• 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

January 6, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Thursday, January 6, 2005 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, Cephas, Watkins, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 28, 2004 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 

Mayor Rippons said because of the number of people in attendance, Council decided to revise the order of the items on the agenda.

NEW BUSINESS

Commissioner Brooks asked if anyone from the audience wished to speak on the issue before Council voted on the motion. Thomas Hurley, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Cambridge Lodge 27, said he is a 16-year veteran with the Cambridge Police Department. He said he values all City employees. The men and women he works with at the Cambridge Police Department are some of the finest on the Eastern Shore. There is talk that this issue is all about money. It is not. It is about the health and strength of the Cambridge Police Department. They have compared their department to other Police Departments. There is a trend to try to get the best people and they are willing to pay for them. They will outbid Cambridge in this war to "steal" their police officers and to keep good ones from coming here. The basic foundation of a good police department is recruitment, retention, and retirement (3 Rs). You must have these things for a young, strong, healthy police department. You must stay competitive with the other police departments on the Shore. People want to come to Cambridge and he wants them to keep coming here. If we slide below competitive rates with other departments, they will step on us. A 13-year veteran left to go to Howard County and he is making more money than when he left. LEOPS is a good retirement system. That is why Cambridge has a healthy police department now. When Council voted for the system in 2000, they were the first municipality. They are now one of eight. He said he hoped he was speaking for all the officers present so they wouldn't all have to get up and say the same thing. It takes money and it takes courage to pay that money. He doesn't want the department to fall apart because they can't compete. The citizens of Cambridge deserve better than that; the police officers deserve better than that; and their future in the town, which is growing at a very fast rate, deserves better than that. The police officers can meet that challenge as long as they have the support and the financial support that they need to continue moving forward. He said he hopes Council has the courage tonight to do what they have done and continue to do what they have done for the Police Department. He wants them to do what they can for the other City employees. They are essential too. He thanked Council for their time.

Melvin Jews, representing the FOP, asked that Cpl. Hurley's letter dated January 4, 2005, be made part of the record. He said Council was ahead of the curve when they did this courageous act last month. If you look at the cost benefit analysis that has been done, with regard to the figures, the benefits certainly outweigh the costs. The pay raise that has been proposed for CPD is certainly bringing the members of the department in line with other departments on the Eastern Shore. One of the ways to keep a great department going is to raise their salaries. He is asking Council to stick to what they did and not to be discouraged or challenged with other issues coming before them with regard to pay raises. This issue should stand on its own. It has its own merits. They should not be distracted or dissuaded from what they have already done. The merit here is that they are going to loose qualified officers to other departments because they just are not getting paid enough. The benefits outweigh the costs. The officers are asking Council to do the fair thing. They are not asking for anything out of the ordinary. They love their jobs and are putting their lives on the line. The small pay increase is not asking for anything out of the ordinary. He is asking Council to continue with what they started; don't backtrack; don't be dissuaded; stay with it and give them the pay increase.

Portia Johnson-Ennels thanked Commissioner Brooks for taking the initiative to make the motion about the pay raise. Her biggest thanks is to Chief Malik for being a department head who looked at his people and decided that it was time that their pay be brought up to scale. For the work that the officers do, the Council should have no qualms about giving them anything because they have worked for years under a pay scale that was really reprehensible. The citizens present should know the reputation the police department had to live down because of the actions of the 1960s. We have come a very long way. It's up to Council tonight to give back to these officers what they deserve. The other department heads should have taken the initiative that Chief Malik did.

Tony Thomas said the police officers are one of the reasons he is here. Officer Palestine Elliott took care of Race Street. Race Street has come a long way in 10 years. Without the job that the police force does, he doesn't think the businesses will be here. When his business was broken into, five police officers were there within one minute and a half. They are great people. The businesses need them to keep the streets safe for the citizens. We can be proud that we can walk down Race Street without any trouble.

Gary Newcomb said he was speaking on behalf of the Municipal Utilities Commission employees and he hopes he can speak on behalf of other City employees. No City employees are against the police officers getting raises. No City employees are against what Council may adopt later tonight. They are not present at the meeting to oppose that. The "3 Rs" relate to other departments in the City also. David Pritchett has had a great deal of problems trying to recruit people. There have been many changes to the Housing Department because the City can't retain people. They are not against the police department's retirement. It is almost 50 percent better than the other City employees. Portia Johnson-Ennels said the other department heads should have come and presented their case to the Council. He has been with the City since January 1975. Raises were always considered during budget negotiations, prior to July 1st. It caught the other department heads completely off-guard with the way it came about and the degree of increases that were given. It is not that they do not deserve it. They City employees are present to make sure that they are not forgotten. They are a crucial part of the City's operation. He is not saying that the police department is held to higher standards. He admires them. They are asking that other departments be looked at for the same reasons-recruiting, retaining and retirement.

David Pritchett, DPW, said he would say essentially everything that Gary Newcomb said.  It really is the "3 Rs". It is not unique to any department. We can't function without a treatment plant, the water supply, the permitting, etc. There has been one position open now because they are offering $36,000 for a civil engineer. It is a lot of training. They have not found anyone from Boston to Louisiana. If they loose their professional engineer, it would result in hiring someone at more money and probably having to hire two in place of him. It is hard on morale. He sincerely hopes that the police department gets what they asked for. There is dedication all the way around. All this caught him by surprise. As Gary Newcomb said, they had extensive plans to submit at budget time. They didn't know it was going to happen in December. It would have been inappropriate by past practice. That is out of respect for Council to do things at a time they are prepared to budget. They cannot afford to retire on less than 50% of what the police department gets. They are probably concerned about retiring on what they are going to get. They have to recruit, retain, and retire just like everyone else.

Commissioner Cephas said he was one of the persons in favor of the increase for the police officers. As of now, he stands behind his decision. He has not wavered one inch since the motion was made by Commissioner Brooks. For 32 years he has made a living bargaining contracts to get workers increased wages, benefits, and decent pension plans. One of the first things he did when he took office was to get a copy of every job description and the qualifications of every employee in the City. He reviewed them and has salaries of every employee in the City. He was surprised at some of the salaries that he saw. Some of the salaries for people with degrees are not up to par in his opinion. A lot of people were upset about the amount of the increase that was imposed upfront. He has some creative ideas that he shared with the Commissioners.  None of the ideas took a penny from his original proposal. There are a number of ways to be creative to retain employees. He agrees 100% with the two gentlemen who just spoke about other departments. He reviewed pay scales on the internet. The City is not broke and the Commission is not going to bankrupt the City. He guarantees that. There are many qualified people working for the City. The Mayor is Chief Administrator of the City. He asked Mayor Rippons to speak up if they are going down a blind road. Not one person opposed the increase when the motion was stated. He stands behind the original motion. He is also prepared to be creative. He thinks it is a win/win for everybody-not only the police department but other departments as well. He and Commissioner Knox made a commitment to each other when they were running for office. They will not leave anyone behind.

Commissioner Watkins said he has been on the Council for a while. He is not against the pay raise. He thinks they need to look at the overall picture-all the various committees and the departments, and see what they can do in conjunction with the policemen. He is not against the police department raise. They need a good raise. We also need to look at the people on the street, the ditch diggers, and the people who make the curb and gutters. We need to take time and look at what we can do and do what we can for all of them.

Commissioner Knox said the Commissioners need to answer to the citizens of Cambridge. He thinks that some of the other departments may have felt like they were going to be left out. That is not true. He has worked with employees and running a business for over 25 years. You have to be fair with everyone. There is no way they are going to give one department a raise and no other department. They will not leave anyone behind. Council has to remember that they have the citizens to answer to. They have to make very careful decisions on how they do it, what they do it with, where it is going to come from, and the wave that may profit. They have to think about their friends and co-workers in the county. They will look at everything with a magnifying glass. Nobody will be left behind. It is compromise, but it will work.

Commissioner Travers said he has heard some comments that he is against the City police department getting a raise. That is not true. He did question the position of Captain getting a $28,000-a-year increase. He was opposed to that. He spoke to the Mayor and Commissioners and he would like for the police department to get the entire raise but he would like to see it done fiscally so we make sure that we have enough money in our Treasury to pay the officers. He would like to see a 6% increase for the entire department, every 6 months until we get up to where we are supposed to be. He thinks we have the best police department in the entire State of Maryland and he knows about 80% of them.

Sgt. Andre Perez has been a citizen of Cambridge and Dorchester County since 1985. He went to school here, joined the Marine Corps here, did his tour, and returned here to become a police officer. He has been one for 12 years. He loves working for Cambridge but if Cambridge is going to be falling behind with the surrounding municipalities and the growing trend...   We are still way behind. It is hard to recruit people such as himself, a minority. In the whole department there are two Hispanic officers. The Hispanic community is growing more and more every day. They are having a hard time hiring minority officers-not only Hispanic but African Americans. Those who are qualified are going to other agencies where they are getting paid good money. The young officers are not thinking about retirement. They are thinking about what is in their pocket right now. Easton is getting the cream of the crop. We are getting the leftovers. If we don't do something about this today, all of the good officers are going to leave.  We have to think about the City and the citizens. Whatever Council does today will affect the future of Cambridge, the police department, and the quality officers who come here and stay here. He thanked everyone who is backing them in this and thinks everyone deserves a raise.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to rescind the motion which was approved on December 13, 2004, which approved Compensation Plan "B" being awarded to the Cambridge Police Department as follows: 50% on January 15, 2005 and 50% on May 15, 2005.  She said she fully supports her first motion. However, not to cause any financial disharmony within our City budget, Commissioner Brooks made an additional motion to continue on with Plan "B" for a competitive and retentive salary increase that will be implemented in four increments: 25% of Plan "B" on January 8, 2005; 25% on July 1, 2005; 25% on January 1, 2006; and the final 25% on July 1, 2006. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  Commissioner Travers, as Finance Chairman, said he has to know where the money is coming from.  He will support this raise but only at 6% per increment which will bring everyone up to wherever they are supposed to be, at the end of 2 years. Ed Kinnamon said if we do this, we will have to tap into the City's reserves and take it from the fund balance. They will have to tap into what they are investing to meet the requirements and balance the budget. Commissioner Cephas said the original motion that Commissioner Brooks made, some officers would not receive 6% before they got to the top. It would be lower than 6%. He said Commissioner Travers is going above the original motion which would cost the City even more. Mayor Rippons said Commissioner Travers' motion is to take current salary and at this time enact a 6% increase to where everyone is at now. At the top of the scale there are people who would be getting over a 50% increase. At the lower scale, if we are talking about recruitment and retention, his consideration is to address those two issues since those are two primary concerns. The officers who spoke said a young officer is not concerned primarily with the end of the rainbow. They are concerned about what they are getting now. Right now there is a 2.7% increase at the lower level. Commissioner Travers is addressing the inadequacy because a 6% across-the-board raise will more appropriately take the money that is to be taken out of the reserve account and to address the areas of recruitment and retention because a line officer will get more. At the top of the scale they are not going to receive a 50% increase. In the conversations they had, that is what Commissioner Travers said he felt was more appropriate. If they stay here long enough, they are already almost 50% ahead of the other City employees. They can leave with up to 60% of their highest income level. We must move to build up the base package that we offer and then allow the line officers to get a 6% raise at this time.  When we move forward with the budget, we will address the issue about what revenue figures we have on the table. The full amount would be in place in a two-year period. Commissioner Watkins said they need to take a little time to figure out what we are going to do. They need to come across the board and look at all the departments as see what they can do. He would like some time to have the opportunity to do it by budget time. Commissioner Cephas said they cannot ignore the fact of the motion. It was not 6% for some officers. He is increasing the percentage by almost 3% for some officers which was the original motion that Commissioner Travers was concerned about. Chief Malik presented a scale comparing them to other municipalities several weeks ago. For 30+ officers it was not a 6% increase, it equated to about a 2.5% to 2.8% increase. After the vote was taken, some Commissioners had a problem with that.

Rob Collison said for clarification, the way Motion 2 was reading in the book, it would approve the 25% raise effective January 8, 2005. The balance would be reviewed during the budget process with the goal of authorizing them July, January, and the next July.  The motion Commissioner Brooks made was to approve them now and not determine it during the budget process. Commissioner Brooks said her motion is exactly as she stated it on December 28, 2004. The same statement that she read on December 28th would be her motion today.  What Rob Collison presented was not what she said would be presented. Rob Collison said Commissioner Brooks' motion is to approve all of it but to spread it over an 18‑month period. Commissioner Knox said Council needs to be very careful. They have the Dorchester County teachers looking at this, the Dorchester County sheriffs department looking at this, the County roads department looking at this, and he does not want to sit at the table representing his "stockholders" (citizens) and commit financial Armageddon. Everyone deserves a raise but they have to be careful in what they do.

Commissioner Brooks asked Rob Collison to explain how a motion is rescinded. Rob Collison said they could rescind a motion with a four-fifths vote this evening or they could substitute that action with something else. The motion now is to rescind and replace it with what Commissioner Brooks proposed. If the motion does not pass, then what was approved on December 28th or December 13th stands unless there is a substitute motion that is approved.

Commissioner Cephas said he is hearing Commissioner Watkins and Commissioner Knox say they don't understand some things. He is in favor of giving them a reasonable amount of time to understand. With the way the original proposal was proposed, within 5 months, the entire amount would be paid to the Police Department. The motion has been modified, and a new motion has come up to spread it over a period of time. If the original amount is spread over a period of four increments in 18 months, what is wrong with that picture? When the budget comes up in July, if it is not feasible, then Mr. Kinnamon, Mr. Wheeler, Mayor Rippons and the rest of the Council have an obligation to tell them it is not a doable thing, even at 18 months. Commissioner Knox said he doesn't want to bite off more than they can chew. He relies on Ed Kinnamon. If there is a problem with Commissioner Brooks' amended motion, then someone should speak up now. Commissioner Watkins said he wants to see everyone treated alike and he wants to take time to find out what the budget will be. He doesn't see any need to make a snap judgment until they have time to look at the budget and see what they can pay the police department and all the departments. It will take time. He feels they should wait until the budget meetings to see what they can do to help everybody. Commissioner Brooks said she understands from Mr. Kinnamon that this can be done. They have the money in the reserve. It will not break the City. Commissioner Watkins said he is concerned that they are giving a priority to the police department in deference to other people. Commissioner Knox said he relies on the department heads to give him information to help him make a decision. They want to be fair to everyone. It is his understanding that these things are usually taken care of during the budget review. If they are going to give the police department a 6% raise, then they ought to give everyone a 6% raise. They need to be fair to everyone. He supports Commissioner Brooks but he would like to be cautious. He has learned a lot since December 13th and he is going to try real hard not to let this happen again. It is nothing against anyone. They have to invest in their employees to make it all work. He asked if they could do what Commissioner Brooks' suggested doing and then look at it when they review the budget. Commissioner Brooks said the reason Chief Malik presented this at the time he did was competitive and retention. Easton went up in September. That pushed his back up against the wall with his men. Wicomico County was already up; Caroline County was already up. That is the reason he came to Council when he did. She feels Council has been everything but fair to them. All five Commissioners voted to give them a raise on December 13th. Then two days later they started spreading the rumor that they don't want to give them the raise. They were brought back in on December 28th and Council told them what they were going to present on January 6th. Now it is January 6th and Council wants to present something else to them. That is not fair. Council is letting them know that they don't care about the protection that they have. Commissioner Knox said when they first came in, it wasn't on the agenda. He said he is not against a raise. He has every intention to vote to give them a raise and the rest of the City employees as well. He never said he wanted to take anything back. He is asking for the flexibility at budget time to do what they can do.

Thomas Hurley said he would like to give Council a little more insight about the $28,000 raise for a captain that Commissioner Travers discussed. Over the years, the pay scale has been like an accordion closing. They have been trying to raise the lower end to recruit and at the same time, not giving higher pay scale up along the top end. As the years have gone along, the pay scale has gotten closer. That is why the pay scale with Easton is so much different. Lieutenants, captains, and the chief do not get overtime. A sergeant with the current pay scale that we have can make more than a lieutenant with overtime. There is no incentive to become a lieutenant. He commends the Commissioners who are in favor of this. It was a 5 vote and was passed. He stands by his letter to the newspaper. He hasn't heard that the City can't do it. The motion is there and the money is there. He will not go but he will loose his confidence in the City. The issue is bigger than the money. It is an issue about the strength of the police department.

Guenivere Banks said the motion was put before the Commissioners in November. Commissioner Brooks asked Ed Kinnamon if they had enough money to do it. If they turn the policemen down, they can very well turn the other public people down. It has already been passed; the money is there; why can't they vote on it?  Mayor Rippons said there is a motion and they will be voting.

Rob Collison suggested a minor amendment to the motion which might satisfy everyone's concerns. He suggested adding the words "subject to formal budget amendment". That way, as it's been approved, it would stand unless Council votes to change it. After the 25% is given, they can't take it back. Before the next 25% is given, if they agree to rescind it, they could rescind it by having enough votes. Mayor Rippons said they cannot rescind the motion unless they have four-fifths vote. After they go through the budget proceedings and there is not enough money, if they get a majority of votes, they can say the budget will have these rates at this level. If Council looks at the budget constraints in March and they see they cannot do the next step, not only can they not give the next step, they can rescind what they are giving them now if they so desire. He believes the reality will show that Cambridge is growing at a big enough rate and there will be ample money. The money is coming out of the reserve account this time.

Mayor Rippons stated that Commissioner Brooks' motion is to go forward with the first quarter increment, 25% of Compensation Plan "B", which will roughly across the board amount to a 6.5% total increase. He also stated that Commissioner Travers had raised a concern that it skews toward the top and maybe instead of implementing this, he would like a 6% increase across the board. Commissioner Cephas had stated that a lot of people were only getting a 2.7% increase. He repeated that Thomas Hurley said they have become an accordion and are getting too close together. He asked Council which one they believe is more adequate to get them from January 6th to July 1st. The motion is to implement 25% of Compensation Plan "B".  Commissioner Brooks said that is not the exact motion. Mayor Rippons said the motion is to rescind the pay rate which would have implemented the entire amount. Commissioner Brooks added "and bring in the four quarters. It was January 8, 2005 for 25% of requested salary increase and the rest on July 1, 2005; January 1, 2006; and July 1, 2006. The motion passed 5:0 in favor of the motion.

Resolution for Budget Amendment Regarding Police Department Compensation Plan-Ed Kinnamon said the resolution is to allow $201,109 to be brought out of reserves to be placed in the City's general fund in order to cover the salary increase and to balance the budget which they have to do by law. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARING

Public Hearing and Decision on the Temporary Moratorium for PWCD District-Ed Kinnamon asked anyone wishing to speak to sign the sign-in sheet. Rob Collison said the public hearing is to consider the imposition of a temporary moratorium within the PWCD district. The Certificate of Publication indicates that the public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on December 23, and December 30, 2004. It was also advertised in the Star-Democrat on December 23 and December 29, 2004 and in the Dorchester Star on December 24 and 31, 2004.  The moratorium, as proposed, was reviewed at a public hearing at a Planning and Zoning meeting on Tuesday, January 4, 2005. By a vote of 4:3 the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the adoption and approval of the moratorium for a period not to exceed 9 months. The three members voting against the motion supported a 6‑month moratorium. The moratorium is on site plan reviews and issuance of building permits on projects that have not received final building permits for new construction within the PWCD district and who have not begun substantial construction at the effective date. Pursuant to Article 23A, it becomes effective 10 days from the day hereof which would be January 16, 2005 if it is approved this evening.  It would exempt those properties that are formally vested. As of right now, that is the Deep Harbour development project because it has received building permits and construction is under way. As proposed, it would also exempt the renovation, rehabilitation, or repair of existing structures. 

The City received a letter from Jack Dillon and Associates; a letter in favor of the moratorium from Jane Devlin as President of the West End Citizens Association; a letter from Thomas Alspach representing a community group; a letter of opposition from Kenneth R. Thomas, Jr. of Harbour Haven recommending not to approve the moratorium; as well as a letter from the corporate officers of the J. M. Clayton Company.

Rob Collison said the purpose of the moratorium is to complete a comprehensive review of the PWCD guidelines, building criteria, building materials, to analyze the permitting zoning classifications and uses for each of the properties, and to formalize those recommendations and amendments into a new PWCD zoning code. A committee was appointed last year who has completed their recommendation.

Nancy Jo Chapman emphasized what they are trying to do is take time to review this document. The original laws were set circa 1984. Cambridge has changed a lot since then. When they were established, Cambridge was a depressed community that needed to stimulate growth no matter what it took. We have very dense, very high standards for development along the creek which may have been appropriate at that time. Now everyone seems to want to come to Cambridge and she thinks we need to look at what would be the best for the future of Cambridge to continue to increase the value of Cambridge to the maximum. She thinks we can do that with a planned community that is esthetically attractive; that supports tourism; that supports future people moving here on a permanent basis-not part-time condominium residents. She thinks the way we do that is to evaluate what is best along the creek and the main street and the surrounding area. As the Chairman of the Cambridge Citizens for Planned Growth, they support a moratorium of 9 months. There were mainly three opponents to the moratorium at the Planning and Zoning public hearing. The Claytons are opposed because they are concerned that their land values will decrease if developers are not allowed to build to the scale they want to. She believes that putting in a wrong development on sites close to Claytons may decrease the value of their future land. If we do not lower the density, lower the height limits, and increase the attractiveness of the creek, the future land values for other people around the creek will decrease. The second person in opposition was a developer who basically might loose the opportunity to develop a piece of land. There might be other developers who will be interested in developing that land. The third developer in opposition was a developer who put a lot of time, effort, and thought into their project. If this moratorium affects them negatively, they may loose time, incur extra costs for a possible redesign, they may incur costs just because they are not able to develop in a timely manner. The needs of the City and the future of the citizens of Cambridge should outweigh the concerns of a few private individuals. She heard no opposition that stated a loss to the community if we had a moratorium. The time and market have changed. If we do nothing, we can do big harm. She thinks we should do something. A moratorium allows us time to plan. She suggested doing the creek first as part of the comprehensive plan.

Kim Gscheidle urged Council's support of a 9-month moratorium. She has spoken to Council about some of the fire safety issues. It would give them time to look at height and density issues and would give them time to assess the public safety issues. She strongly encourages a 9-month moratorium.

Marge Hull thinks it is very forward thinking to decide that Cambridge needs a business plan. She believes we are a multi-million dollar business. A wise decision would be to look carefully at what it is to be developed on the creek because whatever comes will be there for the next hundred years.  She is also representing the President of the West End Citizens Association which has 400 members and is a complete positive opinion that they support this moratorium, particularly the 9 months. Things done in haste are frequently not done well. The creek is a tremendous asset. It is the only other deepwater port in the State in Maryland except for Baltimore. The last thing we want to do is lock the community out of that asset and to make it difficult for tourists and visitors to use that asset and most importantly that the people of Cambridge do not loose the opportunity to enjoy that asset.

Fred Pomeroy spoke as chairman of a county group that is called Dorchester Citizens for Planning Growth. The group supports the moratorium. When you are getting ready to go through a period of great changes, it might be good to keep in mind a paraphrase of Lincoln's words "It's better to go rather slowly and be thought a fool than it is to go too quick and remove all doubt.". It might apply to decisions we make about our creek. He is also a life-long waterman. There was a speculator who came to Cambridge about 12 years ago with a plan whereby he would basically be given the whole creek. There would be a 60-foot channel left in the middle. He planned to put a hotel here. He would control the public creek. The watermen and Navy Admirals who lived here realized that this was an absolutely horrendous plan. There would have been no public access left. Because the creek is a Federally-dredged harbor, Congressman Dyson was involved. There was a committee formed to hash out the issue of development on the creek. The watermen didn't want to speak about was done on the shores. They just wanted to see the creek open for their access and for public access. They were asked to make some concessions about some of the new properties, the condos that were to be built, so they could have piers into the creek. For that concession, they requested that there be a lot of public access on the creek. The result of that was the public boat ramp that was built across from the site where Wayne's Seed and Feed was located. He is concerned that they are one property's sale away from loosing the watermen on the creek. He would like to see during the moratorium that they consider some way to dedicate some portion of the water just to the watermen. He urged Cambridge to consider things that Deal has done. They don't have one tenth the maritime heritage that Cambridge has. People asked them 12 years ago not to let the creek get walled up with condos and townhouses. It was a huge mistake in other areas. He wishes that perhaps they had addressed the issue. The watermen and historical users may be pushed out of Cambridge. They would be a great tragedy.

Ed Williams said everything he was going to say pretty much has been said. He emphasized that the Commissioners are their elected representatives, their protectors, and they have to look out for their interests. That is why the citizens voted for them. That is why they are being paid. The Commissioners don't work for the developers necessarily. They work for the citizens. When they weigh the desires of the community against the desires of a developer to maximize his profit, you have to assign appropriate leverage to each one. We have made a lot of mistakes in developing Cambridge in the last 5 years. He doesn't think we can afford to make more mistakes now. He is very much in favor of a 9‑month moratorium.

Jack Dillon, a Planner from Baltimore County and resident of Dorchester County, is representing Cambridge Citizens for Planned Growth. He was asked to prepare an analysis and a proposal for analysis and a land use plan for the PWCD area. He will be submitting the proposal to them very shortly. He submitted a letter that he read at the Planning and Zoning public hearing. Cambridge is extremely lucky. It has a special charm to itself. The water is the key. A delay of preferably 9 months is not going to shut down Cambridge or the development pressures that are going to be there. They will come forward. The object is to get a plan that is appropriate for Cambridge that will give the citizens of the Cambridge the highest and best use, and the best quality, because it is going to stay. He urged Council to pass this moratorium this evening.

Doug Worrell an attorney representing about 20 citizens said they are supporting the moratorium. They have committed to working with the community, the developers, and arriving at a good plan.  The will underwrite the cost of Mr. Dillon and his associates in order to work with this community. They are not anti-development. The Council has just spent about 1¼ hours concerning funding for the police department. It is temping to think they will get a lot of money from the condos. The development of the harbor has a profound impact on the entirety of this community. If you make a mistake, it will always be there. It may be as a result of this moratorium that Beazer's project will be an entirely acceptable project. We should give the professionals an opportunity to work with the Planning Commission and the Council to come up with a good idea that is going to make this community as great as it can possibly be.

Ed MacLaughlin said there are consequences of anything complicated but there are also unintended consequences. It is the unintended consequences that come back months or years later that nail you more than the original consequences. The easiest part of a construction project is building it. If we are going to double our population within 10 years to 15 years, we are sitting in the middle of absolute incredible history. If we don't know the blueprints yet, we will have unintended consequences everywhere. He thinks a 9‑month moratorium is the minimal required. His tax assessment was pretty ugly. If we delay 9 months, he doesn't think they will go down. The next time they will go up again. The value of Beazer is worth almost what the entire Dorchester County is worth. They can wait a little bit. He is worried they might put up a building that is 5 times the size of Ginger Brannock's building which is 5 times the size of the Sailwinds building. The building will be Ginger's legacy forever. He asked if anyone understood what the building was going to look like and what the site lines of Maryland Avenue were going be. If you do not, you are looking at the result of an unintended consequence. What are we going to do with the point property? He asked what the legacy of this group is going to be. That is their decision. 

Dave Singelstad said Council has done a great job bringing development to Cambridge. There are a lot of developers coming. The 9-month moratorium will give us an opportunity to determine what the fair impact fee should be paid by our future developers. If a plan for the waterfront district achieves some mixed use, we will have public access. If they can keep a little waterfront for watermen's vessels and for transient visitors to the harbor, that would be good too.

Wayne Warner said most of the planned building that has been done throughout the State has started low at the shoreline and progressed back. We are at the point where we are going up from the shoreline and then going with as much density as we can possibly get. It is not a good plan for anybody but the people who are putting it up. The developers who are coming in with condos are coming in with the quickest money scheme that is available to them. Many of them will re-incorporate. We are stuck with whatever happens to be there. People who buy the condos will get a good water view. In that water view, they are blocking everybody and everything. Driving down Maryland Avenue you can see where they will be building huge buildings that will house small condos. This is maximum density on minimum ground space. He grew up in Cambridge and walked Maryland Avenue a lot of times. He misses a lot of what has gone already. The last thing to go was the view of downtown through the creek with the new building that is just going up. The view of our little town is gone. Putting a large project on "the point" which is four or more times the size of the latest condo that went up here seems like a travesty. He urged Council to take their charge extremely seriously for all of the citizens of this wonderful town. The potential is here. Everybody in the world wants to come here. We offered them ulterior motives with outdated, rundown, poorly organized and not-thought-through planning. We owe it to ourselves to take some time and change some of these things to the point where we don't loose the valuable things we have left.

Joe Brooks, VP of the J. M. Clayton Company, said he is the unpopular one here tonight. As a property owner who has paid City taxes since the early 1920s, he feels they need to express their opinion. They are opposed to the building moratorium. They are opposed to reduction in allowed height and density, and they are opposed to the requirement of a riverwalk on privately-owned property. Extending the building moratorium leading to a reduced allowed density in height could have a huge impact of property values in the PWCD. With construction expenses going up, it could make a building project unviable. The reduction in height could create more land sprawl, making it harder to satisfy the parking requirements and making a less-desirable site plan. There is a concentration of residential use on the west side of Cambridge. It makes sense to put residential on this side. It would have less traffic than a successful commercial venture. He feels a lot of people are worried about that. Residential on this side of town is close to the downtown we are trying to revitalize. It makes sense to put the mixed-use closer to Route 50. A required riverwalk may be suitable for retail development; however, having a riverwalk in the backyard of a condo with one side and boat slips on the other could create trouble for the City. All the piers at Long Wharf have "no trespassing" signs. One even has a locked gate. The City, County, and State need to do their best to protect what is publicly owned in one form or another as it is right now. There was talk at the Planning and Zoning meeting that J. M. Clayton Company should be concerned about meeting the cap of 800 units allowed in the present PWCD. They are concerned about it; but he thinks the City has an obligation to keep some of the properties from being developed into condos and promote it as public facilities. If that is the case, the cap probably would not be an issue. He was on the committee that evaluated the PWCD and the consensus was that the cap was not appropriate. There was concern tonight that the J. M. Clayton Company should be concerned about having a building like the one that is proposed next to them. They are concerned. The reality is that he doesn't have the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with their property if it is within the bounds of what is permissible. There was a comment tonight about "What are we going to do with the point property?". We don't own it. He is here tonight looking out for property owners' rights. They have supported the community and do not have any plans to change their facility. If things change and their hands are tied then their options are not as plentiful. They are against the moratorium and any required riverwalk around the property. He asked that Council recognize property owners' rights.

David Wheatley, owner of Generation III Marina, said the task of figuring out what is really going to happen is upon Council's shoulders. A lot of what he has heard and a lot of what has been said is going to affect the finances of only a few individuals. Those are the folks who own property on the creek. Strict restrictions on building and density would have an influence on the value of that property. He thinks we need planned development. He is asking that Council to keep the small number of owners that a lot of these ideas really impact in their thoughts when they make their decisions.

Sandy McAllister, representing Beazer Homes, said this discussion began in an effort to decide whether we needed to extend the moratorium. There hasn't been much concentration on process or history. It has worked into a very clear question of expanding the moratorium as well as extending it. We have jumped past the issue of whether it ought to apply to projects in development and gone on the bigger and better things like the further from the creek and the less economic investment or interest, the longer the suggestion for the moratorium. Nobody is talking about what they want to do during the moratorium; they only want to talk about the time frame. In April 2004 the Council created a blue ribbon panel. The panel included some very important names-Marshall Rickert, Tom Keating, Natalie Chabot, Joe Brooks, Steve Dodd, Bill Craig, and others. They were picked for a reason. Every day someone moves here and wants to start with a new process. In the 1970s there was not one single residential unit on the creek. The American Cities Corporation had the finest development minds in America. The study they did cost a lot of money. They said you have to bring people downtown. Now everyone is trying to make it as hard as possible. The truth is that if they didn't get residents to move back to the City of Cambridge, you would not have revitalized downtown because there would not be any customers because they got in their cars and drove away. It is not an accident that residential development has gone along the western branch of the creek. He resents the fact that some have suggested that these are fly-by-night developers who took the money and ran. They are people with roots in this community and did what they thought was right and did it consistent with the then-existing law. If someone want to change the law, that is fine but he doesn't want to mis-characterize the past. Now they want the moratorium to expand. It is a cheap injunction effort to stop a singular project. On December 6 was the very first time the question was raised about expanding the moratorium. No other sites are as directly affected. Because a few dozen concerned citizens expressed their reservations as is their right. He is confused about how those positions appear to be the only legitimate ones and unless you agree with them, you somehow have nefarious motives.  Reasonable people can agree to disagree and he thinks reasonable minds can differ on the best way to continue the revitalization. After a quarter century trying to attract investment in town, now we have decided that our plan is flawed.  What they are saying is a very narrow special interest group ought to control the outcome on the creek. He thinks they need to take into consideration a couple of things. When Commissioner Brooks took office, she said just because they are new, doesn't mean they will ignore the decisions made. The conversation had to do with lighting.

Sandy McAllister said they are new people but they have to proceed and recognize the sanctity of decisions their predecessors made. They can't continue to make ad-hoc decisions based on the number of "most vocal" people in the audience that particular Monday night. They should talk about a time line and process. It is not about Beazer on Cambridge Point. It's about the next guy on Cambridge Point. When he was City attorney they sued the Arundel Corporation to require them to clean it up. They put up a chain link fence. The public hasn't been able to access the creek on the Trenton Street property for 20 years. To paint this bucolic picture is to ignore the reality. On the site where Cambridge Point is being built were oil drums until just a few years ago. It is a contaminated site to this day. Mike Todd can't develop his site because it is contaminated. Delmarva Power and Light put the chain link fence around a nice grassy lawn across from the Trenton Street project because it is contaminated too. The Cambridge Point property didn't pay taxes for 15 years. Now they have brought not only a developer, but a publicly-traded SEC-regulated deep-pocket developer who is able to address the City's concerns and respond in a way that isn't like Mr. Warner described. There are deep pockets, accountability, and responsiveness. From April through December, they said the moratorium didn't apply to him so he could spend freely. On August 3, Planning and Zoning unanimously gave preliminary plan approval. Not one of the folks who have spoken tonight stood up at that meeting and said one word in opposition. On October 5, Planning and Zoning unanimously gave design development approval. Nobody spoke in opposition. He read from the meeting minutes where Jane Devlin, West End Citizens, said she met with Mr. McAllister to preview the plans and wanted to applaud the work that has been done. An awful lot of detail has been put into it and it seems like a wonderful concept when it comes to fruition.

Sandy McAllister said the main concern is the height restriction and the density. They are asking if something can be done architecturally to soften the massing, possibly with roof lines. The PWCD Review Committee's final report states in no uncertain terms that there ought to be a PWCD‑1 on the west side of the creek and that section should have 20 residential units an acre with 75‑ft height maximum. Even if the moratorium had applied, which it did not, the conclusions of the blue ribbon panel would not affect the design one bit. He doesn't think it is a good idea to disregard the panel's work and efforts.  On December 13 they found out they had problems. That night Commissioner Cephas said he didn't think it seemed fair. These guys have been working since April and certainly should be given an opportunity to address these concerns. He asked to meet with the group. The meeting was held December 30. He had to say to his clients that he was asked by a City Councilman to set up a meeting with the opposition at the same time the Planning Commission is calling a special meeting one business day later to consider a moratorium that is magically suddenly expanded to include this site when it didn't for 9 months. Three business days after his client was asked to meet with the opposition for the sole purpose of seeing if they could address massing, density, traffic, and other concerns, they are in Council voting on a moratorium. The Planning Commission said they hoped to see him in February when he will come back to address all the concerns. The whole evening they tried to ascertain what the concerns were. At considerable expense, Beazer has redesigned the project with millions of dollars in lost condos, lowering the height, lowering the density, increasing the off-street parking, decreasing the number of units, and addressing every concern they have heard expressed. They are not sensing that anybody really cares or wants to provide that opportunity. He doesn't think it sets a very good precedent to decide now that the rules have changed and hopefully in 9 months the company will be able to build something. It sends the wrong message; it is not good government; and it just isn't fair.

Thomas Anastasio said the ads that Beazer runs in the Washington Post advertising Deep Harbour say Cambridge is half the distance to Ocean City. He doesn't think that is what he would like a company to be saying about our town. He thinks we are more than that. They are aiming for people who are going to use this as a weekend. Crisfield has developed high-rises on Somer's Cove. They have destroyed it. They could have used a moratorium to think about it a little bit. He would like to see Council approve a moratorium because it won't stop the development. It will allow us to plan a little better and see what it is we want to do.

Jim Duswalt said he is the developer for the Waterside Development which is at the end of Muir Street. He has been before Planning and Zoning, City Council, and received all his approvals. There was never any opposition at any public hearings. He is unclear if he will be included in this moratorium. His project is being financed by two local banks. His taxes are due. If he stops for 9 months, he doesn't know where the money is going to come from. He asked that if the ordinance is to be enacted, that his project, Waterside Development, be listed in Section 7 of the ordinance as a project specifically excluded from the moratorium. He took into consideration the views. If you look down Muir Street right now, there are several dilapidated buildings. He is not blocking anybody's view. They have a public walkway. He has done everything that was asked of him and more.

Rob Collison said, for clarity, this is a new moratorium. The point property and the Muir Street Villas were exempted from the original moratorium. If this was an extension, they would be exempted from this one. There was a request to proceed with a new moratorium to include the two projects. They had a public hearing with Planning and Zoning and now one with Council because it is a new moratorium. It is worded differently because it includes any new project that has not received final approval permits. The building permits would have to be done with substantial construction. It clearly would include the point property because they do not have final approval. He received a letter from Tom Alspach, representing a group, pointing out a case in Maryland that stated "the construction and demolition, grading, and beginning bulk heading and slips does not constitute substantial construction". Therefore, Waterside would not be vested because he believes that is all they have done. They received their final approval in September 2003. They have been dealing with the Corps of Engineers for the last year of so. David Pritchett said the foundation permit was approved in February 2003. It was not officially issued but was approved by the Planning and Zoning's recommendation and unanimous approval of the project. He finished his review in February. Since that time they have paid for it and picked-up it up. Rob Collison said they reason it is unclear if they are included, because they have not begun substantial construction of the residential portion of the 28-unit condo building. However, if Council feels that because of their status of having the building permit, having the final approval and they have begun some construction, it is their discretion if they wish to exclude the project. If they want to exclude the project, he would remove the substantial construction portion of the criteria and state "anyone who has not received the final building permits and final approval would be covered" or they can state "we find that what they have done to date would exempt them". If it is approved as written that they are requiring substantial construction, as of tonight, he doesn't know whether they would fall within it. It would depend on what they are able to get done between now and January 16, the effective date of the moratorium.  The case law on substantial construction varies. There was a case that said the foundation for an Exxon Station was substantial construction. Another case said a retaining wall was not enough. He cannot answer the question tonight unless Council feels they have gone far enough that they want to exempt the project. It is a two-part project. When you go down Muir Street, on the left side will be the 28-unit condominium project that we are talking about. It will be 75-feet tall in the center. The townhouse portion of the project is a separate issue. David Pritchett said they have received foundation permits. Rob Collison said there will be five or six townhouses and they are nowhere near the 75-ft limit.

David Pritchett said the intent of the case where they said the substantial completion was the construction of the foundation, he doesn't know what the real difference is between the fact that the foundation is put in, but the building is going to go up as originally approved. There have been no complaints about it in the interim. If sent back to Planning and Zoning he is pretty confident, because he has included everything that has been requested, it seems the intent is still met. It is a technicality that the concrete is not there yet.

Brett Summers said he bought his house on High Street in 1997 and he plans on being here for quite some time. His concerns are for the future of Cambridge. He views the concerns from the people who have been here for quite some time and own property on the creek as more of an exit strategy. They are looking to get the highest price for their land. If he knew when he bought a house on an historic street that almost directly across the street someone could build a 75-ft condominium, he would have been shocked. That kind of zoning is so inconsistent with what is in the neighboring area. As a real estate professional he never did anticipate that being in place. They are here for the beauty of Cambridge and wish to fight the fact. It is unfortunate that it was ever done.

Wendell Foxwell thinks in April when they had the public hearing for the moratorium he more or less spoke in favor of it. He is inclined to be in favor at this time also but he has his doubts. In the last 6 months, it has been a stagnant process. What has been done? He thinks if people could arbitrate with each other, have meetings, and try to get together. Then he would more or less oppose a moratorium. A lot of the people opposed to it are on High Street and they have only been here for a few years. He doesn't think altogether they have all that right to more or less stop what some of the other people who have been here for quite a while. He doesn't agree if somebody has a building permit and wants to build, if it is 15 minutes before closing time, it is still all right. A time factor is a time factor. He suggested a 6‑month moratorium. He is in favor of not putting it on the Muir Street property because it is a good project. We have to move forward on some if we want to increase our tax base. 

Tony Thomas thinks we have to look at the different projects that are going here. The most important street around is High Street. The project there was stuck in, in 15 minutes. He thinks the project on Muir Street should be built. It is a fantastic project. That part of town really needs to be rehabilitated. He is for the moratorium but he thinks that should be an exemption because of the part of town it is going in.

Dorothy Cox works the northern City bus route for Delmarva Community Transit. The tourists are not happy with seeing a lot of this high rise right on the waterfront. It blocks a lot of historic buildings. When all of this goes up, what is the sense of saving of all historic building? You can't see things because it is all blocked. We need height restrictions.  The City needs a moratorium on height.

Commissioner Travers said if Jim Duswalt has all his permits and has been certified, he would like to make a motion that he be exempt from the moratorium. He is in favor of the moratorium, but he thinks Mr. Duswalt (Waterside Development) qualifies to be exempt for the entire project. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Commissioner Watkins said he made considerable progress on it and he thinks they should go along with it. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Knox said he would like to create a moratorium to be extended for 9 months. During that 9‑month period we will have a comprehensive traffic study, a comprehensive plan, and review the recommendations from the PWCD review committee. If all these items are accomplished before that 9‑month period is up, we will rescind the moratorium. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. David Pritchett said they have already done quite a bit of inquiry on the doing the study, and at the bare minimum, a comprehensive plan will taken 18 months. Rob Collison said the goal was to do a review of the PWCD only. The City-wide comprehensive plan and the City-wide traffic study are going to take a year to a year and a half. The committee was selected to look at the design building criteria and uses permitted in the PWCD. They feel this can be accomplished within the 9 months. He encouraged them to consider an amendment to the motion because there is no way they will get the comprehensive plan done.  Commissioner Knox amended his motion to remove the comprehensive plan study and the comprehensive traffic study. The motion will create a moratorium for 9 months unless all the projects that Council intends on reviewing during that period are done before the 9 month period. The projects are the design criteria, materials, and designated uses on particular properties within the PWCD.  Commissioner Travers seconded the amended motion. Commissioner Cephas said some months ago they imposed a 6-month moratorium and he voted in favor of the moratorium. He attended a Planning and Zoning meeting this week and he heard many discussions. One of the questions that came up is what has happened in those 6 months in reference to the moratorium. It was a 4:3 division in Planning and Zoning on whether they would do 6 months or 9 months. He has mixed emotions himself. He is not in favor of 9 months. Council agreed to 6 months and wanted an additional 6‑month extension. He thinks they should allow 6 months as they previously said. If we need more time, we should come back and address it again. He thinks Mr. Foxwell made an interesting point. Not only is he hearing this through the first and third wards, he is hearing it from the second and fourth wards also. We need to listen to everybody. This is not a game being played. If we want to be fair, we need to be consistent too. Jim Duswalt has done exactly what has been asked of Beazer. He lowered his density, he's got the view, and he's done everything there is that we have asked within a reasonable amount of time. The same has been asked of the Beazer Corporation. He said Sandy McAllister made a very good presentation. The committee met but there was no reduction in height and density and he had a major concern about that. Sandy McAllister said the density was reduced and the height was reduced. Commissioner Cephas said at the meeting he attended, he did not see it and that concerned him. He was told faithfully that the number of units would be reduced, the height would be reduced, and the structure would be changed. Nothing was in writing. He thinks they should stick with the 6 months like they said. He is in favor of a moratorium for that period of time. Their word is only as good as they are and he stands behind his word. Commissioner Knox said he would like his motion to stay at 9 months. If the work is completed in 6 months, the moratorium will be lifted.  Rob Collison said for clarification, if they have the moratorium for 6 months, they cannot just vote to extend it. They have to begin the entire process again with public hearings before Planning and Zoning and then Council and then make a decision. Mayor Rippons said Council is voting on a motion to create a 9‑month moratorium in the PWCD. The motion passed unanimously. Rob Collison clarified that the moratorium would become effective January 16, 2005 and terminates on October 16, 2005.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Finding of Fact and Vote on Blackwater Crossing Growth Allocation-Commissioner Knox had concerns about the re-alignment of Maple Dam Road. Mayor Rippons said that is already in the process. He would like to see pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks included in this. Rob Collison cautioned against making this part of the growth allocation. The concerns can be addressed and we can state that Commissioner Knox doesn't want to proceed with the growth allocation approval unless there are assurances from the developer that they realign the street, provide sidewalks and crosswalks on the development side, and on the school side provided that the school grants them the right-of-way. Sandy McAllister, representing the applicant, said the developer has agreed to do a pedestrian and bicycle path along Route 16 throughout the length of the project and also south on Maple Dam Road along the commercial elements. The pedestrian and bike path will continue across the front of the high school, and hopefully connecting sometime from Egypt Road to Route 50. They are happy to continue to cooperate with the Board of Education to try to work with them. They absolutely unequivocally will build sidewalks on their side and pedestrian crosswalks wherever the Board of Education indicates they are safe to put them. They haven't done the final engineering on straightening the road so it is impossible to predict what will happen. They will give Council that assurance in writing. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the growth allocation for the Blackwater Cr