architecture/CHAP Committee to author the RHA approach. And thanks for making us smile….

There is no good time for change that is typically met with some resistance. We don’t like the timing either – COVID-19 is making it difficult for us to get the word out, get people to open their doors to talk about RHA to make sure all are included, have meetings, etc.
Reservoir Hill needs change now – join RHA to be part of it.

A non-resident owner is a property owner who does not reside in the property to which is being referred – which could include an unoccupied property (that is not rented) or an occupied property (that is rented and occupied by others). A non-resident owner could also refer to a Reservoir Hill resident who resides in a property other than the one being discussed.

“What’s the difference between a non-resident owner and an absentee landlord”
A non-resident owner is explained above. A non-resident owner who leases the property to others could also be referred to as an absentee landlord – a term that some perceive as implying negligence in maintaining the property. An absentee landlord is one who owns a property in which they do not reside, or operate a business if it is a commercial property, but who is that property’s landlord leasing it to others – thus, the term “absentee landlord.” Owners who are not landlords but also do not reside or operate a business in the property are non-resident owners. Separately, owners of larger multi-family properties may be resident landlords if they live in a portion of the property and lease the remainder to others. Resident owners also may not charge rent to others who reside in the property and are therefore not considered a landlord. Instead, those who reside with the owners are considered co-occupants of the property, not tenants. The various combinations for the terms include

 Lives thereDoes not
live there
Leases space
to others
Does not lease
space to others
“Resident owner” X  X 
“Resident owner”X   X
“Non-resident owner”  X X 
“Non-resident owner”  X  X
“Absentee landlord”  X X 
“Resident landlord” X  X 

Note any of the above combinations may apply. And a “non-resident owner” might also be referred to as an “absentee landlord” if they lease space to others, and vice versa. An absentee landlord is often perceived as a derogatory term because it implies neglect or disinterest in the property which is not necessarily the case. RHA is intentionally engaging and including all combinations of owners, residents, and tenants.

The Founders, the Steering Committee, the Advisory Committee, and those who have previously illustrated similar interest, are invested in the Reservoir Hill Association. Now it is up to the neighbors, owners, and businesses to get involved, remain involved, and support a sustained Association.

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