• 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

July 16, 2007

Cambridge Maryland SealMINUTES

Council Meeting

July 16, 2007

 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, July 16, 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, and Travers.

Oden Wheeler led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 18, 2007 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.   

APPOINTMENTS

Representative from Groove City Dymondz to Request a Noise Variance for Their Practice Sessions During the Summer - 6:00 pm Until 8:00 pm and During the School Year from 4:00 pm Until 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday at 802 Allen Street-Anya King, leader of the Grove City Dymondz, said the participants are between the ages of 5 of 18. She is trying to enhance the community by giving the children something to do after school and during their summer break.  Their dance group has won prizes in competitions and parades. Chief Malik said it is fine with them as long as the community is o.k. with it.  Ms. King sent a petition around the neighborhood asking if the residents were for or against the program. She presented the petition to Council a week before the meeting so they could review it.  The senior citizens in the area watch them practice.  No children are on the street after 8:00 p.m.  The day before a parade they would like to practice from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.  During the school year they will practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  Commissioner Knox asked if Ms. King was making sure the children are keeping up with their studies. Ms. King said their rules stipulate that the children must have their homework done before coming to practice.  They have to show her their interims.  If they do not have a C average in school, she will put them on probation and they have to bring their homework to practice so she can help them with it after practice. She goes out to the school to check on the kids as well.  Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request for a probationary period to see if there is any consideration from the community. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Mark Robbins to Discuss and Present Petition Regarding Traffic Problems with Speeding on Bayly Avenue-Mayor Rippons asked that the petition be sent to the Traffic and Safety Committee for their review. Mr. Robbins requested unmarked police cars be present in the area until the Committee meets. Chief Malik agreed to this request. Mr. Robbins is asking for a 4-way stop.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to refer the request to the Traffic and Safety Committee.  Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked that the meeting be expedited. He asked for the Committee's recommendation for the next Council meeting. The motion passed 4:0.

Sister Beverly, Program Coordinator, Holy Tabernacle Born Again Faith, Inc., Foundation for Feeding Hungry Children, to Request the Use of City's Lot on Corner of Race and Cedar Streets During the First Two Weeks of August for an Old Fashion Tent Revival and to Request a Noise Variance for Their Gospel Services-Nobody was present to speak. This item will be discussed at the next Council meeting.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Award Bid for Petroleum Products-Mr. Wheeler's recommendation is to award the bid for the fuel card system to Wright Express (Exxon Mobil), the low bidder. They have two locations in Cambridge. Commissioner Knox made a motion to award the contract to Wright Express. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Discussion and Decision on Waiver of Impact Fees in the Cambridge City-Center Target Investment Zone-Rob Collison said the request was for a 5-year period to jump-start the revitalization.  They are talking about rehabilitation of existing structures for increasing or creating residential units in structures that were previously commercial or warehouses.  There are two types of impact fees that can hit a property owner.  In the case of Brett Summers who is creating 7 new residential units, he is getting hit with both fees.  He will have to pay 7 times the impact fee of $4500 and he is increasing his water line for the restaurant and the possibly the apartments, which is an additional $13,500.  One of Council's options would be to create a waiver of all of the fees no matter what happens in existing structures in the City-Center Target Investment Zone.  They may have 5 to 10 buildings that are conducive to any type of major rehabilitation.  Council could also break it down and waive the impact fee for any residential units that are created but if the owner has to upgrade their line, Council will still apply that fee.  They could also waive the fee on the line but not on the residential units.   Rob Collision suggested waving all of it if Council is trying to maximize the mixed use downtown.  It coincides with the Arts and Entertainment District.  Mayor Rippons suggested that rather than waiving the fees for 5 years, that Council waive it for 1 or 2 years and then review it.  Commissioner Knox said empty buildings don't create taxes. Council needs to create incentives to help downtown continue to move forward.  He suggested cutting the temporary waiver back from 5 to 3 years. He suggested creating a temporary renovation/restoration abatement plan which waives the impact fees for any new residential uses created within the district, but imposes the fees if a larger water line would be needed going into the building for a different type of commercial use.  For example, in Brett Summers' case, it would waive the $31,500 fee but impose the $13,500 fee because of the water line.  The City would be giving incentives but at the same time allowing fees to go into our coffers. Commissioner Knox made a motion to accept the option he just recommended for 3 years. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion.  Commissioner Cephas asked what Commissioner Knox is proposing after the 3 years are over. Mayor Rippons said Main Street could then make a recommendation to Council. Commissioner Sydnor asked if there are any other areas in Cambridge that are Target Investment Zones. Mayor Rippons said this request is specific to the City-Center TIZ.  Rob Collison said there are two other TIZs. One is Sailwinds and the Richardson Museum was just approved.  He suggested including in the motion that the abatement is for the City-Center TIZ. If the zone is amended or expanded, it would apply to that area also.  Portia Johnson-Ennels said the 600 block of Pine Street is included in Main Street. She asked if that was included.  Brett Summers said the City-Center TIZ is a defined area. It is Race Street, Poplar Street, High Street, and wraps around Academy Street, Gay Street, and Muir Street.  Portia Johnson-Ennels said they should not say Main Street because they are not including Pine Street which is a part of Main Street.  Commissioner Knox said Pine Street is not currently in the TIZ.   Rob Collison said as Council's basis to waive the impact fees, he thinks it makes sense to tie it to the TIZ. When Pine Street comes into the TIZ, his recommendation would be to connect it to the City-Center Zone; therefore, this abatement will apply there.  Brett Summers said he doesn't think Pine Street would be affected by the waiver of the impact fee because the buildings are smaller on Pine Street so he doesn't think they would have to upgrade the water line.  It is the larger buildings downtown that are facing this. Portia Johnson-Ennels said Council should not assume that, because you never know what may happen.  Commissioner Knox said Council has the luxury of creating that portion of Cambridge or any other portion of Cambridge into a Target Investment Zone whenever Council deems it necessary. The motion passed 4:0.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from New Life Christian Church and Ministries for a Noise Variance on Saturday, July 28th, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm for a Community Day Event Outside Their Church at 928 Phillips Street-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 970 - Andrews, Miller & Associates, Inc. - Engineering Consultants Services - Great Marsh Park Boat Ramp Engineering Study (Design) -$16,000 - (FY 2007 Encumbrance)-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  Commissioner Knox asked exactly what is going to be taking place at Great Marsh.  Mayor Rippons said there is some structural damage to the ramp.  There is also a silting issue they are looking at.  Commissioner Knox said the ramp is in the wrong place and the problem will continue as long as the ramp is there.  It should be on a protected side.  The motion passed 4:0.

Approve the Following Purchase Orders:

PO 971 - Open Vendor - Engineering Consultants Services - Great Marsh Park Boat Ramp Engineering Study (Construction) - $81,500 (FY 2007 Encumbrance)

PO 969 - Dissen & Juhn Corporation/Coastal Design & Construction, Inc. - Marina Expansion - $638,797.05 (FY 2007 Encumbrance)

PO 4453 - Motorola - Maintenance Agreement for Dispatch Operator/Control Positions/Stations - $16,597.68

PO 4454 - Fireworks Productions, Inc. - Final Payment on July 4th, 2007 Fireworks Display

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the purchase orders. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Budget Amendments for Department of Public Works- Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Budget Amendment from Clerk/Treasurer-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Financial Report for May 2007-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the financial report for May 2007. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay-Hyatt would like to use Great Marsh Park for the 5th Anniversary event on August 29th from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm.  They would like permission to have a beer truck in the park, use the power, use the water, and to post a large sign on the property. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion.  Rob Collison said they will be signing the same hold harmless agreement that the City uses for other events and will provide proof of insurance.  They will be required to obtain a liquor license.  The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison reported that Council met in executive session at 6:00 pm to consider personnel matters as well as legal matters.

Commissioner Knox thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

Commissioner Sydnor said several meetings ago, Council discussed increasing the impact fees by $750.  He thought Council approved that increase.  It was prior to the budget approval.  Rob Collison said he will review the meeting minutes.

Commissioner Cephas said there is a light out on the corner of Chesapeake Court and High Street.

Mayor Rippons recognized former City Commissioner Lawrence Bohlen who attended the meeting as an employee of LIGIT, the insurance carrier for the City.

Sharon Guzman, a resident of Wright Street, said they have called the police several times to report drug activity.  Even though the park is closed at 10:00 pm and prohibits dogs, there are always people there with dangerous dogs running around.  There are not many children going down their street to the park.  Now the fence gate is chained closed.  This has decreased the foot traffic.  They would like to see the fence permanently closed.  There are two other entrances to the park.  The sign at the end of the street says it is a "no outlet" street.  They would also like to see a "no parking" sign placed at the end of the street.  Eventually there will be houses built on the two empty lots.  Mayor Rippons asked Chief Malik to discuss this with the Traffic and Safety Committee.  Commissioner Sydnor said this issue came to Council's attention when the houses on Wright Street were under construction. Council decided to close the fence temporarily to try to cut down on the vandalism.  Several other pieces of property will be developed so they need to look into permanently closing the fence.  Once the street if fully developed, there will not be enough room to turn around in the street without going into someone's yard.  Chief Malik said he agrees with Ms. Guzman. Mayor Rippons asked Chief Malik and Steve Johnson to look at the issue with the fence and make a recommendation to Council.

Jane Devlin said the farmers' market will start on Thursday.  They hope to have it every Thursday through October from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.  A section of the parking lot will be sectioned off at 2:30 pm to allow the vendors to set up.  She will talk to Breeze Away so they do not have any cars in that area. At this time, they have between 5 and 7 vendors coming in on Thursday.  By October they should have 10 vendors.

Portia Johnson-Ennels spoke on behalf of the Pine Street Committee. She invited the Mayor and Commissioners to attend their family night on August 13th at 6:30 pm.  The meal and program usually last for 2 hours.

Wendell Foxwell asked about the status of Sailwinds Park.  Mr. Simmons used to come to Council to give an update on bank funds and expenses. Nobody has recently given a report on profit and loss.  There is a rumor around town that they are in the hole.  Mayor Rippons said the financial statements are provided on a quarterly basis. Carlton Stanley is the Chairman.  He suggested that Mr. Foxwell contact Mr. Stanley.  Mr. Foxwell asked Mayor Rippons to have Mr. Stanley come before Council to take to the public.

Wendell Foxwell said he saw in the newspaper that the Fire Marshal has settled the issue of the fire in Norris Taylor's warehouse on Washington Street.  He asked when it will be cleaned up.  Mayor Rippons said Mr. Johnson will look into it with his property maintenance officials.

Wendell Foxwell said there are 2 boarded up houses on Cedar Street.  He asked if they were sold. The house by the cemetery was up for demolition a few months ago.  It had signs on the doors but now it is boarded up.  Mayor Rippons said he is not aware that it has been sold.  Mr. Johnson will look into this also.  Mr. Foxwell said there is another boarded-up house between Hubbard's Pharmacy and Academy Street.

Wendell Foxwell asked about the status of the lighthouse at Long Wharf.  Mayor Rippons said they are waiting for the final permitting from the Corps of Engineers. Everything else has been approved.  This is an elongated process which is the last step before the construction. 

Wendell Foxwell asked about the proposed construction on Commerce Street and if it is under litigation.  Rob Collison said there is a pending appeal in Circuit Court on the approval of the final plans.

Wendell Foxwell said two children drowned in stormwater management ponds a few months ago.  Council recommended signs. He asked if anything has been done on this.  Commissioner Knox said the City is now requiring tiers or steps into the ponds.  Mayor Rippons said you would have an elongated walk. 

Wendell Foxwell said Academy Street is included in Main Street. The old shirt factory building has been sold but it seems like the person has been taking their time fixing it up. When property is sold, the City should stipulate how long the buyer has to repair the property.  The building is an eyesore.  Parts of the roof are still off.  Rob Collison said he thinks the newly-adopted International Building and Property Maintenance Code addresses that.  There are some changes to the Code that provides that the owner of a boarded-up property must apply for a building permit within 90 days of the boarding-up occurring.  Steve Johnson said they are working on putting a limit on the time to make sure it gets done.  It must be back up to Code by a specified time.  If not, there will be a significant per-day fine until it is up to Code or demolished.  The ordinance will come before Council for approval.

Wendell Foxwell said the flowers in front of the bridge really look good.  A unidentified gentleman in the audience said Cambridge Main Street paid for the flowers.

Rob Collison said the Department of Public Works has issued numerous citations on the old Coca-Cola plant. It is scheduled for court in August.  Portia Johnson-Ennels said there are two houses that border on the Coca-Cola property.  Steve Johnson said the houses also belong to the people who own the Coca-Cola plant.  They are taking the individual to court.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 7:45 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, July 16, 2007, insofar as I personally am aware.

                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                    Oden C. Wheeler, Jr.

                                                                                    Administrative Coordinator