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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

April 11, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, April 11, 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, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 28, 2005 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Traffic & Safety-Commissioner Brooks reported that the committee met on March 29, 2005 to discuss two requests.

The city received a request to evaluate the Maple Dam Road "S-turn" near Cambridge South Dorchester High School.  Wyatt Woods, a new development that will be constructed in the immediate future, has included straightening the "S-turn" as part of the infrastructure upgrades at the developer's expense.  No action by the city is recommended at this time.

The city received a request to review the signs on Dunn's Court.  The committee recommended that the right side of Dunn's Court become a continuous "no parking" side.  In addition, the committee further moved to recommend a limited "no parking" area on the left side from the intersection of Pine Street to the rear of the first structure (610 Pine Street).

Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the recommendations of the committee.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

APPOINTMENTS

Proclamation for Girl Scout Leaders Day-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation.  Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Victoria Stanley and Pat Banks, Co-Chairs of Service Unit 15 Dorchester County; Lois Lane, Public Relations Chairperson for the Area; Cheryl Price, Area Treasurer; and Ella Stanley, Recognitions Chairperson and Girl Scouts from Troop 523 from Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church with Troop Leaders Rhodesia Jackson and Janine Ford.  Victoria Stanley thanked over 100 local volunteers in this area.  Kiera, a Girl Scout, spoke on the importance of Girl Scout Volunteers.

Proclamation for Administrative Professionals Day-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation.  Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Linda Bradford.  Ms. Bradford thanks the City Council for their support.  She asked anyone who would be interested in their organization to contact her.

Octavene Saunders and Mt. Olive Full Gospel Baptist Church to Discuss a Community Partnership-Ms. Saunders asked everyone supporting the Church to stand. She thanked David Pritchett, Chief Malik, Commissioner Brooks, Commissioner Travers, and Commissioner Cephas for their time in pre-discussions before tonight's presentation.  They have concerns about Douglas and Wells Streets.  They would like to voice their neighborhood concerns and offer their complete volunteer cooperation to partner with the city to research, develop, implement and work out strategies to reduce and alleviate the dysfunctional activities in the Douglas and Wells Streets area.  Their concerns are with neighborhood blight, loitering, abandoned buildings that are sometimes unsecured, vehicles parked on the Douglas Street sidewalks, illegal activities such as drugs, etc. in the area, and poor lighting.  The statistics that they have from February 2004 to the present show that there were 23 incidents reported in the Douglas Street area.  There 8 incidents on Wells Street during the same time period.  While this might seem small to the wider-community, they are large to them.  Their Pastor, Rev. Anthony Dickerson, thanked the city for the opportunity to come into a partnership.  One of the things they want to do in their ministry is to have a 24‑hour daycare facility.  Before they begin, they want to make sure their neighborhood is safe.  They need some better lighting in the area.  There has been enormous loitering on the corner of Pine and Douglas.  He suggested posting some "no loitering" or "no standing" signs. There are several vacant houses that have been vacant for quite some time. Individuals are breaking in and conducting their business in the houses. There are several vehicles in the Douglas Street area that are being parked on the sidewalk.  They are asking the city's assistance to help individuals in that area to be safe. They would love to see an increase of police patrol.  Rev. Dickerson said he will make himself and his church available for meetings to address these problems.

David Pritchett said there are quite a few vacant homes in that area. The demolition process is complex.  He said he will ride out there tonight to survey the lighting.  Chief Malik asked Rev. Dickerson to call the police if people are parking on the sidewalk. They will respond to the parking issue and also to loitering.  He will increase the patrols in that area to help move the loiterers.  The statistics on the drug possessions were arrests they have made.  They are targeting that area quite frequently.  He said the playground has been a problem for over 30 years.  He suggested that they call to let the police department know when they have particular meetings so the patrol can be increased if officers are available. 

Octavene Saunders said the Douglas and Wells Streets are part of the C-Safe area. She suggested that someone from the police department make a presentation at the church about the program.  She also said there is a non-active Charles Cornish Park (aka Douglas Street Park) committee that the city appointed.   She requested that they research the history of that committee and revitalize it with some new blood.  Mayor Rippons suggested that Commissioner Cephas meet with them and bring his recommendations to Council. Rev. Dickerson offered his assistance for anything that is related to the community.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to address the issues of signage and lighting to the appropriate committees. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Commissioner Cephas said he is glad this group came before Council tonight.  He had several calls from that area.  He suggested starting a Neighborhood Watch.

Mayor Rippons said the City now has money coming from the impact fees that is dedicated to parks.  He has been talking to David Pritchett about what needs to be in the Douglas Street Park. When the committee is formed, he asked that they make their recommendations to Commissioner Cephas.   

Mayor Rippons said the city received a request for additional lighting at 915 and 917 Roslyn Avenue.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to refer the request to the Street Lighting Committee. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Cambridge Community Development Corporation/Center for Poverty Solutions to Discuss Their Housing Project-Leon Hall said he is the Regional Community Representative for the Center for Poverty Solutions and the Vice President of the Cambridge Community Development Corporation.  He is requesting support from the Council for the main project that they have been working on for the past two years. They are providing low to moderate housing in the Cambridge area. Three or four years ago, Cambridge demolished some houses. Their organization submitted a grant application a year or two ago but it did not contain the kind of language the Department of Housing and Community Development required for site control so the grant was denied.  They have recently re-submitted it.  Last year the Council voted unanimously to support the project.  Because of the time constraints, the letter that was presented was not adequate.  They are requesting support and the site control that they need to continue this housing project.  Their goal is to improve the quality of life in Cambridge and Dorchester County-one family at a time.  If the city gives them the support, they promise that in a very few months they will see something that not only Cambridge will be proud of, but a sizeable segment of the population will move from renting to homeownership.

Rev. Enez Stafford Grubb spoke representing the Cambridge Community Development Corporation.  She said her memories of the Schoolhouse Lane area is that of a family neighborhood.  There have been other neighborhoods where the African-American citizens live.  Some houses have been torn down. One of the problems noted during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement was poor housing conditions.  Now it is 2005 and we are complaining about the same things. There is a lot of sub-standard housing within our area. They are trying to address this situation.  They are proposing to replace the demolished houses at an affordable cost so the people who moved out of the area will have an opportunity to return. They have a list of 35 names of people who want to return to the area.  They are asking for the city's assistance in helping them help others. 

Mrs. Alma Roberts, CEO of the Center for Poverty Solutions, talked about their dedication to the mission of eradicating poverty across the State.  They are looking to move individuals to self-sufficiency.  They have identified affordable housing as a major need.  When she served on the Governor's Commission on Poverty they appeared before the City Council and had hearings about the need for affordable housing. The grant that they applied for requires them to have site control before they can get the funding.  Not only do they want to build the houses, they want to give a quality of life enhancement to 30 families as a start.  They want to bring other projects.  Fannie Mae is very interested in being part of this project. They have ear-marked job training and job searches as part of the grant so people can buy and retain their homes.  Educational courses will be done in partnership with Sojourner Douglass College.  Her staff will be doing budget training and financial literacy.  Child care services will be a part of the project.  Homeownership counseling will be done by the Maryland Rural Development Corporation.  They are asking for the city's continued partnership with them.  They need a site control letter that can forward immediately to the State. The grant is being reviewed now and they are awaiting the letter. 

Rob Collison asked for their definition of site control.  The sample letter he received had a reference to the parcel of land being conveyed to the Center for Poverty Solution.  If there is going to be an actual conveyance, there is a requirement that the city have a formal public hearing before it can happen.  Alma Roberts said it is her understanding from the State that conveys means that the city gives them approval to use it for the purposes as they have stated.  It is not ownership.  Ownership would be another level if they chose to do that.  Rob Collison asked if the homes would be purchased or rented.  Alma Roberts said there would be both purchases and rentals.  Rob Collison said if it is stating that the city would maintain ownership but they have complete control of the site to develop it; however, his recommendation would be to do a letter conditional upon a formal public hearing.  It would state that they support the project subject to the requirements of a public hearing and grant them site control of the parcel.  He said he assumes the city has acquired titles since the demolitions took place.  He will need to confirm tomorrow if the titles are actually in the name of the city.  He did not prepare any deeds.  Mayor Rippons said he believes Mr. Jones did them. 

Octavene Saunders said she has tried to stay out of the discussion about this development but it keeps coming to her doorstep.  She is not against affordable housing.  She helped start the Community Development Corporation.  The question came to her from another developer who said he did not get an opportunity to apply for this grant project because it was never advertised in the paper.  She said Ed Kinnamon gave her a packet of information and she said nowhere could he find a public advertisement asking for an RFP for this project.   She asked if it was done and if not, why wasn't it done.   Rob Collison said it is his recollection that there was some type of advertisement made.  Pastor Leon Hall said there were three public hearings concerning this project at the Empowerment Center.  Octavene Saunders said she scheduled those meetings and they are not alluded to in official minutes of the City Council as public hearings.  They are alluded to as community informational meetings.  She knows about them. Her question is about the publicity required for development, etc.  It must be put in the paper so other people have an opportunity to apply.  She knows who was on the committee.  She has been told by the committee several times that they never got an opportunity to make a recommendation for an organization to give a request for proposal for that project.  They were told that the request was moot and they met and they were supposed to develop a request for proposal.  They were told it was already decided.  They stopped in mid-stream.  Carlton Stanley stopped her today and said if his name comes up tonight, he is not a part of it.  He has his own development committee and his own development company.  She said she has a right as a taxpayer, voter, and citizen to make sure that protocol is followed.  If an RFP was not advertised in the paper, protocol was not followed.  Looking at the number of houses they want to put in that area, it is too much density. Nobody she knows has seen a preliminary architect plan or has seen a footprint plan of the size of the houses.  She is opposed to sending a preliminary letter until the entire community has a right to see the RFP in the paper and go to bid if they want to, and Mr. Collison has something is writing that specifically says what giving them site control is.  

Alma Roberts said they never would have responded to the RFP had they not had public notice because they do this across the State.  She did not bring the public notice because it was over a year ago that they responded.  She will attempt to find what they did see. This is a preliminary step.  The $100,000 that they would get as a grant is for the process of beginning all the things that were enumerated here-identifying a team who would be put into place, identifying architects, beginning to do the drawings, etc.  Then they would go back to the State for pre-development dollars which are even more significant.  They are at a very cursory stage.  They responded to the RFP and were told they were the only ones who responded.  It is their intention to be inclusive beyond a shadow of a doubt.  They intend to include the community in every aspect.  They will include local vendors whenever possible because it is their mission to build capacity in the city and then step away.

Commissioner Brooks said the city doesn't even know if this land is deeded to the city.  She said they made a statement about quality of life enhancement.  There is lots of nice land in the city where they can put people in low income housing.  It doesn't have to be confined to one little area.  She received a phone call telling her they want to put 22 senior rental properties and 13 houses in this one little tiny piece of land.  There were two murders that took place in that area in 2002.  The houses were demolished six to eight months later.   The city would love to see decent low-income housing throughout the city.  They don't want to see it in an area where they will not get quality and enhancement of life. 

Rev. Grubb said there are other properties and they would like to develop them also-not just Schoolhouse Lane and Chesapeake Court because the need is so great in this community.  She is sorry someone gave out some gross mis-information as to the number of houses.  The number given is not even feasible.  Initially their proposal had been for 14 units.  Mr. Pritchett reduced in from 14 to 10.  There were public hearings and RFPs.  Some of the people who are here tonight were here when the Cambridge Community Development Corporation was granted the proposal.  Even thought it had been published in the newspaper, they were the only entity that submitted a proposal. 

Portia Johnson Ennels said she is against this.  Several months ago Mayor Rippons started a committee to look into housing.  They have yet to give their first report to the City Council.  Until that report is given by the people that the city appointed, she doesn't think any property in the city should be given away.  An RFP for this property has never been put in the paper nor has it even been said for the people who originally owned that property that the city has clear title to that property.  Until the city can show that it has clear title to that property and any other property, the issue is moot.  Nothing should be done until Mr. Collison has a chance to research it.  No letter should be sent anywhere until they know they own that property.  Years ago it was a very good neighborhood.  It has changed.  When you buy something and put the key in the door, they value either goes up or down.  With the reputation of that neighborhood, the property value will go down.  She doesn't see an expert in housing in the group.  They have never been to a housing meeting.

Rev. Grubb said concerning the neighborhood deteriorating, she feels everybody knows that anytime there is a substantial amount of building, it increases the value of the property. There has been some renovation of houses in the Schoolhouse Lane area.  Without knowing what kind of housing was being proposed, 35 people who lived in the area have posted their name on a list saying they wanted to return.  Commissioner Brooks said she is aware of the list, and eight of those people are members of her family who were told there would not be a bar in that area.  They have never lived on Schoolhouse Lane.  Rev. Grubb said she doesn't know how that was possible since there already was a bar there and nobody knew it would be changing hands.  Somebody has given them gross information.  Commissioner Brooks said Streeters was closed and they were told that the bar would be closed down. 

Alma Roberts said this is an area that requires attention and they are asking to be part of the solution and are offering their services. 

Janice Banks said she is a taxpayer as well as anybody else. If you have experienced what they have experienced in that neighborhood itself, you wouldn't want your mother, grandmother, or anybody else living there. Her nephew was shot down and murdered in that neighborhood coming from that area.  Another boy was shot down and murdered less than a year later in that area.  There are other areas they can look into.  She thinks it is a great project.  She is knocking where they want to put it.  They can take that area and do better things for it.  There is a graveyard right there that is overcrowded.  They can deed the ground to the graveyard and then find a place for low-incoming housing to go to.  If you don't take the environment away from the people and place them in a better environment, you are going to end up with the same thing.  The police patrol the area 24/7.  When the club lets out, these old people will not get any sleep.  They will be up 24/7 wondering if somebody is going to come in their back door.  It could be a crack addict, a drug dealer, or somebody just wanting to rob them. 

Renee Elzey said it is obvious that a lot of people are afraid of change. She lives in low-income housing. She would be proud to have someplace she can call her own.  It is up to some people to let go because it is not where you live, but how you live. 

Sharon Wilson, Visions America Community Development Corporation, said they are having housing seminars now.  Over 47 people attended the first one and they will be having another one on Monday where they bring in consultants and they look at the needs assessment in the county.  They know there is a need for housing in Dorchester County.  They see homes going up all around the county that many minorities cannot afford.  What they do need to do is come together because this is a project that is worthwhile for this area.  Either the city or county needs to come up where they can support everything we are trying to do for low-income housing in the county.  They want to partnership with Poverty Solutions and DCDC because united is the only way they are going to get anything accomplished.  They need to look at what is best for the people.  The houses that are being built in the developments are not for African-Americans unless they are making a good salary.  She is not saying they can't afford them-but look at the cost.  They don't want to buy something they will have to worry about loosing a month after they get it.  They need to come to some kind of understanding that will benefit the county.  It will benefit the county through taxes and through the upkeep of the building.  People will be proud of where they can live. Therefore, it makes Dorchester County look good.  She is all for housing and helping any way she can.

Pastor Hall said when the city applied for the block grant, they must have had something to show to the State to say they owned the property.  He hopes they can get it clarified.  He said they will do what they can with their expertise to provide assistance for those who cannot do some things for themselves.  It does not matter who gets the credit, as long as it gets down. They are not just talking about Schoolhouse Lane.  They are talking about all other available land that the city can provide.

Commissioner Brooks said since she is the chairman of the Housing Task Force, she would like to volunteer to work with this committee in locating city properties that they can get for this committee for low-income housing. 

Octavene Saunders said she is not against affordable housing.  Her point is that she came up with a legal question.  She did not get an answer.  The minutes from the City Council meeting do not allude to any RFP.  During the eight years she was on the City Council, every time an RFP was put out, it was put in the paper.  She said Ed Kinnamon has looked all day.  He could find no public advertising of an RFP.  The meetings at the Empowerment Center were like informational neighborhood community meetings.  If there was no public advertising of an RFP, we need to start and do it right.  There was never a public project that did not have a public advertisement RFP until this one came.  If there is one, she would love to see it.  She is not questioning anybody's morals, the Council or the Mayor; she is questioning the legal process that she has not seen followed.  She is questioning the fact that you have a bar that has experienced murders.  Her son got beat up and robbed out there.  There are three bars in the neighborhood of Pine and Cedar Streets.  There are people hanging on the corners and drug arrests made.  There is also prostitution.  She asked if they are willing to put people in the same predicament by putting those houses there.  If Rob Collison and Ed Kinnamon don't have complete knowledge of ownership of this property, and the citizens don't see in writing what the site control of this committee entails and who owns it, and if the city is going into homeownership, then this does not need to have any action tonight. 

Commissioner Cephas said several issues came up tonight and they all were involving his ward.  He is concerned about his ward.  He doesn't want anyone to think there is division. There is just difference of opinion.  We all have a right to have an opinion.  He is looking for low- and moderate-income housing.  He has heard some things tonight for the first time and he wishes he heard them prior to tonight.  The only person he has spoken to from Poverty Solutions was Mr. Miles.  He was the person who said 22 units for senior citizens and 12 single families.  Mr. Miles said that he said 10 houses and 1 senior citizen complex which would house 22 seniors.  Commissioner Cephas said that is a lot on that particular piece of property.  He is definitely in favor of low- and moderate-income homes.  The issue always comes up about what is low- and moderate-income.  He was told by Brother Miles that $90,000 was what the houses on Schoolhouse Lane would be selling for.  He has also been told by others that it would range from $125,000 to $135,000.  There's mixed emotions again.  Some things need to be cleared-up before he makes a decision.  He doesn't know if it was advertised or not.  He knows that he attended a meeting on Pine Street.  When he heard about the property that was vacant, he said publicly that it would be a good place for Waugh Church to put their graveyard.  Ms. Stanley said the same thing.  Commissioner Cephas said he found out about the meetings from James Cornish.  He didn't see it in the paper.  He has no problem giving site control of property that the city owns.  There are some of his colleagues who are opposed to giving anything to anybody.  Ms. Wilson has a separate group from the Poverty Solutions group.  Ms. Johnson has another group.  One thing that disturbs him about the whole thing is that he has been told that the particular piece on Schoolhouse Lane has been offered to four different groups.  That bothers him.  He has also been told, and he knows for a fact, that people were riding around in a little bus looking at property in this city.  That is one of the pieces of property that was being looked at.  Pastor Hall's group was not on the bus and Sister Sharon's group was not on the bus. They can't just give it to a certain group.  Sister Banks made a reference to murders and shooting and robbing and it is true.  He was at a meeting and the question came up about having homes near bars.  He thinks Pastor Hall made the comment that if you look around the city, you have homes all around bars.  There is one difference.  The majority of those homes around those bars are not homeowner occupied; they are rented.  He is concerned about spending $90,000 or $135,000 and being in an area he is frightened of.  Some people might not care.  He challenged everyone present, that if there were homes there for sale and they were going to purchase homes for $135,000 or $90,000, would they choose that location or if they had the option to have another location, would they choose that location.  An issue came up about 4500 sq.ft. per house.  He thinks Commissioner Knox raised an issue and was very adamant about it, that it is not enough space.  The Code is 3500 sq.ft. in that area.  There are some areas of this city that you can put a house on it with 4000 sq.ft.  and it is acceptable.  It is not acceptable to him.  In other areas of the city you have to have 6500 sq.ft. or more.  He deserves a driveway and yard just like anybody else if he so chooses.  He doesn't deserve to replace 13 homes where nobody has a driveway.  We need to improve our community.  He grew up on the corner of High Street and Chesapeake Court.  It was a good neighborhood at one time and he is not saying it is a bad one now.  Chief Malik can verify if there is trouble near the bars.  The majority of it happens on the outside.  He is going to make the right decision.   There are other properties in this city.  His ward deserves better.  He wants Rev. Hall to be the developer of a project.  He will support them 100 percent but they have to do the right thing.  He is certain they can work it out. 

Commissioner Cephas made a motion that since this is not time sensitive, that they revisit with Mr. Kinnamon to see if there was a public hearing.  Pastor Hall said it is time sensitive.  Commissioner Cephas withdrew him motion.

Commissioner Knox said they need to develop the in-fill of our city as well.  He was on patrol with the police department and did not like what he saw on Schoolhouse Lane at 2:00 a.m.  There were children on the street.  It is all of our problems.  We need to work with the police to make all these things work.  The bar is in the wrong place.  Maybe it is not the neighborhood; maybe it is the zoning we need to look at.  There is a nice piece of property down there and we can use it and make an example and mushroom out into our city.  It is not the land; it is what is around it.  He asked if we could change our zoning to have an area for bars.  He asked if we can make these people an offer to buy the bar. 

Commissioner Knox asked if Council could have a conditional letter of support until they can find out whether or not it was properly advertised in the paper.  They need to do something with the land and look at what they can do with the nightclubs.   Commissioner Brooks said the fact is that the bar is there.  You just cannot just pick it up and move it.  Her recommendation is that Council gives that project a decent piece of land to build a community in.  Her recommendation is that they not write a letter to support that site but they write a letter to support the project in a location that the city owns.  It shouldn't take more than 24 hours for the city to research and see what land they own.  Commissioner Knox said suppose it arises again and there is another vacant piece of property and there is a car wash there, or a pool room and nobody wants to develop there.  Commissioner Brooks said it beats children and elderly people being exposed to the hazards of that environment.  We are talking about human life.  Commissioner Knox said he is not saying he is for or against this project.  What he has heard tonight is that the problem is what is across the street.  Commissioner Brooks said it is the area.  She is for the project 100 percent and she wants to give a piece of land away.  Why not put low-income housing on Race Street?  Give them site control tonight for Race Street if that is what they want to do.  Commissioner Travers asked if there is any way the city can get rid of the bar.  Rob Collison said zoning-wise, it is probably grandfathered in.  Most likely it is operating as a non-conforming use.  As long as it is continuously used as a bar, the city cannot force it to close down.  Commissioner Brooks said we are talking about putting vulnerable elderly people and children into a neighborhood that we already know is a hazard.  We are not talking about what is already there; we are talking about what we want to put there.  She is saying is instead of the city constantly wasting time, they know they have property they can give to this project; give it to them.  Commissioner Brooks said they can give them Race Street.  Commissioner Cephas said Leonards Lane.  She asked Mayor Rippons if there was a piece of property that he could suggest.  Mayor Rippons said as the prior Council moved forward to demolish the 10 buildings, this organization came before them requesting their support as they move forward.  They received that support.  As they continue the next step, which is very preliminary, they are here tonight to ask Council for a letter of site control of that area. The city will endeavor to explore other areas with any number of groups.   Mayor Rippons asked for a motion.  He said as Commissioner Knox suggested, it could be a letter of support conditional on determining if the city owns the property and if all the legal steps have been taken to this point to allow the city to enter into a conditional that allows them to have site control.  Rob Collison said he thinks it is reflected in the minutes from a year ago that it will require a full public hearing before it is actually relinquished. Commissioner Brooks recommended that the committee ask for control of Wright Street since we know we own that street.  Mayor Rippons said the city does not own Wright Street.  Commissioner Brooks said she would like to work with this committee to find land that the city does own.  Commissioner Knox made a motion that Council give conditional approval providing we find out that the city does own the property and that there was the proper notifications in the mail and the things that have thoroughly confused him tonight and then it comes back to this table.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  Commissioner Cephas said he doesn't think a confused person should make a motion.  They could be un-confused before they make a motion that is going to affect a lot of people especially when it is not in their ward.   The agenda says it was only to discuss the housing project.  A call for that particular motion is out of order.  Rob Collison said to keep in mind that because of the condition of the public hearing requirement, once they apply and get their grant, they will come to Council to present more specific details.  That is when they will be required to state if they plan to pay the city anything.  If not, the advertisement for the public hearing will have to state that for zero consideration the city is proposing to relinquish this parcel of property to the organization.  During the public hearing you will see exactly what they are planning to build.  Council will need to have another vote for or against it.  They are not giving final approval tonight.  Commissioner Brooks said the children and the elderly people that will live in that neighborhood will all be African-American.  It won't be anybody from the Fifth Ward or the First Ward.  It will be relatives of Commissioner Cephas and her own.  She is against putting them in a neighborhood that she knows may bring some kind of harm to them.  An innocent child or elderly person could be sleeping in their bed at night and get killed.  They asked for a letter of support for site control so why are we giving them a letter of site support when the Mayor went ahead and did that anyway.  They asked for site control.  Commissioner Cephas said Item No. 4 on the agenda does not specify any particular location.  It doesn't say Schoolhouse Lane.  He is 100 percent in favor of giving them site control of Leonards Lane which is three times the size of that.  Commissioner Brooks asked for clarification of the motion.  Commissioner Knox said he is not asking to give these people anything.  All he is asking is to have a letter of support-not to give them the land.  After further discussion, Commissioner Knox rescinded his motion. 

Octavene Saunders said on March 21 Mayor Rippons signed a letter that says that they support the project, etc. and it speaks of the 10 vacant units that are there.  She thinks the project should go somewhere else.  She is against Schoolhouse Lane. 

Nobody else made a motion.

Commissioner Brooks said she would like to be appointed to work with this committee to find land in the city that we can give them site control of.  She would like to make a motion for that.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.  Commissioner Brooks said she will be contracting Pastor Hall tomorrow so they can start working on something after she contacts Mr. Kinnamon about land that is available.

Dudley Dixon, Wells-Fargo Home Mortgage, to Discuss Reverse Mortgages for Seniors-Mr. Dixon was not present.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Open Bids for Rescue Fire Company Equipment- Kinnamon said the city received the following bids for turn-out gear for fire equipment.

  • Personal Protection Equipment (Pennsylvania) -- Securitex Turnout Gear --$12,373.60
  • Morean's Fire Equipment (Federalsburg) submitted several bids:
  • Securitex Turnout Gear -- $1,375 per set (1-20 sets)
  • Survivair Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus -- $4,042 each
  • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus -- $3,500 per unit
  • Universal UAC Radio Kit -- $2,176 each
  • Panther Mask Mounted Regulator -- $1,108 each and $1,160 each
  • Air Cart Quote -- $5,259 per cart

Commissioner Travers made a motion to refer the bids to Rescue Fire Company for their recommendation.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

The city received two bids on outboard motors for Rescue Fire Company:

  • Gootee's Marine (Church Creek) -- $21,390
  • Fred Quinby's (Easton) -- $25,910

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to refer the bids to Rescue Fire Company for their recommendation.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Request for Financial Assistance for the Delmarva Firemen's Convention-Calvin Stack gave an update of their upcoming convention.  The convention will be held in Cambridge on May 12 through 14.  The Delmarva Firemen's Convention is made up of 102 fire companies and ladies auxiliaries from the Lower Shore.  This convention has been in Cambridge eight or nine times.  They want to get the community involved because it is very costly to put on the convention.  They will be paying for the use of Governor's Hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The "meet the host night" celebration will cost approximately $3,000.  The continental breakfasts on Friday and Saturday will cost $500 each day.  The hospitality room will average about $1,000.  The past presidents' luncheon will cost approximately $1,500.  The memorial service will cost about $500 and the parade will cost about $2,000.  Everyone attending will receive a folder with a notebook.  They receive supplies from merchants to put in the bags.  Approximately 500 people will attend the opening ceremony.  They have been selling ads since December.  They are not asking Council for any money but are asking for community support.  They will take any money people wish to give.  It is an honor to host this event.  Bill Press, Chairman of the Banquet, invited the Mayor and Commissioners to the dinner.

Bill Press said they appreciate the Council's time and all they do for Rescue Fire Company.  RFC hosted the convention in 2002.  They set the standard for the Delmarva Association.  It takes every member of their department to put the convention on.  They do it for the community.  Approximately 300 people will attend the banquet which will be catered by a local business.  RFC will be giving away 55 trophies to recognize the other companies in the parade for various classifications.  While they are having their meetings, the spouses will have other events to do throughout the city.  They are asking for Council's support. 

Second Reading on Ordinance Approving Preliminary Master Development Plan for Blackwater Resort  (fka Egypt Road)-Rob Collison said this is the second reading of the ordinance to consolidate and ratify provisions regarding the PWRD 3 zoning district to approve the minor amendments to the general and specific criteria for PWRD 3 and the approve the preliminary master development plan for district.  Prior to the approval of the final master development plan, the developer shall comply with the submission requirements for the design master development plan approval and final master development plan approved required by the code.  Because of some of the concerns raised at the public hearings, prior to approval of the final master development plan, the developer shall agree to provide, at no expense to the city, for whatever upgrades and improvements to roads that are impacted by this, that the city deems to be necessary for the public safety, health, and welfare.  If the second reading is approved, the next phase would be the design master development plan.  That goes only to the Planning and Zoning Commission-not to City Council.  The final will go the Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing and then to City Council for a public hearing.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the ordinance.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Recommendation to Award for Furnishing and Delivering One New 20-Cubic Yard Rear End Garbage Packer-David Pritchett said the city received four bids. The lowest bid is just $714 below the next bid which met specifications.  The lowest bid did not meet the specifications to match the existing trucks.  They are making a recommendation to award the bid to Mid-Atlantic Waste in the amount of $85,414.  Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the recommendation.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Recommendation to Award for Furnishing and Delivering One New Backhoe-David Pritchett said the city will exercise their trade-in option through Caterpillar. They ended up being the lowest bidder.  They give a minimum guarantee trade-in value after 3 years.  For this one it was $3,500.  They gave the city $3,600 for a purchase price to Alban Tractor in the amount of $32,758.  This was the low bid. The buy-back guarantee on the next one is $3,800.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the recommendation of DPW to award the contract to Alban Tractor in the amount $32,758.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

NEW BUSINESS

Discuss Spring Clean-Up-David Pritchett said Commissioner Brooks contacted him to set-up the times for Spring Clean-Up.  They can cover more than one ward on a Saturday.  They recommend covering the one part of the city on Saturday, April 30th.  There are no conflicts with city activities on that date.  The other wards can be done on April 23rd or May 7th.  Mayor Rippons recommended May 7th.  Commissioner Brooks made a motion to allow the Spring Clean-Up to be held on April 30th in Wards 1 and 2 and May 7th for Wards 3, 4, and 5.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Cambridge Yacht Club to Use the Municipal Crane Area at Long Wharf, the Duck Walk Area on Water Street and the Beach on the East Side of Great Marsh on July 9, 2005-David Pritchett said he thinks this is fine with everybody.  Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Third Ward Appointment to the Police Board-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to re-appoint Brian Manning.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Cambridge Little League to Hold a Parade on April 16th Beginning at Long Wharf at 9:00 am-Chief Malik said this is an annual event.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Request from the American Legion to Close High Street from Church Street to Long Wharf for a Short Time on Memorial Day, May 30th, for a Parade-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Introduction of FY06 Budget-Ed Kinnamon said the FY2006 budget was presented to Council.  The total budget consists of operations of $9,692,000 and capital improvements of $11,034,000.  The total city budget this year will be $20,726,000.  This is a 22 percent higher increase than last year's approved budget.   Tomorrow evening all department heads will be reviewing their budgets with Council.  After that, any requests from the public will be heard.  The meeting begins at 6:00 pm and is open to the public.

Budget Amendment - CEMS-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Mayor Rippons announced a retirement celebration honoring Carlton Stanley will be held on Saturday, April 16, at the Dorchester Elks Lodge.  They are requesting parking be allowed on both sides of Pine Street between the hours of 3:30 pm and 9:00 pm.  Chief Malik said he did not have any problem with this.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0. 

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to consider proposals for relocation and/or creating of new businesses in the city.

Rob Collision introduced two annexation resolutions.  Annexation Resolution A-2005-01 is regarding Tax Map 30, Parcels 82 and 93.  It consists of 162.9 acres on the south side of Maryland Route 343.  The petitioners are Doris Robbins and Lacrosse Homes, the contract purchaser.  They are proposing that the property be zoned R-1.

Annexation Resolution A-2005-02 is for Tax Map 30, Parcel 88 which consists of 15.9 acres.  It is located on the north side of Maryland Route 343.  It is just west of the Waste Management site.  It would adjoin the Waterford Subdivision.  They are proposing it would be zoned R-3 (multi-family).  The petitioners are Barbara and Justin Palmer, the owners; Gloria and Nate Bell, the residents; and MHA Financial Group, the contract purchasers.

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to forward the annexation resolutions to Planning and Zoning for the necessary public notices.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Ed Kinnamon announced that on Saturday, April 23rd, the City will hold an auction for surplus equipment.  It will be held at the Department of Public Works beginning at 9:00 a.m.  The yard will be open by 7:00 a.m. for a preview of the items.

David Pritchett said every six months the Maryland Public Officials Association hold a meeting.  They have requested to hold their May meeting in Cambridge.  Council Chambers would work well for the meeting.  The city would provide refreshments.  They would like to tour the new developments in Cambridge after the meeting.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to allow DPW to host the event.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Chief Malik said he received a request for the Street Lighting Committee to look at the lighting in the 500 block of Cedar Street. 

Evelyn Townsend, representing the Harriet Tubman Organization, said she will return tomorrow to follow through on a request for funding for their organization. 

Courtney Johnson spoke representing a relative of hers who lives at 808 Fairmont Avenue.  She has a sewage problem that is backing up in her bathtub.  They have dug from the house out to the street.  One of the city inspectors told her that the blockage is in the city but the property owner has to take care of it.  She said Mayor Rippons has been contacted by Carlton Stanley in reference to this.  She has been waiting for an answer.  The resident is 94 years old and does not have the means to take care of a blockage that is in the street.  They have dug all the way to the street. The hole is still open and is a hazard.  David Pritchett said this is something they encounter several times a year.  The city is responsible for the sewer maintenance and main lines.  The property owner is responsible for their lateral all the way through until it connects to the main, including the stack where it bends and goes into the main line all the way to the connection.  He has talked to the people and kept up with this. Unless Council changes the policy, they aren't equipped to do as many laterals as have to be done throughout the city.  It would be a tremendous expense if they assumed all of it.   That is the city's adopted policy, as is most jurisdictions'.  Some jurisdictions take care of the line from the back of the sidewalk through the grass area to the house.  The problem for the property in question is in the segment of the lateral between the property line and the street line to the main line.  They deal with a lot of these every year. People come in and then they have to pay a set amount per square foot to reinstate the fill and the blacktopping.   Mayor Rippons said after he spoke to Carlton Stanley he called David Pritchett, who talked to Mr. Stanley and other people involved.  The superintendent and the assistant superintendent were both out there several times.  It appears to be a collapsed line from age. Mrs. Johnson asked why she would have to fix it if the problem is in the street.  David Pritchett said the city's written policy is that the city handles the main.  The lateral goes not just go through the yard.  It goes all the way to the main which in some cases can be right at the sidewalk, it can be in the center of the street, or it can be across the street.  The one in question is right up near the sidewalk on the side by her house.  Anything under the sidewalk, under the curb, or those first few feet of street is the personal lateral of the homeowner. Commissioner Brooks asked if the homeowner was in the home before the policy went into effect. Mrs. Johnson said the homeowner has been there her lifetime; she was born there.  David Pritchett said this has been the policy as long as all of our records show.  Mayor Rippons suggested contacting Social Services. Victoria Stanley said this is not one of the services that Social Services would be able to offer a lady in need of such great financial resources.  She asked if this is a city policy, can they make an exception to the policy based on a specific circumstance.  The lady has been a lifelong member of this community and a taxpayer and has now reached the age that she cannot financially or physically make these alterations to her home.  This is a health hazard for her. She asked if it would be better to consider an exception to this policy vs. leave her in a condition that would be a risk to her and also to those who may fall into a hole in her property that she is not able to repair.  She would then be liable because someone falls into a sewage hole.  Rob Collison said obviously the Council has the discretion to amend and alter its policy.  It would be an issue of setting the standard so that you do grant it under the rare occasion where it is a hardship case and a health hazard. It seems like the city would be responsible for what is under the street because it sounds like they went up to the street.  David Pritchett said DPW certainly wouldn't mind whatever Council wants them to do.  They have to follow the policy.  Any exception would be the one thing to get them in trouble.  Right now, with staff, time, and equipment, there is no way they can do the whole city.  This is how they have been geared up for decades to do laterals.  They are not equipped any other way; however, they would have no problem if Council so desires them to repair this one lateral. Commissioner Travers asked how much it would cost.  Commissioner Cephas asked how far into the street the busted pipe is.  David Pritchett said they wouldn't know until they excavate.  Most likely it is about six feet out from the curb-maybe eight feet.  Mayor Rippons said he still thinks Social Services should have a position if it is a safety issue.  Victoria Stanley said, as a representative of Social Services, she won't guarantee, but she would strongly suggest they would advocate to the city that they would make an exception to this policy because there is no financial recourse available.  There would be no money available through Social Services short of making hardship pleas to many resources that this would fulfill her need.  Mayor Rippons asked David Pritchett how much it would cost.  David Pritchett said at the city's cost, it would technically be like an in-kind service.  It would only be the cost to them and the labor which is nulled out.  The cost of just the piping  would be under $100.  In order to do this one, they would also have to cut up the sidewalk and the curbing.  The concrete work would be another $100 to $200.  It would be in the vicinity of a $300 repair minus labor.  Commissioner Cephas said he wants to see the lady's property fixed.  His checkbook is out.  If anyone else wants to help contribute something to that particular person, he wishes they would so the problem can be taken care of.  Commissioner Travers said he will contribute also.  Commissioner Brooks made a motion for the city to do it at their cost for this particular hardship case.  The money will not come from the city.  She suggested also contacting the Health Department.  David Pritchett said he appreciates this because he would like to do it but he cannot break the policy.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.  Mrs. Johnson thanked the Council.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 9:25 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, April 11, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer