• 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

November 13, 2006

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, November 13, 2006 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Commissioner Cephas, City Council President, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Sydnor, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers. Mayor Rippons was not present.

Mr. Wendell Foxwell led in prayer. Commissioner Cephas asked the citizens to keep Mayor Rippons in their prayers. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 23, 2006 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

APPOINTMENTS

None

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Traffic and Safety Committee-Commissioner Brooks reported that the committee met on Thursday, November 2nd to discuss three requests. Their recommendations are as follows:

  • The committee reviewed the parking at the corner of Gay and Spring Streets. They recommended that the intersection remain as it currently is.
  • The committee reviewed the "no parking from here to corner" sign that was installed in front of 801 Allen Street. They recommended that the current sign be removed and that two "no parking between signs" signs be installed.
  • The committee reviewed the request for two handicap parking spaces to be located in front of 600 Locust Street. The committee recommended that one handicap parking space be installed.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to accept the report as given. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discussion on Disposition of City-Owned Property on 703/705 Wright Street-Rob Collison said the City acquired the property from Madison Bay Properties for $0 on January 7, 2004. The improvements on the property are slated for demolition. Grant funds were received to demolish other properties. The assessment value on one piece is $6690 and on the other piece it is $750. Grady Wilson asked for the property and stated that he would demolish the property at his expense. He would rehab the property for affordable housing. The City would not receive anything for the property. Commissioner Cephas asked for public comment. Nobody asked to speak. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to proceed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Rob Collison will proceed with the public advertising.

NEW BUSINESS

Approve Sign for Public Safety Complex-Commissioner Cephas presented a drawing of the proposed sign. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the sign. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Legal Information on Street Next to Public Safety Complex-Commissioner Cephas said there has been some discussion on this street. Ed Kinnamon said the discussion was whether this was a true street. Rob Collison said the contract with the seller of the property granted to the City a right-of-way easement for the purposes on ingress and egress. It was not dedicated as a public street. If it is not going to be improved as a public street, there is no need to name it. The City only wanted to assure that they were getting access to our parking area. There is no obligation on the City's part to improve it all the way; they could just do it to the public safety building entry way. If the owner wants to dedicate it as a public street, the City could do that if they get the right to name the street. His understanding is that the seller signed an agreement with the proposed street name if it is dedicated as a street. Commissioner Cephas said he has heard two names-one is Independence Way and the other is Daniel C. Bier. He doesn't think it is necessary to take action on this tonight. Rob Collison suggested referring it to the Department of Public Works to discuss with the seller whether they desire to have it as a street. If not, he would keep it a roadway with access to our building. The City is to maintain the road. Commissioner Travers said if the City is to maintain it, they would have the authority to name it. Rob Collison said it hasn't been dedicated as a street yet. Commissioner Knox said he agrees with Commissioner Travers. The street in question will have a lot of traffic. The property in the rear has a lot of heavy trucks and they will create havoc on that street. If the City is required to maintain the first portion, the trucks will tear the road up. If the City is responsible for maintaining that road, then they should have the privilege of naming it. Commissioner Sydnor said the documents state that the City is entitled to some privileges for ingress and egress. The other gentleman still owns the road. Ed Kinnamon said Mr. Robinson is under the impression that the City owns the road and he has the right-of-way through it. There is a road behind the building that Mr. Robinson owns and the City has the right-of-way. He thinks the City owns over to the storage buildings which includes this road and we have to have it open for him to have access. It has currently been blacktopped down to the final exit/entrance into the property. Beyond that it is gravel. Rob Collison said he has not seen the survey plat with the improvements on it. If that is the case, then the City has the authority to dedicate it as a public road. Ed Kinnamon said he is not sure if they will put curb and gutter on it. Oden Wheeler said there is a ditch in between the road and the building where it will be draining to. When they do the final paving in the complex, they will put the final coat on that portion as well. Ed Kinnamon said he has been told by our Planner that Planning and Zoning has discussed naming it what the seller wants which is Independence Way. Council has not determined that. The FOP has been asking that it be named after our fallen officer, Daniel C. Bier. Rob Collison suggested referring this back to Planning and Zoning and have them make a recommendation on the naming of the road.

Introduction of Annexation of County Airport, Technology Park, and Properties on Bucktown Road-Rob Collison said this is a formal introduction of the annexation resolution that has been submitted by the County. The proposal is to annex 695.32 acres. There will be a public hearing on this matter at the second meeting in December (Wednesday, December 27th). Following the public hearing, Council will take a formal vote. The area is the area running where the previous annexation ended off of South Road and Bucktown Road. It continues down to the airport, including the airport and the new expansion area of the airport that the County recently acquired. It would also include the 107+ acres that the County has acquired on the west side of Bucktown Road for the development and creation of a tech park or industrial park. The various zonings would be I1 (light industrial) and R1 (single-family residential). Two of the parcels owned by William Spicer and Thomas Spicer would be I2 (heavy industrial). The State of Maryland Railroad Administration railroad bed would be I2 (heavy industrial). The proposed annexation and the area included would not create any islands of unincorporated area within the City. All of the property owners have consented to annexation. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to accept the proposal and proceed with the advertising and the public hearing. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Economic Development Director Job Description-Commissioner Cephas said this job description was discussed at the last Council meeting. Adjustments have been made as directed by Council. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to create a Department of Economic Development, Grants Administration and Tourism. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to create a position of Director of Economic Development and Grants Administrator; to make that position an active position; and to adopt the job description as drafted. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Communications Manager Job Description-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to create a position of Communications Manager; to make that position an active position; and to adopt the job description as drafted. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve List of Legal Holidays for 2007-Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the schedule. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Discuss City Council Meeting Dates for 2007-Commissioner Cephas asked to postpone this discussion until the next scheduled meeting because he needs to check with some other dates. There seem to be some conflicts. Commissioner Travers said Council had a small problem this year with changing dates. He thinks Council should stick with the schedule. If someone cannot be at a meeting, the meeting should still be held if three Commissioners can be present. Commissioner Knox said he agrees with Commissioner Travers. Council took an oath to meet the schedule. Commissioner Brooks said some dates have already been changed-she sees some Tuesdays and a Wednesday. Someone has already changed some dates because of holidays, etc. This is the first time she has seen the list. To prevent Council from changing dates, she thinks they should grant Commissioner Cephas his request so he has an opportunity to look at this schedule. Ed Kinnamon explained that the second and fourth Mondays are the scheduled dates for regular Council meetings. Unless there is a holiday on the third Monday, a work session has been scheduled. If there is a holiday, the meeting was moved to the next day. The only Wednesday comes up in December. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are on the Monday and Tuesday of that week. The second and fourth Mondays are listed with MML. It is very difficult to change the dates unless they really have to. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the schedule. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 4182 - Funk & Bolton - Legal Fees for Marina Bond - $7,500-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison asked about a budget amendment for the newly-created department and positions. Ed Kinnamon said they will be forthcoming.

Oden Wheeler asked for a closed executive session concerning personnel after the meeting. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to go into executive session after the meeting. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Ed Kinnamon said he was talking to representatives from the State Highway Administration last week. When the new street lights were installed on Poplar Street and the 400 block of Race Street, there were lights that were part of that project to be put on the Creek Bridge. Tieder did the job and has the lights to install on the bridge. The State Highway Administration will bear the expense which amounts to about $2300 for labor. Because it is an extension of our project, they would prefer the City pay the bill and then they will reimburse us. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to proceed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Ed Kinnamon said next summer State Highway will be doing some major construction work on and under the Creek Bridge. The bridge will be left in the open position for approximately eight weeks. They are asking Council's pleasure on detouring traffic because they can no longer use Trenton Street like they did the last time they did major maintenance. They suggested putting signs on the corner of Route 50 and Maryland Avenue directing traffic to Cedar Street then to Academy Street. Their other suggestion was to Washington Street and then to Race Street or High Street. Ed Kinnamon said he thought Cedar Street to Academy Street worked fine before. George Hyde told him that he thought Cedar Street worked fine before also. Commissioner Knox suggested having the Traffic and Safety Committee review this issue.  Commissioner Knox asked if there could be opening restrictions on the bridge after the eight-week maintenance period especially between 12 noon and 1:00 pm. Ed Kinnamon said there are restrictions during that hour and he will send them a reminder.

Commissioner Cephas said it was brought to his attention that there is a big pile of trash including furniture and appliances in front of 707 Douglas Street. It has been there for approximately two months. He asked Ed Kinnamon to call Grady Wilson, the owner of the property, and ask him to remove the trash.

Commissioner Cephas said on Halloween he rode on various streets and he was impressed with the conduct of the children who were trick-or-treating. Chief Malik said there was some trouble that night but it was after the trick-or-treating hours. There have not been any major problems for quite a few years. Commissioner Cephas said he rode down Pine Street and saw that the merchants were open with bright lights on. There was a nice flow of kids trick-or-treating. It reminded him of the good old days. It really looks good. The R/UDAT team talked about Pine Street in their report. He would like to see some Christmas decorations like the City has on Race Street. If they are going to talk about including Pine Street in Main Street, that would be a good start. Some committees were talking about purchasing banners for the poles. The City should put some decorations on Pine Street as well. The merchants agreed they would put up decorations on their buildings this year. Oden Wheeler said the Department of Public Works installs the big figurines. The lights on the poles are put up by the Cambridge Jaycees. Commissioner Cephas said the City should do something in that area.

Commissioner Sydnor asked if DPW ever did anything with the tree on Cross Street. Oden Wheeler said they cut it back so it was no longer hanging over the street. What is left is tangled between the wires. He is working with Delmarva Power to do the remainder of the work.

Commissioner Brooks said Bethel AME Church would like a citation for George LeCompte for November 18th. She will supply the information for the citation.

Commissioner Brooks said there is a lady living on the corner of Pine Street and Cedar Street. Her roof is about to fall in, she had lead paint, etc. She was able to get a grant from the State to Maryland to rehab the house. Now that she has the money, she has been unable to get the City to grant her permission. She needs to knock the walls down, etc. The City is saying that because of where the house is located, if she knocked the walls down, she would not be able to construct those walls again. She would like her zoning to be considered NCR like there is in other sections of the City so she can rehab her house or she will loose all the funding.

Commissioner Travers asked if the City receives any income from the condominiums on Trenton Street or do they have to wait until they are sold. Ed Kinnamon said as long it has passed title once, there is an owner. The City will receive taxes from that owner. The original owner would be the contractor. The City will also receive rental registration if the condominiums are rented.

Wendell Foxwell asked if the City is still blacktopping and if they are going to blacktop Locust Street. Commissioner Knox said weather permitting, Locust Street should be completely resurfaced within the next two weeks. Then they will move on to another area of town.

Wendell Foxwell asked if there is a timeframe for a building that is scheduled for demolition and would a new owner have any length of time to fix it up. He was referring to the old Rob Roy Building and a house on Cedar Street. Commissioner Sydnor said when a house is up for demolition, the demolition order will go along to the purchaser. With the property that Mr. Foxwell is referring to, the value of the property is more than 100% of what it would cost to demolish it so it was taken off the demolition list. Rob Collison said if there is a condemnation order or demolition order, the seller must provide notice of it to any contract purchaser. If the demolition work has not been final, they may have a time period to appeal it to the Housing Board of Review. If the appeal process has expired and all the deadlines have passed, the demolition order is final and they would generally be notified within 60 to 90 days. At one time the Rob Roy building was appealed to the courts and the courts found that the demolition order was not appropriate. If it ever does become appropriate, you have a question on where you will get the dollars to demolish it. It will be substantial. Wendell Foxwell said the building on Cedar Street is unsightly. Rob Collison said if the time period has already expired with the old owner to demolish it, that would carry over to the new owner. They bought it subject to the demolition order. If the demolition order has not been finalized, the Housing Board of Review may give the new owner another 60 or 90 days or even 6 months depending on the weather and the circumstances to make the repairs. If they are not made, the demolition order would be in effect. Commissioner Brooks said the Code Enforcers can go back and inspect the house. If the house is not in adequate condition, they can issue them an order to repair. At that point, it starts all over again with the new owner.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said if that is the case, we have a very big problem. There have been two recent fires in Cambridge. Within 24 hours, the houses that were burnt were demolished. There was a house on Pine Street that caught on fire 2 or 3 years ago and it is still standing. There is also one on Cedar Street. No work has been done to the houses which are just burned shells. If a house has had a fire and no work has been done to attempt to repair it, it should be demolished. It should not be left there for more than 5 years. Commissioner Brooks suggested that Ms. Ennels give the addresses to Mr. Wheeler. Commissioner Knox asked Oden Wheeler to look into this and give Council a status report.

Rev. Yvonne Penn said she is the Pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church on 712 Bradley Avenue. They are in the process of completing a $1.9 million structure and she is coming before Council tonight because she has several complaints with the City as far as their structure is concerned. Before they started construction of the new facilities, they turned in all of their plans to the City that were drawn up by an architect who they paid almost $70,000. The City told them what they didn't like; they got those items fixed and turned the plans back in. The plans were approved. Along with their contractor, the building was going fine. Periodically inspections were done. The Friday before opening, when the folks came in to give them their final inspection, they found out that everything was wrong with the building. They were given a provisional permit to go in and were told they could only use the building that Saturday and Sunday. On Monday she met with City officials and the permit was extended for 30 days. Her complaint is that she has a cost overrun because of the City of $17,000 in change orders. With the fire marshal's revision of their parking area, they will have another $25,000 that they have to come up with. It wasn't part of their plans. By talking to the fire marshal, she found out that when the plans were approved, he never saw them. She is so hurt and disappointed. They were told that they couldn't park in some of their spaces. They had to knock out some concrete. She told him that the church didn't have that kind of money. The only money they have left is to do the paving and stripping for the parking lot. The fire marshal said he should have seen the plans before they were approved. She was on the Planning and Zoning Board in Wicomico County for over 15 years and they would see these things before they happened. These things have to be done because they are Code. She is asked the City where they are going to get the money because they didn't do what they were supposed to do from the very beginning. She sat down with members of the church today and went over the plans again with their contractor. She called the fire marshal on the phone because she couldn't understand why they needed a fire lane in back and in the front and he explained it to her. She then went to see Anne Roane only to find out that she said she was too busy to talk to her at that time and she needed to make an appointment. Rob Collison asked for further information so they can investigate it with the appropriate departments and respond within one week with some answers. Rev. Penn asked if the City could meet with some members of the church, the contractor and the fire marshal. Rob Collison suggested that they meet at DPW.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, asked if the sewer separation was done in the West End. Rob Collison said he believes there are two more phases. Locust Street should be paved within the next few weeks. Commissioner Knox said he is not sure when Choptank and West End Avenues will be paved. Oden Wheeler said weather permitting, that portion of the project should be completed no later than the first or second week of December.

Jane Devlin said a number of weeks ago there was an issue with the Board of Directors at Sailwinds. She is aware that there are new Board Members and asked if this has been brought before the City. She also asked if Council received the financial reports that were agreed upon. Commissioner Brooks suggested inviting the Board of Directors to the next meeting.

Ann Damianos said she is renovating 513 Poplar Street. She made the unfortunate discovery of a sewer pipe running through her property. There is much debate whether this line is owned by the City. She has footers dug and she needs to pour for those footers. She needs to make plans for installing her own pipes. She found a line that she was told was back there but the City has no records of it. She is not sure if the 6-inch pipe is a storm drain or sewer pipe. The water company has been extremely cooperative. She is asking the City to verify that this is an actual sewer line and that they are going to give her a connection to it. There are two pipes on the property that through the cooperation of MUC, determined that they are defunct. She needs written verification that she can disconnect them and plug them up, etc. Rob Collision said she needs verification from DPW that what she wants to connect into is sewer and that the capacity of that line will accommodate her proposed use of it. He discussed this with Mr. Wheeler and he will see that DPW follows up with this. This is a very old section of town. They think the sewer line that runs on her property and her adjoining neighbors' property was installed around 1910. They believe there is another line under the alley. Oden Wheeler said they cannot find anything at DPW that says they have any piping in the alley. The closest sewer line that they have documentation for is in Gay Street. It could very well be a private line. They can try to dye-test it if they can find a source for it.

Portia Johnson-Ennels asked who the Commissioner is for the area of 411 Washington Street where the laundromat is located. Commissioner Brooks said it is in the Fourth Ward. Washington Street is split among four Commissioners.

With no further business, Commissioner Cephas adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:20 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, November 13, 2006, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer