• 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

August 22, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, August 22, 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 Cephas, as President of the Council, requested that the first order of business be taking care of the vacancy of the Second Ward Commissioner by swearing in Mr. Sydnor at this time. Council agreed to the change. Commissioner Donald Sydnor repeated the oath and signed the official registry.

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 25, 2005 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 


Comprehensive Amendments to the PWCD Zoning Ordinance-Rob Collison reported that there was a moratorium imposed in January that was to run for nine months. The purpose was to do a comprehensive review of the regulations within the PWCD. Council appointed a committee to look at the existing ordinance and proposed modifications to it. The Planning and Zoning Commission held various public hearings. Tonight's public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on August 6 and 13, 2005. The Planning and Zoning Commission made a favorable recommendation for the amendments as set forth in the proposed ordinance. The proposed ordinance amends the density from 20 residential units per acre to a density not to exceed 15 residential units per acre. There is a provision by which the density can increase to 18 units per acre through the special exception process. The height limitation is recommended to be reduced not to exceed 50 feet; however, through special exceptions, hotels may be increased to 75 feet. Also through special exceptions, structures can go up to 65 feet if it is mixed use (not solely residential). Setbacks are proposed to be 25 feet from the water and 15 feet to the side. If you have a parcel on a corner, it is only the section closest to the channel that would require the 25-foot setback. For non-waterfront structures it would be front yard minimum of 10 feet or otherwise as the established neighborhood. The special exception process would look to compatibility to the degree to which imaginative and creative architectural solutions advance the recreational access to the enjoyment of the waterfront from the public streets and other public areas. Buildings shall be in harmony with existing buildings. Waterfront faces of the buildings should be designed and integrated so as to enhance pedestrian enjoyment of the waterfront. For projects which bind upon the Historical Preservation District, the architectural features and site plan shall be compatible with and complimentary to the adjoining historic structures and uses. Amendments to the proposed building materials are listed in Exhibit B.

Rob Collison reported that Council received a letter dated August 18, 2005, from the West End Citizens Association which generally supports the proposed modifications. The letter also presents several refinements to it. 

Rob Collision said Council received several requests to define more-clearly what mixed-use would be. It is defined as a structure having at least one entire level of enclosed building space, entirely and permanently devoted to, and occupied by, one or more of the permitted commercial uses as enumerated in the City Zoning Ordinance.

The Council received a letter dated April 4, 2005 from the J. M. Clayton Company which opposes the proposed modifications. It supports keeping it at the current height and density. David Pritchett reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission gave their approval.

Joe Brooks, J. M. Clayton Company, said he hopes everyone understands the impact of these changes. They add up to a lot. The setbacks alone would make everything that has been developed in the last 22 years not applicable. They have 550 feet of bulkhead facing the channel. Multiplying that times 10 feet, they would be loosing over an eighth of an acre in developable property.  The height originally started at 110 feet and then went to 75 feet. Now they are going to 50 feet. When you add successful retail to a development, it comes with a lot of parking needs. That makes the site plan even more difficult to work with. All the changes came about because of personal opinion. No standards or laws were referenced. As a property owner, it is a hard pill to take to have personal opinion affect their property value by as much as 25 percent.

Gage Thomas said they are talking about 15 units per acre as the limit with a bonus of 18 residential units by having mixed use. He asked for clarification about the commercial units counting toward the 18 units. Theoretically, you could have 10 or 20 commercial spaces and still get your 18 residential units. Rob Collison said it is his understanding that the 18 units would apply to the residential.  This will be clarified in the final ordinance. Gage Thomas asked about the special exception consideration of street faces and waterfront faces. Rob Collison said the intent of putting in special exceptions is to do it on a case-by-case basis so they can look at the confines or limitations of a particular lot. They are looking for creativity to get quality structures.

Jo Chapman spoke on behalf of the Cambridge Citizens for Planning Growth. She thanked Council for the moratorium to give the Planning and Zoning Commission time to complete the review process of a code that was established in the early 1980s. Updating is needed to reflect changes in the city. The issue is revising the code to try to encourage commercial development on the creek, public access on the creek, views along the creek, view corridors, maintaining the maritime and historic aspect of Cambridge, the attractiveness of the town, etc. They felt that 75‑foot condominiums were not ultimately going to be in the interest of the town. They commended the Planning and Zoning Commission for having gone through the long review process and taking a serious look at what criteria could or should be changed. Property owners have legitimate concerns. Their group feels the guidelines developed by Planning and Zoning is a good set of guidelines and they support it as written. There is no perfect plan. With competing interests, compromises have to be made. She presented Council with guidelines that are successful for towns with a maritime heritage. As the current code is written, there is nothing to encourage commercial development. It discourages commercial development by putting the requirement of a riverwalk. The revised proposed regulations do provide a little more incentive for commercial activity giving them an extra floor or two. She urged Council to support the revisions as written.

Herman Kramer, representing the West End Citizens Association, said they have worked with the city on many other projects. They feel that the proposed changes should be put into effect. They sent Council a letter with some suggested changes. They think the creek is a valuable asset and should be treated as such.

Commissioner Cephas said Ms. Chapman made an interesting point about preserving the sights on the waterfront. When he read a letter from Mr. Brooks, he got the tone that he may be interested in closing his plant somewhere down the line. Mr. Brooks said he really doesn't want that to cross anybody's mind. They don't want to close their eyes to any future happenings. They have no intention of closing their viable business but they want to protect their interests. They have no plans to do anything with their property at this time; however, things can change.

Enez Stafford-Grubb said she is very concerned. She is hearing about the creek and then she thinks about other parts of the community and what is going to happen. She is thinking about a couple of buildings that have already been constructed. One is in the creek area. The creek has played such an important part in her life. She is thinking about the height and compromising when we feel something is wrong. She would hate to see this be passed because the rest of the people do not have the opportunity to enjoy other areas of the State or the county. People will not have the accessibility when you think just what is being proposed and what has already taken place construction-wise on the creek.

Dave Singelstad said he thinks this has been a good experience for the city. The moratorium was not meant to delay or stop development but to take the time to re-evaluate our zoning code. He hopes this is the beginning of more planning involving the public. The commercial incentives are a good effort that will create jobs and assist the tax revenues of the city. By their nature, they will provide public access. Planning and Zoning should be commended.

William Jackson said we all can't serve on every committee and we all can't serve on Council. We can impact their decisions. What we are hearing tonight is concerns about the waterways and creek. We can do more with our waterfront than just condominiums. We need to look toward that effort. He doesn't think the changes will hurt any existing businesses. We need to preserve some of this for ourselves. He commended both committees who worked on the project. It is time for the city to move forward and think about the local residents.

Octavene Saunders wanted to make sure that the Clayton's factory would not be adversely impacted by the revisions. Rob Collison said it won't be impacted as it currently exists. They were speaking about the potential for future development if they try to change it or sell it. Ms. Saunders said she doesn't want to see Clayton's have problems. We are loosing enough jobs here. This is a long-standing family company.  Generations of people have worked for that company. While this may be a good plan and it may not impact them right now, build in a little more of the grandfather exceptions where if they want to expand, they don't need to think about closing.

Commissioner Brooks asked David Pritchett if this would prevent Clayton's from expanding. David Pritchett said he has not yet read the new ordinances. Rob Collison said they would be affected by the setbacks. David Pritchett said any full new project would be affected. Rob Collison said if they want to add a structure onto their current site, they would have to comply with the setbacks. They will have to go through the special exception process.

David Tomey said his back house will not be in compliance either. Not one thing that has been built on the creek has a 25-foot setback. Everything on the creek will now be a non-conforming use. Anytime someone wants to modify something, they will need a variance. Public access has increased 50 times over what it was when he was a child. There is more access to the creek now than people have ever had. As a property owner, he finds it amusing that as a citizens' group, if they owned waterfront property and the city told them that they were going to pass an ordinance that one day they could put a 2000 sq.ft. house on their property and the next day they said they could only build a 1500 sq.ft. house, they would be upset. That is what is happening here. He could easily put 16 condos on his piece of property right now. The proposed ordinance would only allow 15 units. It would reduce his income and the net value of his property. He feels that compensation is due. If the property around the creek is so valuable to the city, the city needs to buy it. It is not up to the individual property owners to finance a public park for the city. When he was young, the Cambridge Shipyard used to bring in the big ships and they would sandblast 24 hours a day. When they got done sandblasting, they started painting with lead-based paint. The creek was nearly covered with gray paint. If we think that is so valuable, it might not be lead paint but it will be fiberglass. He doesn't think that Generation III should be ousted. He thinks the evolution of their property should be allowed by the property owner. If they want to make it a marina or a shipyard or condos, it should be their choice and not the choice of a population sitting here tonight.

Jo Chapman said the creek has already been exempted from something other waterfront areas have to comply with, which is a Critical Area setback of 100 feet. They have allowed that this is a commercial area and have given the property owners along the creek a break from rules that are meant to prevent pollution into the Chesapeake Bay.  She doesn't think these proposals are trying to take away that much from the private landowners. They are not trying to hurt any private owners.

Octavene Saunders feels very strongly that long-time business families, born, bred and raised in this town should have top priority consideration especially when they are providing employment for people with a dying-out skill. They are providing an economic base that we need.

William Jackson said anything we say we really need it in black and white. It needs to specifically be spelled out. He can understand their concern. We need to be more specific as to what can happen. There should be some priorities here.

Dave Singelstad said these proposed amendments do not attack or jeopardize existing businesses. There is nothing in this amendment that makes it hard for Claytons to continue operating their business. These amendments concern how large new condominiums are going to be built. They don't concern fish processing plants and whether they can continue to operate. We hope that they stay. It only concerns and addresses what happens if they close and leave and addresses what kind of building is built. The government is not taking private property. Anyone who sells their land is going to make a handsome dollar.

Rob Collison said it took the Planning and Zoning Commission about six months to get to this point. He thinks it is appropriate that Council leave the record open in case there are any additional submittals. They can submit their comments in writing. The matter will be reconsidered on September 12th.

Hyatt Master Development Plan Amendment Application-Rob Collison said this is a proposal to modify the residential components of the master development plan for the Planned Water Resort District 1, which is the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort. The applicant is requesting to relocate approximately 94 residential units from closer to Route 50 to concentrate them along the waterfront. The notice of the public hearing was published in the Daily Banner on August 6 and 13, 2005. On July 27, 2005, the Planning and Zoning Commission made a favorable recommendation for the PWRD amendment.

Sandy McAllister spoke representing the Hyatt. Ken Eaton from Andrews Miller and Mike Walsh from the Hyatt accompanied him. Most of the property has been tax exempt. They are in a position to begin the Phase 2 residential component. The master development plan was approved in May 1999. They determined that it would be an advantage to rethink one component. The early master development plan had some relatively tall buildings that would be near Route 50. Now that the plantings are in place and the resort has come into its own, it became very apparent that they wanted to avoid tall buildings overlooking Wal-Mart and Route 50 and crowding the golf course. It also became apparent that they need more people up by the amenities (marina, restaurants) and fewer people driving around. They determined that the smartest move would be to take these 94 units from the golf course area where they have been approved and relocate them near the marina where they have better access to the things they want to use. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval on July 27, 2005.

Ken Eaton said they have been looking at the plan to make it work a little better. He indicated on a map where the 94 units were originally planned. They wanted to move as many units towards the area where the amenities are located. The single-family units are staying where they were originally placed.

Mike Walsh said this continued development of the project will bring in some great tax money. They have had a tremendous amount of interest in the development. People want to come to Cambridge because they don't want to see a big city. Their clients come to experience what is going on here. They don't want a big building overlooking Route 50. Their plans are to open the restaurants for lunch and dinner for more days a week than they are open now. It will generate more employment. The restaurant's hours are staggered to accommodate the residents that are coming in. The hotel has been open for 3 years now. This is the next phase in getting the property developed. They have a lot of people who are interested in the homes as second homes. It will not be bringing in a lot of people who will be using the schools. They will be coming in to spend time and money in Cambridge.  They are very much in control in making sure that what gets developed within their property is an enhancement to the resort.

Rob Collison said with any motion to approve the amendments, he recommended incorporating the recommendations of the Planning Staff by letter dated July 27, 2005 by the City Engineer. Sandy McAllister said it is worthy of note that all of the impact fees and all of the other hook-up fees will apply to this residential project. The resort got some benefits in the beginning but every one of the residential developments will pay full impact fees. It will come to just under $6 million. He emphasized that they are not increasing density at all. They are just better positioning the units.

Commissioner Knox made a motion to grant approval with the provision that they meet the amendments as outlined by the Planning and Zoning Staff Report and the Engineer's recommendation dated July 22, 2005. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Rezoning of Property on Corner of Park Lane and Leonard Lane (Tax Map 302 Parcels 2362 and 2363) From R1 (single family) to R3 (multi-family residential)-Rob Collison said this is a request from the property owner and applicant. The applicant has the burden to show that there has been a change in the neighborhood since the last rezoning (2 years ago) or there was a mistake when the rezoning took place. The notice of the public hearing was published in the Daily Banner on August 6 and 13, 2005. At their July 27, 2005 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission made a favorable recommendation to have the property rezoned.

Bill Jones spoke on behalf of the applicant, Jim Chaney and Shoreline Builders. Some years ago there was a brick company and some other commercial use on the property. It was zoned for commercial use until 2003. When the comprehensive rezoning was done, the property was zoned R-1. It created an island effect in the sense that on three sides of this particular parcel they have R-3 zoning. To the north it is zoned NC-4. The Planning Commission found in July that it was a mistake for the zoning to have been designated as R-1 and therefore recommended unanimously that it become R-3. The applicant, Shoreline Builders, is the contract purchaser. They plan to put in townhomes which they have described as affordable housing. They believe the zoning they are seeking is compatible with the rest of the neighborhood. When you take into account the desired use, they think the townhomes will provide a nice transition between what you have to the north which are single-family homes and to the south the apartment complexes to one side and the townhomes on the other side. They don't believe there will be any negative impact on the infrastructure because they are talking about something that is a desired type of growth. They are asking the city to rezone the property in accordance with the recommendations of the Planning Commission from R-1 to R‑3.

Commissioner Brooks said there used to be three single family homes on the corner of Oakley Street. It may have been zoned appropriately but now those houses have been torn down.  To the left of the property is multi-family homes and also across the street. If you go to Leonard Lane and Park Lane, it is R‑1.  Bill Jones said it is his understanding that the nursing home property is R‑3 and to the south to Cosby Avenue is R‑3 and to the east (across Oakley Street) is R-3. 

Jim Chaney said in talking with the Department of Public Works, they seem to feel that it was a mistake that it was zoned R-1. He feels that with everything around it being zoned R-3, he thinks it would benefit the city greatly. The city has a great need for affordable house. They are going to do this as economically as possible to target that particular area for beginner homeowners. They are look at 19 units and haven't determined the price yet. Once they get the zoning, the will work with an engineer.  Commissioner Brooks said personally until she actually hears prices, it is hard for her to agree or vote on anything for the sake of affordable housing. She thinks 19 units on that particular parcel is a lot.  Jim Chaney said if you take into consideration everything that is around it, it is not. There are townhouses right next to it and an apartment complex around the corner.  Commissioner Brooks said she would love to see affordable single-family homes with a nice-sized lot.  It would fit perfectly into that area because that is what is across the street on Leonard Lane. To put 19 units on 1.9 acres is really compact. We want to move forward in workforce homes. Jim Chaney said they are looking into one-story townhouses which would help incorporate the single-family houses in with the two-stories that are already there. It will take thousands of dollars for an architect. That is why they don't have the prices yet. It is not feasible to go that far until the zoning is in place. As are as individual houses, they are willing to look at it but economically, he doesn't think it would be feasible.

Commissioner Cephas said a few months ago the Council was looking into the possibility of maybe trying to purchase that particular piece of property for low-moderate single family homes. Rezoning the property R-3 is somewhat contrary to what this Council is looking for in the first place.

Enez Stafford-Grubb is thinking about the industry that had been on the corner. She asked if an environment study would be necessary. Mayor Rippons said the developer would have to move forward before they could get approval for that.

Octavene Saunders said when she was on Council and was dealing with the Hyatt, they came with preliminary figures. It is hard for her to believe that a professional business person would not have some type of preliminary idea of the footprint of the property, the number of rooms, and the preliminary costs.  

Gage Thomas said tonight's hearing is not a project approval. It is a request to change zoning. The question is whether R-3 zoning is correct for that location. He will submit and suggest that it is.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said at this time she doesn't think that the city should be giving a blanket change of zoning just because someone says they may do something. He should have had some type of plan or something to say what he is planning to put there. She asked where people are going to park with that many units there. There are a whole lot of questions that go along that need to be answered also.

Enez Stafford-Grubb said a question has been asked of her several times. If waterfront property will be 15 units per acre, which would the city consider 19 units per acres in the Park Lane area. Mayor Rippons said it is 1.9 acres which comes out to 10 units per acre. Ms. Stafford-Grubb said that is still too many. It is a highly-congested area with the apartments and other units in the area.

Jim Chaney said if this is passed, then it will come back before all these entities again for all the reviews and the developmental process. They are not asking for permission to build something now. The Planning Commission can send it back if it is too dense or they don't like the parking. They are only asking that it be rezoned to what they feel is the appropriate zoning because of the way it is surrounded. They are not asking for carte-blanche permission to build anything.

Commissioner Brooks said she doesn't feel it was a mistake because there were single family homes in that area. It could not have been improperly zone as R-1 when it should have been R-3 because of the single family homes there to start with. Rob Collison asked when the single family homes were demolished. David Pritchett said they were demolished from about eight years ago to when the last one came down about three years ago. They were built prior to any zoning (1964). Rob Collison said legally you cannot rezone for a particular use. You cannot say we will rezone it R-3 but you have to build townhomes.  You can go to R-3 and the developer can build anything within the zoning code that is permitted in R-3. It cannot be contingent or conditional.  Commissioner Brooks said she has problems changing it to R-3 because as Commissioner Cephas stated earlier, when they took office they said they would not leave anybody behind. She said at the present time, contractors are building $200,000 and $300,000 homes that most of the workforce people in Cambridge cannot afford. She is not in favor of changing anything to R-3 but she would like to see workforce housing on that property. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to keep the public hearing open until they get more figures and information. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Grady Wilson to Request Consideration of Abatement of Impact Fees for Inner-City Development for Affordable Housing-Grady Wilson said he is in the process of building some affordable housing in the inner-city. He is asking Council to waive the impact fees and the savings will be passed onto the new homeowners. He is requesting that the impact fees be refunded to the homeowner who already purchased a home. Commissioner Brooks said she had an opportunity to view the home and liked what she saw. She asked Mr. Wilson to submit a written document to Council outlining what he is proposing to build and stating the cost to the consumer providing that the impact fees are waived. This will provide workforce housing. He presented Council with a picture of a house on Slacum Street which sold for $135,000. He provided $3,000 toward the closing cost. Mayor Rippons said if the city's $4,500 impact fee was waived, the homeowner would have a lower mortgage. He is also asking the city to request the same consideration at the county level (excise tax).  Mr. Wilson said he could come before Council before each house is built. As of right now, neither house they are planning to build will sell for over $135,000. If the city waives their fee, the price will come down to $130,500. If the county drops their fee, the cost will come down that much more.  The county's fee is $3,671. He also has to pass the $216 fee to set a new water meter onto the homeowner. As a landlord, if he calls to have a water meter set in the can, it costs $25. Commissioner Brooks said she thinks Mr. Wilson's house looks very nice. A house for $127,000 is workforce housing; however, she doesn't want to give him blanket consideration on any piece of property and any house without having anything in writing. She asked for a contract between Mr. Wilson and the city stating how much he will build the house for, the amount of land, and what he will put in the house. She would have no problem voting. Mr. Wilson said he will come before the city on each home he builds. He is building one on Edgewood Avenue right now. It sold in two days for $135,000. David Pritchett said a lot of this may be a moot point. If there was already a home on a piece of property, the city has to evaluate how much of an impact it really is. In Easton, if they haven't had a home there for three years, they don't attach any extra fees. If it was prior to that, they do. Some towns waive the fee if there is a record that a home was there. Infrastructure is in. The laterals are usually run into the yard. The city incurs nothing other than they start getting taxes.  Grady Wilson said the total fees charged to this particular homeowner are $9,173.96. If you waive those, you have affordable housing.

Commissioner Cephas said a few months ago a developer raised the question of impact fees. He has always been in favor of eliminating impact fees or putting them on a sliding scale. He asked Grady Wilson what he was referring to when he was speaking of inner city. The home on Slacum Street is a nice home. He knows Mr. Wilson owns property on Wright Street. That street needs a facelift. Three homes could be built there. It would make sense to him that if Mr. Wilson is coming to the city to waive impact fees, that he place it on a sliding scale or waive it for a particular income. He would not have a problem with that. Grady Wilson said he doesn't know how he would police a person's income. Commissioner Knox said some folks came in several times with workforce housing in place. They install safeguards. If someone qualifies to purchase the home, they would have to live in the home for a specified number of years. If they decided to sell it, it would be sold to someone else who meets the criteria.

Commissioner Brooks said she believes Commissioner Knox is referring to Patamoke II. The land was $11,000. As long as the homeowner stayed there for 20 years, they would not be charged for the land. The city originally owned the property. If they decided to sell before the 20 years is over, they will have to pay the $11,000. It also went by income.  Octavene Saunders suggested that the same thing be done for the homes Mr. Wilson is talking about.  Rob Collison said this is contractual so they can include legal provisions between the two parties. You can make it so the impact fee would be refunded to the buyer and the buyer would have to show their income by providing two or three year's income tax returns. You could have a provision that the city would recapture the abatement if they sell the property within a designated number of years to a non-income qualifying person. Commissioner Knox said there certainly are enough guidelines. The city should also keep in mind there are professional people who do this as well. Mayor Rippons asked Grady Wilson to submit his requests in writing.    

Purnell Flamer, Representing New Revelation Baptist Church, to Request Permission for Parking on Douglass Street During Church Services-Purnell Flamer said on August 14th the church van had a ticket on it because it was parked in a no parking zone by Cornish Park. He requested that Council do something to help them out during their church services. Commissioner Cephas asked what hours Mr. Flamer was talking about. Mr. Flamer said generally their services start from 11:00 am and go to 1:00 pm. Sometimes they have afternoon services. On Wednesdays, they have a drug and alcohol ministry and bible study. On Monday nights they have chorus practice from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Chief Malik said it sounds fine to him but he would need the request in writing with the days of the week and times specified. Mayor Rippons said the Traffic and Safety Committee will review the letter and make a recommendation to Council. Commissioner Brooks asked that the letter be sent to her attention so she can speed the process up a little.

Ed James (representing Ruth Creighton) to Request Water Services at 107 Bayview Avenue-Ed James said this property is already on the sanitary district. The waterline is in front of the property. Rob Collison said the properties that are not contiguous to the city and annexation is not reasonable or practical, are in an existing sanitary district, water service could be approved subject to payment of the applicable impact fees for out-of-town users for sewer and water. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request subject to payment of the applicable fees. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

David Fang, MHA Financial Group to Request the Following for the Recently Annexed Palmer Farm on the North Side of Hudson Road: (1) A Resolution of Support from the City for the funding application for 76 units of affordable senior housing developed by Conifer Realty, LLC to be submitted to the State of Maryland Community Development Administration on Sept. 3, 2005. (2) A "PILOT" - Payment In Lieu Of Taxes - equal to a credit against real estate taxes of $100 per unit per year for the 76 units of affordable senior housing proposed for the site, for a period of ten years. (3) An exemption from the proposed Road Usage impact fee for the 76 senior units. (4) A contribution of $1,500 per unit for the proposed Road Usage impact fee for the 70 for-sale townhouse units on the front portion of the site. David Fang said he received a call today from Planning and Zoning saying they thought it was premature to talk about the proposed road usage impact fees.  The farm is being developed into two components-one is a "for-sale" townhome component which will contain 74 townhomes. The other component would be a three-story 76-unit senior apartment building. This rental project will be designated for seniors ages 55 and older with incomes at 60% of area median income. The rents would range from about $260 to $525 for one bedroom units and $310 to $610 for two bedroom units. There are 59 proposed one bedroom units and 17 proposed two bedroom units. The project will be financed in part through the State of Maryland Community Development Administration (CDA). The application is due on September 6th. The application requires two things from a local municipality. One is a letter of support saying that the city is aware that a developer is trying to bring affordable rental housing to the community and they support this endeavor. The other thing is the State says if the local government is in support of it, there also needs to be a local contribution of some sort. Typically the State will receive 20 to 25 applications in a funding round. They will approve eight to twelve applications. One of the most effective uses of city dollars is a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). They have not contemplated requesting a reduction of impact fees. They are asking for a credit against the real estate tax bill equal to $100 per unit per year for 10 years or a $7600 credit for 10 years or a total of $76,000 over a ten-year timeframe. By contrast, if you take the $4500 in impact fees that the project is willing to pay, that is about $300,000 in impact fees paid to the city upon requisition of building permits. Having a long-term pilot works both as a city contribution and as a point generator in an extremely intense competition. He thinks the rents are extremely affordable. The average rent for the one bedroom units is about $406. The average rent for two-bedroom units is in the upper $400s. There will be a community room, a wellness office for doctor visits, a library with high-speed internet access, and a beauty salon for the tenants. 

Commissioner Brooks asked what the cut-off for the income would be. David Fang said he doesn't have the information but will supply it for her. What HUD classifies as a Dorchester County median income and what most of the folks he talks to in town classify as a median income are two separate things. HUD said the median income for a family of four is $50,000. If you take 60 percent of that, it would be about $30,000. For a family of two, it is in the mid-twenties. So the highest income for the 60 percent two-bedroom unit would be in the mid-twenties somewhere. The lowest income would be 30 percent of area median.  For a family of four it would be $15,000 and for a family of two it would be a little less than that. The band of incomes would be in the $10,000 to $27,000 range.  Commissioner Brooks said age matters because on Social Security the people are getting a fixed income. She said we have a need for senior housing; however, the greatest need is for the really low income which would actually be a little lower than $10,000 based on a Social Security check of $650 a month. That is before Medicare takes their money out. She asked if electric and water are included. David Fang said water is included. Electric is not. Their market study folks talked to the property manager at the senior building on Glenburn Avenue and their utilities seem to run in the $45 a month range for the one bedroom units. The $260 units are money losers because it costs about $300 a month to run an apartment unit. The State is contributing about $1.5 million of soft debt. They have a lot of equity going into the project. They will have a relatively small mortgage of $800,000 that has to be paid. The estimated annual expenses for running the site are about $3,850 per unit. He will forward the market study when he receives it.  There is no discrimination against someone with a Section 8 certificate. Every tenant will be reviewed for credit history, criminal history, etc.  Rob Collison said as part of the annexation agreement, the developer is being hit with a road usage impact fee to help with the cost of the traffic study and also help with the cost of the connector road from Route 343 to Route 16. It will cost the developer between $3,100 and $3,500 per unit.  One of his requests is to reduce the per unit fee to $1500 for the townhomes and a waiver for the senior citizen units.

Commissioner Knox made a motion to submit a resolution of support for this project. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Rob Collison asked if they had an estimate of what the per unit tax revenue would be. David Fang said he would ask the Maryland Department of Assessments to do that. They have never in the past been pro-active in appraising a building at a given dollar figure. They are running their pro-forma at about $4 million of valuation. The building's actual cost is probably closer to $7 million. The building will remain "affordable" for 41 years. Based on a $4 million valuation, it translates into about a $20 thousand city tax bill. Mayor Rippons said it would be less than $300 per unit.  Commissioner Brooks said Mr. Fang gave them an income level and he also stated that anyone with a HUD certificate would be welcome. She asked if anyone who came in with an income of $8,900 would be considered. Mr. Fang said they would absolutely be considered.  Mayor Rippons said the 76 units would generate roughly just under $20,000. The other 70+ units would have no adverse tax consequences. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve a PILOT of a credit against real estate taxes of $100 per unit per year for 76 units of affordable senior housing for a period of 10 years. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said he feels it is too much to ask for $100 per unit for 76 units. David Fang said the main reason for the number is the point system at the State level toward the funding mechanism. Mayor Rippons said it is not relevant to compare it to an affordable homeowner-occupied project where Council may waive impact fees. Commissioner Brooks said the reason she made the motion is that if we are going to give $100 per unit and if anyone with a Social Security income of $600 and you take the $260 from that, a person with that type of income would qualify for the Maryland Energy Assistance Program and their only other bill would be electricity, a lot of times that grant pays for most of their electric. Commissioner Cephas said a few years ago the funds were held-up for a period of time. At any given time, the government can cut off Section 8. He realizes what Mr. Fang is doing and he applauds him for doing it. Looking at the numbers over a period of 10 years, you are looking at $8 million. Mayor Rippons said it would be $76,000. The impact fees they are going to pay will be in excess of $300,000. Portia Johnson-Ennels said the figure Commissioner Brooks gave for Social Security is on the high side. We have people here who receive $400 a month. Paying $260 a month for rent would still make these people destitute. David Fang said the figure was established at the State level based on 30 percent of median income. This is the rent that is allowable. Commissioner Brooks said anybody who is getting under $565 in Social Security can apply for SSI. David Fang said this particular funding program was designed to encourage the building to be self-sufficient and to try to have the tenants pay their own way and be self-sufficient. It is not designed to be a very-low income or no income substitute for some of the other funding programs. It is one of several funding programs. It is going to reach a lot of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford an apartment in a building as nice as this one.  They sent the Housing Authority a letter stating they will establish a preference for people on their waiting list who are eligible to be here. The Housing Authority responded that they are delighted to her about this new complex and will keep them in mind.  Commissioner Brooks asked if they don't get this tonight, can they submit it is eight months after Council gets more information. David Fang said they can re-submit it assuming the developer wants to keep spending money. Commissioner Cephas said he doesn't want to see this go away if they can help somebody. He is not opposed to it. He won't let $100 hold up progress to help some people who are in need. The motion passed unanimously.


Approve Resolution for Race and Cedar Street Property Transfer-Rob Collison reported on June 20th there was a public hearing and a motion to proceed with the sale of the property to Sapphire Development. Since that time, a contract of sale has come in from the developer. Council needs to give final approval to finalize the contract because the motion on June 20th was generally for the $1.1 million. The contract is providing for the $1.1 million with a deposit of $25,000 and a 60-day feasibility period in which time the developer will have the property surveyed and an environmental study done. At the end of the 60-day feasibility period, they will determine if they wish to proceed with the sale. If they wish to proceed with the sale, they will deposit an additional $25. They will then begin the process of putting their submittal through the Planning and Zoning process. The settlement date as set forth in the contract will be the first to occur between the following dates: within 30 days from the date they receive all the final approvals or August 31, 2006. They will be paying all the transfer and documentary stamps. The resolution is to authorize and proceed with the actual transfer. It is a little premature now because there is a 60-day feasibility study. They need final verification on terms of the contract.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to lay this resolution on the table for now until they can further discuss it based on the fact that she feels that when the motion to sell the property was made, there were a lot of unanswered questions and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. The developer's original plan includes Phases 1, 2, and 3. For his entire project it would go from the corner of Light and Race Streets all the way down to Pleasant and Race Streets. He will be taking up property and stores and homes a lot more than what was originally indicated here. When Council spoke with him, he could not recall the plan and he was unsure. She would like to table the motion because she would like to give notice in this meeting that she is planning to rescind the motion of selling the property that was done on June 20, 2005 at their very next meeting based on information that they did not receive. She feels the public is entitled to know Phases 1, 2, and 3 and who this property plans to displace. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Commissioner Brooks said there are a lot of residents there and a lot of stores. The city put a lot of money into Main Street. She feels that the public needs more awareness. They need to discuss it more fully. Commissioner Syndor said he feels there were too many variables that were left. We need to know what all of these unknowns are. It was a problem with the citizens of the Second Ward and he has talked to many of the people on Main Street and they have a problem with relocating to this particular building and then destroying what we are attempting to build up. Commissioner Travers asked if Council is supposed to be voting on the property on the corner of Race and Cedar Streets or are they talking about all the way up to Pleasant Street.  Commissioner Brooks said they voted on the corner of Race and Cedar Streets but when Council asked him what his plan was, he was unsure. She said his plan includes Light Street to Pleasant Street. Commissioner Travers said he thought the developer said he would like to purchase the houses on Academy Street.  Commissioner Brooks said she has a copy of his plan and it includes Pleasant Street. However, when they asked him, he was unsure. She would like the developer to come back in and speak to the plan. Commissioner Knox reminded Council that they are basically discussing the property transfer of Race and Cedar Streets. If he recalls, Phases 2 and 3 were merely visions. He recalls that the developer said he would like to see these phases take place later on down the road but he wasn't sure. His main concern was the development of the Race and Cedar Streets property. As far as the businesses on Main Street, he wasn't telling any of these folks or suggesting that any of these folks would be moving. He suggested that they would have an opportunity to move if they would like to go to an upper-scale storefront with larger space. Commissioner Brooks said there is inadequate parking and we are talking about the transfer. That is why she is making the motion to lay it on the table because she is giving notice of rescinding the vote on selling the property based on the information that she has before her. Council needs clear-cut answers. They need to know where the people are going to park. They need to know what is going to be in the stores. What they have is a lot of housing coming into the city but no workforce to support this housing. The communication that they were led to believe and that was given to the public at the public hearing, only told of Phase 1. They were not allowed to have a true public hearing. The city attorney advised them to leave it open so they could get more public comment. She spoke with some people today. Nobody is aware of Phases 2 and 3. They were only presented with Phase 1 and they were told that they would get the parking from somewhere else but they didn't know it would be their backyard or their store or where the additional parking would go. Commissioner Knox said they are discussing the transfer of Race and Cedar Streets. The architectural design and parking will all be taking place months, possibly years, down the road with Planning and Zoning. Rob Collison said the contract that was submitted is contingent upon the developer getting the final approvals. Part of his presentation was a variance of 60 or 80 parking spaces from what would be required. Commissioner Knox said that was the only variance he was asking for. Everything else was within Codes. The other phases are hypothetical. Tonight they are only discussing the transfer of the property. Mayor Rippons called for a vote on the motion to table the resolution. Commissioners Brooks, Cephas, and Sydnor voted for the motion. Commissioners Knox and Travers voted against the motion. The motion passed 3:2.

Council to Adopt Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan-Mayor Rippons said Chief Malik and Chief Hurley approved the plan. Mr. Watkins doesn't have any problem with them moving forward. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the county's multi-hazard mitigation plan. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

Approve Final Bond Resolution-Rob Collison said the bond will be for $13 million through Sun Trust Leasing Corporation. Their interest rate is 3.89 percent. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Request from Veterans' Recognition Committee for a Noise Variance for September 10th from 10:00 am Until 4:00 pm at Sailwinds Park-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Visions America Community Development Corporation to Establish an Agreement Upon the Property on Leonard Lane for Workforce Affordable Housing-A request for proposal was published in the Daily Banner. Proposals will be submitted by September 2, 2005. Rob Collison said there is no formal application. Interested parties are required to submit their plans for affordable housing on that site. Commissioner Brooks said if someone has not already completed a proposal, asking for one by September 2nd may be short notice. She would like to extend it for a couple of weeks. Rob Collison suggested October 1st. Commissioner Cephas said the RFP should run for at least 90 days. Rob Collison said he will find the first date it ran and extend it 90 days from then.

Deborah Johnson, Corporation for Healthy Homes, said her organization is prepared to submit a proposal on September 2nd. They have worked out a wetland delineation clause, started their subdivision, and the funding is pretty much in place. They are just about there. She asked if the city would grant any access in order to cover wetland delineation if the bidding organization pays for it. Mayor Rippons said Council would entertain this. He suggested her organization request it in their submittal.

Request to Amend ASOP 36 (Certification)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Council to Consider Adoption of a Nuisance Property Ordinance-David Pritchett said there are multiple properties that they visit every single week because of violations. They would like to create an ordinance that will address these issues. The City Planner, the Inspectors and Rob Collison could meet to draft the ordinance for Council's review. Commissioner Cephas asked them to bring some pictures also.

Request from Melvin Swann for Reduction in Fees if He Purchases Property at 703 Academy Street-Ed Kinnamon said the total amount owed is $6,584.92. Of that amount $1,731.98 is interest. In the past the city has foregone the interest on the liens. We have always collected all interest on taxes owed and the principal amount of the liens. If Council were to agree to do what was done in the past, he would owe $4,852.94 which includes taxes, principal amount of the lien, plus miscellaneous grass cutting fees, etc. Commissioner Travers made a motion to waive the interest. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Ed Kinnamon suggested Council put a deadline on when he must take ownership of the property. Rob Collison suggested 60 days. Commissioner Travers amended his motion to state that Mr. Swann must take ownership within 60 days. Commissioner Brooks seconded the amended motion. The motion passed unanimously.

