• 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
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City Council Minutes

March 26, 2007

Cambridge Maryland SealMINUTES

Council Meeting

March 26, 2007

 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, March 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 Sydnor, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 12, 2007 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed 4:0.

Presentation to Sailwinds Management Board by Cambridge Lodge #66 A.F. & A.M.-Worshipful Master Wallace E. Dodson presented Carlton Stanley with a check to help defray the costs for the funeral services of Adam Mooney and Roger Haller. Carlton Stanley, on behalf of the Sailwinds Management Board, thanked the members for their donation.

PUBLIC HEARING

Amendment to PWRD Master Development Plan for Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort-Rob Collison said pursuant to the PWRD ordinance, whenever a master development plan has a significant or substantial modification, they must come back before the Planning Commission and also the City Council. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort is proposing such an amendment by which they will be reducing the number of condominium buildings and single-family residential homes and increasing the number of townhomes and golf villas which are four units clustered together. The overall density will be reduced.

Sandy McAllister, Miles & Stockbridge, spoke representing Beazer Homes. Ned Howell, Vice President, Land Development Maryland Division; Fred Finland, General Manager of the Hyatt; Ken Eaton, Andrews Miller & Associates; and Tommy Jones, the architect, were present also. The Planning Commission gave a unanimous recommendation on March 6, 2007. Eight years ago when they were working on the master development plan for Hyatt, the second part of the project (residential) was just a gleam in the developer's eye. Nobody knew what they were going to expect by way of the local housing resort market. Because of that, they met with the City and had a little bit of everything-single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums. The idea was to attract a variety of perspective buyers. They have worked very closely with Ann Roane and the DPW staff to improve and refine the project. They are trying to attract the weekend, vacation, and second-home market. It will be better for the project, better for the Hyatt and consequently better for the City. It enables the elimination of the two large condominium buildings that would otherwise be near the front of the project which was a consequence of a master development plan revision of several years ago. Everyone was hoping to lower the height and the density. By enacting tonight's request, they are reducing the density by 21 units. The structures will not be as tall as originally proposed.

Ken Eaton displayed before and after drawings and aerial photos of the Hyatt property. They are changing some of the single-family units to a villa product which is mainly market-driven. Changes have come about that made this a more attractive product for this area. Commissioner Sydnor asked if the issue concerning forestation was resolved. Ken Eaton said there was an issue that was resolved. Throughout the plan there are a few trees that they will be taking out as a result of the modifications. The issue was resolved with the Critical Areas Commissioner and the State as well. Rob Collison asked the total number of units on the west side of the entrance. Ken Eaton said they are adding 24 units in one area and 18 units in another area. Therefore, there will be 100 units on that side plus the 30+ in another area. They took out two 48-units buildings in another section. Rob Collison said they were originally proposing two large buildings similar to those in the Deep Harbour project which would be relatively close to the highway. They are eliminating these buildings with the proposed amendment. Now they will have 2½- to 3-story townhouse units there.

Tommy Jones, Beazer Homes, said they have taken out the high-end single-family homes that were a 2-story product and have brought back in 4-unit golf villas that have a 1- to 1½-story appearance from the front. The rears of the homes line the golf course. Commissioner Sydnor said the drawings presented tonight are much more pleasing that those presented to Planning and Zoning some time ago.

Sandy McAllister said pending conclusion of the public hearing, they are requesting that Council adopt the recommendation of the Planning Commission. This is the kind of development that people are far more likely to come down and utilize the resort than they would in the context of a 3500 or 4000 sq.ft. single-family home. The townhouses that were constructed near the restaurant have been well received and are all under contract.

Rob Collison said at the Planning and Zoning public hearing, he raised the point of the final incorporation of the walking trail. Sandy McAllister said the community walking trail is still in the design. Ned Howell said as they are moving through with the project, each area's site plan is being generated and they are incorporating the pedestrian path into that.

Monroe Smith asked the price ranges of the houses. Ned Howell said they are expecting them to be similar to the townhouses out there now in the $400,000 to $500,000 range. Monroe Smith asked if they are available to anybody and can local people buy them. Ned Howell said absolutely.

Rob Collison said at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, they unanimously voted to recommend approval of the PWRD amendments as presented. The only comment was to continue with the incorporation of the walking trail. He asked Council to consider in the future that if there is ever an amendment between townhomes and villas, that it would constitute a minor amendment. Therefore, they would not have to go through the entire process again. Commissioner Sydnor asked the reason for changing the designs and plans. Ned Howell said it was basically market-driven. They found the market for a single-family second home product seemed to be less than desirable. He thinks they will get a lot stronger sales. This is a better product and it is better suited for the site. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to accept the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendations along with the text that Rob Collison added concerning the walking trail and to let it be considered a minor amendment if they wish to substitute townhomes with villas. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Rob Collison said he will have the formal finding-of-fact at the next Council meeting.

