• 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 23, 2007

Cambridge Maryland SealMINUTES

Council Meeting

July 23, 2007


The City Council met in regular session on Monday, July 23, 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.

Oden Wheeler 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 July 16, 2007 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.


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 Beginning at 7:00 pm for an Old Fashion Tent Revival and to Request a Noise Variance for Their Gospel Services-Sister Beverly said they travel the East Coast doing tent revivals. They provide their own security. Bishop Cornish is their partner and has invited them to Cambridge. Sister Beverly said that Kathy Foster told her they would have to contact the Health Department about their regulations if they were going to serve food. Their initial intent for the meals-on-wheels was just for the crusade team. They have been doing this for 26 years. People, for instance the homeless, have been so use to seeing their tent go up that they want to come in to eat. Other people would come in to eat and they would allow them to eat for a donation. The revivals will be from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Their initial idea was to ask permission to have the revivals for 30 days. They think they would do a better job if it runs for 30 days. She put 2 weeks in the letter because she was under the impression that someone else was going to do a tent revival in that spot. Mayor Rippons asked that their security department speak to the Cambridge Police Department to apprise them of who is on site and to give them a phone contact. Sister Beverly said she will get her building permit and check with Kathy Foster as far as the other necessary requirements. Mayor Rippons said Mr. Wheeler will require a copy of the insurance certificate naming the City of Cambridge. The City will provide a hold-harmless agreement. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request for permission to use the City-owned lot on the corner of Race and Cedar Streets during the first 2 weeks in August and a noise variance each day from 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said if the citizens in the area have a problem with the event, the Council may have to revisit it again. The motion was approved unanimously.

Pastor Anthony Dickerson and Evangelist LaTonya Bromwell, Greater Mount Olive Full Gospel Church (601 Douglas Street) for Permission to Hold Their Annual Tent Revival on August 8th, 9th, and 10th from 7:00 pm Until 10:00 pm and a Noise Variance-Evangelist LaTonya Bromwell asked if they could extend the event to August 11th and then hold their church service on August 12th from 11:00 pm until 2:00 pm. She invited everyone to come to their youth tent revival. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Update from Sailwinds Park Management Board-Carlton Stanley, Chairman of the Management Board, gave Council a copy of their updated financial reports, and long- and short-term statements from 2005, 2006, and 2007 (up to July 22nd). He received a call on Saturday in reference to the Sailwinds Park Management Board wanting him to give a statement on the status of the Management Board since the City Council had taken it over. He made it very clear to them that his report will go to City Council, and the reporter should get the information from City Council. Commissioner Brooks said on the profit and loss statements for 2005, 2006, and up to June 2007, when you leave off from one year and go to the next year, the balance is not carried over. Carlton Stanley said it is. Commissioner Brooks said it does not carry the net income over. It gives a balance at the end of 2006 of $17,107 but there is nowhere in the report for 2006 that shows where the balance was carried over from 2005. Commissioner Knox made a motion to turn these documents over to the finance committee so they can review them with the person who prepared the report. He is a bit skeptical with the numbers. They can then report back to Council. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Knox asked how many members on the Management Board. Carlton Stanley said presently they have 12 members. Their bylaws require them to have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 members. Commissioner Knox said he has an article where Sailwinds is advertising for an Executive Director. The advertisement is very vague with what is being required. Troy Hill said one of the reasons it was pretty vague was because they wanted a lot of people to apply for this job so they could interview everybody. He did not want to scare anybody away because there is an article called "the blog" and they don't get a lot of good press from this blog. There is a lot of hearsay on it. He didn't want people to apply for the job and take into consideration what has been put on the blog. They might not have gotten a qualified applicant or someone whose heart and sole was coming in and doing the job that needs to be done. He wanted the people to come in with an open mind. They have been successful. All the applications will be going to the Executive Board for their review.

Commissioner Knox asked if any members of the Management Board are aware of the Memorandum of Understanding that the Board has with the City of Cambridge. Commissioner Knox said Item 5 states that Sailwinds shall provide to the City, on a monthly basis, a written summary in a form suitable for public press release briefly outlining the events, activities, improvements, and renovations that have occurred during the prior month and which are proposed for the upcoming month. The only time he knows what is going on is when he reads the marquee. Item 6 states that Sailwinds shall provide to the City, on at least a quarterly basis, a profit/loss statement showing all revenues received and all expenditures incurred during the reporting period. He only recalls seeing 3 quarterly financial reports in the past 3 years. Troy Hill apologized on behalf of the Management Board. He also asked Council to take into consideration that a lot of the Board members and the person who handles their finances are volunteers. They have full-time jobs. It is hard to get everybody together when they have full-time jobs. He will try his best to meet with the Board and make sure everything is up-to-date and make sure Council gets all the reports. Some of the volunteers are also on other Boards. Dates and times do slip by them. Commissioner Knox said he understands that. He means no disrespect to Troy Hill, Carlton Stanley, or any of the Board members. It is just that the document is a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Sailwinds Park Management Board. He has a full-time job himself but he manages to juggle both his jobs. It is a matter of procedure. He would like to see the communication link improve. He thinks they are doing a wonderful job. It seems that most of the time when Council receives information from the Board, it is because people from the audience or people on the street have complained. Carlton Stanley said sometimes it gets very frustrating. He started on the Board 6 years ago, chose to stay, and when he got frustrated and wanted to leave, he was asked to stay-all because of the City of Cambridge. The folks who do not participate do not understand the difficulty they have had in the past 2 to 3 years with getting acts. Lee Ann Womak was here 2 years ago and after she left here, she received 5 Grammy Awards and Sailwinds lost $14,000 on the show. When he started on the Board, Pepsi was giving them $15,000 in January which covered the first 6 months. They have cut that out. Up until 3 years ago, they were being sponsored with $60,000 for advertising. They do not have any of that now. When they lost their advertising, they lost their clientele. The records at Sailwinds Park will show you that 93% of the participants are not local people. They are from outside of Dorchester County. They attracted people from outside of Maryland because of the advertising they had. Troy Hill said to answer Council's question about what is going on at Sailwinds Park and the community coming in and asking what is going on-nothing is really going on because the advertising dollars and the funding are no longer there. They have a couple of shows now and then. There are a lot of private events like weddings, company events, etc. The venue is not sitting idle. There is a lot of local activity. Commissioner Knox asked for communication like a memo once a month telling Council what is going on. He never questioned Carlton Stanley's or Troy Hill's devotion.

Commissioner Cephas asked if Sailwinds was making a profit when they were receiving their advertising donations. Carlton Stanley said of course they were. He asked if anyone remembers the condition of the exterior of the grounds 6 years ago. They should look at it now. Just last week, 4 Board Members were walking around the building and got real disgusted with the grounds and 2 Board Members took $150 out of the pockets and hired a gentleman to beautify the outside and managed to find a source to donate $140 worth of mulch. This goes on and on and on. Monies are very tight. When he first went on the Board 6 years with Ray Simmons and Ted Creighton, they set up every chair and table with the help of their families. After each event, they took them down, cleaned the place up, and carried the trash out. Now they have to pay somebody. To challenge what Sailwinds is doing, and not getting the volunteers that they need, could just about make him take off. Nobody understands and nobody sees and nobody knows how much time he personally puts in at Sailwinds night and day, how much money out of his pocket that he pays to hire somebody to do something, and how much equipment he carried down there to make sure things look good. He asked everyone to volunteer to help them or drop them a note to ask them to get something done. That is what they need. The communication line is great. It is very simple to e‑mail the Council to let them know what is going on. Sometimes a show will come through because it is being cancelled elsewhere. Sometimes it happens only 3 weeks in advance. Commissioner Knox asked if Sailwinds was submitting for in-kind services from the City. Carlton Stanley said he didn't want to go there. Neither the City nor the County has any dollars in their budget for direct operations of Sailwinds Park. This year they did not get donations from any of their usual foundations. The Mayor challenges him to raise money. Commissioner Knox said the agreement states that if Sailwinds requests in-kind services from the Department of Public Works, they can get granted if available. Carlton Stanley said DPW does remarkable work at Sailwinds. They never say no. That is one entity from the whole community. To be successful, they are working their fingers to the bone. For those who are hoping and wishing that they will go under, he thinks they need to drop back and take another look. It is not going anywhere. Commissioner Knox said he doesn't doubt their success.


Decision on RFP for MUC Building on High Street-Rob Collison reported that in June, Council held a public comment session on the excess properties. They determined that 312-314 High Street would be excess property. He asked how specific they want to be on their RFP. He prepared an RFP similar to the one they did for the Race and Cedar Streets property. With this being an existing structure that would have to comply with the Historic Preservation Commission guidelines, he is not sure Council would care about the potential intended use. They may wish to just request sealed bids for the purchase of the property. They would have certain conditions on it which would be made public in the request for bids. One would be that they would not obtain occupancy until MUC vacates the building which he assumes will be near the end of this year. Mayor Rippons said he believes the document not only should have a provision for remuneration, but it should have the ultimate end because this may come into play. If someone is going to come in to do economic development or something that benefits the community at large, there may be special consideration given to them. Rob Collison said it would be a sealed bid process with an indication of their intended use of the structure. If all the bids are lower than what they feel is the fair market value, they could reject them and schedule a public auction. Council said they would like to know the intended use of the building.

Traffic and Safety Committee Report-Commissioner Brooks reported that the Traffic and Safety Committee met on July 19th to discuss the following issues:

- Request for addition of two traffic signs at the intersection of Bayly and Peachblossom Avenues and additional signs on Peachblossom to stop eastbound and westbound traffic-The Committee recommends approval of this request.

- Mr. Robinson of Brooks Creek, Inc. requested a designated handicapped parking space be provided in front of Brooks Creek, located at 714 Meadow Avenue-The Committee recommends approval of this request.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the two requests. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

- Request to permanently lock the Cornish Park playground at the end of Wright Street and to place "no parking" signs at the end of Wright Street-

Commissioner Brooks said placing "no parking" signs at the end of Wright Street is o.k.; however, to permanently lock the Cornish Park playground without consulting with the Cornish Park Committee is inappropriate. She requested that the Traffic and Safety Committee meet with and invite the Cornish Park Committee so they can discuss the concerns they have and come up with a suggestion that will alleviate the problem that the residents have. Commissioner Brooks made a motion that the Traffic and Safety Committee meet with the Cornish Park Committee. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Commissioner Brooks said they will continue to lock the gate as they now do until further notice. The motion passed unanimously.

Council received a request regarding traffic on East Appleby Avenue. 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 Seafood Feastival Committee for a Noise Variance for Saturday, August 11th from 1:00 pm Until 6:00 pm; Trash Pick-Up; and Police Patrols at Sailwinds Park-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from the Dorchester American Legion Sons, Squadron #91 for a Noise Variance for Their Outdoor Program at Their Post Home at 601 Radiance Drive on Saturday, August 18th from 4:30 pm Until 9:30 pm- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Cambridge Police Department for Noise Variance for "National Night Out" to be Held at the Dorchester County Pool on August 7th from 6:00 pm Until 9:00 pm-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Youth Ministry of St. Paul's United Methodist Church (205 Maryland Avenue) to Block Off Alley for Their Block Party on Thursday, August 23rd from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and Noise Variance-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Proposal and Discussion to Increase the Impact Fee by $750 per Dwelling Unit-Rob Collison said there was some discussion on this in April concerning the funding and financing of a fire boat which has been deferred. If Council wishes to proceed with this, they would need to delineate which of the categories they would allocate (water, sewer, public safety, etc.). Mayor Rippons said he believes the consideration was public safety. Commissioner Sydnor said it was separate from the fire boat issue. Mayor Rippons said the current impact fee is $4500; therefore, the new total will be $5,250. The maximum the City can assess is $9,500. Commissioner Sydnor said he believes Easton is one of those towns that has increased their fee. Rob Collison said he does not know the total. Their sewer connection for commercial structures is $24,000 and the water connection is $17,000 totaling $41,000. Commissioner Brooks asked if it would help the City with the skate park if they were to put some of the $750 toward parks and recreation. Mayor Rippons said the contemplation would have to be that any impact fee must involve a capital project that shows justification predicated on the usage of the new people coming in. The onus would fall on the City to stipulate to the fact that because everybody new is moving in, that is why they need it. If they review the records and find that the City has been discussing this matter for an elongated time, they would say the park was predicated for the residents already there. The City may be able to allocate a percentage of the total park cost if they could perceive that 25% of that was for new residents. Rob Collison said if Council wishes to proceed with this, he will draft a resolution that will be introduced at a later date. Council decided to move forward. Commissioner Sydnor said he would like a portion to go to recreation and parks. With the number of homes that have been built and with the number of families that are coming here, he thinks it would be justified. Commissioner Brooks suggested $250 for parks and recreation and $500 for public safety. Mayor Rippons said that is large consideration. Rob Collison suggested that no more than $100 for parks and recreation. When he prepares the resolution, he will show the maximum the consultant stated the City is justified to charge to allocate to parks and recreation, what is currently going to parks and recreation, and likewise with public safety. Council can then adjust it. The initial draft will be $100 for parks and recreation and $650 for public safety. Commissioner Sydnor suggested $150 for parks and reaction and $600 for public safety. Mayor Rippons said Rob Collison could just draft the document and leave those two figures nebulous for Council's consideration.

Approve PO 984 - Pep-Up - Diesel Fuel and Gasoline for Marina - $40,485.04-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked if this item went out for bid. Oden Wheeler said he contacted the two local dealers in town and got a price for delivery the day he wanted it done. Commissioner Knox said the City went out for bid for the card system. He asked if it would have been logical to go to bid for this as well. Oden Wheeler said essentially he did. He called the only two dealers in this area that could do it. Mayor Rippons said Council approved the bid document for delivery of fuel about 6 weeks ago. Further contemplation would be that Council approved Wise Oil and Fuel. Mayor Rippons said technically they are not legally required to go through that with bidding because it is not capital equipment. When it is not capital equipment, they get phone quotes. Commissioner Sydnor said then they can assume that the other bid was higher than this one. Oden Wheeler said it was higher. The motion passed unanimously.


Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to discuss personnel and legal matters. Commissioner Knox made a motion to move into executive session immediately following the meeting to discuss personnel. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Rob Collison said Council received a request from Ryan Showalter who represents the developers for the Mill Street School project. They requested another public hearing on the project for Council's reconsideration. Council originally denied the project 3:2 as presented. Council's options would be to do nothing and leave the record as it is; grant them a second public hearing and another vote; or they can reconsider it based on the evidence that was presented.

Council Cephas said he doesn't see the need for another public hearing on the same matter unless he has revised it. Rob Collison said he inquired and told the developer if they lower the density somewhat, there may be a favorable vote. They said they wished to keep the number the same and have another public hearing. Nothing in the Code prohibits it but there are some provisions that if you apply to Planning and Zoning for a certain approval and it is denied, you must wait one year. That is not in the PUD sections but it doesn't entitle them as a matter of rights. It is within Council's discretion if they wish to give them a second public hearing. Mayor Rippons said Steve Johnson had subsequent meetings with the applicant and there were some considerations that they talked about. Steve Johnson said he met with them and suggested that they consider several changes to their proposal but has not heard back from them. Rob Collison said if they are changing their plan, Planning and Zoning would have to see it first and it would come back to Council because it is a new plan. Steve Johnson said that is the discussion they had. Commissioner Knox said then Council's decision remains the same. Rob Collison confirmed that Council is not inclined to grant a second public hearing on the exact same plan. Commissioner Sydnor said if the plans remain the same, no action will be taken.

Rob Collison said Council received a letter requesting the abandonment of a paper street that is the end of Killarney Road. He asked if Council wished him to proceed with the advertising on this request. The small section of property runs from Radiance Drive out to the river. When these have been done in the past, the City has reserved a right-of-way for utilities. He will work with Steve Johnson, and if there is no need to retain it, he will proceed with the advertising.

Commissioner Knox thanked everyone for coming to the meeting. He thanked Steve Johnson and the Department of Pubic Works for finally having the full roll-off replaced in front of 808 Travers Street. He asked to speak to Chief Malik after the meeting.

Commissioner Sydnor thanked the citizens who called him and visited him concerning the article that was in the Daily Banner today. He appreciates the whole-heartiness of each of them. He realizes where this information has instigated from. His Council members are aware of it also.

Commissioner Brooks said on Washington Street there was a deceased person found. She thinks there was a fire in an abandoned old factory. Apparently it is being used as a homeless shelter. Steve Johnson said it might be the old Coca-Cola plant. Commissioner Brooks agreed and said she is still getting complaints from citizens in that area that are stating that they constantly see homeless people coming in and out of the facility and they believe they are using fire for various reasons. She saw a gentleman with about 10 bags of what appeared to be clothing sitting in front with the door open. The building is directly in front of Dorchester Avenue. The young lady is asking that the police and DPW do some type of an investigation to either board it up or contact the owners to have it boarded up. Their fear is that another fire may spread to other houses within the neighborhood. Steve Johnson said the properties were boarded up Thursday of last week. Commissioner Brooks said the door was wide open this week. Chief Malik said there is some confusion. Mr. Johnson is talking about the old Coca-Cola building and Commissioner Brooks is speaking about the warehouse fire. Chief Malik said they will look at it. Steve Johnson said the owners of the Coca-Cola plant are going to court in August. The City is taking action to have the properties torn down. He had them boarded up last Thursday. With regard to the property at 20 Washington Street, again, he is working with Counsel to have some more effective measures to bring compliance. They are also looking at the expiration of the demolition order on that property and any action they can take to have that building torn down. Rob Collison said the owner was sent a demolition notice following the fire. That period has just expired. Now the City is sending out a notice advising that the City with undertake the demolition. Steve Johnson said it is a very expensive demolition. The way he wants to proceed is so it doesn't cost the City, and the expense is borne through the benefit of the project because it is a large metal building. Scrap prices are high right now. They have not worked out the details yet but they are making sure that parcel is taken care of. Commissioner Brooks said the individual also told her that the Salvation Army homeless shelter will be shut down for a couple of weeks. If that is true, people have no where else to go. There are no other shelters in the City except DCDC which is only for men. Chief Malik said it will be shut down for a couple of weeks to do repairs.

Commissioner Brooks said at one of their previous Council meetings with the passing of the new budget and also in preparation for the possible new Council that may come in next year, there was a unanimous decision that an audit be conducted by an independent group with all aspects under the umbrella of the City. Commissioner Brooks made a motion that the City Clerk-Treasurer give copies of the previous proposal submitted to the City and the RFP submitted by the City of our current auditor that we have right now. She would like those copies to be turned over to our Finance Committee and the President of the City Council. She would like the documents this week. They have found three auditors. Two of them are recommended by the Maryland Municipal League. They have stated that these two firms be looked into. In order for the Finance Committee and the President to meet to come up with the best auditor to pick, they really need to see what the City previously used in their proposal and their RFP. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Mayor Rippons said he would like to see for his personal edification, the information from MML that Commissioner Brooks referenced at the Council meeting. She had stated that this is a procedure. Mayor Rippons said he has made several contacts and he found nobody who audits the auditor. He would like to see the reference Commissioner Brooks is using. Commissioner Brooks said if he wants something in writing, he can refer to the April MML magazine. In that it will tell you that an auditor should be changed every 2 years and it should be independent of what we currently are using. Mayor Rippons said when we change auditors, they are independent. They cannot come back and re-bid. He cannot find anybody at MML who would attest to recommending what Commissioner Brooks stated. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Travers thanked Mr. Johnson for the great job he is doing at the Department of Public Works.

Mr. Wheeler said Council received a letter today from residents on Radiance Drive. Mayor Rippons said Rob Collison addressed this earlier.

Timothy Saunders, Allen Street, said last week the Council gave permission for a dance group to practice on his street. He thinks it was mis-represented to Council. He and several other neighbors have called the police about the noise. He has a neighbor with cancer and one with lupus. He tried to explain to his neighbors that they don't need the dance group because you have 10 to 15 girls and 5 or 6 boys running through their property. Several people have vehicles. He asked who is going to take care of the vehicles because they cannot control the kids. He thinks they came and said it was only 6 at the dance group. The streets are jammed up. They don't have respect to get out of the street. He and his neighbors are long-time residents. The street was completely quiet until now. He has signatures of 6 people who do not want it on the street. There are 10 houses on the street, 2 vacant houses, and you have a dance group at Cornish Park. They could practice at Maces Lane in the field. His wife is a nurse and doesn't want to hear the music when she gets home from work. One neighbor has to turn her TV up. That is uncalled for. His opinion is that they should take the dance group somewhere else-not in the middle of his street.

Commissioner Cephas asked if the lady in charge of the group lives near Mr. Saunders. He said she lives right beside him. He talked to her yesterday. Allen Street has been quite for 20 years and he doesn't want it to change. Commissioner Sydnor said he spoke to 4 of the residents on Allen Street. One resident signed the petition with yes and no. He didn't want to make waves. Two other residents were not informed at all. Another resident signed against it. At least 4 people had checked both yes and no. It was his understanding that they came to get a permit and once they had the permit, they would begin. He has learned that this has been going on for some time now. Council was not informed about the police reports that had been filed. He thinks with the number of youth that they have, it would be more conducive to find a better location such as Sojourner Douglass or possibly or Cornish Park. He will be glad to work with them on this issue.

Anya King, Allen Street, said the dance group belongs to her. The Groove City Dymondz appeared with her. Right now there are only 5 girls. These girls dance to music that is played on a boom box. They are not in the street; they are in her driveway. Her driveway is between her house and her friend's house. She spoke to the woman who has cancer and the woman said if they move the girls into the driveway, and turn the music down so she cannot hear it, it was fine. Mr. Saunders is not giving the girls a chance to prove themselves that they are eligible teenage woman that are trying to up bring in the black community. He is putting them down every time. She brought the music with her to play for Council. Mayor Rippons said the music is not in question. However, the amplitude of the music may be an issue. Rob Collison said Anya King requested a variance from the City's noise law. The noise regulations state that a noise is excessive if you can hear it more 50 feet from your property line-no matter what the music is. Anya King asked to exceed that. If the music can be heard more than 50 feet from her property line, she is in violation of the City's noise ordinance. The Council gave her a variance from that provided there were no complaints and the neighbors seemed to be in agreement from the representation she provided at the hearing for the variance. Now Council is hearing that there is a number of residents that want Council to rescind that variance which would mean that they could still meet but the music cannot be heard more than 50 feet from property line. Anya King said they have no problem with that. If Mr. Saunders had come to them, they would have turned the music down. They are in her driveway. They are not in his yard or in the middle of the street. Mayor Rippons asked about the prior calls placed to the police department. Anya King said she mentioned in her letter to the City that calls had been made to the police department. The police officer told her that if she got a noise variance, they would not get a $100 fine. The police have only been to her residence 3 times. The first time they asked her to turn the music down. The second time she turned the music all the way down. The third time the police officer asked her if she was granted a noise variance yet. She told them she was on the Agenda for July 16 and they have not had practice until today when they practiced for 30 minutes. Mr. Saunders said this has been going on for 4 months. They don't have 6 girls-they have 10 or 15 girls and a whole bunch of boys. Today it was only 6 girls. Anya King said it has been 6 girls since June. All the adult girls are on vacation. Commissioner Brooks said she was not at the meeting last week. If Council voted and said they could have a noise variance and now the neighbors are saying it is causing a disturbance to them, then Council has to look at what they voted for and hopefully make some suggestions like the ones made earlier. Allen Street is a tiny street so it will not be hard to exceed 50 feet with a boom box or a hand-held radio. They have to be fair to everybody else living on the street as well as fair to the young ladies that are trying to advance in their career as young dancers. She thinks it would only be fair to take another look at the noise variance based on the complaint that they have received tonight. Anya King said if they move the group to Cornish Park, they do not have an electric outlet to plug in their boom box. Sojourner Douglass would be great if they could use the cafeteria area. There are also two dance groups that are in the community that they are competing against and they are not trying to cause commotion between the dance groups. Commissioner Brooks asked if they could use a car adaptor or batteries for the boom box. Anya King said it was possible. Commissioner Knox asked if Anya King said they had been dancing since June. Anya King said they have been dancing since March 1st. Commissioner Knox said Council just gave them a noise variance last week. Commissioner Brooks said it sounds like they were not aware they needed a noise variance. Once the police made them aware of the rules, they applied for the variance. Commissioner Knox said when the police visited them on June 4th, they were most likely notified then that they must have a noise variance. Anya King said she was notified and the next day, June 5th, she came down, put her application in, and wrote a letter. She got put off twice because the City Council did not have a meeting. The lady called her the day before the meeting and told her the meeting was cancelled. She could not make the next meeting because her son had surgery. She had to wait until June 16th to get her noise variance. She complied with the City's regulations by supplying a letter and a petition of the four streets. Mr. Saunders said she got responses from people who do not live on her street. This has been going on for a while. Rob Collison said because Council is making an exception to our current law, he thinks when Council receives a complaint, the variance should be rescinded. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to rescind the noise variance. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Portia Johnson-Ennels said she listened to what they had to say. She would prefer that Council not ask her to practice at Sojourner. Sojourner has glasses in their parking area. She doesn't want it in her neighborhood. She managed a marching group. Until the entire neighborhood agreed that the kids could practice their music, they did not do anything. They found a lot of different places. There are a lot of elderly people with health problems near Sojourner Douglass College. What she probably needs is a building-not outside because sound travels. Commissioner Cephas said other dance groups in the City use buildings. Anya King said one group uses the playground on Cornish Drive. They have drums. The other group is in Allure with their drums. She only has 5 or 6 girls. The motion passed unanimously. Rob Collison stated that when they find a new location, there will be another public comment session for that location. They have to come back.

Floretta Williams said she just purchased a home on Schoolhouse Lane. She is requesting a noise variance for Saturday, August 4th, from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm. She is having a bridal shower for a lady she works with. She will have 40 to 50 people in her backyard. Her music will be heard more than 50 feet from her property line. Mayor Rippons said the other people who come for noise variances have their item put on the agenda so it is published in the newspaper. This gives other residents a chance to voice their opinion. Rob Collison said if the police department does not receive any complaints, he doubts they will go out there if there is not a variance granted. He suggested that she talk to her neighbors and advise them what she is doing. Hopefully they will not complain about it and the police will not have to be called. They only respond if there are calls from neighbors. He suggested that she ask her neighbors to call her if the music gets too loud. Then she can turn it down.

Portia Johnson-Ennels thanked Commissioner Sydnor and Steve Johnson for helping them last Wednesday. They had some problems getting the street cleaned.

Sharon Guzman, Wright Street, asked if she could be present at the meeting of the Traffic and Safety Committee and the Cornish Park Task Force. She would like to tell them about her experiences living on Wright Street before the gate was locked and now. She thanked DPW for putting the "no parking" signs at the end of Wright Street.

Lee Weldon, Mill Street, thanked the police department for doing an effective job in teaching the DARE program. He and his son had ice cream at a local establishment and his son said that he could smell marijuana. He noticed it himself. It must have been coming from the house across the street where there was a lot of foot traffic going in and out. Chief Malik suggested that anyone with a concern call the police department. It is hard to combat a crime that has already been addressed in a public meeting.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:38 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, July 23, 2007, insofar as I personally am aware.


                                                                                    Oden C. Wheeler, Jr.

                                                                                    Administrative Coordinator