• 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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P&Z Minutes

May 5, 2015

Planning & Zoning Commission


May 5, 2015

The Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Cambridge met on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland.

Commissioners in Attendance: Jerry Burroughs, Chairman; William Craig, Vice-Chair; Hubert Trego, Chan’Tay Nelson, Marshall Rickert, Eugene Lauer and Mary Losty

Others in attendance included: LaSara Kinser, City Planner Assistant; Robert S. Collison, City Attorney; Frank Cooke, City Council Liaison and Oden Wheeler, DPW Director

Mr. Burroughs started the meeting with greetings and a moment of silence.  He wanted to address the members of the Board and to let everyone know that the Spicer’s sign is now down.


  1. Ms. Kia Quails is requesting to open a home day-care center at 406 Boundary Avenue.

Ms. Kinser spoke that Ms. Quails wants to open a day-care, the property is zoned as NC-2 and there are 7,650 square feet of property land area and 5,685 square feet of useable outdoor recreation space.  When the house, garage and shed are factored in, the front yard is subtracted, the proposed recreation area will be the rear yard, which does not have a current buffer from the neighboring yards. Ms. Quails is proposing to have up to seven children in her care.

Ms. Kia Quails has been taking classes since February 2015.   The fire marshal has also been to the home and the documents are with her and Ms. Marilyn Treiber has a copy.  She will provide a copy from the fire marshal to the DPW Planning Dept.

Mr. Collison spoke that the UDC section4.2.3 Standard for Conditional & Special Exception Uses, A:  Residential Uses, 5: Day Care, Home

g. The applicant shall have two hundred (200) square feet of usable outdoor recreation area for each child that may use this space at any time. Such usable outdoor recreation area shall be identified on the site plan and shall be sufficiently buffered from adjacent residential areas. Usable outdoor recreation areas shall be limited to the side and rear yard of the property.

h. The area of the property shall contain no less than 1,000 square feet per individual that may use the center at any one time.

This does appear to meet the minimum requirements.

Mr. Trego recused himself from vote or participates in the discussion.  He removed himself from the room.

Questions asked about this issue were:

Ø Do you plan to buffer from her neighbors yards?

Already has fencing on left side and rear of yard and will put one on the right side once she opens the day-care.

Ø Trampoline in the back yard.

It is for her son and the Fire Marshal stated that the day-care kids could not use it.

Ø Ms. Marilyn Treiber is from the Office of Child Care in Easton, for the State of Maryland.  Ms. Treiber stated to her that they normally require a fence and she came to look at her property and said that it was not needed.

Ø The age of the children?   The ages would range from 2 years to 9 years.

Ø Does Maryland requirement that if the children were outside does a worker need to be out there?  Ms. Quails commented that yes they need to be watched at all times.

Mr. Craig responded if it is not specified in the UDC that a fence is required and it if obvious that this Commission seems to think that it very important, are we willing to approve this application with the condition on construction of a fence within a year or six months of the opening of her day-care, so she can get going and make some money to buy a fence.  Most of the members agreed.

A motion that we approve this application with the condition on the fence being built to close in the back yard no later than six months after opening of the day care was made by Mr. Craig and seconded by Ms. Nelson. All approve and motion carried.

She needs to contact Ms. Kinser at DPW, when she is licensed and when she is going to open her business, so we can set the time for the fencing.

  1. Arby’s application to redesign the exterior of the building.

Ms. Kinser spoke that this project is to paint, siding and brick, as well as replacing the metal banner.

Mr. Chris Walter from Terra Development General Contractor, 34662 St. George Road, Delmar, DE.   He plans to renovate from the specs given to him by the franchise owner.  He spoke to the Commission of the plans and describes the exterior.  Arby’s send them the specs to the franchise owners and they are to get it renovated.   The signage will be a separate permit from the renovation of the building and will be a separate case.

Mr. Lauer asked how this falls under the new UDC. Design Standards

Discussion on this item was:  (Arby’s is the parcel that does not extend past the curbing of the parking lot.)

v Landscaping around the property.

v Colors wanting to be put onto the building need to be more subdued.

v Would like to have all four sides of the building photo’d as it is today and then again have all sides depicted visually how the building sits on the site, where the signage maybe and improved landscaping.

v This is prominently on Route #50 that we need to have a complete set of drawing. With more specifics with the building showing the landscaping.

This item is not approved and will be tabled to the June 2nd meeting.

  1. Christ Rock Church restoration project.

Ms. Nelson recused herself from this discussion about Christ Rock Church.

Michael Dowling, architect for this project, he is from Annapolis.  He is to complete the construction and design documents for the second phase of the restoration of the Christ Rock Church.

The project’s first phase was to restore the exterior; he is to do restore the interior of the church to its 1870’s and to reconstruct the fellowship hall.  The drawing he has was presented at this meeting.

Discussion about this item:

v property and archeology of the area.

v pictures for the interior of the church.

v fellowship hall to be constructed on the property.

v parking area from the front to the side of the building.  Mr. Dowling will take that to his group and talked about landscaping buffer from neighbors.

v ramps for access for all the buildings.  Mr. Dowling spoke that the ramps are for access to the church which is not active, but a museum and the fellowship hall.

v Hopes this will promote more tourism to come to Cambridge and other areas dealing with historic events and plances.


  • UDC language regarding pools and their requisite fencing.

UDC Nov. 3, 2014

Article 5  Dimensional Requirements and Standards for Lots

Section 5.1.3  Accessory Building / Structure Requirements

C. Accessory Swimming Pools

Accessory swimming pools, may occupy a required rear yard only, provided that they are not located closer than ten feet to the principal dwelling, side property line, a rear property lot line, and any other accessory structure located on the premises.

1. A walk space at least three feet wide shall be provided between pool walls and protective fences or barrier walls.

2. Every swimming pool shall be protected by a safety fence or barrier approved by the Zoning Official.

Questions brought up on this issue were:

Ø Where are the requirements coming from for the stipulation for fencing?

Ø Does the State of Maryland not require a fence for a permit to run a day-care?

Ø What do insurance companies require for pools?

Dorchester County requires a four foot fence around a permanent pool unless the pool is 200 feet away from the property lines.  If you are within 50 feet of the neighbor, then you have to fence in your pool.

A pool that is above ground and has stairs that lock, you may not need a fence round it.

DPW Permit Dept. has been requesting that all pools needed to have a minimum of four foot fencing round them.  The question lately is we are requiring a four foot fence around a four foot pool and we are struggling with them.  There are no guidelines about how far the four foot fence should be away from the pool.  If someone puts up a four foot fence a foot away from the four foot high pool, it causes a climbing hazard that allows someone to climb into a pool.  If you have a four foot above-ground pool with smooth sides that could not be climbed and the ladder could be put up and locked and you kept the filter six feet away from the side of the pool, then they would not have to put a fence around it.  We are getting a lot of temporary pool and they are three foot tall, Mr. Wheeler thinks they should be fenced.

Mr. Trego responded that we have been using the four foot guidelines for a number of years and we also require it around storm water ponds and others.  It should be with the permits to be able to put “the pool that it must be fenced”.

Mr. Collison commented that if we say that any in-ground pool or above ground pool that is four feet or less shall require fencing and if four feet or more that is not a smooth surface shall have the locking stairs and etc.

  • Department of Public Works – Code Enforcement

Mr. Wheeler is here to answer any questions we may have.

Questions asked about this issue were:

Ø Who exactly does what in the City and what channels it goes through?

Ø We have MDIA (Middle Department Inspection Agency) which is contracted by the City doing some things and then there is Mr. Parks that does other items.

Ø Who receives the complaints and which one gets what?

Ø How about a zoning case, like a temporary sign, which takes care of that?

Ø Is everything by complaint or is there pro-active code enforcement as it relates to zoning and others?

Ø Do we have a housing code?

Mr. Wheeler explains to this Commission that MDIA is paid $75 per notice, which covers from the time they send the initial order and then till an issuance of either compliance or the first citation.

If the City issues a citation, we wait seven to ten days and do a follow up inspection and if it is compliant, then it is closed out and no more charges.  If it is not in compliance, then we have to issue another citation, then we (City) will get another $75 fee.  Most cases our citations are $100 and after that is about $1,000, then we following the seven to ten day rule.  Our basis is, if it will cost the owner $7,000 to make repairs, we are not going to issue a large fine.  When the goes to court after the fines have not been paid and if the property owner shows up, then the Judge will make the decision on our citations.

If DPW has to do any work on a private property, like board a window or door opening, cut the grass or clean the area, we will send our invoice to the property owner and if it not paid we attach it to the property like a tax lean.

Mr. Collison spoke that Mr. Todd Parks speaks and represents the City if anything goes to court and not a representative of MDIA.  All citations are signed by Mr. Parks and if he is on vacation then Mr. Wheeler will sign the citations.

Ø Is there a code for grass cutting and it being blown into the street?  Mr. Wheeler commented that there is an ordinance about cutting grass.

Ø Vacant homes or lots, how are they handled.  Mr. Wheeler comments that if it is rubbish and we may get a compliant or Mr. Parks may spot it.  If it is grass (six inches maximum), then  we send a notice about cutting the grass, in which they have seven days to do that, before we re-inspect.  If it has not been cut, DPW has a crew that just these abatements and we will invoice the property owner.  $100 administration fee, plus per hour for equipment and labor, our minimum bill for one hour is around $325.      If it is just rubbish, we will clean it up and we will invoice to property owner for that as well.

Mr. Wheeler explained that MDIA:  Agent Mark Adams

  1. New Construction, renovations or other and inspections.  If someone comes to get a permit such as a sign, fence, renovation, electrical, plumbing and etc.  We enforce all the International Building Codes for residential, commercial and so forth.  MDIA does not handle fire issues; the State Fire Marshall handles that along with the City Fire Chief.
  2. When you get a permit, we issue a copy of it to MDIA.
  3. If you submit drawings with a permit, MDIA reviews them sometimes before they sign off on the permit.
  4. Owners, contractors or others whom get the permit has the responsibility to call at least 48 hours to notify MDIA when they need an inspection.  Then the inspection is scheduled and then the property is inspected.  If it passes, then MDIA fills out a form and gives a copy of it to the person on site and a copy to our Permit Dept.
  5. After all has passed with MDIA, then our office will sign a Certificate of Occupancy.

MDIA with property maintenance (residential and commercial):  Agent Hal Davis

  1. He inspects around town or by call, he has the right to inspect neighborhoods at will.  Example sidewalks, retaining walls, homes, yards and etc.
  2. Mr. Parks and Mr. Davis both update Mr. Wheeler on all issues, because they both have issues that deal with the City.
  3. If a complaint come into DPW office and we feel that MDIA needs to handle it, Mr. Parks will make that decision.
  4. We do not tell them where to do, they patrol the whole City.

DPW monitors all of MDIA activities so we know what we are being billed for.  We also monitor there sensibility.    Such as, if a property is listed as Dorchester County, DPW will handle it and not MDIA, because if something is written up then we know we will not get paid for it.  If that occurs, MDIA will have to credit those $75 fees.  We check all invoices that come from MDIA either the Permit Dept. or Code Enforcement Dept.

If a vehicle does not have a current registration, tags or is not disassembled, then it will be citation.  Some people cover their cars and if they are actively using it or repairing it, then we will not act on it.

If someone is working without a permit posted, then a stop work order is issued.  If there was no permit issued before the work started then the permit fee is doubled.   Some contractors have been put on a list and if they have violated this more than twice in one year, then their fees are tripled.

A suggestion was made to put an emergency number for after hours and weekends if there is a report of violations around town.  Can it be put on the phone message and website?  Can you rotate Code Enforcement officers?  Mr. Wheeler explained that there should be something on phone system for DPW and MUC to call the police department and CPD has a phone list to contact the DPW and MUC personnel.

Mr. Wheeler explained the Zoning Dept.:  Planning Department

  1. If there is a complaint, like a sign or other, Planning Department handles all the zoning ordinances.
  2. Temporary signage, like scissor signs or banners is handled by this department.
  3. Special Exceptions or conditions and etc.
  4. Planning personnel are doing the code enforcement only for zoning.

  • VA Clinic, Jail and Marshy Hope and others non-conforming in the industrial zone.

We need to make a text amendment to make them compliant in the new UDC.  These properties where subject to the 2003 Code and they should be granted that they are under continued use and they are legal non-conformance in the industrial zone.   The owners of the property of the VA Clinic are asking for a granted letter.   If the owners sale the property, then the new owners of the building will be under the new UDC and could not open the same type of business.

  • Standard P&Z Application for small cases

Ms. Kinser asked the Commission if we could make a standard application for issues like the day-care so she would know what is needed for this group and other issues.  Mr. Craig and Mr. Rickert will help with this process.


P&Z Jan. 6th minutes and there was a motion from Mr. Rickert to approve and seconded by Mr. Lauer.  All approve.

P&Z Feb. 3rd to be approved and seconded by seconded by Ms. Nelson.  All approved.

P&Z March 3rd; It should state in the minutes that there was an executive session before the meeting pertaining to personnel matters.  Mr. Craig motioned to approve the P&Z March 3rd with the condition to correct the minutes for the executive session and seconded by Mr. Trego.  All approved.

Ms. Losty motioned to approve the minutes of P&Z April 7th was seconded by Ms. Nelson.  All approved.


Nomination for Chairman to William Craig. Motion by Mr. Rickert and seconded by Mr. Lauer.  All approved.

Nomination for Vice-Chairman to Marshall Rickert.  Motion by Mr. Lauer and seconded by Ms. Losty.  All approved.

The new officers will take their new stations at the next P&Z meeting, June 2nd.

Short executive session requested by Mr. Lauer to have Ms. Losty responded to the issue from the last meeting given to her to follow up on.

Mr. Wheeler spoke about the forms from City Hall (Ms. Kathy Foster) to used, if they are having  an executive session and they do need to have minutes, but not for public record.

Next regular meeting will be on Tuesday, June 2nd.

Mr. Burroughs asked for a motion to close the meeting.  A motion to close by Mr. Trego and seconded by Ms. Nelson.  All Approved.

Respectfully submitted,


Ms. Michal Dixon, DPW Secretary