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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

September 12, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, September 12, 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, Sydnor, 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 August 22, 2005 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Comprehensive Amendments to the PWCD Zoning Ordinance (Continua­tion)-Rob Collison reported that Council held a public hearing on August 22, 2005. Testimony was heard and the record was left open. He review the changes outlined by the proposed ordinance. The Council received a letter from the Cambridge Citizens for Planned Growth in support of the proposed ordinance. They also received a letter from Charles R. Hughes, III with some concerns about the proposed ordinance. These concerns were the ones voiced at the last public hearing with regard to grandfathering in the setbacks. John Ondrick submitted some comments generally supporting the ordinance and questioning if the City could create some type of exception that would give seafood packing and other maritime uses some protection.

Rob Collison said comments were made at the last hearing about the extent to which we would be creating a lot of non-conforming uses with regard to the setbacks. Just about everything that has been built on the creek would become a non-conforming use. Council would have to provide language if they wish these buildings to be grandfathered if they were destroyed by a fire or other disaster. They could have a very strict grandfathering clause stating that it has to be rebuilt to its similar use. The reason for the 25-ft setback was primarily to provide space if we had a riverwalk. The riverwalk would be 10 to 15 feet and then a setback for the buildings from the riverwalk to create the appropriate space. A riverwalk is not required for residential development.  The city could keep the current setback for the residential development. A commercial project would be set back a little more because they may wish to have a riverwalk and public access.

Octavene Saunders asked if the clause for grandfathering would consider disasters other than fire. Rob Collison said it would cover natural disasters where the building was totally destroyed and the owner wanted to rebuild for the same or a similar use.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, said the few suggestions they have submitted are just areas they are a little more sensitive to and there will be other documents coming in the near future that can address them. Planning and Zoning has yet to review the land use map. She asked how the city will define mixed-use. Rob Collison said the proposed definition would be a structure having at least one level of enclosed building space entirely and permanently devoted and occupied by one of the permitted commercial uses as enumerated in the various sections of the zoning code. It shall not include vehicle parking or storage. It does not necessarily have to be the street level. Jane Devlin supported adding this into the amendments because the intent of the PWCD was for mixed-use.

Rob Collison said the first process is the regulation of the height setbacks. The Planning and Zoning Commission will soon begin the actual permitted uses within each site. This will occur in the next four or five months. Another aspect is to expand the PWCD. There have been some proposals to expand it further to Dorchester Avenue and south to Virginia Avenue. The aspect of the mixed-use in this proposed ordinance would have a mixed-use component at a site that is permitted by special exception for land owners or applicants to get a higher height or a greater density.

Marti Tomey asked if vinyl siding would still be allowed for the residences in the PWCD.  Rob Collison said the proposed list of approved building materials did not have vinyl siding and that is something Council may wish to insert. Marti Tomey asked how much of the PWCD is currently developed. David Pritchett and Anne Roane said they do not have the numbers with them but would get them for her.

Jo Chapman, Cambridge Citizens for Planned Growth, showed a picture of what the creek could look like with tall buildings. They want something that is a benefit to the citizens of Cambridge. Their group is totally in support of what the Planning and Zoning Commission has spent six to nine months working on. She urged Council to vote for this ordinance.

Because nobody else asked to speak, Mayor Rippons closed the hearing.

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) (Continuation)-Mayor Rippons said the applicant asked that this public hearing be continued at a later date. Rob Collison said the continuation will have to be re-advertised at the applicant's expense because it has gone beyond the next meeting.

APPOINTMENTS

Deborah Johnson to Discuss Federal Lead Program-Deborah Johnson, Corporation for Healthy Homes and Economic Development, provided Council with a packet discussing lead-based paint hazards.  She also provided statistics associated with lead. A lot of the existing housing stock in this area shows high concentrations of lead. It is equivalent to that of Baltimore City. The Corporation for Healthy Homes provides affordable workforce housing development, environmental hazard program development management, and housing rehabilitation services. They were founded for the purpose of promoting affordable housing and circumventing injury and illness caused by environmental health and safety hazards affecting very-low, low-, and moderate-income households. She would like Council to consider a Federal lead program that is administered by the State. Currently the Corporation of Healthy Homes is in partnership under a sub-recipient agreement with Wicomico County administering the same type of program. The program is designed to provide funding sources for lead risk reduction activities through a cooperative agreement. They are asking the City to consider doing this program by agreeing to a baseline plan identifying potential funding sources as well as depicting specifics as to how the program is going to work and the outcomes that are expected. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Octavene Saunders To Discuss a Citizen's Concern With Local Government-Ms. Saunders thanked David Pritchett for his discussions about a nuisance ordinance for the city based on some things that Baltimore does. Her basic negative experience has been with absentee landlords. The Police are called to an apartment next to her at least three times a month for loud music, loud cursing, or fighting that spills over onto the sidewalk. Sometimes there are 15 people on the step drinking, fighting, and being loud. It is a constant annoyance. There is also graffiti on the sidewalks. She would like to see some type of legal language that is added into the ordinance that the landlord is financially penalized if they are notified about on-going problems in their rental properties and fail to do anything about them. It should apply to homeowners too. Rob Collison said he should have something for Council to review by the first meeting in October. David Pritchett said he envisions the ordinance itself which will contain the enforcement criteria and what it will contain. He doesn't know of anything that we need more for all areas of the town. It is a tremendous problem.

Octavene Saunders said on Saturday they were able to do a block clean-up from Gay and High to High and Glasgow on both sides of the street. She will provide before and after pictures for the newspaper. They removed the grass from the sidewalks and picked up the trash. The Zip-Mart also cleaned their parking lot. She said Commissioner Cephas said that if anybody in the Third Ward is looking to do something on their block, that he is willing to help. Ms. Saunders said she is willing to help also. It makes people feel good to help keep the neighborhood cleaner. Her concern is that she heard comments that the guy who is cleaning Race and Poplar Streets. They wanted to know why the city didn't have people on other streets.  It is filthy near the Empowerment Center and the Police Substation today. There are leaves all over the place. Stuff is everywhere and that is city property. She said if we can keep Race and Poplar Streets clean, that is a good block on Pine Street and we should have people out there cleaning that too. She said Mr. Pritchett said he promised her he would get someone out there. It needs to be cleaned a couple times a week. They want their streets kept clean in certain parts of the town just like other streets. Pine Street in that block is Main Street. If we are keeping Poplar and Race Streets clean because it is "Main Street", we should get that part of Pine Street.

Octavene Saunders said she heard from Rob Collison that they had an informal Ethics Committee meeting about her concern about how the bids were handled for the property at the corner of Race and Cedar Streets. She asked when the formal meeting and decision would be made.  Rob Collison said a meeting was held with two of the three members present. Before they finalize their opinion, they want the third member to be present. It will be scheduled this week.  Octavene Saunders said if you have a citizen that has a concern about the bidding process, she doesn't see how Council can say now that the property is transferred they will move on. She deserves the consideration and respect that she gives Council. She waited longer than she should have had to wait and she has not heard anything. It looks like they should wait to do any decision making on that property. She has a right to have an answer.

Monroe Smith said he agrees with Mrs. Saunders on the trash. This is the same thing that happens all over. Maybe the city needs to put out some signs to stop people from throwing their trash in everybody's yard.

Charles Lednum asked if there is some kind of nuisance regulation that the Police Department can enforce for people who are being a nuisance.  Mayor Rippons said it is limited in scope at this time. The city is looking at ordinances from other cities that specify the concerns that Mrs. Saunders pointed out. Chief Malik said with a noise violation, they have to warn the person the first time. They can issue a citation the second time. Many times they have made arrests for disorderly conduct, but that doesn't correct the problem.  The people are released on their own recognizance and they come back to the house and create the problem over and over again. The main source of the problem is the absentee landlords. David Pritchett said with the document they are drafting, if they identify a property that has a consistent ongoing problem, whether it is maintenance, the condition of the property, or a law problem, if the document is adopted, it will include repossession of the property. It gives the property owners an incentive to be responsible.

Estelle Gore asked why a person who is continuously arrested for a nuisance is let out on their own recognizance. Chief Malik said a Court Commissioner would have to answer that question. In most cases, that is considered a very minor offense. They don't put bond on you for that reason.  There is only so much room in the jail.

Representatives from Hyatt Resorts to Request a Variance from Ordinance Section #12-18 to Discharge Firearms Within City Limits on September 19, 2005 for a Clay Pigeon Shoot-Eric Claxton said they are having a very high-end golf tournament at the Hyatt and they want to add a little local flair to the event with clay pigeon shooting. The area they are looking to do this is near Hole 17 which will be over Shoal Creek. It will pose no harm to the golfers or any wildlife. Pintail Point will administer the shoot. They have a contract that releases Hyatt and the city of any liability. Rob Collison said the statute requires that the event be supervised. Trained professionals will do the supervision. The city will require a copy of their insurance coverage listing the city as an additional insured. He suggested that property owners along Shoal Creek be notified as well as a couple of others in the area. Chief Malik said it is fine with him as long as they have trained professionals. Commissioner Cephas asked about lead shot. Eric Claxton said the shot will not go more than 200 yards. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to give Hyatt a noise variance and a variance from Section 12-18 on September 19th from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Representative from Wal-Mart to Discuss Storage Trailers and Local Programs-Commissioner Brooks said Council wanted to speak to Carsevelt Lanham, Store Manager, primarily about the DDUST bus and elderly and disabled citizens not being able to load and unload at Wal-Mart as they do throughout the State and in Delaware. The bus driver was asked to pick up customers near Fresh Pride and she understands that now there may be a problem there also. The only offer was for the bus to park at the end of the parking lot which would force people to walk quite a distance. Jerome Stanley from DDUST said they are looking for a place for a permanent bus-stop. He was told they could put one up near the north corner of the building near the Dollar General Store. Mr. Lanham said there is a fire lane in front of the store and the DDUST bus was pulling up and parking. They are not allowed to park in front of the building because customers could get hit by cars walking around it. Chief Malik asked if they could pick-up and discharge passengers in front of the store. Mr. Lanham said they would still be in the fire lane. Commissioner Cephas said there are people in cars doing this all day. He said the DDUST bus parks by the telephone booth. Mr. Stanley said they have to park away from the building and then pull up when it is time to load. Commissioner Brooks said it is safer for the elderly and those with small children to load and unload closer to the door. Other Wal-Marts allow this. Mayor Rippons suggested a meeting with the Store Manager, Jerome Stanley, and a representative from the Traffic and Safety Committee. After the meeting, they can report to Council so the issue can be resolved. David Pritchett suggested the Fire Chief or the State Fire Marshall attend the meeting and maybe they could abate a part of the fire lane for the bus to park.

Commissioner Brooks said for many years, the citizens of Cambridge were allowed by play bingo in the store. These senior citizens are no longer allowed to play in Wal-Mart. Carsevelt Lanham said this program was discontinued in all the stores because of legal issues. Different States have different statutes.

Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to allow Wal-Mart to use eight temporary storage trailers for the Christmas season for 30-days beginning October 1st. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. David Pritchett requested a phone call upon the arrival of the trailers to ensure that the fire codes are met.  The motion passed unanimously.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discussion to Rescind Previously-Approved Motion to Sell the Race and Cedar Street Properties to Sapphire Development-Mayor Rippons said Council requested that Pat Heller be present tonight. He was not able to facilitate his schedule; however he is amenable to speak to Council next Monday. Jennifer Martella is with the architectural firm that will be working with Mr. Heller.  She can answer some of Council's questions. Because Main Street was brought up in the consideration, Mayor Rippons said he attended their meeting tonight to asked them for their input. Commissioner Brooks said she gave notice at the last meeting that she was going to rescind the previously-adopted motion to sell the Race and Cedar Streets properties at this time to Sapphire Development. One reason is because the Ethics Committee should meet to discuss Mrs. Saunders' concern. The other, more than anything, is the confusion, the information withheld, the misleading that the Council had, and the misrepresentation of the Second Ward. The property has been a thorn in the City's side from the day it was purchased. The property belongs to all the taxpayers in the city. It was a consensus of Council at the last meeting and also on the day they had the vote, that the public be fully informed of the design of Sapphire Development. Even though they are voting on the property on the corner of Race and Cedar Streets, the design included a lot more than this property. It included two complete blocks. They talked about the possibility of displacing families and businesses that are already there. Until last week, nobody went to the residents of the Bradford House and asked them what would benefit them. Nobody went to the other residents and asked what would benefit them. If the city sold this property and brought in $200,000 to $400,000 townhouses, it would not benefit most of the people in the city. There was a proposal or a letter of interest that was given to move Fawcett-Magee there which would benefit the entire city. There have been numerous concerns by the elderly and disabled that state that they would love to see another senior housing complex for low-income residents. At the present time we have more elderly (65 and over) living in the city than we have any other age group. A large percentage of them are low income because of the types of jobs we had. Commissioner Brooks said she sits on Council to serve everybody and she knows not everybody will be happy with decisions that are made. They should not forget the forgotten-the ones who are low economic, elderly, and the ones who cannot come out to speak for themselves. That is why she is putting the motion on the floor to rescind the motion to sell the property on Race and Cedar Streets until they can get a very good public hearing that the public can come and give their input as to what they would like to see on that property. Then the Council can meet and decide what will benefit the citizens of Cambridge. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.

Commissioner Sydnor said he heard rumors that the city wanted to give this lot away. That is far from the truth. Cambridge has given a lot of land away that they should not have. We don't need to do this with this lot. He has had problems from the time he started campaigning and concerns from the Second Ward. They were not represented. That would mean a fifth of the population was left out of the process altogether. He was told they were represented by someone on the Council but not a representative from the Second Ward. They felt left out. He is here to represent them. He was not privy to all of the information but he did look at the information that was given to him. It is not helping all of the citizens of Cambridge. It is only helping a select few. We need to do something with this process that will help all of Cambridge.

Commissioner Brooks asked Rob Collison if she is allowed to show the citizens exactly what is proposed. Rob Collison said she could. Octavene Saunders asked if the document included what wasn't publicly announced. Commissioner Brooks said the document included other phases that the developer was planning. Phase 2 includes part of Race and Light Streets and Phase 3 includes Race, Cedar and Pleasant Streets. It includes the Pleasant Day apartments and residents on Cedar Street. The residents have stated that nobody has ever asked them what they would like.

Ralph Young, Cambridge Landing, said he has a question concerning the development of the downtown. He has never seen a viable community that took the downtown area which is basically commercial and developed it from a low-income residential area and seen the community as a successful community. He agreed that Cambridge needs affordable housing. He questioned whether it should be in an area that is so valuable from a commercial standpoint. Route 50 doesn't draw people to Cambridge. There are a lot of antique shops downtown. Hopefully if you get people coming into downtown you will get better, more attractive businesses. Eventually the Salvation Army store and the Lutheran Mission store should be moved into a different area because the land itself is valuable and would have commercial value. There are other areas where another Bradford House should be. You don't go into any progressive city that is moving low-income residents into the city center. They are redeveloping their center city. The Supreme Court said with eminent domain you can take housing and businesses if the community thinks they can show a better return if they give it to private industry. He isn't saying this is right. We would be going backwards to not develop that area. It is a valuable commercial area and it should be that way. Condos worth $200,000 or $300,000 over it will bring in good tax money that will help the community. We need a plan to take care of everybody. In attracting people with money, the better they do, the better the entire community will be. The more businesses that come here, the more jobs there are with more income and everybody benefits.

Estelle Gore asked if they are trying to chase the poor folks out. The last thing we need is condominiums. We have enough of them. We need places for the people who are living in the rundown houses. We are a low-income town. We need to take care of these people. We need another building like the Bradford House on that corner. She said to sell the property; don't give it away.

Charles Lednum said his business has been downtown since 1945. They didn't leave when the downtown started deteriorating. They stayed and helped hold things together. He cannot see taking this piece of property and putting something on it that is not a business. Downtown Cambridge should be out for business. You have not only Sapphire; Tony Easter would be interested in that property too. You have other people who would be interested in it.  

Mamie Short asked if they want to push the elderly people into any little old hole that they can find to put them in instead of putting up a place they can live in comfortably. It is not fair for them to be pushed around. It seems to her like all they are interested in is getting business and people with a lot of rich money and everything else to come in here instead of taking care of the elderly.

Edna Robinson said it is really upsetting her because a lot of the low-income people helped build Cambridge and they are the ones being kicked aside. It's not fair to the working people. They deserve a good place to live just like anybody else.

Liddy Garcia announced that the Main Street Board of Directors met earlier today and she offered their position. Economic restructuring is one of the four goals of a Main Street organization. It is the means for helping existing downtown businesses expand while recruiting new ones to respond to today's market. They encourage the conversion of unused space within the Main Street corridor into productive property that will sharpen the competitiveness of our existing business community. The redevelopment of the Race and Cedar Streets property will provide rehabilitation and revitalization which will stimulate economical vitality of the traditional commercial district helping to anchor the historic core of downtown Cambridge.

Brett Summers said he recently purchased the old McCrory's building. He is prepared to invest a significant amount of money in the downtown. Their plans are to put a restaurant on the first floor and apartments on the upper floors. Permits are pending. He was excited when he read about Sapphire's project. He thinks it will anchor that end of the downtown and help to continue growth. He agrees with Mr. Young's current development theories. The commercial storefront is in line with the way the rest of the street is developing. Deviating from that would be a major mistake.

Gloria Woolford said she came back to Cambridge 4½ years ago and had no place to retire. She now lives in the Bradford House. There is nothing wrong with putting storefronts on the property. However, if they put apartments with them, don't have them so high that people can't buy them. Her niece lives in Chicago in a development that is downtown and you would not know what it is if you drive into it. It has swimming pools, stores, and elevators. It is a beautiful eight-story building. The Bradford House is always clean because everybody helps.

Elaine Stafford said these people aren't going to live in these places for free. It is still a business. People are getting older now and are being cast aside. It is not right. If the majority of them want housing there, let it be housing. A lot of stores downtown need to be brought up to code.

Kathryn Hubbard, owner of Hubbard's Pharmacy, said she thinks they are missing the point. She doesn't think anyone is asking the low-income people to be shoved aside or moved away. In order to be able to offer services, collect taxes, and improve our community, we have to have viable businesses on our main street. If we have a multi-use building on that corner with retail and residential, then everybody coming down Cedar Street will see a nice entrance. You have to have tax-producing businesses in the downtown. The downtown businesses buy the advertising for the high school yearbooks, donate to the Humane Society functions, and help the churches when they need help. If they don't get more businesses, more and more people will shop out of town and downtown Cambridge will fail once again. We need an anchor on that corner. Sapphire has plans for the people living in those houses. Nobody will be put out on the street. We are talking about one little piece of property. There is a store for everybody.

Kathryn Hubbard said there was some word that downtown businesses didn't think a development on that corner was necessary. Without exception, she started on the corner of Race and Washington Streets and went to the corner of High and Poplar speaking to business owners. Every business person she spoke to signed a petition saying that they support a multi-use development that includes retail shops on that corner. It will be the "life blood" for downtown.

Monroe Smith said he doesn't like some of the things that have been said. He was bred and born in Cambridge. The Council is elected by the citizens of Cambridge-not by the handful of people who come here. Our leaders need to recognize who put them in office and why the people put them in office. They were put in office to get representation which they haven't had for some time. The Council usually goes for the person who has the big dollars.

Tony Thomas said he came here 10 years ago and invested $60,000 in a 20,000 ft2 building. Today it is probably worth $1.5 million. Everyone around here had an opportunity to do this. He loves Cambridge. The Sapphire development would be fantastic. Mr. Summers' business will be fantastic. We want to be proud of Cambridge. If you let the people do what they have to do, you will see a downtown like Annapolis. People here deserve really nice things and good stores. Today you can walk down Race Street. We need more businesses here.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said she walked on Race Street and she has seen the plans for the development on the corner of Race and Cedar Streets. Main Street is doing a good job but they are also failing because three-fourths of the people shop outside of Cambridge. Wal-Mart is here but they may leave. When they need to shop, except for groceries, banking, and getting medicine at drug stores, there is no place else for them to go but to Salisbury, Delaware or Pennsylvania. We don't have anything that the people here need. We don't need another antique store or Salvation Army. We need something here that will make people want to spend their money here if they earn it here. The property belongs to the taxpayers of Cambridge and they have the right to decide and tell Council what to do. Too much scandal has gone about that property. Until we get rid of the scandals and are honest with the people, we are worse than we were 100 years ago.

Octavene Saunders said she listened and interpreted what she heard tonight. One thing she heard was that it is not the place to put low-income people. They need to be put someplace else. She asked who belongs on Race Street. Our ancestors helped build Cambridge and keep it strong. If they want mixed-use, there is nothing wrong with low- to moderate-income units going there with a restaurant downstairs. We are getting hung up with race and color. That is not what this is about. This is about the "haves" who are disenfranchising the "have nots". The low- to moderate-income people belong to this town. She takes issue with the statements that the Salvation Army and the Lutheran Mission don't belong on Race Street. The people in the Bradford House can walk to shop in these stores. She loves Hubbard's Pharmacy. There are more low-income customers in the pharmacy than there are from the big $500,000 homes because they are treated with respect, their prices are right, and they allow people to make monthly payments. We need each other.  The corner is a right corner for mixed use. It does not have to be $400,000 or $500,000 townhouses. They would be just as out of place on that corner with the surrounding areas. We don't even have decent housing for people who can afford decent housing. She asked where Sapphire's plan for decent housing is and who is going to pay for the relocation. She is terribly upset tonight. We need to keep that property until we can all come together as a community and come up with the best mixed-use for it that will serve all income levels.

Tony Easter said people are trying to find a way to make this work. Business people are saying they have to be able to make money in order to participate in this community. People from all areas of the city know that when tragedy hits, whether a flood or economic disaster, our elderly and poor are the casualties and they are usually black. That is what we are afraid of; this community will segment-out and we all can't find a way to make it work together. We are trying to find a way to take care of all of us. Economic engines do that. We have to find a way to not only incorporate our seniors into our day-to-day lives, but also we have to find a way to provide jobs for people to take care of their families and parents and to make sure they have a way to participate fully so if the worse happens, we don't go to our little clicks and save our special interest groups (business or racial or elderly vs. young groups). It has to be a tax-generating and job-generating thing. It comes down to the ability to work together and make something happen that affects us all. There are projects that want to do this. He thinks Council wants to look a little harder and consider this a little more deeply.

Commissioner Brooks said the reason for the motion was confusion, information withheld, and other things that are going on. She has heard the word "race" several times. She would like to remind everyone that there is only one race and that is the human race. We all need to work together. The purpose for rescinding the motion is to get information from everyone in the community so that we can make this work. That is the most valuable piece of property that the city owns right now. The use should be good for the entire city-not just the wealthy. They failed to mention that the Department of Social Services is right there to serve the unwealthy. We have to have something on that property that will benefit most of the citizens. She is not saying we cannot come up with a decision to have a mixed-use facility with low- to moderate-income units on the top. There is confusion and information withheld. She invited Mrs. Hubbard to look at all the phases that Sapphire is planning. It is for everyone in Cambridge and for people who have worked hard for their dollar to be recognized and not just an elect few.

Commissioner Sydnor said we need to keep our options open. If it was just money we wanted, we probably would have gone with this one. There is a humanity piece in this. We cannot put something there and then in five or ten years tell the residents of the Bradford House that we are going to tear their building down. Sometimes it is not the right thing, but the righteous thing, that we have to do. We need to look at more information. We may come up with Sapphire but we may come up with something else that will benefit all of Cambridge.

Ed Woolfolk said he has been told that Council is considering turning this down, but they also have a recommendation that they give the property to some individual who will develop it along with some other property that the city owns and the taxpayers will not get anything out it. He has faith in Council. Commissioner Brooks said it is not true. Mr. Woolfolk said it sounded so ridiculous that he didn't think it was true.

Joe Feldman said he came here for the same reason. He was told it was going to be given away. The City paid $1,400,000 and they would get nothing out of it. He heard other rumors to go along with that concerning Council Chambers and the present firehouse. It all sounded terrible. It looked like $3 million that the city would not get because they were giving it away. He is glad to hear it is not true.

Commissioner Sydnor said it is a rumor that was put on the internet in the "blogs" from some gutless person who cannot sign a name to it.

Joe Feldman said his concern is that the city got an offer of $1.4 million. That is probably quite a bit more than what the city paid for it. It must have been a fairly good deal at that time. Commissioner Sydnor said it is not the one they are considering at this time which is why they need to go back and look at them and give them all a consideration. Mr. Feldman said he wants them to consider the taxpayers.

Commissioner Cephas said Commissioner Brooks made a motion to rescind the sale of that piece of property. His major concern is that the citizens have the right to come to a public hearing and listen to everybody who made a proposal. It could be about five or six now. The citizens have a right to hear about them. That is why he is voting against selling the property to Sapphire and letting the public have some input.

Mayor Rippons called for a vote on Commissioner Brooks' motion to rescind the previously-approved motion to sell the Race and Cedar Streets property to Sapphire Development. Commissioners Brooks, Cephas, and Sydnor voted yes. Commissioner Travers voted no. The motion to rescind was approved. (note from typist: Commissioner Knox was silent.)

Rob Collison suggested setting up a work session on the third Monday in October to have proposal presented to the public. Commissioner Brooks said they want to start from the drawing board. They want to open the proposal up. They want to re-advertise and do this thing the right way. Commissioner Cephas asked if Council wanted to sell the property. It's a valuable piece of property and maybe now is not the time to sell it. He doesn't want anybody to leave thinking that Council doesn't want to do something with that piece of property when the time is right. There has been so much controversy about that property. The citizens have a right to say what they want on that property. He was impressed with two of the four developers and one of them was not Sapphire. The property is not for sale at this point.

Octavene Saunders said she does not want to feel that Main Street and the businesses on Race and Poplar Streets will be the only ones that will be "driving the bus". She wants to feel that Council will reach out into each ward and involve everybody if they have a task force or group to meet to give ideas.

Mayor Rippons asked if Council wanted to draft an RFP to see what responses come in. Commissioner Cephas said he doesn't see the need to do anything at this point. There is no need to do it. Commissioner Brooks said she thinks they need to have input from the citizens as to what they would like to see on the piece of property. It would allow Council to come to a decision about an RFP to come up with a really good project that would be good there. Octavene Saunders suggested holding meetings in different locations-not just in City Hall.

Gage Thomas said he doesn't know why Council expects the people to waste their time giving them input on proposals if they haven't decided to sell the property. He doesn't know how they are going to replace the $700,000 or $800,000 the City has in there or re-create or generate the income loss through taxes, business income, jobs, etc. on down the line. That is with no disrespect. Commissioner Cephas said the property could be for sale if someone comes to them and makes them an offer. What they did tonight was discuss one particular developer that they denied the right to purchase that property. There were five people interested in the property that the public was not part of the process. At this point, that property is not for sale. If someone comes to Council and wants to purchase the property, that is a different story.

Ralph Young said he thinks it is Council's job to work to make the decisions that are going to benefit the city as a whole on everything. This does not have anything to do with ensuring that the poor, elderly, or the handicapped don't have proper housing. It is another issue altogether. Why it is tied into the development of downtown is something he doesn't understand. It is Council's job to see that people have proper housing and that the people who need help get it. It is also their job to see that the commercial development of the community helps give them enough funds to do the things that they should be doing for people who need it.  Commissioner Cephas said he would hate to think that they would depend on funds from the commercial development alone. It's not going to happen. Mr. Young said commercial development is very important to the community. The commercial engine is what drives the money. If they drive the commercial engine, they will be able to help everyone who needs help.

Commissioner Travers asked if Council could re-adverise on this piece of property for any development. Mayor Rippons said it is Council's privilege to move forward with an RFP. At that time if they come back, you can express in the confines of the RFP that your preference is "a", "b", or "c" or whatever Council wishes. Even when they receive the proposals, there is no mandate to move forward.  Commissioner Travers made a motion that Council advertise for this piece of property. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion.  Liddy Garcia said she has been working in public services for most of her career. She thinks we should have great affordable housing in this county. She thinks we are talking apples and oranges here. Developers are not going to be interested in this town anymore. We put out an RFP and then say no. Then we put them out again and may consider them or not. Developers won't want to come back. Commissioner Cephas asked if she would rather have a reputation of developers pushing poor people out. Liddy Garcia said absolutely not. She wants affordable good housing for all citizens. This project would not push out low income people. Commissioner Brooks said she doesn't think the city has any problem with developers coming here. We currently have over 7000 homes in the process of being developed. We have no problem with taxes. According to our City Clerk, we are looking good. Of the 7000 homes, Planning and Zoning probably needs to meet three or four times a month. They have more than they can handle at this particular time. We have an obligation to slow down. For those 7000 homes, we have no jobs. We only have people being laid off. We have the 7000 homes selling for $200,000 to $400,000 and tax money is coming in. We don't have a problem as far as that area and developers coming here. There are other areas that we need to look at. We need to include everybody. None of the new houses are for low-income people or workforce housing. We have neglected to include everybody in the city. As far as giving away land, before she was elected, it may be a rumor but it was her understanding that the city gave away Trenton Street, a very valuable piece of property. It may be true and it may not be true. This Council will not be giving away any property whatsoever.

Brett Summers said the RFP is a great idea but they should develop the RFP first with community input to develop what the community wants to see there. Commissioner Brooks agreed. She said it goes back to Rob Collison's suggestion of a work session.

Tony Thomas said if they don't keep Race Street moving, we will get shopping centers on the outskirts. If we don't have a base here, Race Street will be history for one more time.

Mayor Rippons called for a vote on the motion to move forward with an RFP. It would include work sessions to garner public input on exactly the adoption and contents of the proposal. The motion passed unanimously.  Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to arrange dates and meeting places throughout the community.

Discussion and Decision to Approve Ordinance to Amend PWCD Regulations-Rob Collison said Council has to do something by early October. Council decided to delay their vote until the next Council meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

Decision on City Council Organization-Ed Kinnamon read the positions decided on by Council.

 

City Council President

Commissioner Cephas

City Council Vice President

Commissioner Brooks

Co-Finance Chairmen

Commissioner Travers and Commissioner Sydnor

Street Lighting Committee

Commissioner Cephas

Streets, Sewers and Drainage

Commissioner Sydnor

City Properties

Commissioner Brooks

Traffic & Safety Committee

Commissioner Brooks

Planning and Zoning Liaison

Commissioner Knox

Historic Preservation Liaison

Commissioner Knox

ADA Committee Liaison

Commissioner Travers

Main Street Committee

Commissioner Cephas

Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the slate. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Octavene Saunders asked when the committee on disabilities meet. She is on that committee and she hasn't received a notice in two years. Commissioner Travers said Mr. Wheeler will let her know when the next meeting is if she could call him. Octavene Saunders said to let him call her because in two years she has not been informed about a meeting. The slate was unanimously approved.

Request from Dorchester Lodge #223 to Hold Organization Day Parade on Saturday, October 22nd Beginning at 3:00 pm; Request for a Noise Variance for the Day; Closing Pine Street from Cross Street to Cedar Street from 12:00 pm Until 6:00 pm on Saturday; Request to Park on the West Side of Pine Street on Saturday from 9:00 pm Until 2:00 am and on Sunday at 4:00 pm-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Dorchester County Public Library for a Noise Variance on September 17th from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm (303 Gay Street Parking Lot)-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Zion Baptist Church to have Pine Street from Elm Street to Cedar Street and Cross Street to Schoolhouse Lane Blocked Off on Saturday, September 17, 2005 from 12 Noon Until 8:00 pm for a Community Day Picnic and a Noise Variance for Those Hours-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Humane Society of Dorchester County, Inc. for a Donation for a Surgery Shed (Cost = Approx. $4,000)-Commissioner Sydnor asked what Dorchester County was contributing. Cindy Smith said the Dorchester County Detention Center provided a significant amount of labor to remodel the current shed. They could also take advantage of county discounts when they purchased materials. The shed was fully equipped through grant money and designated donations from the community. The shed is just big enough to do surgeries. There is no room to pre- and post-operation preparation and recovery. They would like to get another shed so they can move the animals through faster and do a lot more surgeries. A City Councilman from another municipality suggested that she contact the municipalities for some help since they are servicing the community without and county help. She is not asking Cambridge for the entire cost of the shed. She is asking for a donation. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to donate $1200 toward the $4000 cost. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Go to Bid to Dredge Portion of Cambridge Creek-David Pritchett said this is a budgeted item. Commissioner Travers made a motion to go to bid. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3658 - Hertrich Fleet Service -- $62,700 - (3) 2006 Ford Crown Victorias for CPD-Mayor Rippons said there is an opportunity to get grant funds to cover some of this expense. Because timing is not critical, he asked that they delay the vote. Chief Malik agreed.

Approve PO 3653 - Delmarva Fire Apparatus - $3,310 - Conversion Work on Ambulance into CPD Tactical Unit

Approve PO 3663 - Graves Uniforms - CPD -- $4,472.52

Approve PO 3616 - Davenport & Company - Financial Advisor - Bonds of 2005 -- $10,217.19

Approve PO 3624 - Funk & Bolton - 2005 Public Safety Bond - $7,561.50

Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve Purchase Orders 3653, 3663, 3616, and 3624. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Nause Waiwash Band of Indians for a Noise Variance on Saturday, September 17 from 1:00 pm Until 7:00 pm and on Sunday, September 18 from 12 pm Until 5:00 pm at Sailwinds Park for their 13th Native American Festival-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded it. The motion passed unanimously.

Mechanical Inspector for Plumbing, HVAC, and Gas-Mayor Rippons said earlier Council discussed having this position adopted as a certified exempt employee in Pay Grade 12. There were questions about the public advertising.  David Pritchett said it was advertised in the Daily Banner approximately two months ago and he interviewed two applicants. One applicant had the necessary certifications and years of experience. He said this has become extremely critical. They can't move forward with any of the permits at this point. Commissioner Travers made a motion to establish the Mechanical Inspector Position for Plumbing, HVAC, and Gas as classified exempt employee in Pay Grade 12. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:15 pm to consider several personnel matters.

Commissioner Knox thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

Commissioner Sydnor asked about the size of the road going around Bayly Crossing. His concern is about access for fire trucks if cars are parked on it. David Pritchett said he talked to the City Engineer when the question was raised some time ago. It was reviewed by the Fire Department and it meets the standard State specifications and applicable Federal regulations for the width of the road. The parking issue should be addressed because all of the units have off-street parking. Parking restrictions could be established. Rob Collison said the Fire Department recently adopted new guidelines for all new developments that require a 32‑ft wide paved portion if there is parking on one side and a 40-ft wide paved section if there is parking on both sides of the road. David Pritchett said the road in question is 24-ft wide. It should not impose a hardship on the development if parking restrictions were established. He said the City Engineers feels that limiting parking to one side of the street only would still allow adequate space needed. Commissioner Brooks asked if they could widen the road to meet the new standards. There is nobody actually living on the road. At the end where there is a house, the road is wider. David Pritchett said the people could be notified in the paperwork they receive in sales because some of the lots have been sold. If we do that, it will render literally all of lots on one side of the street non-conforming in size. Everything would have to be redone if they could even fit on there at that point. Everything was built to 10,000 ft2.  If they widen the road, they will reduce the size of the properties. The required right-of-way is 50 ft. Rob Collison suggested referring this to the Traffic and Safety Committee for their review with the City Engineer.

Commissioner Cephas asked the status of the transfer of the property on Truman Street to Mrs. Wongus. Rob Collison said the map and parcel number that he was given to do a quit-claim deed was not in the name of Wongus. Mrs. Wongus said she has her deed and will give it to Rob Collison. He will meet with Mrs. Wongus after the meeting.

Commissioner Brooks said she had asked Anne Roane and at one particular point there was to be a play area incorporated in the Bayly Crossing development. She understood that it was going to happen in the phase they are in now. David Pritchett said the playground goes on the Maces Lane side. He has received their proposal on how they want to do it. They were not required by the Public Works Agreement to actually install any equipment or amenities. However, they have sent their plans to DPW for review. They are adding some amenities for children to play on. It should be completed very soon.

Commissioner Brooks asked where DPW was with the street signs for Devon Place. David Pritchett said the signs are specially made and he anticipates they should be in by the end of this week.

Commissioner Brooks said she was given a memo from David Pritchett and it addresses the lighting on Roslyn Avenue, Douglas Street, and Holland Avenue. The lights for Roslyn Avenue have been ordered from Delmarva Power and should arrive in approximately six weeks. For Douglas Street, the lights were ordered from Delmarva Power and may actually be completed. DPW will confirm the ship date if not installed. For Holland Avenue, the lights were ordered from Delmarva Power and will be shipped in approximately six weeks. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to give DPW the final approval for these street lights.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. David Pritchett said Delmarva Power informed him that it takes between four and six months to order and receive lights.

David Pritchett said the Housing Task Force is the generating force behind the nuisance ordinance. He gave Commissioner Brooks an outline of the preliminary concept. He will need a little assistance from Rob Collison and Ed Kinnamon.

Elaine Stafford said Marian Collins will be celebrating her 100th birthday. Her family and friends will be honoring her on October 15th. They are requesting a proclamation be given to her. Mayor Rippons asked Ms. Stafford to provide City Hall with the information to be typed on the proclamation and it will be his pleasure to have it prepared.

Rev. Wallace said he spoke to Council several months ago about the policy of filling vacancies on the Council in an expeditious way. He asked for an update and also if it includes language about when the person who is elected is to be sworn in. Rob Collison said the only language in the charter applies to the regular four-year election which says the third Monday of July. This would not apply to special elections. It will be addressed with the subcommittee. Several meetings back Council approved a motion to appoint an ad-hoc committee to look at the special elections. To his knowledge, the appointments have not been made yet. Rev. Wallace said he feels it needs to be done right away. People are mis-interpreting what the real issues are as was evident tonight. Mayor Rippons requested that Council have their nominations by the next meeting. He asked Rev. Wallace if he would like to serve on the committee. Rev. Wallace said he would. Commissioner Brooks asked if they were going to appoint one person from each ward. Mayor Rippons said he didn't think the structure of the committee was established. Rob Collison said he assumed each Commissioner would appoint someone.

Lorraine Henry said she is concerned about Bayly Crossing and she would hope that the Traffic and Safety Engineer would certainly look at it. She doesn't know how it is going to serve the purpose of a street as she knows it. It is going to be a nightmare. She asked them to look at the lighting also. Many children have to walk to school functions and it is too dark. Commissioner Brooks said she knows she asked that the Maces Lane be looked at by the Street Lighting Committee.

Portia Johnson-Ennels asked if Council set precedence when they set up the finance committee by having both Commissioner Travers and Commissioner Sydnor on it. Mayor Rippons said historically it has been one person. Council decided both would serve in that capacity at this time. Ms. Johnson-Ennels said it is her understanding is that the charter is not written that way. If we are going to do things by government and the laws that have been written, she thinks they should go by what the charter says. There have never been co-chairmen for that committee and she thinks it should go back to the way it is supposed to be until it is legally done. Council makes changes in the back room and when it come to the front, they go through it so fast, the public doesn't get a chance to ask about it. Mayor Rippons said they will review the charter to see if there are any considerations of joint chairmen.

James Cornish asked for a "no parking" sign on High Street south of Hughes Street because of the construction on the church site. Council agreed to this request.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 10:00 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, September 12, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer