• 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 10, 2006

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, July 10, 2006 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 June 19, 2006 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 23, 2006 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARING

Proposed Abandonment of Road Bed of a Portion of Eutaw Street Between Governors Avenue and Goldsborough Avenue-The public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on June 30, and July 7, 2006. Rob Collison said several weeks ago Mr. Kinnamon received correspondence from several property owners seeking the Council's abandonment of a section of Eutaw Street. Council will hear testimony on whether or not this road bed will ever be needed by the City. If not, Council would deem it to be unnecessary property and not needed for a public purpose. They can then abandon that roadbed. They do not have title to the property. It is shown as a paper street. To his knowledge, there has never been a deed of dedication to the City. The City has never maintained it or improved it. He suggested that Council have the public hearing and leave the record open. They could render their decision on abandonment on July 24th.

David Pritchett said DPW reviewed the paper street. They foresee no possible use in the future for the paper street. There are no main utilities down the line. The neighbors who live in that area have maintained it for many, many years. They believe the logical thing to do is to turn it over to the appropriate land owners. Photographs of the area were presented to Council.

Nobody from the public wished to speak. Mayor Rippons said the public hearing will be held open for written testimony which will be accepted until 4:00 pm on July 24th.

PROCLAMATION

Oden Wheeler read a proclamation honoring Ryan Killough, Emergency Medical Services Provider of the Year in the State of Maryland. Through Ryan's expertise, his training team has trained over 850 citizens in CPR and AED operations. AEDs have been placed in all Dorchester County public schools and in most police cars through the City and the County. Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Ryan Killough. Chief Bill Watkins said he is extremely proud of this program. Ryan has done an excellent job over the years. It started out as a City program and rapidly grew to a County program. Ryan Killough said he is thankful. It is great working with the community and hopefully they will save lives through the program. He thanked the Mayor, Commissioners, and Bill Watkins for their support in letting the program happen.

APPOINTMENTS

Jane Devlin to Discuss R/UDAT Implementation Team Liaison-Jane Devlin said as the R/UDAT process moves forward with implementation, Commissioner Sydnor has agreed to be the liaison.

Representative from Community Service Providers to Discuss Cooling Stations-Victoria Stanley, a representative from the Dorchester County Department of Social Services, introduced Tonya Newton and Gloria Cornish. They represent the Dorchester County Community Service Providers. It is a coalition of religious, public, and public service agencies who work together to identify and address the needs of our community. The group worked to develop the cold weather shelter that we have in Cambridge. They have also identified that severe high index weather can also be a danger to the homeless or those who are exposed to high temperatures for any length of time. After discussion in this group and examination of various locations, they are requesting that a cooling station be the project for the City. They hope that City Council Chambers will be open on the days when the heat index is expected to reach 100 degrees or greater. It would not be an everyday occurrence. It would only be when the emergency management director would alert them that the temperature would reach 100 degrees for any length of time or between 95 and 105 degrees on any one day. The doors would be open on those particular days, including the weekend, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. which is considered the heat of the day by Mr. Wayne Robinson. Local organizations have volunteered to monitor the building during its use to ensure that the property of the City will be used as an appropriate haven from the heat. Each organization has agreed to monitor the site for one week each so they would have some continuity for the nine weeks that the station would be in use. If approved, a cooling station would open effective Monday, July 17th through Friday, September 15th. It would also be a good haven for tourists who would have need for shelter when they are walking up and down the streets.

Commissioner Brooks said she spoke with some of the other Council members, Rob Collison, and Chief Malik. There were some concerns. She asked if the public library next door could be considered. It is open those same hours and has reading material, newspaper, etc., and also access to water and ice from downstairs. Rob Collison was concerned about liability issues. He questioned the type of supervision that will be provided. It is his understanding that the City is not going to be providing any supervision during those hours. Mr. Wheeler will check with LGIT, the City's insurer, as to the issues that may need to be addressed. His concern is possible injuries and equipment damage. Victoria Stanley said supervision is provided. Out of the nine weeks, so far they have four organizations that have come forth to say they would be responsible to monitor those who would be using the facility. The monitors would make sure that people would come in quietly, knowing that the library would be a place to go for a break from just sitting quietly. Lt. Herring was with them this morning when they made their final plans for this presentation. Because of their experience with CPD with their cold weather shelter, it is already known that though they cannot have a police officer stationed here at the building; however, they are a phone call away for any kind of support in case someone is unruly. Mayor Rippons asked if they have looked at the option of using the library. Victoria Stanley said they have not. This was one of the options that was presented to them. If it is the decision of the Council, they will have to find an alternative spot and the library would be a consideration. She has an appointment with another local group in the City. Their facility won't be ready for this type of thing until August. Mayor Rippons suggested an MOU after Mr. Wheeler identifies liability issues. Mr. Wheeler said they also get hold harmless agreements and copies of insurance certificates with the City named as an additional insurer from the organizations. Rob Collison said LGIT may not have any concerns if the City wishes to provide it as a City service because it may fall within our LGIT policy. Commissioner Brooks said she attended the meeting. Originally Ms. Stanley's request was going to be to utilize the lot on the corner of Race and Cedar Streets. However, Council Chambers was offered to her by Mayor Rippons. Mayor Rippons said it could be an alternative site. Ms. Stanley said during their meeting, her suggestion was to use the Race and Cedar Streets lot with a tent and cold water, etc. If they used the City lot, the people would have to go to Social Services to use the restrooms. The tents would be borrowed from civic groups like the Elks. She has thought about the liability issue. They are not an entity with insurance coverage nor could they sign an MOU. They are a community activity group of public service providers. Commissioner Brooks said Washington DC has seven cooling stations. Five are pools. Two are actually the lobbies of local government agencies. She is pretty sure that local government facilities can be utilized. She is not 100% sure of what they did to prepare for that as far as insurance liabilities, etc.

Commissioner Sydnor suggested the Empowerment Center. Mayor Rippons said the City has a sub-lease on that building. They have other programs going on during the summer. Commissioner Knox said he thinks they should look at the library and approach the folks at the Empowerment Center. He believes using a tent at Race and Cedar Streets would create a large loitering area which would require additional police officers. He thinks the library would be good because of the reading material available to help the people pass the time. His concern is that there are meetings in Council Chambers during the day. He also suggested some of the churches.

Rob Collison said in light of the liability issue, if this is something Council wishes to pursue, subject to the clearance by LGIT, they could make that type of motion. The weekend might by problematic as well. He suggested the County office building because they have a large lobby. This would be good during business hours. Victoria Stanley said they looked at various locations and have approached some people. If the answer is no, they will keep striving to find a place. Commissioner Sydnor suggested contacting the library to see if there is anything that can be worked out with them. If not, they should come back to the City. Mayor Rippons suggested that they contact the County as well. Commissioner Brooks said given that July and August are the hottest months and that this is only supposed to go to a certain time, and Ms. Stanley was led to believe that City Hall Chambers may be an option so they didn't go any further, she asked if they could open it temporarily for a two-week timeframe until Ms. Stanley find an alternative location based on LGIT's recommendations. Rob Collison said that is possible subject to LGIT saying they have no liability issues. Mayor Rippons said there are other issues such as maintenance of the facility, destruction of any property during the time period, etc. Commissioner Sydnor asked why it was considered without any thought to these issues. Mayor Rippons said there were thoughts to every issue. It was an alternative to a tent in 100 degree heat. Commissioner Sydnor said they can do it as a temporary thing unless LGIT has concerns.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said she doesn't like that they suggested the Empowerment Center as an option. She asked who would help with costs and liability. They have something going on at all times. It would not be a viable place. She said the most logical place would be for churches to open their doors. If they have to have the air conditioner on in the Empowerment Center, they would have added expenses and it doesn't seem like any money was coming out of the group's pockets to help anyone.

Commissioner Cephas said he thinks they should explore the option of the tent at Race and Cedar Streets. They would need chairs and water for the people to drink. They could do this without contacting LGIT and thinking about the liability. He suggested they move forward with that idea in addition to looking for something else. This may be closer to where the people are. Mayor Rippons asked that Mr. Wheeler address this location with LGIT also.

Victoria Stanley said Pastor Gould has just suggested that they pull back the request from the City and look for other options. They will move forward with a different site. If some consideration could be given for the next two weeks, it would give them some time to move forward. Commissioner Brooks made a motion that Council Chambers be utilized by the committee as a cooling station for two weeks based on Mr. Wheeler's report from LGIT. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Rob Collison asked for clarification on the days and hours. Commissioner Brooks said the Commissioners could open the Chambers on the weekends and sit. Victoria Stanley said they have commitments from community groups who would sit and be responsible to make sure nobody damages the property from July 17th through August 6th. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Knox opposed.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Second Reading and Vote on Ordinance to Amend Peddler's License Fees-Rob Collison said the proposed ordinance would amend Section 10-2 by providing a 50 percent discount for applicants who are required to pay a peddler's fee to the State of Maryland which is equal to or greater than our fee. The applicant would have to present to the Clerk Treasurer verification that the State fee has been paid. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Rescue Fire Company for Noise Variance, Trash Removal, and Police Protection at the Seafood Feastival at Sailwinds Park on Saturday, August 12th from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm-Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Robert Vigorito, The EagleMan Ironman 70.3 Triathlon to Reserve Great Marsh Park for June 10, 2007 and June 8, 2008 (and 4 days before for set-up)-David Pritchett said the dates are available. He would like to meet with Rob Collision and possible Mayor Rippons to work out some details that they had refined in the past that got a little bit lax this past year. Commissioner Sydnor suggested they not vote until they meet and find out the details so they have more information.

Request from Clearwater Pool & Spa to Hold "Duck Race" on August 26 Beginning at 2:30 pm at Portside Restaurant-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Introduction of the Annexation Resolution for the Burton Property (Gypsy Hill; 903.482± Acres)-Rob Collison said this request was made by Martin Burton and other family members as well as some contract purchasers. The property is on the southeast side of Maryland Route 16, east of Woods Road and goes almost over to Bucktown Road where the County is developing their tech park. It will also go as far as Southside Avenue. Tonight is an introduction if Council feels appropriate to receive it and to submit it to be formally introduced. There will be a public hearing scheduled which will probably be in the latter part of August or early September. All testimony and exhibits will be submitted and considered. If Council feels annexation is appropriate at that time, they could approve the annexation. That time begins a process for any type of petition or referendum on the issue. As the annexation resolution is currently drafted, there is an exhibit that shows the various proposed zoning classifications. The Planning and Zoning Commission considered this at two meetings. They made a motion at the most recent meeting to deny the request. The basis for their decision was that the applicant at the present time doesn't have a clear plan on how all 903 acres will be developed. There are substantial wetlands. They have intended uses for the highway commercial areas but not for the bulk of it. The problem the Planning Commission was having was that there was no precise plan. They do not recommend annexing something when there is not a plan as to how it will be developed. That is why the Planning Commission voted to suggest denying the request. There are references within the annexation resolution that refer to an annexation agreement and all of those items would need to be ironed out prior to the public hearing. Commissioner Sydnor called him concerning the language regarding tax abatements. That agreement has not been discussed with the parties at this time. It would have to be approved by Council. There is also a provision that the City will be responsible for expenses incurred by the City in connection with the annexation.

Sandy McAllister, representing the applicant, said this generic broad-based language. They have not even begun the process of discussing what would and would not be included. Commissioner Sydnor said the language is too vague. Sandy McAllister said the resolution is intended to begin the legal process so that all questions related to annexation can be discussed and negotiated. The simplest thing would be to take that language out completely of the resolution. He suggested striking the sentence. Commissioner Cephas told him not to move too fast. Leave it there. It is just for discussion. There is no clear-cut plan that they have right now. Before they start to strike things, there may be something they want to embrace. Commissioner Brooks said that even though it was kind of minimized as to why Planning and Zoning did not support this particular annexation at this particular time and it has gone before them twice, they are bypassing them before they can work out their differences and coming before Council. Rob Collison said the Planning Commission did not have the information either as to what was being proposed for the development and how the development fits in with the comprehensive plan except for one small portion. Commissioner Brooks said she has problems moving forward with any kind of motion tonight. She thinks it needs to be tabled until Planning and Zoning is clear with their recommendation. Commissioner Knox said Mr. Collison pretty well summed it up. They want the land annexed, they are telling the City how they would like to see it done, but they are not telling them what they are going to do with the land. Rob Collison said generally Planning and Zoning would make a recommendation as to the appropriate zoning classification. Commissioner Cephas said he is not prepared to move forward. Commissioner Brooks said she would like to see more answers before making a motion to move forward with an annexation resolution or a public hearing. They would be offering to the public an unfinished plan which means they would have a public hearing on something that is not even close to being finalized yet. That is unfair to the public. When it is presented to the public, it should be exactly what they are going to present to have at that particular location. Commissioner Cephas said of the 903 acres, everything is commercial except for 118 acres. Commissioner Knox said he agrees with Commissioner Sydnor and some of his modifications. Riding up and down the roads on the Eastern Shore, we see the signs on property for sale or lease. They all say what the property is zoned. Developers want property that is already properly zoned. He understands why the applicant wants to do this but he also understands the concerns of the Planning Commission. Rob Collison said whether it is this annexation proposal or the one that is imminent that the County is going to be presenting for the airport, they are going to have to deal with the pocket of Coldwater Seafood, Interstate Corrpack, Airpax, and one or two others. It will become an island on unincorporated area surrounded by the City. This will have to be addressed. Mayor Rippons said if the 903 acres is annexed, the County could come across that property and it would not be creating an island.  Commissioner Brooks said she would like to table the request at the present time. In lieu of no motion, the request dies.

Request from New Life A.M.E. Zion Church to Request a Noise Variance and to Have Douglas Street Blocked Off on Saturday, July 29th From 11:00 am Until 3:30 pm for Their Annual Community Day Fair-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve Job Description for DPW-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the job description of Facilities Engineer. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Commissioner Sydnor said in a meeting with the Main Street Board, it was brought to his attention that because we do not have a precise Comprehensive Plan, they were wondering if we could consider using the R/UDAT report for the projects that the report would apply to. They would not be bound to use it but they would take it under consideration as they move forward. Rob Collison said he thinks Anne Roane has published the RFP. David Pritchett said it will take between 1½ and 2 years to complete it. Commissioner Sydnor suggested using the R/UDAT in the interim since the Comprehensive Plan that we have is outdated. Rob Collison said there is no problem legally with this. They would be advised to try to incorporate some of those components into their plans.

Commissioner Cephas said at last few meeting Council spoke about street lights. Mr. Kinnamon said he was assisting David Pritchett in this project. There is still no light on the corner of Cornish and Weaver. That bulb is still out and has been out for almost a year now. David Pritchett said he shares Commissioner Cephas' frustration. He is having quite a battle with Conectiv at this point. They have always been guaranteed 48 hours to repair a light unless there was some unforeseen circumstance. On the docket they have new lights to be installed and poles installed. He thinks it may be necessary at some time to bring in some of the top management of Conectiv and address these concerns. They have no exclusive contract in Cambridge. They are subject to competition now. We received instant service when they were in Cambridge. Now it takes 8 weeks to get a light repaired. He rode around Saturday and Sunday nights and recorded 17 lights that need repair. He will start a data base to track when they are called in and when they are repaired.

Commissioner Cephas said Ms. Wongus came before Council about 8 months ago and we gave her the deed to a property. She has not received anything yet. Rob Collison said she was not on the deed for the address that he was given. The documents at Land Records do not correspond to Ms. Wongus' correspondence. He asked Commissioner Cephas to have Ms. Wongus call him or visit him at his office.

Commissioner Brooks offered Council's sincere congratulations to Ryan Killough for his dedication to the Cambridge EMS team. She has seen him in action and the title is well earned and deserved.

Commissioner Brooks said Mr. Travers asked what they had learned at MML. According to MML, someone should come back and give a brief report. In one of the sessions that she attended, it was noted that there was an analysis done on the Egypt Road housing. It was an impact study done by Richard Hall. He stated that he gave this report to Anne Roane in January. At Anne Roane's discretion, he was told not to release the information to anyone due to the Egypt Road project. She contacted Mr. Zentgraf and asked him exactly what report is it that Mr. Hall is talking about. Mr. Hall works for the State of Maryland Department of Planning so it is a State document. Mr. Hall stated that at this particular time he cannot release the report. She was given the report by Mr. Zentgraf by the Sage Policy Group. This would not be the report they are looking for. She is looking for the analysis on the impact that the development in Cambridge has. She thinks it is imperative that we get a copy of the report as soon as possible so that Council can read it. There is some hearsay that this report does not exist. The man gave his card and he stands on his word that it does exist and it is in the hands of someone here in Cambridge. She would like to have a copy of it.  Commissioner Cephas asked David Pritchett if Anne Roane has the report. He said it is news to him. He will know tomorrow. Rob Collison said they should be able to have a copy for Council prior to the final public hearing. Commissioner Brooks said there is no sense having a public hearing if they are going to have concerns themselves.

Commissioner Brooks said Council had a meeting with Lennar Homes. They have not heard anything from them since that particular date. They need an update. In defense of Lennar Homes, Mr. Kinnamon did not get the pictures and the copies that were to go to Lennar Homes until late. That may be why they did not have a meeting. They need to set some kind of time frame as to when they should respond. She suggested maybe giving them at least 30 days from tonight to respond to Council with the findings of the CD that they talked about that had the different pictures on it as well as the report she gave to Mr. Kinnamon last week. She doesn't know how soon Mr. Kinnamon got it off because he was going on vacation. Commissioner Sydnor said he agrees that they have been prolonging this to get some response from them in terms of those homes and the report that they have. He asked David Pritchett if permits are still being issued. David Pritchett said they are after being passed through the Council. Commissioner Sydnor said he thought permits were not to be issued. Commissioner Brooks said that was her memory but she could be wrong. David Pritchett said he never took it that they shut the development down. He met with Commissioner Sydnor and he thought they were to give advance notice of the permits and the lot numbers receiving the permits. Right now we are starting with Gemcraft which is the major builder. Commissioner Sydnor said this is all under the same flagship. At one time when they were asking for permits, they were generally asking for all permits that were being issued in the City. They had the problem with this situation where they asked that no new permits be issued. They could continue on with what they had started. It is his understanding that they have started several homes since that time. We will never get to the results that we are looking for without the answers. They may have justification for those answers and if so, that would be good. If they are going to go ahead and build, they do not have to answer to Council. Commissioner Brooks recommended that they give Lennar Homes 30 days from tonight to come back and give Council some type of feedback as to the concerns that were pointed out by the inspector. If Council would like an order to stop any permits from being released until Lennar Homes responds, she won't have a problem with it. Dave Pritchett said Lennar is finishing up the last approved permits. Gemcraft has just purchased 50 properties and they are the predominant builder out there at this point. Rob Collison said you can't hold Gemcraft to Lennar's problems. They are two separate companies. David Pritchett said they are not connected. Rob Collison said he feels they can respond in 15 days. Mayor Rippons suggested they request a response by Friday, July 21st and that Lennar representatives attend the meeting on July 24th. Commissioner Sydnor asked if they can include that no building permits or occupancy permits be issued nor can any of them be transferred during that time period. Rob Collison said the occupancy permits could be problematic. He can see deferring any new building permits being issued. Commissioner Cephas said Council said a couple of months ago that they cannot issue any more permits. He thinks they made a motion on it. He received a letter from Mr. Pritchett ignoring the motion and everything that took place at City Council. He was moving forward with the permits. It is wrong. Commissioner Brooks said if there was a question as to whether or not they made a motion, then they need to make the motion again. She is in agreement with no occupancy agreements as well as building permits until they hear from Lennar Homes. Rob Collison said they could be affecting some contractual relationships between Lennar and buyers of the homes. They can defer any issuance of new building permits or the approval permits for two weeks.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion that they do not offer any more permits to Lennar Homes excluding occupancy permits that are under contract until they have met and have been satisfied that the concerns are not legitimate and if they are legitimate, that they have been corrected. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Rob Collison clarified that the concerns are the concerns that the independent inspector had identified. David Pritchett said if he went against a Council directive, he did it unknowingly. Council would hold a meeting and then he would meet with a Commissioner the next day and following that it was clarified to him exactly what the intent of it was and what was really said. He will show Council what was issued by him during the interim period. He thought he had it confirmed by another Commissioner. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Brooks said Council put in the budget to hire a city manager. There are several steps that Council needs to take prior to hiring the city manager. They had a meeting in 2004 with some representatives who came to Cambridge to talk to them about the council/manager or strong mayor type of city government. She has asked Mr. Wheeler to put a packet together of the information again as to how a city manager could be utilized in Cambridge and the styles and forms. He has also included a draft job description as well as the City Treasurer's job description because a city manager takes on some of those responsibilities. That is only the beginning of it. They also need to do a Charter Resolution. They need to review the documents and then hold a meeting and decide how they want to word the job description for the city manger as well as how they want the Charter Resolution to be read. Rob Collison said it would be an open meeting. Commissioner Sydnor suggested meeting at 6:00 pm on Monday, July 24th before the Council meeting. She suggested a work session with Mr. Wheeler prior to the public meeting to discuss the changes they feel they may need to work out. Mayor Rippons said a Charter Resolution changes the form of government in the City. He asked if the Council has talked to enough citizens in Cambridge to know that is what they want or are they going to put it in there and then the citizens are going to come back and challenge it which will be another expense to the City. Commissioner Brooks said they have to do a Charter Resolution in order to hire the city manager if they are going to make any changes whatsoever. There will be an open meeting so all of the citizens in Cambridge, and hopefully more than one open meeting if advertised appropriately, will have an opportunity to come here and voice their opinion. It should be their duty as Commissioners within the next two weeks to talk to as many City residents as they can to get their feelings. It has to start somewhere. They can change the job description to meet the needs of the city manager who will well represent the City of Cambridge and the department heads. Rob Collison suggested discussing this at the work session on August 21st. The only time they can go into a private session would be to answer any legal questions or if they are talking about a specific individual for the position. The structure of it would have to be in a public session.

Oden Wheeler announced that City Council will meet with the Dorchester County Commissioners on Monday, July 17th at 6:00 pm in City Council Chambers to discuss public safety, airport annexation, and the skateboard park.

David Pritchett said they have a traffic and safety issue that is time sensitive because it involved the Long Wharf circle and the tourist buses getting around it with the construction. A meeting of the Traffic and Safety Committee will be held at 10:00 am on Friday at the police department.

Chief Malik thanked Chief Bill Watkins and Ryan Killough for providing their training every year on CPR, first aid, and AED and whatever else they need.

Commissioner Cephas said Council received a letter from Georgie Feldman. She has said she talked to David Pritchett and the City Commissioners for the past three years to no avail about the sidewalks. The grass is tall. She said Long Wharf is a disgrace. David Pritchett said they have someone working downtown. The rest is the homeowner's responsibility. A contractor will be coming in at the end of next week to spray. He has pulled weeds himself with Liddy Garcia on the main street. With our street staff of about six people, they can't maintain 5000 properties. Rob Collison said the City is obligated to inspect and send notices. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance. David Pritchett said the Garden Club maintains Long Wharf. Downtown would be maintained like individual homes. They are trying to find an effective way of doing it. They put a notice in the paper several times. That didn't catch on. People seem to want somebody else to do something else for them. The City cannot do it. Commissioner Cephas said he will contact her and discuss it with her.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said there has been trash on the property on Washington Street where the Coca Cola building was since they knocked it down. It really looks bad. She talked to Mr. Cephas about a property on Muir Street. Weeds are growing up in the pile of dirt that has been there for two years. The Housing Task force is working with DPW, the inspectors, and Anne Roane about our existing housing. She asked if someone from MUC could be appointed to the board because they are in charge of the rental registration. She also needs an appointment from Commissioner Travers. They discussed increasing the rental registration after July 1st. Rob Collison said it would not be this year. They have to give the landlords some time because they could be in some contractual leases. The earliest he would recommend would be January 1st if not July 1, 2007. When they implemented it and created it at $20, the City got suit challenges. The City prevailed but people will come out of the woodwork. He will have a draft of the ordinance for the July 24th meeting and also a draft of the nuisance ordinance.  Portia Johnson-Ennels said anyone who has rental properties, including non-profits, should pay the fee. They should not be exempt. Delmarva Community Services is now exempt.

Commissioner Brooks asked Oden Wheeler to get the word to MUC that the Housing Task Force meets on the third Tuesday at 1:30 pm in Council Chambers.

Jane Devlin said she understands from MUC that the State has mandated that they can no longer do rental registrations for any property that is not compliant with lead abatement. She asked who will enforce this. Rob Collison said they would not issue another rental registration without the certificate of compliance. Rob Collison said the State enforces the lead paint abatement. Commissioner Brooks asked that he provide information for the meeting on Tuesday.

Rob Collison said Mike DuBuque is leaving the City's Planning and Zoning Commission. He asked for a proclamation for the next meeting.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:50 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, July 10, 2006, insofar as I personally am aware.

 

Oden C. Wheeler, Jr., Administrative Coordinator