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  • 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

June 11, 2007

Cambridge Maryland SealMINUTES

Council Meeting

June 11, 2007


The City Council met in regular session on Monday, June 11, 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. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the May 29, 200 7 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.


Representative from Allure Nightclub & Lounge to Request Chesapeake Court be Closed to Traffic on July 4th from 10:00 am Until 7:00 pm and Use of the City-Owned Property Located Across from 601 Chesapeake Court and the Property Adjacent to Club Allure and Schoolhouse Lane for a Friends and Family Day-Mayor Rippons read an interoffice memo from Oden Wheeler stating that he was contacted by Octavene Saunders regarding this agenda item. She is concerned that if Chesapeake Court is permitted to be blocked off, being a narrow one-way street, that in the event of an emergency, the necessary equipment would have extreme difficulty gaining access. In addition she expressed a concern that alcohol could be consumed on the exterior of the facility which would be in direct violation of County and State laws. She is not opposed to the event; however she is opposed to blocking off the street and the consumption of alcohol outside the facility. Mr. Wheeler also provided Council with recommendations outlined in a hold harmless agreement similar to one used for the Triathlon. Commissioner Sydnor asked if the Jazz Festival and Regatta use the same forms. Rob Collison said it is required for Great Marsh use and when the Yacht Club uses the park. He is not sure if it is used for the Race and Cedar Streets property. Commissioner Cephas asked that the document be read into the record. The document states that: ■ Club Allure agrees to obtain liability insurance for the event and to provide the City with a copy of the liability insurance policy, which lists the Commissioners/City of Cambridge as additional insured, in an amount acceptable to the City. ■ They agree to be liable and responsible for any and all damage to the City's property, and for injuries to itself, himself, its members, guests, invitees and inquiries to others, which arise from or is associated with the event. ■ They shall be responsible for the removal of all trash after the event, including emptying of the trashcans and trash dumpsters. Said cleanup and removal shall be completed within four hours after the event has ended, and generally leave the property in the same condition as existed before the event. ■ Should the City of Cambridge have to utilize staff if the property is not cleaned and/or repair damage, Allure shall be billed accordingly. ■ In the event they provide for portable sanitary facilities, the facilities shall be obtained from a licensed vendor approved by the City. They further agree to provide one handicapped sanitary facility/stall for every five sanitary facilities/stalls. ■ Alcohol shall not be permitted to be sold and/or consumed on City Property and any other consumption should be within County and State laws.

Chief Malik said he has spoken to Mr. Wheeler. Their major concern was the alcohol. An unidentified representative from Club Allure said no alcohol will be served during the event. It will not be sold until 8:00 pm. The festival will end at 6:00 pm and then they will have one hour for clean-up. Their security staff will monitor the event in case someone brings alcohol to the event. They will be happy to provide their insurance information and agree to the hold harmless agreement. There is nothing in the document that they cannot comply with.

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to grant the requests provided they meet the City's outlined provisions. Chief Malik said it sounds like they are well prepared. Officers will stop by to walk through the event. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Portia Johnson-Ennels asked if they are going to close Chesapeake Court. Mayor Rippons said the request is to close it from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm. Portia Johnson-Ennels said she thought they would only give them permission to use the City property. If there is a need for fire or ambulance assistance in that vicinity, there is only one way in from High. She can see them using the City property but not blocking the street off for that many hours on a holiday. The Club Allure representative said they can access the area through School House Lane. They plan to use the land behind their building for the kids' bouncer. She is more concerned about the danger of traffic on the street since they are planning to have activities on both sides of the street. Commissioner Cephas said his motion included closing Chesapeake Court from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm. There are no houses on Chesapeake Court. He doesn't think there is a concern about a fire. The houses are on School House Lane and they are not proposing to close School House Lane. Commissioner Brooks said in the event that someone gets sick at the event, the ambulance will be going down that street any way they can to pick up the person. They have done it in the past-even during parades. The people will be asked to step aside to allow the emergency vehicle through. Chief Malik said they deal with things like this all the time. Jerry Burroughs asked what they plan to do with the people drinking at all the other clubs and traffic coming across to their area. Liquor will be brought from one area to the other. The Allure representative said their security guards will be monitoring that. They will take and discard all open containers. She will do anything in her power to make sure it does not happen. The festival ends at 6:00 pm. Commissioner Cephas amended his motion to include a noise variance. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the amended motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Open Bids for Petroleum Products-Ed Kinnamon said the bids are for the City to purchase gasoline, diesel fuel and fuel oil for Fiscal Years 2008, 2009, and 2010. The bids were received from:

- Wise Oil and Fuel (Cambridge)

- Pep-Up (Cambridge)

- Wright Express (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for their review and recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Discussion and Decision on Cambridge Schoolhouse Association, LLC for a PUD (Planned Unit Development) Floating Zone for the Development Known As "Cambridge Schoolhouse", Located at the Corner of School and Mill Streets-Commissioner Sydnor said the City received a letter from Rob Collison and asked the letter be read into the record. Rob Collison said the letter was in response to some of the comments made during at the public hearing. Hubert Wright and Jane Devlin (on behalf of WECA) voiced concerns regarding the density, set-backs, access by public safety vehicles, and other issues. While Ms. Devlin is correct that the 1998 Comprehensive Plan does set a 2-acre lot size as a minimum, the Comprehensive Plan is not mandatory. It was designed to provide guidance. It is his recommendation that variances from the required set-backs not be granted, or if granted, that they be very minor. The single-family home at the very back of the project is located 7 feet from the rear lot lines. Ordinarily the minimum is 25 feet. To permit a 7-foot setback, in effect, grants a 72% variance, which in his opinion is far too high. That will probably result in one less house along the back alley. It would help eliminate the access problem to those homes in the far corner. At the last meeting, Chief Hurley indicted that there were some issues of access to that very back house. Rob Collison said he would be very surprised if the people living along Travers Streets would anticipate having a house built 7 feet from their lot. It would impact 3 or 4 houses on Travers Street. The 6 houses or so along the back had a 24-foot-wide access so there was no variance or if it was, it was minor. This one was rather substantial. Anne Roane said a variance was not actually requested. With PUD zoning, you do not need a variance. Rob Collison said if it was not in the form of a PUD, and you were putting a single-family home there, it would require a 25-foot setback. Anne Roane showed an aerial view of the distances from the existing structures along Choptank Avenue and Travers Street. The last house would be located 8 feet from the property line. The first structure is 35 feet back. There will be a 6-foot fence along the alley. Rob Collison said otherwise, all the single-family detached homes were consistent with the neighborhood. The PUD basically does away with all of the unit-by-unit setbacks. You approve it comprehensively. When reviewing the PUD, you have to look at the whole project and see if it fits and see if things need adjusting. If Council approves the PUD as presented, you are not granting a variance; however, in effect you are, because there are no specific setbacks within the PUD. Commissioner Sydnor said Planning and Zoning looked at this as a project. Rob Collison said they looked at it at least 3 or 4 times. It has been an evolutionary process. Commissioner Sydnor said there was a question concerning getting the fire apparatus in that particular area. He said that Chief Hurley said they could do it. Commissioner Sydnor said if Chief Hurley said he can get the trucks through there, he will accept that. Rob Collison said he believes Mr. Wright has spoken to Chief Hurley with regard to the turning radius off of School Street.

Rob Collison said Council received a letter from Lee Weldon, who lives across from the project. While he is strongly in favor of the project being developed, he is concerned about the number of dwelling units proposed for the property, particularly the single-family units. The 5-ft setback for the side yards will create a very crowded design. He recognizes that similar conditions exist on some nearby streets, but he fails to see how adding new homes with these narrow setbacks will benefit anyone but the developer. Given the low cost of the property when purchased, he can't see where there is an economic reason to include the extra units. A crowded and badly designed project will be more difficult to sell at premium prices. He is in favor of the Academy School being redeveloped with no more than 6 single-family units. More than this will have a negative impact on the neighborhood, the City, and the developer's bottom line.

Anne Roane said the setback between the units is 10 feet-not 5 feet. Rob Collison said he thinks Mr. Weldon is saying that if there are 10 feet between the houses, each house would have a 5-ft setback for a total of 10 feet clearance. Anne Roane said it is not divided into individual lots; it is a condominium ownership. The Planning Commission reviewed it and was aware of it.

Commissioner Sydnor asked to hear from someone on the Planning and Zoning Commission concerning the efforts they put forth with this project and what they have looked at. Jerry Burroughs, Planning and Zoning Chairman, introduced Marshall Rickert. Marshall Rickert outlined the process they followed and the considerations they weighed. This project has been before the Planning Commission 3 or 4 times. When it first came in, there were duplexes and the project was reviewed by the Planning Commission and the consensus that everybody had was that the development was too dense. The developer withdrew it. Another developer came in, starting meeting with the Planning Commission and with the Historic Preservation Commission, before there was anything for the Commission to consider. They presented some ideas on what may be acceptable density and how they would like to lay it out. That process resulted in a number of changes which, in his personal opinion, have made this a much better project. The density was lowered; single-family houses; the architecture of the houses was changed to make them more compatible with the houses in the neighborhood so that they come more close to matching those lovely old dwellings. The school building itself is being restored to its original outside appearance. The original property is being vastly improved in its appearance and restoration. A lot of work went into trying to reach a compromise on density that might meet most of the concerns of the neighborhood but also would make this project economically viable. He thinks the City Council has to be very careful when they consider reducing density to ensure that they don't reduce it or modify it to a point where it is not economically viable. If it is not economically viable, Mill Street will have an eyesore. When an old building in an historic area is redeveloped for modern use, and it is done in such a careful way, the end result is a huge plus for the community. His personal opinion is that this project has evolved into a model for the City as to a way to take an old property of no or very little economic value in the middle of a lovely historic area and make it into something that is an asset to the community. This is the kind of development that RUDAT has encouraged and that many, many investors here are doing. The Planning Commission worked very carefully on this. He knows the Historic Preservation Commission has also reviewed this project and had ideas and input into it before the final design was developed. He asked Council to consider that as they make their final decision.

Commissioner Sydnor asked if Council was going to be voting on the PUD. Rob Collison said, in essence, to approve the PUD, they approve the design that was presented. Commissioner Knox said the project has come a long way. It is a wonderful project and a very well thought out project. The engineering team has come a long way to reduce it. As Mr. Rickert said, it is a model-not only for the Mill Street and School Street area, but it will set the bar for our entire community on what we want. He is concerned about houses that are 10-feet apart from each other and now we will have one that is 8-feet from adjoining property lines. Even though they are not asking for a variance, maybe that is where a PUD makes things easier so you don't have to go with variances. If it is an easy avenue, then there may be quite possibly tons of people lining up at Planning and Zoning and DPW to get permits to do PUDs because they are easier as far as the variances. His personal feeling is that they are too close. They need to be spread out. Chief Hurley said he can get the fire truck in there, and he takes his word for it because that is what he does. It is his responsibility as Chief of Rescue Fire Company to make sure the accessibility is there. He is not questioning Chief Hurley's judgment. His concern is that they are too close. If one unit or an automobile catches on fire, the other one may very well catch on fire also. The houses on Choptank Avenue and Travers Street are close and if this project goes through, these houses will complement them, but it is a hazard. We have an opportunity to make one little minor correction to probably change that neighborhood as we go along. He believes there is one house too many in there particularly in light of the letter the City Attorney provided with the information on the setbacks being a 72% variance. If Council approves this, will they be setting the proper bar?

Rob Collison said this is Cambridge's first PUD under the new zoning. The intent of the PUD is to look at them on a case-by-case basis. Seldom do you get a PUD in 2 acres. It is usually designed something like the Hyatt or some larger parcel with a lot of mixed use. Where they are not quite meeting the 2-acre minimum, he thinks they should be sensitive to the issues on the location of those properties. It is a tight site. Each PUD is looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Commissioner Sydnor said just as his colleague said, Chief Hurley has the ability to make decisions, Planning and Zoning also has the ability to make decisions, and they come to Council with their recommendation. For Council to look at this in 15 or 20 minutes without any prior knowledge, they must consider the background work that they have done for the Council. He has been to several of the meetings. He is very surprised at Commissioner Knox because he was at the meetings and these issues should have arisen during that particular time before they approved the plans and made the recommendation to the Council and his input should have been there as the liaison. He asked why now and not then. Commissioner Knox, as he told their Chairman, said this project has been going on for quite some time. He does not have a vote on Planning and Zoning. In the 3 years he has been liaison, he believes he missed 3 meetings. As he stated during the last meeting, he has had time to look around at the property. He was there Saturday and has had time to think about this. He is one vote at Council and cannot vote at Planning and Zoning. He does not question the ability of our City Planner or any member of the Planning Commission. He always praises them. This is his opinion and he is entitled to his opinion. He feels it is too crowded with this house. The City Attorney has brought it to their attention.

Commissioner Brooks asked if it would kill the project if they eliminated one house. Sandy McAllister said they are prepared to address all the comments. The short answer is yes. If they reduce it by one unit, this project will be killed.

Commissioner Cephas said this is not the only project that Planning and Zoning has put a lot of effort into and was shot down. It is one of several. He said Commissioner Knox made an interesting statement that he doesn't have a vote at Planning and Zoning but he has one at the City Council meeting. The project has been going on for over 4 years. He visited the property with Commissioner Knox and they looked at it in detail. At one point the issue of 7 foot or 10 foot was not an issue at all. The setbacks were at least 25 or more feet at that time when they looked at the property. He went to the property 3 different times. He has a problem stretching his arms out and touching another property. If it is owned by the same person and the same particular development that is fine but when you have 2 separate property owners and you can reach out, he has a problem with that. He doesn't blame Planning and Zoning for what they did, but if you have gone out there the times he has gone out there, the issue of setbacks was not 5 or 7 feet, it was 25 feet or more. He has a major problem with the smaller setbacks. He hopes removing 1 house will not kill the project. He knows what they paid for the piece of property. With the amount of money that was spent on that piece of property, it was almost a gift. In good conscience and in good common sense he cannot vote for something where he can stretch his arms out and touch another property.

Commissioner Sydnor said he realized that Commissioner Knox does not have a vote on the Planning and Zoning Commission but he has the opportunity to give input. He knows that Planning and Zoning listens to his input realizing that he will vote somewhere on it. Commissioner Knox said he is not questioning the ability of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Chairman allows him to speak at the meeting. It is a privilege to be allowed to do it. He had time to think about this and make his decision. If he thought about it earlier or longer, he may have spoken about it. The Commission is doing a wonderful job and he was listening. The decision that he has arrived at has come afterwards. There are decisions that Planning and Zoning made that do not come before Council. There are decisions that they made where they say they do not like the plans and they have to come back. There are other plans that will be turned down, not only by City Council, but by Planning and Zoning as well. His decision in no way reflects in any wrong way to our Planning Commission. Commissioner Brooks said Council really needs Commissioner Knox to be Council's eyes and ears because they cannot attend every single meeting that takes place in the City. They really need him to give Council his opinion when things like this happen. This one she has been following. They all need to know what is going on so they can make an informed decision. Based on everything that she has read, Planning and Zoning is wonderful. Their recommendation is just what it is-a recommendation. It is up to Council to come up with the final decision once they have heard from everybody, not only Planning and Zoning, but everybody who is involved in this particular project and that would include our City attorney. Rob Collison said he realized at the last meeting that if this was not a PUD, the property owners along Travers Street would have gotten a certified mail notice that there is going to be a house 7 feet from their rear property line. When we do a PUD, they do not get that notice. When he realized they were going to be that close, that was his concern. Anne Roane said she reviewed it and she was completely aware of it. She felt it was appropriate and given all the details of the project, in the PUD and in the floating zone and looking at the whole picture from her professional opinion, her interpretation was that it was appropriate. In reviewing this project, there was a lot of time that went into it particularly because, while it is a small project, it is an infill project and there are a lot of considerations that have to be dealt with. One consideration was compatibility. She and Janice Henderson actually measured the setbacks. The recommendation from staff was based on as much as they completely understand this project. She was completely aware of the setbacks. She met with Chief Hurley prior to the submittal. They met with members of the community prior to the submittal. Rob Collison said they located the house to the back to create a courtyard effect. Anne Roane said they were not looking so much at density as they were looking at what was going to be a good design and a good infill project. Certainly density was a consideration but there are lots of considerations. The recommendation that came from staff that went to the Planning Commission was based on a fairly comprehensive and complete understanding of the project. She wants Council to know that before they make a decision.

Commissioner Sydnor said if this was not a PUD and they wanted to build 7 feet from the property line, then they would need a variance. Because this is a PUD, the 72% variance does not apply. Rob Collison said that is correct. If they required a variance, the adjoining property owners would be notified and they would have an opportunity to be heard. That is probably something we need to change in our process. Anne Roane said there are other steps in this process. If Council approves the PUD, it still has to proceed through the plan review process as regulated through the PUD ordinance. Rob Collison said once it is approved, there is not going to be anything through the Board of Appeals for the adjoining property owners to be heard.

Jerry Burroughs said as far as stretching your arms out and touching the neighbor's house, in the PUD, these people are planning on buying these houses just for that effect. When they approved the PUD as it was, it was working with developers and the community for over 4 years. They take pride in doing this for the City of Cambridge-not for themselves. Some of the people know the standards when they buy property and know what is next door to them and know they can stretch their hand out and touch their neighbor. That's not an issue. As far as the concern about fire trucks, the buildings will have sprinkler systems installed. Commissioner Brooks said she understands what the people who are buying the property will have and they know what they are getting. She asked them to consider the people who already reside there. Jerry Burroughs said this is a floating zone. It is a first-time PUD. Commissioner Brooks said they not only have to include the new residents that are going to be buying homes, but the people who have lived in their neighborhood for years. Jerry Burroughs said they can reach out and touch their neighbors right now. Commissioner Brooks said the people who live in that neighborhood deserve to continue to have the 25-ft setback. If eliminating one house will kill a project, it must not have been a great project to start with. Anne Roane said the 25-ft setback is a rear yard setback-not a side yard setback.

Commissioner Travers said he has talked to two of his appointees-one from Planning and Zoning and one from Historic Preservation Commission-and both gentlemen spoke very highly about this project. He is in favor of it because he relies on his appointments. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the project. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said he respects his colleague for having confidence in the people he appointed. He talked to the residents who voted. It wasn't a one-person appointment. It was masses of people who made decisions to put them in office and make the right decision. He doesn't disagree with the Commission for working long and hard. He applauds them for their hard work. In good conscience, he is not going to ignore the people who live in that area and they have lived there all their lives. They are accustomed to certain things and it is right. Because we are talking in terms of a PUD that allows you to limit the density and setbacks and ignore the people, it is not right in his opinion. Maybe the project is not right for that area. They can't continue to ignore the people who live in the City. Because Planning and Zoning makes a decision, does not mean it is the right decision. He respects their efforts. The issue is what is good for the residents of that particular area and for the City of Cambridge. People need to be mindful of their role when they are on committees. It is not to come to Council meetings and debate with Council. They present their facts and that is it. Council heard them loud and clear. Council heard the decisions they made at the Planning and Zoning meeting. If there is debate, he thinks it should come from the person in question. They have not said anything. He is wondering whose project it is. It makes him wonder.

Sandy McAllister said he did not receive a copy of the City Attorney's letter. He doesn't know what it says. He heard it tonight and understands it was discussed with Mr. Wright. He is not sure exactly what the process is anymore. He doesn't think there is a process. He thinks in the City it is more about opinion than process and that may not be wrong. He has been authorized by Mr. Macomber to make a few points. He is not sure it matters but he wants to supplement the record with Mr. Usab's written responses to some of the issues raised during the last meeting.  Density has been a principle part of this project from the beginning. It is in an NC3 zone. If you didn't do a PUD, the density permitted there would be 15 single-family homes within the site. Through the years that he and Ken Usab worked on the Blackwater project, they constantly were told by some of the people present tonight what they really need is to come into Cambridge because that is not Smart Growth with all those open space ideas. They need to come into town and do an adaptive reuse. After several years, when Mr. Usab approached him with this project, he called Mr. Macomber and told him he is very discouraged about the current environment coming off the Blackwater project and so personally he is not the guy he should hire unless they give him their absolute unequivocal assurance that they are going to be open-minded and work with the powers that be. There is a reason you have a unanimous recommendation of the Planning Commission and a unanimous recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission. They are not talking about a debate that occurred. They are talking about after 4 years finding that somebody says there might be some neighbors who might be surprised to find that this project is in their backyard. He doesn't think they will be surprised at all. He and his sister spent 9 hours on Sunday moving out of his uncle's house on Choptank Avenue which backs up to the Academy School project. Two neighbors on Choptank Avenue came over during the course of their move and he spoke to the buyer of his uncle's house today, and all three visitors were so enthused and wanted to hear about the project out of the very real belief that it is going to enhance their property values. He asked them to come to the Council meeting but they were unable to attend. The reason he did not want to respond to Commissioner Brooks' very appropriate question with a one shot answer is because you need to know why Mr. Macomber isn't prepared to move forward. He came to town with 29 units. He worked it down to 22 units. He was told he could not do more than 19 units and almost withdrew his application. They continued to work with the Planning Commission to try to make sense of this. Because of the quality of work that will be required to make the Academy School site viable, you can't make money on the school site alone. The only way this project made money was with the single-family units that would be available on the rest of the site. The problem with cutting units from the back end is that is where all the profit is. That is where the risk is. Beazer put in millions of dollars in infrastructure and now they cannot sell their units. Maybe they will some day. Whenever we talk about how much money someone is going to make, we never seem to factor in the risk. Mr. Macomber took a huge risk when he took the armory and turned it into the District Court. He also built the Social Services building.  He did the hospital out near the jail for the troubled youth. It wins awards. His fourth project is Academy School. You can look at his track record. He has proven he will go the extra mile to make it an asset to the community. The reason they have individual townhouses with those small side yards is because they got clear direction that they had to mirror Choptank Avenue. When he grew up on Willis Street he was 10 feet from his neighbors. If you are going to do an adaptive reuse and you are going to direct developers to take the risk in town, the idea is you have to think differently. They thought this PUD might work. If they go back to NC3, they have at least the potential to building 15 single-family homes. They can take their 12-unit complex and turn it into 15 units. Mr. Macomber called him and told him to tell Council thank you very much but they are not going to take the risk in this soft market. They will fix the fence so it is not a danger and wait for the City to issue notices to cut the weeds. Sandy McAllister said he thinks it is a wonderful project. He took it because he is so proud of it. He went to school there. The whole neighborhood could use this infusion. He thinks the people who are opposed always start by saying it is a wonderful project but... That is why he started by saying we do not have a process; it is all about opinion. He learned for the first time tonight that the General Counsel to the Planning and Zoning Commission, in fact, has some problems. He has never heard them until this evening. He thought that after 4 years they probably had a pretty good handle on the concerns that ought to have been raised over the process. They were not. Mr. Weldon's letter is dated today. He thinks they should build 6 units. Someone else suggested 11 units. The difference in cars and traffic between 11 units and 12 units is meaningless. It seems to be an esthetic decision. They tried to talk about fire safety but nobody can really challenge the conclusion of the Fire Chief. It isn't about fire and safety. It is about people who seem to think it looks great; they just wish it was one less unit. That one less unit is the $200,000, $300,000, or $400,000 in profit that makes it worth the risk. When it went from 19, to 15, and then down to 12 that is what he was told. He knows the hope is that they will withdraw it, redesign it, and come back and say they feel the City's pain but they cannot. He doesn't want anybody to vote not knowing that isn't going to happen. What he wants Council to think about, and nobody disagrees with Commissioner Cephas' assertion that the buck stops here, the buck does stop here, but like every executive, you have to factor into your decision the hours and years that go into making the kind of presentation that comes to Council at this point. There is always going to be somebody at the night you vote who gives their opinion on a way to tweak it that they think would be good. The process has to have some validity. He thinks it sends a very clear message to clients who come to this town that if they work collectively with the citizens, neighbors, Historic Preservation Commission, and the Planning Commission the fact is they can't depend on getting a favorable outcome no matter how unanimous they have gotten every single step of the way. It makes the process very challenging. He wants to work with the City to bring a project that makes sense. They are told to find developers who will do infill adaptive reuse. Their conclusion is that they cannot do it in Cambridge.  The developer has made compromise after compromise. He is going to ask Council to make a compromise and he thinks it is the first time they asked the City. The PUD is so they can do an adaptive reuse. The Council should eliminate it if it is going to concern them that using a PUD avoids variances. Every single variance was put on a cover sheet to the Planning Commission and identified at the beginning of the process.

Rob Collison said it is below the minimum requirement of 2 acres. Then you have one improvement with an 8-ft setback. None of those property owners received notice with regard to that. He agrees that with a PUD you don't have to go back on a unit-by-unit basis for setbacks. Maybe the property owners along Travers Street don't care. If Council is basing it on his opinion with regard to the Travers Street property owners' feeling, they can defer it. They were never given a notice and that is what has to be corrected in the PUD. If it wasn't a PUD, they would have been given notice and could have appeared or not appeared at the Board of Appeals hearing on the variances. Sandy McAllister said half of the people tonight say that they are hearing from their constituents and Rob Collison is explaining how they ought to be concerned that these same constituents don't have any notice. Rob Collison said they are different people. He doesn't think anyone present is a resident of Travers Street who will have a house 7 feet from their rear line. The only notice in the paper was that there was a work session / public hearing at Planning and Zoning regarding a PUD at the Academy School site. That is something that needs to be corrected in the PUD. That is what he was bringing to light. The decision can be deferred and they can contact the residents to see if they have any concerns. Sandy McAllister said if they are going to discuss the notice, he would like to request that applicants get equal opportunity to review letters to Council before they are distributed to an opponent to the project. They are not requesting a deferment. They are not requesting a reconsideration. They are completely satisfied that whatever City Council wants to do but Commissioner Brooks was appropriate to make it crystal clear just so they know the context within what they are voting. He thinks it is a shame. He appreciates their time.

Mayor Rippons said the motion made was to approve the PUD / Floating Zone for the development known as Cambridge School House. The motion was denied with Commissioners Knox, Brooks, and Cephas opposed and Commissioners Travers and Sydnor for the PUD.

Discussion and Decision on Text Amendments to the City of Cambridge Zoning Ordinance Concerning: Additional Uses Permitted in the I-1 Zone, Supplemental Use Regulations, Basic Definitions and Accessory Uses-Rob Collison said the Council held a public hearing at the last City Council meeting. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the text amendments as presented by the Planning and Zoning Department. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Discussion and Decision on Request By Vincent And Barbara Youmens to Rezone 3.39± Acres Located on the Corner of Greenwood and Cosby Avenue, Currently Zoned R-1, Rezone To R-3-Rob Collison said the public hearing on this item was held during the last City Council meeting. He believes the applicant made a strong case for a mistake in the last comprehensive zoning. Previous to the 2003 zoning code it was R-4.  Chad Mulkus, representing the applicant, said he is unaware whether Anne Roane contacted the consultant. His clients requested that Council table any further discussion or motion until the next hearing. They are listening to comments from the community. He has been approached by several people regarding the property. His clients wish to have a little more time to listen to more of the comments. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to table the vote. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Chad Malkus asked that the vote be taken at the next City Council meeting.


Request from The Pine Street Committee to Block Off the 600 Block of Pine Street From Cross Street to Cedar Street, a Variance from the Noise Ordinance, Street Sweeping, and Two Trash Receptacles on Wednesday, July 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for their Carnival Day-Chief Malik said it was fine. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Dorchester Arts Center to Have High Street Closed from Court Lane to Long Wharf on Sunday, September 23, 2007 Between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for Dorchester Showcase and Also a Variance from the Noise Ordinance-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Brooks Creek (714 Meadow Avenue) for a Handicap Parking Space at the Right Hand Facing Corner of Their New Curbing-Commissioner Brooks made a motion to refer the request to the Traffic and Safety Committee. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Schooner Association and the Richardson Maritime Museum for Permission to Use Long Wharf from Tuesday, October 16th to Monday, October 22nd, a Noise Variance for Saturday, October 20th from Noon Until 8:00 pm and a City-Contribution of $1,500 for the Second Annual Schooner Rendezvous-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the use of Long Wharf from Tuesday, October 16th to Monday, October 22nd and a noise variance for Saturday, October 20th from noon until 8:00 pm. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. The request for a financial contribution was tabled.

Amended Fee Schedule-Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the amended fee schedule. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 957 - John W. Tieder - Traffic Controller and Cabinet for Gay and Muse Streets - $7,500PO 4445 - Global - Large Format Printer - $3,170.99 - Sole Source Provider - Designed to Work With CPD Software/Equipment (Grant Funds) PO 4432 - Hitchens Tire Service - Encumber Funds for Maryland State Contract 262-76 - $3,053.76 for RFC-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve Purchase Orders 957, 4445, and 4432. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

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


Rob Collison reported that Council met at 6:00 pm in an Executive Session regarding personnel matters.

Commissioner Knox said numerous people have asked him about the status of the fountain at Long Wharf. Greg LeBlanc said the Department of Public Works is getting prices on redesigning it. They hope to have the information to Council for the next meeting. Commissioner Knox said he thought Council appropriated money in the last budget for the new fountain itself and the re-lining of it. Greg LeBlanc said the money was appropriated. When they went to get it rehabbed they didn't think it was enough. Aqua Pools was the original person they contacted. They will be able to do it for that same price but they were doing some research into the history of the fountain and making sure they weren't upsetting any historical monument.

Commissioner Knox said he spent a lot of time at the marina. They did an excellent job in the construction. His compliments go to them as well as the Department of Public Works. He commended Chief Malik, CPD, and CEMS on the fine job they did with the Triathlon. Everything moved really smoothly.

Commissioner Knox congratulated Commissioner Sydnor for 39.9 years of dedication to the Dorchester County education system and all the students he put up with - good or bad.

Commissioner Sydnor asked Jane Devlin to give a RUDAT update. Jane Devlin said representatives will be arriving tonight. On Tuesday they have a full panel of interviews and again on Wednesday. On Wednesday there will be a public wrap-up session from 11:00 am until noon. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Ed Kinnamon said George Hyde submitted a letter to Council regarding the lead abatement inspections. None of the inspectors are familiar with the inspection procedure and he is asking that Ms. Johnson's group perform the inspections.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request from Mr. Hyde to allow on the onset, Ms. Johnson and her organization to take care of the inspections. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion.  He said he thinks they will do the initial inspections until our inspectors are brought up to speed.  Ed Kinnamon said there is no need for them to come to the meeting next week. The motion passed unanimously.

Chief Malik said a small Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) has been awarded to Cambridge. As part of the process they have to announce it in a public meeting. It is for $11,213. They are required to split it with Dorchester County. Of the $11,213, the City will receive $5,606.50. Commissioner Brooks asked why the County gets half of the funds. Chief Malik said there was a committee formed 4 or 5 years ago. Through some type of political process, the County became involved. The government said the City has to come to an agreement with the County or nobody gets anything.  Mayor Rippons said the Cambridge Police Department found the grant, completed all the paperwork, had it successful year after year, then they were told it had to go through the County. CPD continues to do all the work but if they want the County to sign it, they have to give the County half.  Commissioner Brooks asked what JAG funds can be used for. Chief Malik said the funds are targeted for foot patrol downtown. The County will use their funds for a community safety program.

Commissioner Brooks said the Baltimore Sun had an article where the Baltimore City Fire Department had spent $250,000 that they received in credits on equipment that they had bought over the years. They are in trouble for not putting this money into the City's pot of money. She asked if Cambridge gets credits. Ed Kinnamon said he is not familiar with the name of the company that was supplying breathing apparatus. Perhaps that vendor offers some type of credit program. Commissioner Brooks asked Ed Kinnamon to look into the company because if they could get $250,000 worth of credit to continue to buy equipment throughout the years, that is something Cambridge might want to consider. She thinks that vendor could do us justice.

An unidentified gentleman said a truck has hit the light on the corner of Spring and High Street and it is askew enough that if you come up Church Street going toward Gay Street it is hard to tell if it is a red or green light. Greg LeBlanc said he will look at it.

Jane Devlin asked Greg LeBlanc if they were talking about replacing the water works or the entire fountain. Greg LeBlanc said it would include a whole new 40‑ft basin. It would be a different looking fountain completely. It will have a new wall that people can sit on.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said there has been garbage on School House Lane for 2 weeks. The garbage trucks have been on the street but they have not removed the garbage.

Roger Worthington said he is the Commodore of the Schooner Association. He thanked Council for letting them have the event and informed them that the people were really impressed with Council's attendance at the crab and chicken feast and with the overall reception they got from Cambridge. The vessel, Virginia, will come to Cambridge for the first time. The Mystic Whaler, a 130-ft boat, will visit us also. Rides will be available. The program is moving along better than they expected this year. They hold the City will consider the $1500 donation.

Talibah Chikwendu, Daily Banner, said during the April 23rd meeting, Commissioner Knox requested information regarding the disposition of the public safety building, why it was taking so long, an audit on who was asking for changes, etc. She asked if he ever received the information and if he can tell her what it was. Commissioner Knox said he has not received any of that information. It was discussed in executive session this evening. There is a meeting planned for next Monday at 6:00 pm so Council can receive a briefing on all those matters. Rob Collison said if Council is there to review the performance, the meeting will be closed. If it is just budgetary updates, it will be open. Commissioner Knox said the meeting will be to review job performance so the meeting will be closed. Talibah Chikwendu asked when the information will be available to the public. She asked who she could contact to get information on exactly why the building is now scheduled to be entered at least at this time, one year late. Commissioner Knox said he would like Council to have the executive session to discuss these other topics and then at the same time hopefully they can give a report to the public.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:45 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, June 11, 2007, insofar as I personally am aware.


                                                                                    Edwin C. Kinnamon

                                                                                    Clerk & Treasurer