• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
Print this page

City Council Minutes

February 26, 2007

Cambridge Maryland SealMINUTES

Council Meeting

February 26, 2007

 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 26, 2007 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Sydnor, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Rippons introduced Greg LeBlanc, the City's new engineer. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 12, 2007 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 

APPOINTMENTS

Bob Vigorito to Give Update on the Eagleman Triathlon (June 10, 2007)- The Eagleman Ironman 70.3 Triathlon is probably one of the largest events in Dorchester County. They opened registration in September 2006 and two weeks later they 2200 people registered from around the world. This continues to be one of the most sought-after events in the Ironman series of qualifying races. They are bring in representatives from 42 states across the United States, Canada, and 7 foreign countries including Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and South America. Cambridge is one of the smallest cities population-wise that hosts one of these events around the world. It is a testament to the community. He thanked the community for all their support over the past 15 years. There were several people present at the meeting who are involved in the event besides Mayor Rippons. The Triathlon financially supports the Main Street Mile as part of their race weekend. Anne Roane participates in the homestay program. Over 100 families take in athletes in their homes for the homestay program which is unheard of in this type of event. This is another way for the athletes to appreciate the virtues of Dorchester County. The YMCA, ISG, and Cambridge Multi-Sports man aid stations on the run course. Gerry Boyle is probably one of the most vibrant activists for the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County. He said it is only fitting that the Council recognize Gerry for his efforts to bring people to the City and County. The event will be held on June 10, 2007. Hopefully they will have live internet updates as they did last year. He thanked Bay Country Communications for providing them with internet services. He thanked Chief Malik and Lt. Doyle for the CPD staff. He also thanked Cambridge EMS and RFC. They have been able to provide upward of $25,000 over the years in community support for the clubs and organizations that have come out to help during the event. Commissioner Brooks said on the day of the event, Bethel Church goes out and volunteers. Bob Vigarito said it has been estimated by Dorchester County Tourism that this event generates upward of $1 million in economic impact on the Eastern Shore. They fill every hotel room from Annapolis to Salisbury. Every restaurant in the City is packed.  Mayor Rippons thanked Bob Vigarito and Gerry Boyle for their efforts and the recognition that they have brought to Cambridge, not only on an economic scale but the magazines that he has sent where the name of Cambridge is predominant.  

David McQuay to Discuss Requiring Sprinklers in One- and Two-Family Homes-David L. McQuay is the past-president of the Talbot County Firemen's Association and a member of the Maryland State Firemen's Association Residential Fire Sprinkler Initiative Committee. The State Firemen's Association and the Maryland State Fire Marshal are concerned about fires in one- and two-family dwellings in Maryland. Since sprinklers have been installed in townhomes and affordable housing units beginning in 1992, they haven't seen one fire death or major fire in those units. The Fire Marshal is very adamant about trying to get people to install sprinklers in their homes, however, it is not required. Data that they have collected in recent years indicates that sprinklers make the homes much safer. Their committee has been making presentations at different towns trying to educate people on fire sprinklers for their homes. They would like all municipalities and counties to adopt an ordinance so that sprinklers would be required. Before that can happen, there is a lot of education that has to be done and communication between local government officials in order to enlighten people on sprinklers. One of the reasons the MSFA is pushing for this is firefighters' safety. It has been determined that firefighters who enter a sprinkler home are much safer. There are 5 counties and 12 municipalities in Maryland that have passed legislation requiring sprinklers in one- and two-dwelling homes. The cost to install fire sprinklers in an average home on town water is basically $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot. The failure rate in sprinklers is about 1 in 91 million. All systems are installed by companies that are certified and licensed by the State Fire Marshal. They are inspected after installation by an inspector from the Fire Marshal's office. There is no annual inspection required on systems in 1- and 2-dwelling homes nor is there any maintenance required on the sprinklers installed on town water. It is suggested that on systems using well water where a storage tank and pressurized pump unit is required, that the electrical system be activated once a month to make sure it is operating properly. There is about an 8- to 15-percent drop in insurance premiums on each year for homes that are sprinkled. Sprinklers are a lifetime investment for safety and peace of mind. They believe sprinklers will eventually be universally accepted as a necessity in all new homes and no longer considered a luxury item that many people do now. When combined with smoke alarms, sprinklers reduce the risk of losing your life by 97 percent.

Commissioner Knox said he found the literature very interesting and educational. He appreciates the time Mr. McQuay is taking to educate the public. He will certainly take this into consideration. Mr. McQuay asked Council to give this matter serious consideration and then take a step in the right direction and make sprinklers mandatory for all 1- and 2-dwelling homes. He thinks it would be a fitting tribute to members of Rescue Fire Company and the City.

Chief Jeff Hurley said the Fire Department Officers and Chiefs have met and they have also met with Mr. McQuay. It is their point on this to take the position that they are now only pre-passing the ordinance of 1- and 2-family dwelling homes but making the ordinance mandatory that all new construction built in the City of Cambridge or major remodeling be sprinkled. Some of the smaller commercial buildings are getting around this with small-strip retail space by building 10,000 sq.ft. or under buildings and putting a firewall up so they are not required to sprinkle.  If they are 10,000 sq.ft. or larger, they are required to sprinkle. They build in a series with a firewall between it. They may have 20,000 or 30,000 sq. ft. buildings and none of it is sprinkled. The statistics prove it is much safer for the firefighters, property and saving lives on the consumer side. They strongly urge the City of Cambridge to take a precedence to set an ordinance to require sprinklers in all new construction. A sprinkler in a 2000 sq.ft. home costs no more than a large TV. When they remodeled the townhouses and the multi-level units on Greenwood Avenue, they retrofitted. Before they did that, when RFC went there, the entire unit would be lit-off and they would have a lot of life and entrapment concerns. Since that happened, they never had any more than a room and contents fire and generally it is put out when they arrive on location. They just have smoke removal. They would like Council to move forward with this as soon as possible. Mayor Rippons asked Mr. McQuay for sample ordinances from other municipalities. Commissioner Knox asked Mr. McQuay for additional information for the citizens. He strongly suggested that they look at it. Commissioner Knox made a motion to begin the process of drafting an ordinance to move forward with this. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Thomas Hurley, FOP, to Discuss Request to Name City Street After Daniel C. Bier-Thomas Hurley said this has been an on-going process since last year. Daniel Bier was a Cambridge Police Officer who was killed on May 3, 1953 when responding to a domestic violence situation on Goldsborough Avenue. He was shot through the heart and died instantly. The person who shot him was apprehended, tried, convicted, and sent to prison. It was suggested that the street on the side of the new public safety building might be a suitable place. If not, maybe they could name a street in one of the new developments after him. Rob Collison said he believes they determined that the land on which the road would be located next to the public safety building was actually purchased by the City. He doesn't think there is any obstacle to the City naming that street. He thinks they had to guarantee the right-of-way to the property owners in the back. Commissioner Travers made a motion to name the street after Daniel C. Bier. The Planning Office will determine if it will be Lane, Street, Court, or Road.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Sydnor asked if there has been any opposition. Rob Collison said the property owner in the back wanted it to be named Independence Way. Thomas Hurley said he spoke to the property owner and he said there was nothing in writing. It was verbal. The motion passed unanimously.

Representatives from Main Street to Request Noise Variances and Street Closings for Second Saturday Events During 2007-Liddy Garcia said the requests are as follows:

- April 28th - Arts Alive! - Closure of half of Elm Street from 12 noon until 5:00 pm.

- May 12th - Grove City Jazz & Blues Festival - Use of the City-owned lot on Race and Cedar Streets from 3:00 pm until 10:00 pm.

- June 9th - Main Street Mile - Closure of two blocks of Muir Street from Race Street to the Waterside Condominiums and Townhouses from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm.

- July 14th - Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off - Closure of the 400 block of Race Street and the 500 block of Poplar Street from 3:00 pm until 10:00 pm with the noise variance from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

- September 22nd - Summer Send-Off - Closure of the 400 block of Race Street and the 500 block of Poplar Street from 3:00 pm until 10:00 pm with the noise variance from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm.

Liddy Garcia said she has already talked to Lt. Pat Doyle about these events. Chief Malik confirmed the statement. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the requests for Main Street. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Representatives from Dorchester YMCA to Give Update on Their Renovation Project-Andy Pasden, President of the Board of Directors, and Dee McDonald, Executive Director, thanked Council for their past support. Andy Pasden said it has been a terrific year for them. Last year they told Council what they planned to do with the building on Talbot Avenue. They asked for Council's financial support and support at their testimony in Annapolis. Commissioner Knox attended the hearings in Annapolis. They received a $250,000 bond bill as a result of that effort. This year they are requesting $750,000 so they can continue their project. They have been a vital part of this community since 1986. In 2006 alone, they served 18 percent of the county's total population and 37 percent of those residents are 17 and under. Because they are located in the City of Cambridge, he would guess that most of these people are residents of Cambridge. They have nearly 3100 members and almost 2400 program participants. These figures pale with what they anticipate when they finish their project. They hope to have 9500 members and serve as much as 50 percent of the population of the County. During 2006 they had 42,000 people using their facility. They focus on children and support the schools. In the past 15 months they have installed a new HVAC capacity in three locker rooms, fitness room, and pool. They put a new highly-efficient boiler in their pool. They purchased new weight equipment and new cardiovascular equipment. They replaced about a quarter of their roof and remediated a lot of environmental issues. They have spent over $525,000 in the last year on facility replacements. In 2006 they hope to address Phases 4, 5, and 6 of their plan. They are going to fix more of their roof; re-purpose rooms for a teen center and a ballet and karate room; and they are going to build a new facility for the children in their camp. They are asking for the City's support in the form of a letter that they can attach to the documents that they take to Annapolis. If possible, they are asking for someone from Council to accompany them to the hearings. They are also asking the City to consider funding them this year as they did last year. On March 31st, the YMCA will be holding a fundraiser at the Hyatt.

Dee McDonald said it will be beautiful. They are doing a great job of serving the community. They collaborate with almost anybody who wants to come in and work with them. Their indoor pool is their jewel and they are trying to get the rest of their facility up to match it.  Mayor Rippons thanked them for their work with the community. Commissioner Knox made a motion to provide a letter of support. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.  

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Annual Paving Schedule-Greg LeBlanc said George Hyde provided Council with a list of the streets they propose to repave this year. Commissioner Knox made a motion to allow DPW to go to bid for paving. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Discuss Revisions to MOU with Sanitary District to Allow Residents to Receive Water-Rob Collison provided Council with the revised MOU. The amendment would allow one water connection per each lot of record as of June 30, 2005. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the amendment to the MOU with the Sanitary District with the revisions noted by Rob Collison. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Discuss Promoting Cambridge Through a Series of Online Videos-Rob Collison said at the last meeting he had some concerns that it was obligating the City without any means of exit within the 3 years. They have amended their agreement to allow the City to terminate it if we are not happy with their services. The company also addressed the City's concern about the services not being exclusive. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church to Use Great Marsh Park on Sunday, July 22nd from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm for Worship and Baptism-Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Shore Health Systems Regional Cancer Center for a Noise Variance for their Annual Cancer Survivors Day Picnic at Sailwinds Park on June 3rd from 12 Noon Until 2:00 pm-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from William Fitzhugh to Rezone 304 Dorchester Avenue from Residential to Commercial-Commissioner Travers made a motion to refer this request to the Planning Department for its consideration. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Expand Target Investment Zone to Include the Future Site of the Richardson Maritime Museum (Maryland Avenue)-Anne Roane said she reviewed this issue. They will need a letter of support from Council. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve Financial Statement for January 2007-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison said the Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to discuss personnel matters.

Commissioner Knox said he has received quite a few calls about the traffic signal at Poplar and Gay Streets. He voiced his opinion in the newspaper today and Ken Thomas voiced his opinion also. Mr. Thomas thanked the City for having the light functional again. Commissioner Knox thinks it should be blinking. He would like to have the Traffic Committee really look at this. He spoke to Chief Malik and personally he travels that street quite a bit. Eventually we will have our comprehensive traffic study done and Poplar and Gay is certainly going to be an issue. According to Chief Malik, while the light was blinking, in 2006 there were no intersection accidents. With the light red, it becomes backed up to High Street. Probably seven out of ten cars that come up Glasgow Street make a left on High and the majority of those make a right on Poplar and a left on Gay. When the light changes to red, it automatically becomes backed up. He tested this light several times last week. He went straight on Gay to make a left onto Race Street but it is creating a lot of problems. As the City grows, it will create more problems. Eventually the west-side City bypass will be connecting over to Washington Street and maybe that will take some of that traffic out of the west end area. This light will continue to create problems. The pedestrian traffic is a problem. He has noticed that some individuals are parking their cars in the yellow strip area as they make a right off Gay Street so there are a lot of problems at this intersection that we need to address. He would appreciate it if the Traffic Committee would take the time to really look at this intersection. It is going to get worse-not only for the vehicular traffic but for the pedestrians as well.

Mayor Rippons asked Anne Roane to get the traffic study consultant to expedite the evaluation of that intersection for the Traffic Committee. He asked that the findings be sent to Chief Malik. Chief Malik said he thinks they need the experts to study the intersection. It is not a high volume traffic accident intersection and it never has been. The problem is on both sides-the traffic flow and the pedestrian traffic. Parking on the yellow line has been a problem for the 32 years he has been here. It needs to be constantly addressed by the Police Department.

Commissioner Cephas commended the City Police. There has been a rash of burglaries going on in Cambridge and he has seen those gentlemen work. They do their job well. Chief Malik said it has slowed up considerably. They have made a number of arrests.

Commissioner Brooks said she received a call from a gentleman who lives on Harrington Avenue and an individual who lives on Carlton Court. Both residents are complaining of an infestation of buzzards. They are concerned about the buzzards damaging their homes but more so, their droppings can be very poisonous.  Howard Creighton shows photographs of the buzzards. There are a lot of them in the spring and summer and the number is increasing. They walk around in the yards and driveways. Rob Collison suggesting contacting the Division of Wildlife of the Department of Natural Resources. Commissioner Brooks said the Health Department has not been any help. Rob Collison suggested that the Police Department contact US Fish and Wildlife. Chief Malik said he will do it. Commissioner Brooks said the lady who lives on Carlton Court told her that she tried to chase one of them and it bird bucked back at her. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to contact the Health Department to see where they are in their investigation relating to human health matters. Commissioner Brooks asked that someone get back to her so she can get back to Mr. Creighton and the other lady who has expressed a concern.

Commissioner Brooks asked about the status of the skate park. She went to Easton where they have a very nice compact skateboard park. It is in the center of town. We have been working on ours for almost three years now and haven't gotten anywhere. There was a committee put together and she hasn't heard anything back from them. She asked Ed Kinnamon to ask Easton if they would share information on their park such as who funded it, what kind of insurance they have, and the cost of the park. There are some residential houses around this park but we have to start somewhere. Commissioner Sydnor said the City was partnering with the County and there was a committee who prioritized certain areas. Unfortunately one of the areas we were mainly concerned with was not one of the areas that they had chosen. Basically they chose the area at the Rock recreation park. It is his understanding that we are waiting for them to see if there is Open Space funding available. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to contact Scott Eberspacher at Recreation and Parks to find out where he is in the process and see if he can reconvene that with the additional information. Commissioner Brooks said the skateboard park in Easton is not too far from their park and it looks beautiful. They do not have anyone standing there 24 hours a day. There are posted rules.

Commissioner Brooks said she went with the Housing Task Force to Salisbury on Tuesday and looked at a low-income housing development like one that is going to be built in Cambridge. It looks extremely good. There are some concerns that they have if that particular project comes to Cambridge. They discussed some of the concerns with the developer and those concerns would be:

- The height of the third floor balcony (safety issue for children).

- The handicapped units (The downstairs units will have a handicap-accessible bathroom but the second one wasn't handicap accessible.) Portia Johnson-Ennels said they said they only have to have one bathroom that is handicap accessible. In reality, that bathroom is not handicap accessible. All the handicap units are on the first floor.

Commissioner Brooks said other than that, they were beautiful. The income range would be perfect for this area. They had secure doors where the resident would push a button to gain access to the building. There were also intercoms in each unit where you could hear who was downstairs and you could let the person in. Other than the very few minor complaints that they had, they felt that they were very nice. Portia Johnson-Ennels said each room has a smoke detector and sprinkler. The apartment is already wired for cable and telephone so you don't have to worry about running wires. Commissioner Brooks said the only issue that Mr. Paxson had is that he would love to sit down and meet with our Engineering and Planning Departments to prevent any kind of problems that happened with Cambridge Club. If it takes them 18 months to move in, they will not have a project in Cambridge. They would like their inspections to be done in a timely fashion. They would like to meet to see what is going to be expected of each other. The last concern that the Committee had would be the stormwater drainage pond. They looked at one that was completely dry and it was extremely deep. There will be no recommendation from the developer at this point to put any kind of fence around it whatsoever. That stormwater drainage pond will remain just like it is. It may be 8- to 10-feet deep.

Commissioner Brooks asked Rob Collison to look into mandating that the stormwater drainage ponds be safer for the citizens and children of Cambridge. They rode around on that particular day and very few of them had adequate protection around them. They were very large. Commissioner Knox said it is his understanding that it is mandatory that they be fenced. Commissioner Brooks said it all depends on the development. In the development plan for Blackwater Landing on Race Street, they do not have to have a continuous fence around it and it is a very large one. They just have to have a 4-ft fence at the end of everybody's property. They also found one at Pintail that is required to have a continuous fence around it that did not have a continuous fence and on the same day that the two little boys drowned, there were at least 12 to 15 kids ice skating on that particular stormwater drainage pond. That was reported from a resident of Pintail. She contacted DPW, they went out right away and had the developer put up a temporary mesh barrier and she guesses they will do something a little sturdier at a later date. When they looked at stormwater drainage ponds in Cambridge, they are not adequate in the protection of children. Mayor Rippons asked Rob Collison to look at other legislation. He also asked him to contact Anne Roane from a planning aspect. Commissioner Sydnor said the engineering aspect should be there also along with the fire department. Greg LeBlanc said with the way it reads now, fences are not currently required if they have a certain slope to them on the side and they have a bench. If someone were to roll or fall into the pond, there would be a flat spot two or three feet down so someone could stand up and not be underwater. It doesn't really address the issue of a 5-ft deep pond that is iced over that someone falls into. Commissioner Brooks said some of them are 12-feet deep.

Greg LeBlanc said he appreciates the opportunity to work for the City of Cambridge.

Chief Malik asked for permission to go to bid for the annual fireworks. The money is already in the budget. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Wendell Foxwell said in reference to the buzzard problem, he was reading a USA paper and a community had the same problem. What worked for them was to hang a dead buzzard carcass up a tree. For four straight days, the buzzards did not come back. They are hoping it will be a cure. Mr. Brooks, Harrington Avenue,  said he has been having the problem. He talked to the nuisance wildlife control. He called from Annapolis down to the Cambridge Police on this deal. They are a protected bird. You are not allowed to shoot them. They suggested taking a goose decoy, painting it black, and hanging it up the tree.

Liddy Garcia said she knows it is going to be up to the objective folks to look at the blinking light at the corner; however, she said she was almost hit three times on that corner as a pedestrian. It is smoother for a vehicle to get through the intersection but for pedestrians it is extremely dangerous. From her office, she can see that pedestrians can now cross there a lot safer.

Liddy Garcia said during the General Assembly in Annapolis, she had the privilege to talk about the Community Legacy and Neighborhood Business grants. The State is trying to cut funding for those programs. They presented a three-year report to the community. She gave Council copies of the report.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said she is a pedestrian-not a driver. During the time before the light became blinking, they had no problems trying to cross the street. When the light was blinking, if you were a walker, you had a lot of trouble getting across the street. Most of the time if you were on Race Street, you would have to go down Gay Street and cross over to the barbershop where it was much safer. When the light was blinking, people came to Council all the time and complained. The day the light was fixed, the gentleman from DPW had to stand out there and let people know it was fixed. They didn't pay any attention to it. The light has been fixed for the safety of everyone-pedestrians and drivers. She thinks the light should stay as it is now. Commissioner Knox said the light creates a lot of problems for pedestrian traffic as well. He apologized if he offended anyone.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:15 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, February 26, 2007, insofar as I personally am aware.

                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                    Edwin C. Kinnamon

                                                                                    Clerk & Treasurer