APPOINTMENTS

Jeff Paxson, Shelter Development Group, to Discuss PILOT for Their Affordable Housing Project-Mayor Rippons read a letter from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announcing that Cambridge will receive a grant in the amount of $300,000 for this project. Jeff Paxson was not present.

Dr. Eleanor Mower to Discuss 105 North Regulator Drive-Rob Collison advised Dr. Mower that the discussion must be kept to legitimate City business and that she cannot mention individual names because it would then become a personnel matter. Council would be glad to hear those matters but it must be done in a closed executive session. Dr. Mower said she and her husband bought a house in Long Boat Estates on September 29, 2006. She has written several letters to the City outlining her issues and questions and felt it was important for them to see her and they could meet her. She also wanted to share her issues and concerns with the community because she believes the topics that she outlined in her letters to the Mayor and Commissioners are a concern to all parties. She has always worked in economic development and programs to help people achieve the best that they can do and to be a good citizen. She and her husband chose to come to Cambridge because they looked a long time and their ultimate goal was to retire here because they have been in Maryland all their lives and they hold the City and the State in high esteem. She read a letter she sent to Douglas Gansler, Maryland Attorney General, that she provided to the Commissioners and the public. She said it is the fourth letter she has written. Commissioner Brooks said that Facts 5 and 7 were incorrect. Dr. Mower said she submitted letters that she was told would go right to the Commissioners and she called the other day to ascertain if they had been given directly to the Commissioners. She believes the certificate of occupancy was illegal and should not have been issued. They were sold a property that the City and the Director of Public Works knew had code violations, serious HVAC issues and other deficiencies. On March 1, 2007, she discovered that Frank Gianiny devoted an enormous amount of time and effort reporting and informing Council on the building problems and code violations. They feel they have some of the same major issues that the Gianiny family identified and brought to the City Commissioners. Their house was not re-inspected and remained as-is. Someone needs to step up and do the right thing.

Rob Collison recommended that Council take this under advisement. Several issues have to be addressed. One issue to be addressed is that of new home warranties and another is the inspection process. A new Public Works Director is coming onboard and he can provide some insight. The City will forward a response to these concerns in the next several weeks.

Commissioner Sydnor asked how many homes out there are on slab foundations. Dr. Mower said she understands that there are 13 homes built on slabs. Bruce Harvey, Lennar Division President for Lower Maryland, said he does not know the exact number of slab homes but it is about 13 homes. Dr. Mower said they stopped building them. Mr. Harvey agreed that they stopped building them but it was not related to this issue. Commissioner Brooks asked for copies of the prior three letters.

Frank Gianiny to Discuss a Citizen's Concern-Frank Gianiny said everyone knows that the homes received illegal occupancy permits. He began reading a letter that was brought to him by a City Commissioner to his parents. Rob Collison asked him to submit the letter. Mr. Gianiny asked about a City Commissioner receiving a gift worth hundreds of dollars from his parents. Rob Collison said if it illegal activity, it can be referred and action taken. He doesn't believe it is appropriate for a public City Council meeting. The City Council business this evening should be for Council action. Mr. Gianiny asked if the City put a temporary stop order on Lennar at Long Boat Estates. Mayor Rippons said he believes they did. Rob Collison said the City Council's time here is not to answer specific questions. He asked that people only present relevant material for Council to debate and make a decision on if it is regarding a legislative function of the City Council. Mr. Gianiny can submit his concerns in writing. Mr. Gianiny asked if they could discuss the illegal occupancy permit for his parents' home. Rob Collison said it has been discussed quite extensively in the past year. There is nothing new before Council. Council will address Dr. Mower's concerns because they are new to the Council. They will work with Lennar to the best of the City's ability and respond to Dr. Mower. Mr. Gianiny said he received untrue information from a Commissioner about the Mayor receiving money from a contractor. Rob Collison said there are a lot of things that are said in public that are not true. There was no business or motions made before Council that deals with that issue. Commissioner Brooks said that Rob Collison has asked them to move forward. Rob Collison said it may be a legitimate public concern but not before Council.

