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  • 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 24, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, January 24, 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 January 6, 2005 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

PUBLIC HEARING

Annexation Resolution No.  A-2004-01 Tax Map 30, Parcel No. 166;  [Part of Waterford Subdivision, Jenkins Creek Road]  5.539 Acres-Rob Collison said the Certification of Publication indicates that the public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on December 17, 24, 31, 2004 and January 7, 2005.  The proposed parcel is part of the property that went through the subdivision process as a portion of the Waterford Development.  The proposed zoning classification for the annexed land would be R‑1, single-family district.  If the annexation resolution is approved, it would become effective 45 days thereafter.

Anne Roane did not have any comments from the Planning and Zoning Department.  There is a question about whether this is creating a landlocked parcel. She spoke with the Maryland Department of Planning and asked Rob Collison to speak to the case law.   Rob Collison presented a drawing showing the property.  The parcels in question are Parcels 348, 347, and 290.  They are not in the City limits.  The proposed annexation would not bring them into the City.  The question is whether this annexation creates an enclave, or island, of unincorporated area within the City limits.  The street, Lawson Lane, is in front of these properties. It would remain in the County and would continue to other parcels. The developer is saying that this road is the connection to the County.  The first issue is that there is no case law in point.  The law states that the area coming into the City cannot create island that is not bounded by other property in the County.  There are other cases that say if the City wants to annex a piece of land further out, they cannot use a street as the only connection.  This is the opposite because it is connected by a portion of the street.  He thinks George Hyde and Dale Price in the Planning Office felt it creates an island. Even if it meets the legal requirements that it is not an island because it is sufficiently connected by the street, Council has to decide if they would want to create such an island in the sense of confusion that may be created in the times of fire or police calls.  The homes that will be built on the newly annexed parcels will be intermingled with the homes already existing on Parcels 348, 347, and 290 which will be in the county only.  Rob Collison suggested that the applicant talk to the three homeowners to see if they would consent to annexation.  There is an Attorney General opinion that says that you cannot use a street to be your only connector to a parcel you want to bring into the City.  Even assuming it meets the legal requirements, he asked if Council wished to create this type of a situation from a policy or practical standpoint when they would be providing services up and around that area.   If Council doesn't want to create it, it doesn't matter what the legal requirements are.  Mayor Rippons asked the applicant to contact the three property owners.  He said there will not be a vote taken tonight.

Daniel Mellon spoke representing the applicant.  He asked Council to consider that the Court of Appeals, in a case involving Anne Arundel County, observed that county land that was completely cut off from the county except for waterways was deemed still to be part of the county which would mean that the three lots that are still connected by county land (the road) is more than adequate to meet the satisfaction of the statute and the Court of Appeals. He said this case clearly speaks to that issue and said that land that was completely cut off by land with no road connection still did not constitute on enclave because it was connected to other county land by water and the land under the water.   He thinks this statute clearly covers this circumstance and it does not create an enclave.  If water is enough, then clearly a county road is enough.  What they are prohibited from doing is completely and entirely surrounding county land.  That is not the case here.  The applicant did not approach the three property owners because he did not feel it was necessary because there was still the county connector.  They are free to ask to be annexed at any time.  The applicant is asking that Council consider the amount of time they have spent on this and the prior hearings and not delay any further action.

Mayor Rippons asked if anyone else wished to speak. Commissioner Knox suggested talking to the County about the maintenance of the road.  Rob Collison said a letter was sent to them regarding this proposed annexation.   A formal decision will be made at the next meeting.  The record will be left open through the next session.

APPOINTMENTS

Update by Main Street Board-Joy Staniforth, President of Main Street, thanked the Mayor and Council for all the support they have given to Main Street. Cambridge was designated a Main Street in July 2003.  During those 18 months, $6.5 million of private money has been invested in Main Street.  The property owners and business owners have been renovating current property and building new buildings in the Main Street area.  In addition, we have seen 30 new and expanded businesses.  There have been 49 full-time and 10 part-time jobs have been created.  There have been 6,955 volunteer hours put in, particularly for the Second Saturday events.  She presented Council with the work plan for 2005.  The Main Street Board of Directors meet on the second Monday of each month at 5:30 pm at the Chamber of Commerce.  Everybody is welcome to the meetings.  Cambridge Main Street is proud of its accomplishments and looks forward to a continued partnership with the City of Cambridge.  On behalf of Liddy Garcia, Joy Staniforth thanked the Department of Public Works for their unending help and support of Main Street and all its projects.  Mayor Rippons asked Mrs. Staniforth to thank the Main Street Board and volunteers for all the work they have done. It is deeply appreciated by everyone in the City.

Jerry Friedel to Discuss PWCD Moratorium and His Project on Muir Street-Jerry Frieda introduced Michael Wiggly, his partner in Dovetail Enterprises, LLC.  They understand a moratorium extension was recently passed on the PWCD district and believe their project may have been impacted.  They are asking for an exemption based on their approvals to date and the low impact of this particular project on the PWCD.  Their site, approximately one acre is size, is located on the south side of Muir Street.  It is basically encompassed by the Waterside project which is exempt from the moratorium. They feel the site is an in-fill site. It fits in well with the redevelopment that is going on downtown.  It is one of the main corridors that leads up to the downtown that will bring circulation down to the waterfront and allow a nice walking corridor.  Their project is not directly on the creek itself. They have received their preliminary site plan approval and their design development approval. Their next step is to move ahead with the construction documents for the proposed 18 units.  On the south side of Muir Street, the building heights are limited to 48 feet.  Their structure complies with this restriction.  Mike Wiggley presented aerial photos of the project.  They have taken advantage of the view angles between the two Waterford buildings.  Of the 18 units, 9 face along Muir Street and 9 face toward the rear of the property.  At the request of the Fire Chief, they are improving the turning radius into the Waterside driveway by creating a large radius onto their own property.  They are also beginning a developed streetscape along Muir Street and continuing the sidewalk down to the waterfront. They are providing an extension of the boardwalk that wraps around the creek.  All of the parking is behind the project.

Anne Roane said she believes the motion for the moratorium stated that it was for projects that did not receive final approval and building permits.  There were some questions about the adjacent project.  Rob Collison said the moratorium was on site plan reviews and the issuance of building permits within the PWCD.  This developer is in the same position as the developer of the Point property.  They both had submitted their plans originally back in April or May prior to the effective date of the initial moratorium.  They went through the process and were about to get design approval.  If Council were to exempt them, they would have to exempt the Point property because they are in the same position.  It has to be based on the status of the site plan and the building permit.  Waterside had the final approval and had building permits issued.  Bulkhead had also begun. 

Jerry Friedel said they have to go to construction on the Waterford bulk heading.  They have a permit for that from the City.  Their project was exempt from the original moratorium.  Rob Collison said originally this moratorium was an extension of the original moratorium which would have exempted this project.  However, due to the outpour of public comment at one meeting, they started the entire process over.  That is why it was deferred for at least a month. 

Commissioner Knox said he wanted to make it clear that the moratorium was not imposed because of the height.  The height is an issue but it is not the only issue.  The moratorium was imposed to give Council time to review and vote on the recommendations made by the committee that was formed to review the creek.  Of all the permits issued on the creek, there has yet to be any permits issued for commercial use.  Hopefully the review can be accomplished in six months and the moratorium can be lifted.  He feels that unfortunately, the project in question fell into the gap.  Mr. Friedel said he believes the Planning staff indicated that their particular site was perceived as residential property.  The first story units that look out at the creek have the ability to act as loft-type studio facilities where you have living area above and a lower work area for a duck carving or similar studio. It was left to the flexibility of the owner.     (No action was taken.)

Ben Parks, Dorchester County Seafood Harvesters, to Request Permission to Use Long Wharf on September 11, 2005, for Their Boat Docking Contest (and a Noise Variance)-Mayor Rippons said this continuing event is well-received. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Ben Parks, Dorchester County Seafood Harvesters, to Request Designated Boat Slips for True Watermen-Mayor Rippons said the City is exploring this idea which may also be a tourism attraction.  Ben Parks said the waterman wish to be a part of the development of the creek.  There are approximately 25 boats already harbored in the creek, not counting those in the marina.  If they can get the slips, it would be nice to be able to get room to load and unload their product.  Bill Brooks, J. M. Clayton Company, said he wishes he kept a list of the number of waterman who called them to ask if they had any slips available. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Second Reading and Vote on Ordinance to Provide for an Alternate Member of the Historic Preservation Commission-Rob Collison said this alternate member will assure that there would always be a quorum.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the ordinance.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Discussion on City Pay Scale-Commissioner Brooks requested that this item be deferred until the next meeting so the Council members have an opportunity to sit down and discuss what was presented to them tonight.  She asked Ed Kinnamon to set up a meeting so they can discuss the information.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Dorchester County Recreation & Parks Board to Hold Easter Egg Hunt at Great March on Saturday, March 19, 2005 at 11:00 am (rain date Sunday, March 20, 2005 at 2:00 pm)-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Refer to Department of Public Works a Request from Property Owner on Smith Street to Have Quit Claim Deed Abandoning a Section of Alley Behind His House-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to refer the request to the Department of Public Works.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Community Legacy Grant - Small Business Revolving Loan Program Criteria-Mayor Rippons asked that Rob Collison review the document before Council approves it.  Ed Kinnamon said he was involved in drafting the document and any questions could be directed to him.

Consideration of Resolution to Amend ASOP 24 - Procurement Procedures Rob Collison said this was in response to David Pritchett's request concerning mechanical and/or computer equipment that they have not been able to purchase locally by advertising in accordance with our bid process for capital goods costing in excess $2500.  This amendment will provide a mechanism where staff can go on-line and obtain quotes from companies who sell the product nationally or internationally through the internet. Staff will obtain quotes via the internet and submit those quotes in the form of a sealed bid.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the amendment to ASOP 24.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of Resolution to Amend ASOP 37 to Provide for the Partial Reimbursement of Building Permit Fees-Rob Collison said an individual requested reimbursement for a building permit fee for a home she decided not to build.  ASOP 37 covers reimbursements of building permit fees for charitable or 501(c)3 organizations.  This amendment would cover anyone who does not fit in those categories.  Because there are time and resources inherent in reviewing an application, if an application is submitted and all the permit fees are paid but no application has been issued, the applicant will get 85 percent of the fee back.  If an application has been submitted, the fee has been paid, and a building permit has been issued but no construction has begun, the applicant will be entitled to a 50 percent refund.  If the building permit fee has been paid, a building permit issued and construction has begun, there will not be any reimbursement.  Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the amendment to ASOP 37.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Financial Statement for December 2004-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 5:30 pm to consider proposals for relocation and creation of new businesses in Cambridge.

Commissioner Knox commended the Department of Public Works for all the work they did during and after the snow storm.  They certainly worked the midnight hours.  Commissioner Watkins said he thinks they did an outstanding job. He wants them to know he appreciates what they have done.  Commissioner Cephas echoed the same thing.  Commissioner Brooks agreed with the other Commissioners.

Commissioner Brooks asked for a first reading of Charter Resolution CR-2005-01 which will remove personnel duties and veto power of the Mayor.  Rob Collison said the Charter Resolution will be formally introduced tonight.  This will be the initial reading; no action will be taken. The resolution amends Section 3-20 entitled "Mayor, Election, Compensation and Veto Powers" and Section 3-21 entitled "Oath of Office and Duties".  In Section 3-20, the resolution will delete the final provisions of the paragraph which granted to the Mayor the power to veto ordinances.  Currently, the Mayor could veto an ordinance within a certain period of time and it would take a four-fifths majority of the Council to override the veto. Those provisions would be deleted by this Charter Resolution. In Section 3-21, the resolution would delete Subsection Paragraph (e) which outlines the personnel duties. It would also delete the final sentence in Paragraph (f) which references the veto powers.

The Charter Resolution is formally introduced this evening.  There will be a vote to accept it at the next meeting.  During the next 40 days, it must be posted in City Hall.  The City must run several advertisements for four successive weeks in the Daily Banner or another publication in Cambridge.  During that time, there could be a petition for a referendum on this Charter Resolution.

Commissioner Travers said he understands that the Sanitary District Commission did not approve the Council's offer.  Mayor Rippons said they have agreed in-house that they are going to maintain a $250 charge regardless of what the City does.  The City asked for $255. The Sanitary District is asking for Council's consideration to have the fee set at $250.  Council can also put in a provision stating that for the annexed City residents who are using the Sanitary District lines, the City will only bill the Sanitary District an amount equal to what other City residents are paying.  Therefore, all City residents will pay the same amount for the wastewater.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to set a $250 flat fee for all Sanitary District users; request that the Sanitary District provide the City with a list of all City residents and that they be billed at the same rate as all other City residents; and request that the maintenance fee be waived for City residents.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Chief Bill Watkins commended the Emergency Medical Services Department, the Cambridge Police Department, and Rescue Fire Company for handling the emergencies this past weekend in the extreme weather.  They did a fine job without any injuries. 

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:07 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, January 24, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer