• 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

September 25, 2006

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, September 25, 2006 Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Sydnor, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 11, 2006 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

APPOINTMENTS

Carol Lacy to Discuss Signs for Museums and Attractions-The Museums and Attractions Committee of Dorchester County is a group of 26 museums, attractions, motels, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. They meet once a month under the direction of the Tourism Office. They are looking for ways to enhance the experience of the City's tourists. They devised a plan to update the existing signs for the museums and attractions in Cambridge. Phase 1 has been completed. Phase 2 is the directional signs for the museums. The signs we now have for museums are approximately 4 inches x 18 inches. They are green and white; not very visible; and definitely not accurate. By enlarging the signs and making them brown and white, the colors of the Maryland attraction signs, it will be easier for visitors to find the museums. The new signs will give the tourists a driving route. She had illustrations of the proposed signs. They would like to have the logo of the "Heart of Chesapeake" on the signs. The benefit of the signs will be greater revenue from tourism. They are requesting that the City remove the signs they have and replace them with the new signs. Ms. Lacy said the cost will be $175 per sign. The museums are putting out a lot of money to improve what they have and she thought the City may be willing to support them by putting the signs up. Mayor Rippons asked if they considered submitting a grant application to the Heritage Area because it bears their logo. Carol Lacy said the City already had signs up that are incorrect so there was a time when the City spent money to put signs up. Mayor Rippons said he doesn't know who purchased the present signs. Council will take this request under advisement. Two Commissioners were absent. Commissioner Knox asked if they approached the County about funding. Carol Lacy said the majority of the museums that would fit the criteria are in the City. The City itself will benefit the most from this. Commissioner Knox said he likes their idea of having the color the same as the State's signs. The County will also benefit from the dollars coming into the City. Carol Lacy said the consensus was that they like the logo of the heart. Therefore, they could later link it with the County and have them pay for their part of the signs. It would be more consistent. Commissioner Knox said he agrees 100 percent. He supports any avenue for creating tourism. Mayor Rippons said there is no consideration for City taxpayers. Carol Lacy said she knows many museums and attractions in this County and City are working hard to try to get ahead. Anybody coming to a museum goes to other parts of the City.

Anne Roane said she has been working with Carol Lacy and Natalie Chabot. They are in the early stages of planning this and are just beginning to talk about money. The main thing they are asking for is support to change the signs. They may not be the design that they are presenting right now. Since the signs they are asking to be changed are in the City, that is the first step. They understand there are other avenues to find money and are not coming just to the City for it. She is working with them from a City planning standpoint to help with the location and make sure the signs will meet the Code. Supporting this is another effort to encourage tourism in the City. They are gathering the information about what monies are going to be needed. They have not identified the City as the single source. Right now they would like Council to support the efforts of the committee.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, said they are a partner in the Museums and Attractions. She thinks the request tonight is to have the City look into changing the signage. They are talking $2100 for 12 signs. Certainly there are other resources that can be looked into. She does not know who paid for and installed the present signs. They are extremely small. There are a number of issues they have funded this year in a $1200 dollar range. If, at another time, the City would think of doing any type of funding, she does not see why this is not as valuable as the others that have come through. The City has temporarily funded the engineering studies for the lighthouse. She assumes the Lighthouse Committee is trying to reimburse those monies ($9,000) to the City. Tonight the discussion is to accept the idea of a different type of sign.

Gage Thomas, on behalf of Cambridge Main Street, said Chad Malkus is currently chairman of their Design Committee. There have been recent discussions about a comprehensive sign plan so they have consistent signs throughout the City. They are also interested in directing people downtown off Route 50. In addition to what this group wants, they are also looking for attractive parking lot signs. They have talked about partnering with the City on the cost of the signs. They feel that the downtown property owners would contribute to that effort.

Doug Robbins said he is the president of the Dorchester County Historical Society. He agrees with Mayor Rippons that it is not fair play to expect the taxpayers of Cambridge to pay for everything in Cambridge and then expect the County to pay for things outside of Cambridge. He feels the other cities in Dorchester County should also bear the weight for things going into their areas as well. Signage is certainly important. He speaks to so many people who have no idea where the Dorchester County Historical Society is. He fully supports what they are trying to do here in getting clear signage.

Marge Hull spoke in support of the project. Over the last 10 years, tourism in the State of Maryland has been the number three economic benefit to the State. It is a huge industry. She thinks we tend to forget that this is an economic engine that works for Cambridge. She has witnessed the indecision of visitors this past Saturday when she was doing a one-hour historic walking tour of High Street. A couple didn't know what was here and where it was. Her understanding is that R/UDAT made signage as one of the recommendations in their study of this area. The money doesn't all have to come from the City but you have to start somewhere.

