As major landowners in Columbia, many of our adjacent property owners often need to temporarily access or establish permanent easements on Columbia Association (CA) property. CDRES processes these requests and oversees neighbor relations.

Request New Easements

CA Easement Review Process

Seeking an easement from Columbia Association? Here’s your guide to the submission and review process.

Evaluation Criteria

CA’s mission is to engage our diverse community, cultivate a unique sense of place and enhance the quality of life for our community. Each easement request is evaluated through the lens of how it aligns with CA’s community-focused mission and strategic goals.

CA’s Community Development and Real Estate Services (CDRES) staff evaluate applications on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Effect on CA assets and operations
  • Alignment with adopted community or organizational plans
  • Short and long-term impacts and/or costs associated with encumbering CA land
  • Tangible net community benefit associated with the easement

Application Process

  1. We highly recommend a pre-submission meeting with CDRES staff. Please send an email to to set up a time to discuss your project.
  2. Submit your easement request online through CA’s official easement request form.
  3. CDRES staff will review your submission for completeness and arrange for payment of the application fee.
  4. CDRES staff will evaluate your request, coordinate the terms of the easement and develop a staff recommendation for final consideration of the easement.
  5. Presentation by either CDRES staff, the applicant, or both to the CA Board of Directors at a worksession and subsequent voting session.
  6. If the easement request is authorized by the CA Board, CDRES staff will coordinate with you on finalizing the necessary legal documents, providing review and feedback of any technical details or exhibits associated with the easement and finalizing any associated fees and costs.

Fees and Costs

  • Application Fee: All applicants are charged a non-refundable application fee when submitting the application form. This fee helps offset costs associated with processing the requested easement. For those looking to pay the application fee with a credit card, please complete and include a copy of the credit card authorization form provided with your Easement Request Form submission.
  • One Time Fees: Applied to easements which will result in minimal or occasional impact to CA holdings, and do not increase or incur annual CA maintenance costs. Examples include utility easements and private driveways.
    • Fee equal to 100% appraised value or alternative fee calculation of the easement area
    • Determined by a licensed real estate appraiser, hired by the applicant and approved by CA. Any cost incurred by CA shall be reimbursed by the Grantee.
    • Alternative fee calculation is based on the assessed land value of the Grantee’s benefiting parcel applied 1:1 per square foot to the requested easement area.
    • Restoration and maintenance obligations will be specified in the deed of easement.
  • Recurring Annual Fees: Reserved for easements with regular and ongoing maintenance costs incurred by CA. Examples include shared parking lots and shared access drives. The fee structure will be specified within the deed of easement.
  • Possible Fee Reductions: Determined by CDRES staff, up to 100% fee reduction possible. At its sole discretion, CA may choose to waive or offset the easement fee based on the merits of the specific project associated with the easement and evaluation of its net community benefit. Discount opportunities include, but are not limited to:
    • Annexation of Grantee Property under the CA Covenants and annual charge
    • Grantee Financial Hardship
    • Reduction of CA Maintenance Obligations
    • Beneficial Improvements to CA Property and/or Mission Alignment, such as:
    • Affordable Housing Developments
    • Environmental Improvements
    • Pathway Network Expansion
    • Improved CA Access or Operations

Net Community Benefit Evaluation

As part of the review process, CA staff will assess the physical and tangible positive and/or adverse impacts associated with the proposed easement. The value of the proposed improvement will be determined by CA based on the merits of the project associated with the easement and the circumstances unique to each easement request.

In practice, this means a project that improves pedestrian and bicycle connectivity for Columbia residents may be evaluated to have a high net community benefit and result in a reduction of a percentage or all of the easement fee. A driveway or utility easement that services a single residential or commercial site may be considered to have a neutral community benefit and the full appraised value of the easement area will be required as payment by the Grantee.

An applicant may choose or may be required to include certain community benefits in their project scope to balance adverse impacts or reduce costs associated with encumbering CA land.

Notify CA of Access

For those looking to notify CA prior to accessing CA-owned property subject to the terms of an established agreement please complete the notification form provided. Examples of agreements which provide access rights may include an easement, license agreement, right of entry agreement, maintenance agreement, right of way, lease agreement.

Requesting Temporary Access to CA Land

Should you wish to receive one time, temporary access to any Columbia Association property, please complete the request form. Please note that requests from Howard County, Maryland, will result in the issuing of a Right of Entry Permit which is subject to the terms within the current Right of Entry Contract between Howard County and CA. Should access include the installation of any permanent structures or require prolonged access, please submit a request for an easement instead.

Resident Discount Survey Program

To ensure accurate installation of exterior alterations within resident property boundaries, CA would like to assist residents with properly identifying their boundary lines. This program includes the in-field marking of CA shared property line(s) at a reduced cost. Should you wish to have all of your property boundaries identified in the field, CA will assist in the coordination of scheduling a survey with a CA contracted surveyor, using our contracted discount rates. While prices are subject to change based on available funding and contract rates, prior to scheduling work an estimate will be provided with the current pricing. Boundary exhibits are not a part of this program and will not be provided. Payment must be collected prior to the scheduling of survey services. Scheduling may take up to six weeks. Should you wish to take advantage of CA’s Discount Survey Program, please complete the application.