Brett Summers to Request to Businesses in the Target Investment Zone be Exempt from the City Impact Fees-Brett Summers said he is a partner with NOVO Development. NOVO has purchased four buildings in downtown Cambridge (450 Race Street; 429-433 Race Street; 501 Poplar; 303 High Street). He is asking Council for an exemption from the City impact fees for properties that are within the Target Investment Zone (TIZ). Since he moved to Cambridge about six years ago, he had a desire to see more shops and businesses thrive downtown. That is his primary motivation for buying these buildings. At this point, it is more of a long-term investment. He is not asking for incentives or money; he is asking for the removal of a deterrent for developments like his and others that might come in the future. They are working with the Maryland Historical Trust to restore the building to the image shown in a photograph from 1912 and have spent a lot of time and expense to do the project right. When they take the boards off the front façade, Cambridge is going to be proud to have that building back in its commercial corridor in its original glory. This will happen within the next month. They are getting ready to start renting the apartments that they created. The overall plan for the property is to have a restaurant on the first floor; an art gallery behind that; five apartments on the second floor; and two apartments on the third floor. The individuals who will live in the building will bring life to downtown. They will support the downtown businesses. He thinks they will help address some of the crime problems that occur at Muir and Race Streets by having more eyes and concerned citizens living downtown. There are a lot of vacant second floor areas downtown. They have already invested $1.1 million into 450 Race Street and probably another $1.1 million will be invested into the restaurant. They are hiring local contractors. The restaurant and art gallery will bring jobs to downtown. The impact fees are calculated on equivalent dwelling units. Each equivalent dwelling unit is a $4500 fee. It doesn't matter is someone builds a single-family home that is worth $300,000 or $400,000. It is one equivalent dwelling unit and a $4500 fee. He is developing two-bedroom rental apartments and incurring that same fee. He doesn't think it is fair how the current ordinance is administered. They had an existing 5/8-inch line and added a 3/4-inch line for the restaurant and a 1½-inch line for the seven apartments. The total impact fees he is going to be charged is $42,750 which is significant especially in an area called a Target Investment Zone. It is also a Certified Heritage Area which is an area that contains an exceptionally high concentration of unique historical, cultural, or natural resources and where motivated community partners are dedicated to the protection and development of those resources for economic development through Heritage Tourism. Target Investment Zones are priority zones which will attract significant private investment. Investment is encouraged through special incentives available through Maryland Heritage Preservation and Tourist Areas Program. If we give incentives to promote investment and development within the TIZs, it is going to pay back for the City in the long term. He is asking for an exemption from impact fees in the TIZs. He can assume that when the ordinance was passed, it was more for developments that are taking place on what was farmland and there are costs associated with developing infrastructure. He doesn't think people thought it would impact downtown.

Mayor Rippons said the Heritage Area and the TIZs have tax incentives that are not available to some of the other areas. They are already getting benefits there. If they were using all three floors for businesses, he could almost see it. As an investor he made a decision to have residential units on the second and third floors. He may entertain a consideration for the business aspect; however, it is hard to rationalize the residential aspect. Brett Summers said it is all about vibrancy. A lot of cities have found that if you have all businesses in the area, they tend to die after 5 or 6 o'clock. There is no life in the downtown areas. The development concept that has emerged is one of more mixed use today. He felt that having retail on the first floor would be the best use and then having residential to provide living accommodations, perhaps for employees of these businesses, and also to create a vibrancy at night. He felt the market for residential would be much better than office. The 23,000 sq.ft. building was essentially vacant. He has invested a significant amount of money and taken a risk. It seems like an oxymoron. Mayor Rippons said there is a host of incentives. Brett Summers said those dis-incentives might counteract the incentives. Rob Collison suggested that he coordinate this with the City's planning office. He will investigate the impact fee policy in other cities with downtowns or TIZs. He will report back to the Council at the next meeting.

Commissioner Sydnor asked if there is any new infrastructure that Mr. Summers will need. Brett Summers said no. They did not have to open the street. They opened the sidewalk and they added two meters but there are no additional main lines. There is a 4-inch line that runs down Muir Street and they tapped into that. They will pay for the installation of the two meters. Rob Collison asked the extent that they had to increase the meter size because of the sprinkler system. Brett Summers said the 4-inch line was already in place. It did not have to be modified. Commissioner Sydnor asked about the County excise tax. Brett Summers said they went before the County Council in September. They are waiting to attend a work session.

Wendy and Steven Conn to Request Permission to Hook Into Sanitary District Sewer System-Wendy Conn said she lives on Brannocks Neck Road on property adjacent to the Canvasback Development. She is requesting permission to hook into their sewer system instead of installing a new tank. Some of her property is in the Sanitary District. Rob Collison said three or four years ago a property just prior to Brannocks Neck Road requested a sewer connection. While their house was not within the district, part of their land was. A policy was established that if a portion of your property is within a Sanitary District, the City would permit a connection for that parcel. Commissioner Travers made a motion that provided that the Conns give Rob Collison documentation to verify that some of their land is within the Sanitary District of Church Creek, Council will authorize the connection. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Sharon Wilson to Discuss City Properties Available for Affordable Housing--

Sharon Wilson, Visions America Community Development Corporation, thanked Mr. Kinnamon for sending her a list of City-owned properties. Her organization looked at the list and there are three pieces of property that they are very interested in. They are definitely interested in the property on Leonard Lane. She said at the last meeting Mayor Rippons brought it to their attention about the $5000 that it would cost for the welands study and George Hyde said in a couple of months they would be finished using the property. Since then she contacted the Federal and State as to their part should the City look at that land for Visions America to see if they would be willing to assist them with the $5000. They just want to get some kind of commitment or something from the City saying that they will do just what they had said when Visions America submitted a proposal in April 2006 about property for affordable housing. They submitted exactly what their homes are going to cost, the type of homes they are planning to develop, and they want something because she has been contacting the State and Federal and they have been communicating with her trying to find out what is happening so they can get involved in the project. She is waiting now to see what the City plans to do.

Rob Collison said it is a two-step process. First the City needs to look at any particular property and make the determination that it is excess property and will not be needed in the foreseeable future. Once that is established, the City will put out requests for proposals saying the City determined the property not to be needed by the City and now they are looking to see what they should do with it. If there are properties identified, they would then want to schedule a public hearing to determine the public need for the property. His recollection on the particular property was that an RFP went out and subsequent to that, some of the departments indicated that they think there is a need for that property. If there is an outline of properties, we may wish to circulate it through the City departments to see if they see any need. If there is no need identified, the Council could look at it to see which of the properties they wish to identify and hold a public hearing to determine if it is excess property. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to send the list to the Department Heads. He asked Ms. Wilson to tell Mr. Kinnamon which properties she is interested in.

Commissioner Brooks asked how long it will take for the departments to determine whether or not they need any of the land. Rob Collison said he thinks they could do it by the next meeting. Once it is established that the City has excess property and there is a proposal to transfer for a certain dollar amount, the City must advertise three weeks in advance of the actual transfer. Commissioner Brooks asked that the Commissioners receive a copy of the list also.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Traffic and Safety Committee-Commissioner Brooks said the committee met on Friday, February 9, 2007 to discuss several issues.

- Evaluate the need for a "no left turn" sign on Maryland Avenue across from the Sailwinds BP Station-The committee did not feel that a sign would improve the situation.

- Improve the pedestrian crosswalk on Race Street in the vicinity of Cannery Way-The committee agreed that this crosswalk as well, as some others downtown, need to be re-striped.

- Evaluate the need for a stop sign at the Woods Road/Roslyn Avenue intersection-The committee agreed that this stop sign could be replaced with a yield sign.

- Close-off the gate into Douglas Park at the end of Wright Street-The committee recommended placing a chain on the gate at the present time.

- Make a portion of Glasgow Street in the vicinity of Cambridge Christian Academy (Zion Church) a school zone with a speed limit of 15 mph-The committee recommended reducing the speed limit on Glasgow Street from Linden Avenue to High Street to 15 mph.

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to accept the recommendations of the Traffic and Safety Committee. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Request from The Community of Saint Francis-Ed Kinnamon said he informed Council that the Community of Saint Francis had requested to be reimbursed the amount of money they had paid when their property was sold at tax sale. The County Commissioners authorized reimbursement at a prior meeting. Last week the City learned that the Community of Saint Francis had purchase the property in 2003 or 2004. It was stated that they felt that since they were a 501(c)3 organization, they thought they were tax exempt. He explained to them that they had to apply to the Supervisor of Assessments. They have since applied and have been given tax-exempt status for the July 2006 to June 2007 tax year. They are asking for reimbursement for years prior to that in the amount is $1359.72.

 Mr. Corbliss said the City did not send him any correspondence whatsoever. They did not receive any bills. They found out about this when they got the notice that the City was going to sell their house. Ed Kinnamon said his office made the normal contacts. One staff member said she talked with Mr. Corbliss when he received something. Commissioner Brooks said as stated at the last meeting, the particular home houses individuals who would not otherwise have a place to live. A lot of the individuals have serious health issues. The program has been beneficial every year in helping many children at Christmas and when school starts. Commissioner Brooks made a motion that Council refund the $1300. They are a 501(c)3 and he was unaware of what he had to do. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Ed Kinnamon said the exact amount is $1,359.72. Rob Collison said that because Mr. Kinnamon informed Council that the Community of St. Francis did make the application, he would caution Council against it. Otherwise, if another organization comes forward that is now a 501(c)3 status they could say that Council went back for others. If the State grants it, he would say there is a basis for it. Ed Kinnamon said the State granted it now but not for the time frame in question. Rob Collison said the applicant did not make application. Had they made application and the City dropped the ball and didn't process it, then it would be different. Ed Kinnamon said the supervisor stated to him that the Assessment Office cannot give credit on back taxes. This would be a City or County call. Rob Collison said the Community of Saint Francis thought they were exempt so they did not pay the taxes. Because the taxes went unpaid for two years, the County sold the property at tax sale. If they pay the purchaser back, the property is redeemed and it goes back into the name of St. Francis. They have sent money to the buyer so the property is redeemed and it is back in their name. They now want the City to reimburse them for what they paid the person who bought it at the tax sale. Commissioner Cephas asked about the mailing address discrepancy. Mr. Corbliss said nobody called them or sent them anything. Mayor Rippons said Mr. Kinnamon said his staff has talked to Mr. Corbliss about this before the tax sale. Commissioner Cephas said the Community of Saint Francis does good work. Rob Collison cautioned Council about obligations that a taxpayer has. He thinks we should be careful about that because other people do good things for the community and they would be asking for their taxes to be abated. If the City wants to make some type of contribution to the organization, then that is another story. To go on record to say the City is going to pay their taxes, they might be making an error. Commissioner Sydnor asked if things like this could be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Rob Collison said they could be but if they ever denied someone, they would have to distinguish why they denied one and not another. Mr. Corbliss said he thinks someone should have notified them when the house was going up for sale. Rob Collison said the City is obligated to notify them at the address they list when they purchase the property. Unless you change that address with the Assessment Office, they are obligated to forward the tax bill and any other correspondence to the address on the assessment records. If Mr. Corbliss can show that the assessment records made an error to some degree in granting them the exemption or something else, that is something to look at. Mr. Kinnamon said he has a print-out from the State's files and it says 606 Church Street. Commissioner Brooks said the house is on Locust Street so he never received the bill. She said if we do not want to set a precedence, they can advertise in the Daily Banner  four times for anything that the City wants to get out to the public. She asked if the City can advertise four times that anyone who holds 501(c)3 status has certain steps to take in order to be exempt from paying City taxes. From the date of the first notice or from tonight, the City will not be able to go back and pay their taxes if they find they have not followed the steps that are outlined. Rob Collison said the State Assessment Office has those materials. When you purchase property, you provide the Assessment Office with a mailing address. The burden is on the property owner-not the Treasurer's Office. Mr. Corbliss asked why the delinquent taxes are not listed on the current bill for 2006. Ed Kinnamon said the bills are printed for the current year. They City and County send letters to the potential people who are having their property sold at tax sale. According to someone from his office, Mr. Corbliss came into the office and spoke to a City Hall staff member about the letter. She explained to him what the letter was about. It was advertised in the Daily Banner for four weeks and then went to tax sale. The City and County have so many of them that they can't contact everyone and ask them if they understand. The County has reimbursed Mr. Truitt (the purchaser) that portion of the County taxes.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said when this issue came before the County, the gentleman was not there that night. Although the business may help people, she thinks it would be a bad precedence just because the service is good they should take on an obligation like that. If you are a business person and you are dealing with tax exemption, this is something that should have been filed. If they do this, someone else who is 501(c)3 is going to come back and ask for the same thing. It was his legitimate mistake-he should live up to it.

Octavene Saunders said while Commissioner Brooks has a kind heart and her heart is in the right place, she had asked that the inventory tax bills for the Pine Street Committee, a 501(c)3 organization, be relived and she was told no from the City and County in the last three years. When you become a 501(c)3 and you fill our your paperwork, you get rules and regulations that let you know that you must file certain information that in order to be relieved of any financial government obligation. You have to go to that office and fill out the form and make the request. They do not contact you. She is a taxpayer and knowing that the man has a house and being it as it may, if the people do not have a place to stay there, they will survive somewhere else. She encouraged Council not to give any more tax money away. This man admitted he made the mistake.

Commissioner Travers said if this gentleman will give him two more weeks, he will personally see that the tax bill is paid. Ed Kinnamon said he does not have two more weeks. He has until the end of this week.

James Cornish spoke on behalf of Mr. Corbliss and the work he does. He has been under a lot of stress in the last year or two. He would appreciate any help Mr. Corbliss can get.

Mike Darby said he appreciates what Ms. Johnson and Ms. Saunders said but there are a lot of different 501(c)3s. This gentleman is doing things for the betterment of humans. If there is some way to help this man, they should do it.

Commissioner Cephas said he is prepared to give Mr. Corbliss a donation, himself, tonight toward the bill but he cannot, in good conscience, vote to set a precedence on this tax issue.

Mayor Rippons called for the vote on the motion to reimburse Dorchester County for the tax sale proceeds that were collected on behalf of the City. Commissioner Travers said he will take care of paying Mr. Corbliss' bill. Commissioner Brooks said she can withdraw the motion if Mr. Travers is going to pay the $1,359.72 by April 1st. Commissioner Travers said he will not pay it but he will see that Mr. Corbliss gets the money. If he can't raise the funds, he will pay it himself. Ed Kinnamon said the extension is valid until March 30th.

Award Bid for Proposal for the Design of Improvements to the Existing Boat Ramp at Great Marsh-Mayor Rippons reported that DPW recommended awarding the bid to the low bidder, Andrews, Miller & Associates, in the amount of $17,500. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Award Bid for Furnishing and Maintaining Dumpster-Type Containers and Refuse Removal for Various Locations in Cambridge-Mayor Rippons reported that DPW recommended awarding the bid to the low bidder, Allied Waste Service, in the amount of $13,220. Commissioner Travers made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Decision on Re-zoning Application for Egypt Road Property from PWRD District to R-1 and R-2 Zoning Districts-Rob Collison said Council held a public hearing on this matter on February 12, 2007. At that time they were advised that negotiations were ongoing between the developer and the State. They have now been advised that an agreement has been reached between the developer and the State with regard to that proposal. In that the proposal, the State would be buying all the lands on the easterly side of Egypt Road with the exception of a 5.047-acre parcel. The entire 1012+ acres was rezoned PWRD. They have since made the request to amend that to R-1 for the 5.047-acre parcel and R-1 for a 56.018-acre parcel on the west side of Egypt Road. It will be for 40 single-family residential units. The remaining 270 acres on the westerly side of Egypt Road, north of the R-1 parcel and south of the county park would be rezoned from PWRD to R-2. They are proposing approximately 603 homes. He believes the agreement still needs to be finalized and ratified by the State Board of Public Works next month. The basis for the decision would be based on the change meaning the State interceding in the matter. By the State purchasing most of the land on the east side of Egypt Road, they are purchasing the land that is binding navagatible waters. It no longer qualifies for a PWRD. The allegation of the mistake is that when the PWRD zoning was initially implemented, it was believed at that time that it would qualify for a resort and a golf course would be permitted without growth allocation. Since that time the Critical Area Commission changed their criteria and it was not permitted.

Sandy McAllister reminded the Council that they wanted the rezoning to be conditioned on the final approval by the Board of Public Works because they give the formal approval of the State's purchase of the acreage. The contract has been signed by the Secretary of DNR.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request to amend the rezoning from PWRD to R-1 for the 5.047-acre parcel and the 56.018-acre parcel and to R-2 for the 270-acre parcel along Egypt Road. She asked for a roll call vote. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Rob Collison said the motion should be contingent on the Board of Public Works' approval. Commissioner Travers: aye; Commissioner Brooks: aye; Commissioner Cephas: aye; Commissioner Sydnor said as much as he is in favor of the project he has been advised by counsel that it would be wise for him to abstain. The motion passed 3:0 with Commissioner Sydnor abstaining.

Public Comment on Proposed Ordinance to Require Interior Sprinkler Systems for All New Residential and Commercial Structures-Rob Collison said a few weeks ago, a gentleman made a presentation recommending that the City adopt an ordinance which would require interior sprinkler systems on certain residential structures. Chief Hurley asked Council to expand it to include all residential structures and new commercial structures. The proposed ordinance would provide for that. What was discussed at that time but is not defined in the ordinance is the definition of a substantial renovation. Chief Hurley desired that it be inclusive of substantial renovations. He is suggesting that Council include some language that if the renovation exceeds 50 percent of the assessed value of the property, it would constitute a substantial renovation and therefore would require that the structured to be sprinklered. It is also his recommendation that if there is an addition made to a commercial structure, that addition would require sprinklers no matter what the cost or value is. Another suggestion is that rather than outline what exceptions would be granted, it could be stated that exceptions could be granted by the appropriate authority having jurisdiction.

Rob Collison reported that there was a letter submitted by Andrews Miller and Associates dated March 26, 2007 asking about a grandfathering provision. The way the ordinance is drafted, it would apply to any project that has not received building permit approval. It would become effective 30 days after its passage.

Rob Collison said it is his recommendation that in light of the additional comments from Chief Hurley that Council table the vote to define and include a substantial renovation provision. He said he will provide information about what other communities are doing. The information the gentleman provided Council was solely on residential construction.

NEW BUSINESS

Approve Job Classification for Assistant Dockmaster-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the job classification. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Revised Job Classifications for DPW-The job classifications are for Code Enforcement Officer I (new construction); Code Enforcement Officer II (new construction); Code Enforcement Officer I (property maintenance); Code Enforcement Officer II (property maintenance); Building Permit Administrator; Planning & Zoning Assistant; Heavy Equipment Mechanic Supervisor; and Heavy Equipment Mechanic. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the revised job classifications. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Pine Street Committee for $500 Donation Toward the Dorchester-Cambridge Cultural Festival on April 28th-Octavene Saunders said as of today, they have raised $1,400 toward the festival. They have also asked the County for a donation. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to make a $500 donation toward the festival. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Mrs. Saunders thanked the Council.

Request for Hills Point Gang to Hold Boat Show at Great Marsh Park on June 16th and 17th-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from First Baptist Church of Cambridge to Use Long Wharf for the Sunday Nights in August for Their Outdoor Gospel Concerts (5:00 pm through 8:30 pm)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Cambridge Little League to Hold Its Annual Opening Day Parade on Saturday, April 14th Starting at 9:00 am at Long Wharf and Ending at the Little League Park-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Camalu Restaurant Group for a Dedicated Parking Space in Front of Their Building at 535-539 Poplar Street During Their Construction Period (no longer than September 2007) and for Permission to Block a Section of Sidewalk in Front of 535-539 Poplar Street to Construct Temporary Scaffolding-Captain Hutton said they have been working with the downtown businesses and these groups to try to keep everybody happy since there is restricted parking. They have to make sure the sidewalks are open and safe also. Rob Collison recommended that for the scaffolding Council could grant permission however, people must be able to walk around it. If they get numerous complaints, they may wish to revisit the dedicated parking space. It might be problamatic to rescind permission for scaffolding once they get it up and are in the middle of their work. He has no problem in granting that. The other they may want to take a "wait and see" attitude position. Octavene Saunders said there are already two businesses blocking sidewalks. One man has had his up for over two years. Rob Collison said Council would have to look back to see what permission was granted to them. If it is problematic, they could issue a removal order. Octavene Saunders said a person walking cannot get by the one on Poplar Street. She said you can get by the one on the corner of Race and Muir Streets. You can get by the one on High Street. You cannot get by the one on Poplar Street or the one in front of Cheetah's Pub without going on the curb. She asked how long they can stay up and how far out can the block the sidewalk. Rob Collison said you can block up to 40% of the sidewalk without any variance or permission from the City. He said it may be appropriate to have someone from the Public Works make inspections and report back to Council. They can determine how wide they are and how long they are going to remain. Mayor Rippons said to check to see if all locations came before Council since they have exceeded 40%. Ed Kinnamon said he doesn't believe they all came before Council. Greg LeBlanc said they inspected four locations today. One location seemed to be o.k. They are going to check into the other three because it looks like they are exceeding their limits as far as blocking the sidewalk.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request from Camalu Restaurant Group for a dedicated parking spot in front of their building not to exceed September 2007. However, the City still has latitude to revoke this permit if there is a host of complaints. Likewise, Council will approve a section of scaffolding on the sidewalk pending talking to the Department of Public and Rescue Fire Company and  meeting all their requirements.  Mr. Kinnamon will instruct them to contact the Police Department and ascertain what type of vehicle will be in the parking space. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approval of Amendment to Annexation Agreement for Egypt Road (Blackwater Resorts) Property-Rob Collison said this is the property subject to the State agreement that Council discussed earlier which is scheduled to go before the Board of Public Works on April 18, 2007. The State is purchasing the property on the east side of Egypt Road and some property on the southern end on the westerly side. The State is purchasing the land so it remains in natural habitat and agricultural production. In the annexation agreement there was a provision (Section 5.5) that provided for reciprocal easements for infrastructure and public improvements between the developer and the City. The City understands that the State is requesting that it be deleted from the annexation agreement because they want to assure that it is not developed. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the amendment. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request to Go to Bid to Purchase Budgeted Items: Skid-Steer Loader and Cold Planner for Skid-Steer (DPW)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Discuss Improvements to Cornish Park-Mayor Rippons said the DPW is requesting permission to apply for Open Space funding for improvements to Cornish Park. The grant may provide up to 90% reimbursement. The remaining $8,665 funded earlier by Project Open Space will be used to improve the newest existing equipment and remove the dilapidated playground equipment that does not comply with existing safety standards. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to allow DPW to apply for Open Space funds for Cornish Park. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve the following purchase orders:

- PO 881 - John W. Tieder, Inc. - to Furnish and Install Traffic Controller (Market & Academy Streets) -- $7,000

- PO 4284 - American Fire Equipment - Hazmat Unit Modifications -$16,500

- PO 4356 - Fireworks Productions - Deposit for 2007 Fireworks - $7,500

- PO 4357 - Graves Uniforms - Summer Uniforms for CPD - $4,771.12

- PO 4360 - Motorola - LCD Touch Dispatch Screens for CPD - $4,503.30

- PO 4362 - Motorola - Microphones, Cases, Charger, and Portable Radios for CPD - $14,301.86

- PO 4363 - Arrington Police Distributors - Ammunition - $2,785.99

- PO 893 - John W. Tieder, Inc. - Public Safety Building Security System Change Orders - $443,423.85

Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the above-listed purchase orders. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Budget Amendments for Department of Public Works-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session beginning at 6:15 pm to discuss personnel.

Commissioner Brooks asked Rob Collison where the City was with Christ Rock. Rob Collison said he has not received any correspondence since they had the public hearing. His recollection was that it was not going to become effective until the funding is in place. He said he will have to check with the Planning Office.

Commissioner Brooks reported that the Housing Task Force met on the third Tuesday of March and they are requesting Rob Collison be present at their next meeting.

Commissioner Brooks said the City needs to meet with Scott Eberspacher if the skateboard park is going to be a joint venture between the City and the County. They need to discuss some issues that have never been resolved such as the safety issues, bus passes for children and teens who want to get back and forth, problems with Chesapeake Street, and safety issues on Bayly Road. Ed Kinnamon said the RFIs are due the first of April. By that time, the Council could receive an update.

Ed Kinnamon said he received a notice from State Highway Administration notifying the City that the intersection of Routes 341 and 343 (Race and Washington Streets) out to Snows Turn will have a milling and resurfacing project over the next three weeks. It will start Wednesday, March 28th.

Ed Kinnamon received a memo from Chief Malik saying that Cambridge Police Department, Rescue Fire Company, and Cambridge Emergency Medical Services have been requested to have representatives participate in a sister-county partnership with officials from Deuren, Germany. The purpose of this partnership is to exchange ideas, information, cultures, and business practices. The cost of the trip will need to be borne by each department. The monies are not provided in the annual budget. It is anticipated that the cost for each department would be approximately $2500. There is a deadline of April 1st. Chief Hurley they have enough money budgeted for training and are interested in sending somebody. Captain Hutton said the Police Department does not have the money in their budget. If Council feels fit to fund it, they will send someone. His understanding from the Chief is that they would like to participate if they can. It all depends on the money. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to check with Chief Watkins to see if he wants to send someone. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Octavene Saunders asked if the 600 block Pine Street could be swept on the morning of April 28th before the Cultural Festival. Mayor Rippons asked that she provide him with a letter and it will be taken care of.

 James Cornish thanked Commissioner Travers and Commissioner Cephas for their donations to Mr. Corbliss. He worked with Mr. Corbliss throughout the years and has been the president of Dorchester County AIDS Foundation. They do a lot of work in the community as far as education. Last year he came before Council asking for a donation. He never heard anything from it. At this point he is not asking for a donation, he is asking for their support. They operate solely on their own. Several people make personal donations. They are planning a fundraiser banquet on June 30th and will be honoring Rev. Keith Cornish. The banquet will begin at 5:00 pm at Bethel AME Church. Commissioner Brooks is working with him on the planning committee. He may ask for a donation in the future. They provide food, shelter, and medical assistance for people living with HIV. This is their 12th year. Octavene Saunders asked Mr. Cornish to come to the Empowerment Center on Thursday and they will donate one of their excess computers to the foundation to replace the one they have that doesn't work anymore.

Commissioner Cephas said there was a fire at a property owned by Mr. Smith at 629 Douglas Street. The trash has been there for four weeks. He is not sure why the trash has not been picked up. Greg LeBlanc said he will look into it.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 9:40 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, March 26, 2007, insofar as I personally am aware.

                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                    Edwin C. Kinnamon

                                                                                    Clerk & Treasurer