Mayor Rippons said he thinks the City's position is clear. If you take a historic perspective of what the City has done, you will see that in almost every advent, whether it be the release of fees, or the Mayor to be there, or whatever else, the City has been first and foremost to come forward. He thinks their reputation is there that they will support this. He asked if the committee would give Chad Malkus a call so they can coordinate efforts between the two groups to promote a sign that would be feasible for everybody. Anne Roane said she is on the design committee and is working to make sure they coordinate their efforts. 

Turhan Opher to Request a Noise Variance for a Yard Party on September 30th from 3:00 pm Until 11:00 pm at 908/910 Phillips Street-Captain Hutton said he spoke to Chief Malik about this request. His concern is the eight-hour timeframe and he thinks that 11:00 pm in a residential area is a long time. There have been concerns that the parking is very bad there. It is something that CPD is going to have to monitor. Ed Kinnamon said a past Council passed a policy that there would be no noise variances for private parties. They will give one for community events. They were getting several requests for yard parties and Council decided to stop it. Commissioner Knox said previous Councils set the policy not to have to have this type of event. He thinks they should stay within these guidelines. Commissioner Sydnor asked how long they had it last year. Captain Hutton said he did not recall how long it was. Ed Kinnamon said what they have told folks in the past is that the police cannot ignore a loud party. If you keep it within reason, you will be fine. That seems to work. Use good common sense and you won't have a problem. Even if Council gives a variance, it doesn't mean people can go crazy. He tells people that if the police are called, they will tell you to keep the noise down. They won't cite you the first time; you will be warned. Apparently there has not been a problem. Commissioner Travers said he thinks they should leave it as it is. Commissioner Sydnor said Mr. Opher states in his letter that this party has been held every year. Ed Kinnamon said it is possible that it has been held every year, but he just didn't come to Council with his request. Captain Hutton suggested that their community liaison officer, Sgt. Nichols, make contact with this gentleman and explain the City's position and work with him in having a nice event.

David Fang, Conifer Realty, LLC, to Request City to Set Their Transportation Implementation Fee at $1,000 Per Unit for Their 76-Unit Senior Project-David Fang said at the time they submit their budget to the State, it is before all the engineering gets done. Because of the way the site is, there are significant increased costs for site work. They felt that it would be appropriate to request setting the transportation fee at $1,000 per unit. Most of the seniors in an affordable rental project will not have cars. Many folks will be using the Delmarva Community Services transportation system. On top of the other impact fees that are due, it seems that the transportation fee would be a significant financial burden to have to make the maximum contribution to the bypass road. Mayor Rippons said there may be a special consideration given to affordable senior housing so they do not set a precedence of a lower. David Fang said they are anticipating a financial closing next week with CDA. Unfortunately, this item fell through the cracks until they had to prepare the final budget. If it gets delayed, they can't have the closing and construction gets delayed. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request from Conifer Realty, LLC, to set their transportation implementation fee at $1,000 per unit for their 76-unit affordable senior project pending the approval by the City's legal counsel upon his return. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Request from St. John's Holiness Church for a Noise Variance on Saturday, September 30th from 12:00 pm Until 6:00 pm for a Block Party at Greenwood Avenue and Cosby Avenue-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Oden Wheeler said he spoke to Rev. Cornish last week. He said they spoke to the residents and the association of that street and they did not have any problem with the request. They anticipate 400 people attending the event. Commissioner Sydnor said there are a few stores on that street and this would impact their business. Captain Hutton said they can block it off past the parking lot and the people could also enter the businesses off Leonard Lane. Commissioner Knox said this is a long street to block off. He suggested blocking Cosby Avenue from Greenwood Avenue up to the entrance of the businesses. Commissioner Travers amended his motion to permission to block Cosby Avenue from Greenwood Avenue to the entrance of the businesses. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

Request from Cambridge Main Street for Their Oktoberfest Celebration-Mayor Rippons said a 40-piece orchestra from Germany will be performing at Sailwinds on Saturday, October 14th. At 5:00 pm they would like to march to Main Street's Second Saturday event at Cannery Way. They are also requesting a noise variance from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to grant the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

NEW BUSINESS

Set Hours for Trick or Treat on Halloween (Tuesday, October 31st)-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to set the trick-or-treat time for Tuesday, October 31st from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm for children 12 and under. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked if there was any way they could require the children to have reflective clothing or flashlights. Captain Hutton said they stress it every year. Next year we will be in better shape because of the time changes. It will not be dark at 6:00 pm. The motion passed 3:0.

Request from Wal-Mart to Use Four Storage Trailers Behind Their Store and Four Storage Containers on Their Patio From September 14, 2006 Through December 30, 2006-Mayor Rippons said our Code allows for Council to give them permission for a 30-day period only. After that, they may request permission for another 30-day period. Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant Wal-Mart permission for the storage trailers for 30 days. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

Request from Zion Baptist Church to Block Off Pine Street from Elm Street to Cedar Street for Their Annual Community Day Picnic on Saturday, September 30th from 12 Noon Until 5:00 pm-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

Request Permission to Use an Engineering Consultant to Assist in Plan Review-Mayor Rippons said this is a budgeted item. Commissioner Knox made a motion to grant DPW permission to use an engineering consultant to assist in plan review. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

First Reading on G.O. Bond for Marina-Ed Kinnamon is the first reading of the general obligation bond for the marina. It is a $3 million bond which was prepared by the City's bond counsel. Rob Collison has reviewed it.

Request from Grand National Waterfowl Association for Dedicated Medic Unit at the 24th Annual Grandtastic Jamboree at Sailwinds Park on Friday, November 17 from 4:00 pm Until 8:00 pm-Mayor Rippons said he spoke to Chief Bill Watkins about this request. It will not be a dedicated unit. A unit will be stationed at Sailwinds Park; however, should there be a call somewhere else, they will be dispatched. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to grant the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

Approve PO 4059 - Graves Uniforms - Winter Uniforms - CPD - $4,382.46-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

Approve PO 779 - Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. - $4,000,000 - Construction of Public Safety Building (Continuation of PO 621)- Ed Kinnamon said this was the budgeted amount that was expected to be spent in this fiscal year. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Commissioner Knox thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

Commissioner Sydnor said Council received a job description for an economic development department that they are trying to initiate for the City. They do not seem to get the benefits in the City from the County's economic development department. He spoke to Ed Kinnamon about finding funds in the budget for this department. He asked Council to look at the job descriptions for future discussion.

Mayor Rippons suggested that Oden Wheeler also review them to make sure they meet with other criteria.

Commissioner Sydnor asked how far we are on the public safety building. Oden Wheeler said it will possibly be January before they get into the building. It is substantially complete. Mayor Rippons said some issues have arisen and the contractor has requested additional time. A meeting has been set up to look into the issues. After that, there will be a full report submitted to Council.

Commissioner Travers thanked everyone for the phone calls and thanked Chief Malik for the fruit basket.

Ed Kinnamon said Commissioner Cephas asked that the next meeting which is scheduled for October 10th be moved to October 16th. Council agreed to move the meeting.

Oden Wheeler said during the last meeting, Rev. Jackson requested that a "no parking from here to corner" sign be put back on Allen Street where the Traffic and Safety Committee instructed that it be placed in 2000. The sign will be replaced and the issue will be reviewed at the next Traffic and Safety meeting.

Oden Wheeler said Council allowed him to go outside the regular bidding process for furniture for the public safety building. The estimated figure he gave Council of $161,000 has realistically come out to $205,000. There will be a 7 to 10 percent increase as of October 1st. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to proceed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Travers said someone informed him that RFC wanted two pool tables refinished. Mayor Rippons said the estimate they received for the work is $5,800. They are antique tables so some of the materials have to be specially designed. Commissioner Travers said he may be able to get them refinished for nothing. Portia Johnson-Ennels asked if Council approved for these tables to be refinished. Mayor Rippons said at the last meeting, Council approved the expenditure not to exceed $5,800. He isn't sure if the tables have been picked-up yet. If they have not, they will let Commissioner Travers discuss the work with another gentleman. Portia Johnson-Ennels said as a taxpayer, if it is an amusement item for RFC, she thinks that they should have a fundraiser to take things like that. Taxpayers should not have to pay for their amusement. The last meeting was a work session and votes should not be taken at work sessions. Mayor Rippons said the motion they are voted on is for office furniture-not the pool tables. Commissioner Knox said the estimate he got for RFC furnishings totals $378,000. Mayor Rippons said there are other items on that list. Oden Wheeler said the list includes a hydraulic lift for the mechanical shop, tool boxes, etc. Commissioner Knox said he didn't think the City had a certified mechanic to work on the fire trucks. The list has a $75,000 lift plus a $9,500 tool box. Mayor Rippons said the motion is to allocate $205,000 for office furniture. The motion passed 3:0.

Portia Johnson-Ennels asked about the ordinances that were discussed at the work session last week. Ed Kinnamon said they will be on the agenda for the next meeting.

Gage Thomas, on behalf of Main Street, thanked Council for every consideration given as far as Summer Send-Off. It was a huge success.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:17 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, September 25, 2006, insofar as I personally am aware.

                                              

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer