• 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

March 23, 2009

Cambridge Maryland SealMINUTES

Council Meeting

March 23, 2009

 

 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, March 23, 2009 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Sydnor, Stout, Thomas, and Hanson. Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 9, 2009 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS

Maria Miller, Shelter Development Company, to Request a Minor Modification to Approved PILOT for Cambridge Commons-Cambridge Commons is a 96‑unit workforce housing community off Bayly Road. A PILOT was approved in May 2007. When they went to close their financing, they encountered several hurdles. The US Fish and Wildlife found their site was a habitat for the Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Of the 21 acres, they are clearing 7 acres. The US Fish and Wildlife asked them to buy and commit 35 acres to perpetual forest nature. They found 30 acres to put into a trust and negotiated to make up for the rest of the mitigation. They worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers and EPA because it was determined to be a <1 acre wetland on their site. The permitting took 1 year. Because so much time passed, they became part of the free-fall of the economic market when they went to close their financing. They are making a $14.5 million investment. The two primary sources of financing are State tax-credit equity and a standard first mortgage. Both sources were significantly impacted by the change in the economic climate. They yielded $1 million less in source funds than they anticipated. Shelter Development was bound and determined they would not change the quality of the housing. They did not do any value engineering. All the amenities they promised will be built. They are also committed not to skimp on the social services they agreed to provide. To bridge the gap, they went back to the State, negotiated additional sources of funds, and put in additional dollars from the developer. They closed their financing on November 3, 2008; are under construction now; and are expecting to deliver their first building in July 2009. Now they are trying to make sure the property has enough cash flow to appropriately capitalize reserves. When their PILOT was approved, it was based on a specific unit mix and income targeting. They are asking to take 9 units that were approved to be 50% units and move them to the 60% slots. The building is meant to be affordable to people who are earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income. It is a range of units and a range of incomes. This change will create enough additional cash flow that they can fore-reserve some of their capital reserve accounts to make sure they are creating a rainy day fund for the property and can be ahead of maintenance issues. They have not escalated the rents since the project was presented to Council in 2007. Based on the magnitude of demand for the housing, they will eliminate their staff unit and make it a living unit. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to allow the minor modification to the PILOT for Cambridge Commons. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Jim Duffy, Cambridge Main Street, to Request Permission to Close the 400 Block of Race Street on April 11th from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm for Second Saturday and the 325th Anniversary Celebration and a Noise Variance for 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm-Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the request. Commissioner Thomas abstained because he is involved with the preparation of the event. The motion passed 4:0.

 

Jim Duffy, Cambridge Main Street, to Request Permission to Hold the Jazz Festival at Race & Cedar Streets on Saturday, May 9th from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm with a Noise Variance from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Permission to Erect a Tent on May 8th-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Stout seconded the request. Commissioner Thomas abstained because he is involved with the preparation of the event. The motion passed 4:0.

 

Jim Duffy, Cambridge Main Street, to Request Permission to Hold Farmers' Market in the City-Owned Parking Lot Across from City Hall on Thursdays from May 7 Through October 15 from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the request. Commissioner Thomas abstained because he is involved with the preparation of the event. The motion passed 4:0.

 

Representatives from Cambridge-South Dorchester High School to Request a Noise Variance for Their Prom at Sailwinds on April 25 from 8:30 pm to 12:00 am-Kristy Marshall, a teacher at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School, said the prom will have an enchanted garden outside with carriage rides. Commissioner Thomas suggested notices being published in the newspaper informing the neighbors that the event will be held until 12 midnight. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Mike Detmer to Discuss Concerns for Fire Suppression in Clifton Woods Area-Mr. Detmer thanked the City and County Emergency Services people for the job they do. He said there might be a problem with the water pressure in the Jenkins Creek vicinity. If it would be in the best interest of public safety for his neighborhood and for the City, he suggested another route for emergency vehicles to be able to enter his neighborhood. He asked Council to look into this concern and if there is a problem, to remediate it. Tom Johnson said he spoke to Commissioner Knox about finishing the road that was supposed to be completed before any building was started. He understands now that the bank owns the property and there is a problem about getting the road completed because the State of Maryland required the developer to construct a round-about. With the economy the way it is now, that will not happen. Someone suggested putting stop signs like they have on all of the roads that go from downtown Cambridge to the end of Route 343. The road could be completed and opened to the public. The response time for emergency vehicles will improve. He suggested that the banks be asked to pay for the completion of the road.

 

George Hyde said they found out that the water pressure and volume is not what they thought it would be or what they need it to be. As soon as they realized there was a problem, MUC started looking into different alternatives to build up the pressure. The first step is to loop the line down the bypass road. The line has already been constructed part of the way and they have put the money in the budget to complete the loop to Jenkins Creek Road. This should give them adequate pressure and volume of water they need. Other improvements are being looked at also. He said he has drafted a letter for Council to send to State Highway to get their assistance with finishing the road. Commissioner Knox suggested forwarding a copy of the letter to Senator Colburn and Delegates Eckardt, Cane, and Haddaway and to Dorchester County as well. There are quite a few County residents in the area that are affected by this also and need the water pressure as well as the road.

 

Chief Jeff Hurley said as soon as the water model study was done, MUC called him to speak about water issues. Most of the water model issues show that there is a problem where the County and City lines break. They found there is a volume problem in that area. There were two arson fires in the Long Boat area and 1 house fire in Clifton Woods. Once they found they had this problem, they took measures to protect the citizens until the upgrade can be done. They have instituted an automatic tanker task force response to any area in the City/County borderline where there is a water problem. It brings an additional 18,000+ gallons to the fire scene using tankers instead of engines. They have also automatically put in the utilization of sending a pumper down to the boat ramp in the Long Boat development. There are several drafting sights along the Jenkins Creek area where they can draft water. He assured the citizens that their fire concerns are under cover. They are working with the other department heads to get this resolved as soon as possible.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Demolition of 610 Wells Street-George Hyde said the City received bids for demolition on January 12, 2009. On January 26th, Council approved awarding the demolition contract to the low bidder. The low bidder was unable to provide the necessary insurance. He asked permission to go to the next low bidder which would increase the contract price by $200. Commissioner Stout made a motion to award the contract to the second lowest bidder. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Request from Fred Findlen, Hyatt Resorts, for Permission to Do Fireworks on June 6, 2009 Around 9:30 pm for Approximately 15 Minutes-Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked that Hyatt advertise in the newspapers so citizens know what is happening. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Discussion of Proposed City Helmet Law for Motor Scooters-Rob Collison said the City is pre-empted by State law from passing any type of motor vehicle ordinances. Motor vehicle ordinances are in the transportation section of the Annotated Code of Maryland. There is a provision that specifies that cities and counties cannot pass legislation or ordinances that deal with those matters unless they are expressly permitted to do so by another section. Helmets for motor scooters are not listed.

 

Approve Letter of Support for SB1010/HB1508 - Board of License Commissioners for Dorchester County-Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the letter. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Approve PO 5099 - MES - Maryland - Hose Cart for Rescue Fire Company -$2129.00-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Approve Financial Statement for February 2009-Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the financial statement for February 2009. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

 

Rob Collison said the MOU for the Tech Park was approved by the County last week. Commissioner Thomas said on the second line in first portion of the document said the total amount of loans one and two is anticipated at $2.9875 million however when you get to the specifics of each loan later in the document it is open ended. The first line is $1.7 million and the other is $1.2 million. He suggested a cap. Rob Collison said the City is obligated for 15% of the cost over and above the $1.72 million. Commissioner Thomas said the second item could go from $1.2 million to $4 million. Commissioner Sydnor said it is still 15%. Commissioner Thomas said he is not sure Council wants to have an open-ended commitment. He thinks they should have the opportunity to stop and rethink if they still want to be in. Commissioner Sydnor said the County would have to meet with the City before they make any changes. Rob Collison said Commissioner Thomas was suggesting that if the total cost is $3.25 million or above, then they would regroup to decide whether they want to commit to 15% above that. Ed Kinnamon said the Mayor has signed the document; it is currently in the County's hands to be signed.

 

Commissioner Sydnor called for a work session on the budget on Tuesday, March 31st at 6:00 pm.

 

Commissioner Stout suggested Council nominate a candidate for the Historic Preservation Commissioner to replace George Adams who recently passed.

 

Commissioner Thomas discussed the Traffic and Safety Committee report. Ms. Floretta Williams appeared before Council to discuss some concerns on Schoolhouse Lane. The Committee recommended adding more 'no parking' signs to replace the ones that have been removed. They also recommended painting a yellow curb in front of the residences on the block Ms. Williams lives on the west side of Schoolhouse Lane. If this does not work, other steps will be taken. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the recommendation of the Traffic and Safety Committee. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Commissioner Thomas said the kick-off for the 325th Anniversary will be at Governor's Hall on Saturday, April 11th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. They will then transition downtown for a block party.

 

Commissioner Hanson discussed the groundbreaking at the Maritime Museum and announced the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on April 1st at the Hyatt.

 

Chief Hurley asked permission to go to bid for 5-in. and 3-in. hose. The bids will be returned to City Council on April 3rd at 4:00 pm and then sent to Rescue Fire Company for their review and recommendations. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Portia Johnson-Ennels invited the Mayor and Council to a town hall meeting that is being held by The Partnership for a Drug-Free Dorchester County.

 

Jimmy Cornish asked if Council has already sent the support letter for SB1010/HB1508. Commissioner Thomas said they sent draft copies. Mayor Stanley said the Council decided in an open work session to send the letter for Senate Bill 1010. House Bill 1508 was presented today. They sent a draft letter to show that the City of Cambridge had support for these two bills.

 

Wendell Foxwell spoke about the house on Cedar Street that is still boarded up. Rob Collison said if a house is condemned, it must remain unoccupied until it is brought up to code. They can board it up and secure it so it meets the property maintenance issues as far as safety. It can remain that way indefinitely. If it qualified for demolition, meaning the cost to bring it to code exceeds its current value, then it has to be demolished within a certain period of time. This house must be in the form of a condemnation as opposed to demolition. Mr. Weldon and his staff are looking at various options to address vacant and blighted housing. One proposal is to tax those properties at a much higher tax rate. This issue will be addressed in the next month or so.

 

Portia Johnson-Ennels asked if the City has received the final report on the lead paint abatement grant and if so, is it available for the public to review. Commissioner Sydnor said they have not received it yet.

 

With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, March 23, 2009, insofar as I personally am aware.

 

 

 

 

Edwin C. Kinnamon

Clerk & Treasurer