American Catfish Anglers Series Request to Hold Fishing Tournament on June 3, 2006 at Franklin Street Boat Ramp (5:00 am to 5:00 pm) and Request to Put Up a 10' x 20' Tent-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Wal-Mart for Permission to Place Six Storage Trailers Behind Their Building in Expectation of the Upcoming Christmas Season-Rob Collison said they are limited to 30 days. Commissioner Brooks said there are a lot of services provided to the elderly that the new manager does not do. Mayor Rippons said he will call the manager and ask him to come to the next meeting.

DPW Request to Purchase Two Pick-Up Trucks Under State Procurement Contract-David Pritchett outlined the cost savings. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3608 - Party Perfect Special Events - $7,004.75 for Seafood Feastival-Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 546 - Tieder Controls - $243,300 - Lighting Project on Poplar St. and Race Street (partially funded by grants)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve Financial Statement for July 2005-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request for Suggestions for Community Legacy Grant Applications for Upcoming Round-Mayor Rippons asked the media to help spread the word that the grant round has opened and asked the public for their suggestions for applications.


Rob Collison reminded Council that they agreed to review the special election process. He asked for comments for the next meeting.

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session beginning at 6:15 pm to discuss several personnel issues.

Commissioner Knox welcomed Commissioner Sydnor.

Commissioner Sydnor said he is glad to serve on the Council with his fellow colleagues. He hopes they continue to strive forward for the benefit of the city.

Commissioner Cephas thanked Commissioner Sydnor for being a part of the team.

Commissioner Cephas said Council gave some property to Alice Wongus on Truman Street a few months ago. He asked if the deed was transferred. David Pritchett said he met with Rob Collison on this and there was a complication. Rob Collison said the parcel number for the adjacent property that was given is not in her name. David Pritchett said he is meeting with her this week to get it resolved.

Commissioner Brooks requested that the Lighting Committee meet to discuss the light on Holland Avenue. She said there has also been a request to review the lighting on the corner of Bayly and Maces Lane. There is only one light and it is extremely dark.

Commissioner Brooks asked Ed Kinnamon for an updated figure on the impact fees that the city has received so far.

Commissioner Brooks said last year the Council voted on several different positions shortly after they took office. It was her understanding that they were to hold the positions for one year. She requested that Council vote on these positions during the next meeting.

Commissioner Brooks said she asked Mr. Kinnamon to enroll Cambridge in the National League of Cities. If Cambridge joins, the new Commissioners can learn a lot. The membership fee for a town of our size is $1,273 annually. New members are offered a one-year 25 percent or two-year 35 percent discount. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to join the National League of Cities. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Brooks welcomed Commissioner Sydnor to the Council. She knows they will all work together.

Commissioner Travers welcomed Commissioner Sydnor.

Chief Malik welcomed Commissioner Sydnor. He asked the Commissioner to call him if he has any questions or concerns.

Monroe Smith said he has been parked across the street ever since 6:30 pm. He wants to know why he was singled out by David Pritchett who was going to call the police and call a wrecker to have his vehicle towed. He asked if Mr. Pritchett was out-of-line. Mayor Rippons said David Pritchett is not the one who said he wanted to tow it. Mr. Pritchett heard about it.  David Pritchett said when we went outside, two police cars had pulled up and the fire company had called because they couldn't make the turn with the fire truck. He said he would much prefer if they would allow him to go inside and ask the person to move the vehicle. Chief Malik asked Mr. Smith to call him and he would review the call log to see who called.

Georgia Slacum said she heard today that Trailways buses would no longer be stopping in Cambridge. He daughter goes to University Hospital once a week by bus. She asked if the city could do something to have them continue to stop in Cambridge. Mayor Rippons said the city received notification that they were discontinuing service. He called them when he received the letter and he will call them again to ask them to reconsider.  Ed Kinnamon said he believes the bus will still stop in Easton. He was wondering if Delmarva Community Services might travel that direction so people can connect to the Trailways bus stop.

Elaine Stafford said she is a constituent of the Second Ward and is glad to see Commissioner Sydnor. Now they have a voice.

William Jackson said several weeks ago he was involved in some activities that took place at Cornish Park. The park is in horrific condition. He personally had to buy nets to put on the baskets for the activity to take place. Another church had activities there this weekend. The park is still in pitiful condition. He asked if the Cornish Park Committee is still in effect and if the city is still doing anything to the park.  David Pritchett said they just replaced all the nets for the tournament four weeks ago. The men are out there regularly. This is a problem that they haven't had before. The church groups were helping to keep the park nice by picking up the day-to-day trash. The city received a grant to refinish the basketball courts in addition to the other renovations that were done. They used the first funds to put in the playground and pavilion. William Jackson said there was so much glass on the courts that DPW couldn't sweep it all. They had to bring a truck out to blow it off. He suggested some b-b-q grills like they have at Great Marsh and electric. Dwight Cromwell was Chairperson of the committee. Mayor Rippons asked him if he would meet with Mr. Jackson and give the city some insights. David Pritchett said he would love a list of suggestions. Commissioner Cephas said he has seen Rebecca Jackson, another committee member, picking up trash and fixing the fence.

Enez Stafford-Grubb said she would like the city to place a marker out there acknowledging that the park is named after former City Commissioner Charles E. Cornish was also president of this Council. He did a lot of historical things for the community and the nation.

Ed Kinnamon showed the Council and the public a game called "Shoreopoly" which is being sold by the Humane Society as a fundraiser. The City supported the project by purchasing a "square" in the game. The cost of the game is $24.95.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 10:25 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, August 22, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer