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  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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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
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City Council Minutes

April 12, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, April 12, 2004 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 Bohlen, Watkins, Weldon, Atkinson, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Atkinson led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 22, 2004 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

PUBLIC HEARING

Moratorium on New Development Projects in PWCD for Purposes of Reviewing and Amending PWCD Regulations, Design Criteria, and Development Plan-Rob Collision said the temporary moratorium would not exceed six months in duration.  The public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on March 26 and April 2, 2004.   At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last Tuesday, the Commission recommended favorably to adopt the moratorium.  The PWCD and its guidelines were not part of the Comprehensive Rezoning that took place over the last 2½ years which culminated in an ordinance being approved on May 12, 2003.  It was left intact as previously created in the early 1980s.  Problems have arisen with regard to the design standards and criteria and the materials that can be used within the PWCD.  A group of concerned citizens came to Council last summer and asked for a moratorium to give them the opportunity to update the criteria as well as the land uses.  At that time there were two or three projects in the works and there was disagreement in proceeding with the moratorium.  The Council is not aware of any projects on the table that would be affected by this.   The moratorium would apply only for building projects and development projects for which a site plan is proposed and required to be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Under the current guidelines, that is applied if the improvements are greater than 25 percent of the assessed property's value.  If there is a project that is less than that and it is a rehab/renovation project, it would not be covered by the moratorium.  Any subdivision project or multi-unit project is a site plan requirement which will be covered by the moratorium.  The Planning Commission's recommendation to the Council is for the Council to appoint a committee which would include affected property owners and interested citizens as well.   The committee would review the existing standards, guidelines and uses and would hold public hearings within the 6‑month period and then report the findings and recommendations to the Planning Commission and then to the City Council.     

David Pritchett said he doesn't feel this will have much impact, because right now they don't have anything that has been submitted.  Rob Collison said the agenda for the Planning Commission is full until July 2004.  Any developer coming to the table would not get before them until August. 

Commissioner Bohlen presented a map of the PWCD as it exists now.  It extends from the Yacht Club, along Water Street and includes the Yacht Basin Park and the whole area of the Creek.  The City Planner has suggested that for study purposes, it should include from the Visitor's Center (not part of the PWCD) across the hospital property and on around.  The legislation that brought this into place was in the early 1980s.  There are some things that were very good about it; there are some things that need to be revamped. They will be looking at a land use study also by identifying the existing land uses and the proposed development.  They will then review the whole process coupled with looking at the guidelines themselves for the actual structural guidelines.  The materials list is grossly outdated. 

Commissioner Weldon said his main concern in hearing the public's input is in regard to the land use issues.  The City has been successful in negotiating a good mixed-use project at Deep Harbour which will not only generate housing and property tax revenue, but also has a significant commercial component that will create jobs and longer-term higher-impact economic benefit for the City.  The Creek has to be regarded as the community's creek and an engine for creating jobs and creating economic benefit for the whole city, not just as a nice pretty thing that people who live close to it can look at because it doesn't have any economic benefit to us other than property taxes if it only has homes on it.  He's afraid we are dangerously close to that point.  That is why he was against the project on the creek on the corner, and it is one of the reasons that he made it a special point to talk to the Deep Harbour developers very early in the process to make sure they understood how important it was.  Before the PWCD was put in place in the 1980s, we had a plan by the American Cities Corporation, drawn up by James Rouse that basically said everything that he just said.  The property owners felt that their interests were at stake and they should be able to do with their property whatever they want.  However, when their property borders on a community asset like the creek, there has to be some community input.

Commissioner Watkins said he is happy to see the people come to express their desires about the PWCD and how they would like to see it developed. 

Rob Collison read a letter from Douglas A. and Marilyn W. Sachs (property owners of 106 Talbot Avenue) which expressed their strong support of the proposed moratorium in the PWCD.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, said they favor a moratorium.  Time needs to be given to access current development and design a development plan which will guide the development of the properties remaining to allow for public access and commercial venues.  The map must be revisited to preserve linkage between downtown and the creek front.  Some materials that developers wish to use are not acceptable today due to the outdated document.  The topics they feel need to be addressed are setbacks, height limits, public access, commercial vs. residential, open space, view, water access, docks, anchorages, marine services, public marina, city parks, and housing density.  The City needs a current vision to guide the development of the waterfront into the future.  The economic vitality of the City is dependent on a mixed-use vision of the waterfront.  Many of our potential points of access to the creek have been, or are being, developed residentially.  It is time to step back and see if we are achieving the mixed-use goals originally intended for this district.

Ken Knox, Jenkins Creek Association, said they are in favor of the moratorium.  We need to take a steadier course on the rapid developments happening in our community.

Wendell Foxwell said we haven't got much open space left.  He's in favor of the moratorium for six months.  He is also in favor of the Council appointing a committee of property owners.

Tom Johnson asked what affect the moratorium would have on Deep Harbour.  Mayor Rippons said their design criteria have been reviewed very comprehensively with the Planning Department.  Mr. Johnson said it's like closing the door after the horse is gone.  He doesn't know why this shouldn't affect them.   Commissioner Weldon said in a way Mr. Johnson is not incorrect, but in the conversation early on with the developers, they made it very clear that even though the regulations didn't tell them that they had to do certain things, the Commissioners told them that there was economic benefit in it for them and for the City to do certain things; that is to take a course toward a mixed-use development.  He said they are doing an excellent job with what they have presented to Council.  They are in the process of getting their permits and will be breaking ground shortly.  The Council is looking at future developments yet to be presented.  Commissioner Bohlen said one of the things we have to look at is the cohesiveness of the creek.   Actually the PWCD did not apply to Deep Harbour because it was rezoned to a PWRD. 

David Tomey, High Street, asked if the 25 percent limitation was on the total value of the property with improvements, or just on the land percentage. Rob Collison said it is on total assessed value.   Mr. Tomey asked if the permit process would apply if they had repairs to make from the hurricane damage to landscaping, ponds, etc.  because it will take a site plan.  David Pritchett said he would be fine.  This is to address new projects going in.  Renovations, repairs, and on-going maintenance would still be permitted in lieu of the moratorium.  Mr. Tomey asked if there is any piece of property that has not yet been approved.  Rob Collison said generally, the County office building site all the way around to High Street.  An example would be if Clayton's was redeveloped or the point property, which had never gone through Planning and Zoning so that entire project would be covered by this.  Yacht Maintenance and Sailwinds on up to the Richardson Museum would be included and various properties between Portside and Deep Harbour.  David Pritchett said Sid Johnson's property was just a land transaction deal.  They have not submitted anything so it is still subject to the moratorium.  Mr. Tomey said the point he was trying to make was, in hindsight it was a shame that the City did not buy the Brannock's property for $400,000 or the point property at tax sale for $165,000.  It was a shame we didn't open our eyes before this point about public access. 

Jerry Friedel said he is a contract purchaser on 300 Muir Street which is across from Sid Johnson's property.  It is a secondary property and not really on the waterfront.  They have already made a submittal to Planning and Zoning for residential and he wants to find out if this property is also targeted and if so, do you need to be totally approved to be not affected by the moratorium.  Rob Collison said it probably would be that you've not received preliminary site plan approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission.  If it becomes effective May 1st, it would take you up to November 1st at the outset.  If the Committee comes back between now and July 30th and make its recommendation and the public hearing is in August, the moratorium could be lifted upon its adoption, say September 15th.  Planning and Zoning is already booked up through July so you would be looking at a two‑ to four‑month delay if you are coming to the development process. 

Commissioner Weldon said one of the things he would like to see written into this moratorium is that the Committee who is going to review these things includes property owners and developers that are considering access to the creek.  The City is not shutting the doors on the developers.  They want it to be a productive process for everyone. 

Mr. Friedel said he understands the intent is to maintain some of the current land uses that are presently available.  He asked if the Council is thinking of any type of tax abatements for those types of properties where they would have the ability under the PWCD to develop in high density residential but if they kept their properties in their current states and really take a hit financially, do they gain any type of benefit from tax abatements on maintaining those properties in the uses that the community sees fit.  Mayor Rippons said it could be discussed with the committee.  The City has never looked at the issue of tax abatement on any issue like that. 

Rob Collison said his recommendation is for Council to consider the comments heard tonight and make a decision at the next meeting.  He asked that if anyone would like to serve on the committee to contact City Hall or the Department of Public Works so Council can form the committee at the next meeting. 

David Tomey asked if the moratorium also affected the marina expansion and the lighthouse.  Rob Collison said it would.  At the last meeting a motion was made to do a comprehensive study of that entire area in relation to the lighthouse.  Mr. Tomey said in reality we would have no gas facility for the summer.  Rob Collision said the truck situation from last year would not be covered but a new structure would be. 

William Burris, 1207 Hambrooks, said he is very glad to hear we are concerned, not only about what is outlined in the PWCD, but also taking it out to Sailwinds at the Malkus Bridge.   Even if a site plan had been submitted and approved for the lighthouse and marina that entire area needs to be considered as part of the PWCD and no action taken on those projects until it has a comprehensive study done on it.  As a resident, he has a very large concern about parking and open spaces in that entire area and hopes it would be taken into consideration.

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

It was the consensus of Council to defer a vote for two weeks.

APPOINTMENTS

Open Bids for Two-Year Refuse Removal for Various Locations-Ed Kinnamon reported that two bids were received.  They are as follows:

  • BFI (Felton, DE) -- $13,875.00
  • Waste Management (Temple Hills, MD) -- $17,162.54

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to refer the bids to DPW for their review and recommendation.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Proclamation for Administrative Professionals Week-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation.  Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Ruth Bradley.  Ms. Bradley reported on the history of their worldwide organization known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals which has been in existence since 1948.

Chuck Weber, St. Paul's Church, to Request a Noise Variance and to Have City Alley Blocked Behind the Church on Thursday, June 17, 2004 From 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm for a Block Party-Mr. Weber said this is a fellowship activity put on by the youth fellowship.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Pine Street Committee to Request Renewal of Their Lease for the Empowerment Center-William Jackson, President of the Pine Street Committee, said their quarterly report has been filed with the City.  He reported on the wide range of activities when have taken place over the year.  They are negotiating with organizations who wish to use the building.  This helps them pay their utility and insurance bills.  They are hoping to have a full time administrator next year so the building can be open 8 hours a day.    He feels that they have made significant changes in some people's lives. 

Commissioner Weldon said he feels Mr. Jackson has made an excellent report on what has been going on at the Empowerment Center.  They are trying to move forward and have more activities in it.  Commissioner Weldon said he is impressed with the momentum and with the variety and nature of services being provided.  He is in favor of extending the lease.  Commissioner Bohlen complimented them on the GED program and the adult education opportunities. 

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the Pine Street Committee's request for renewal of the Empowerment Center lease for two years.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

John Elmes, Christ Episcopal Church, to Request Handicapped Parking in Front of Church-After many years, they finally have their handicapped ramp installed.  They would like a couple of spots in front of the church for handicapped parking.  There is only Sunday parking on that side of the street.  They talked to the Department of Public Works and the ADA representative recommended putting two orange cones in the street on Sunday.  He doesn't think this is satisfactory.  David Pritchett said this was addressed with the Traffic and Safety Committee.  He sent them the catalog showing them the menu-style blue and white sign that is meant just for this purpose.  You set them out and then remove them. The Committee is opposed to permanently marking two or three ADA spaces where essentially there is no parking.  There would be no way to stop it during the week.  David Pritchett said he will meet with Mr. Elmes to discuss this further and show him the catalog.

John Elmes, Christ Episcopal Church, to Request Permission to Hang Banner Over Race Street for the Fun Dog Show Benefit on May 8, 2004-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to grant the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Francis Gilbert to Speak About Choptank Avenue-Mr. Gilbert, 304 Choptank Avenue, said on the corner of Choptank Avenue and Church Street there is a whole lot of drug action going on.  He has brought it to the Mayor and the Mayor told him the owner was supposed to have the people evicted.  They have not been evicted and the drug action is still going on.  He brought it to the City police and has not received any response.  Within the last six months, they are over the top of the Laundromat on the corner of Choptank and Travers.  There is also a drug dealer living next to the store on Choptank Avenue.   Chief Malik said they had a drug raid at 317 Choptank Avenue which is on the corner of Choptank and Church.  A warrant was served about six months ago and made some arrests.  He cannot respond to the other drug investigations that are going on.  He doesn't see where there is all this drug activity.  If you have drug activity as Mr. Gilbert speaks about it, you certainly would have an increase in crime.  He checked the crime statistics for the last six months for all of Choptank Avenue and two blocks of Travers Street and we have had very little crime.  There were two thefts in that whole time period.  There were no burglaries and only one robbery with two juveniles.  There were three malicious destructions of property.  Most of the problems are nuisance complaints.   They are addressing all drug complaints they receive. 

Mr. Gilbert said Tom, who owns the Choptank Laundromat, has also made complaints about the drug dealer over the top of him.  Chief Malik said they have frequently been in contact with Mr. McCoy about his other concerns.   

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Award Bid for Demolition of Three Structures-David Pritchett said the bid was originally for three structures.  Since that time they were contacted by the National Bank of Cambridge's attorney.  They were unaware of the problem and the house went to demolition.  They would like the opportunity to handle the property by either appealing the decision or it is his understanding now that it has been advertised in the paper for foreclosure.  Mr. Pritchett said it is o.k. with the low bidder, Jerol Moore Landscaping and Excavation, to deduct the $6,276 that was allotted for this house at 706 Academy Street and award the bid in the amount of $12,963 to proceed with the other two demolitions. Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Award Bids for Phase III - Combined Sewer Separation Project-Two proposals were received and reviewed.  Both contractors met the minimum qualification.  The Department of Public Works recommended awarding the project to the low bidder, David A. Bramble, Inc., contingent upon them providing the necessary performance and payment bonds.  Their bid is in the amount of $690,717.50.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Resolution Approving Modification to Deep Harbour Master Development Plan-Rob Collison asked if this could be deferred to the next meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

Request From Columbia Triathlon Association to Use Great Marsh Park From June 9 Through 13, 2004 for The Blackwater EagleMan Triathlon- Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Request From Columbia Triathlon Association to Use Great Marsh Park From October 7 - 9, 2004 for The ChesapeakeMan Ultra Distance Triathlon-Chief Malik would like to see the route and there could be some safety issues because they don't plan on the event being over until midnight. 

Request From Zion United Methodist Church and the Glasgow Inn Bible Group to Display Banners Throughout Cambridge in the Late Summer-Mayor Rippons recommended postponing this item so David Pritchett can discuss the logistics of it with the church representatives.  Commissioner Weldon said in looking at the content of the signs he would be reluctant to approve this because he thinks it would open a precedent to allow signage to be erected around the City for different organizations.  They aren't negative messages, but if you put one up for one person, then you have to put them up for other people.  He is opposed to the notion of temporary signage being erected all over the place on behalf of one particular organization.  The City does have the location on Race Street and there is the location on Maryland Avenue for events and special occasions.  There are quite a few billboards around our community who might be willing to donate space.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to deny this request.  Rob Collison asked Council to defer this item until the next meeting.  Commissioner Weldon withdrew his motion.

Request From Cambridge Little League to Hold the Annual Opening Day Parade on Saturday, April 17th From Long Wharf to the Little League Park- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Request From Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church to Use Great Marsh Park on Sunday, August 1, 2004 From 9:00 am Until 2:00 pm for Worship, Baptism, and a Dinner-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to grant the request along with a variance from the noise ordinance.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Request From First Baptist Church to Use Long Wharf Park for the Sunday Nights in August From 5:00 pm Until 8:30 pm-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant the request along with a variance from the noise ordinance.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Request From Shore Health System Shore Regional Cancer Center for a Variance From the Noise Ordinance for Their Cancer Survivors Day Picnic at Sailwinds Park on June 6 From 12 noon Until 3:00 pm-Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to grant the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Director of DPW to Present Project Overview for Long Wharf-David Pritchett said there are three specific projects being looked at for Long Wharf.  One is providing a fuel facility for the boaters.  The second is the lighthouse.  The third is the proposed expansion to the marina.  The seawall that is the barrier to the marina is totally beyond repair.  The Yacht Club side is now collapsing.  Two years ago the estimated cost was between $1.1 and $1.4 million to just replace it the way it stands now.  They decided at that time that if they could get permitting from DNR, they would expand the marina because they have people on a waiting list for slips.  Some people have been waiting for three or four years.    One of the main issues is combining all of these projects into one comprehensive plan. 

Taking into account the City Code, the parking requirements for the expansion of the marina would be 200 spaces.  There are 276 parking spaces available. 

One of the preferred locations for the lighthouse is the corner at Long Wharf, 20‑ft from the water's edge on both sides to allow total public access, fishing, etc.  It would take up a very small amount of space.  The structure would be 12.1 feet above ground on piles.  As you drive up, you would look under it and see the water.  You would only see the support columns.  

Their original proposal for the fuel dock included a relatively-large store.  As a stand-alone private business, you would have to subsidize the fuel sales.  Now they are looking at a fuel dock run by the City.  If that is what they are going to proceed with, they envision two pumps on the water's edge.  For simplicity and cost savings, their preferred option is to install above-ground tanks and enclose them in a colonial-style brick enclosure resembling a small garage.  The building will be 20‑ft by 36‑ft.  There will not be access for vehicular traffic to get fuel.  They will have one employee or use the card system.  They do not feel it has any impact on the neighborhood.  There were problems last year with the temporary fueling facility when the river was choppy.  They plan on doing some type of a breakwater or small enhancement to this area or a better seawall system to make it more boater-friendly.

The expansion of the marina extends from the Yacht Club side all the way over to the end of the parking lot.  It is designed with a floating breakwater system.  One design allows for further expansion in the future.  They applied for a comprehensive permit over eight months ago and still have not received a response.  It is almost finalized and should be done in four or five weeks. 

Mayor Rippons reported that with the lighthouse, there would be no capital costs to the City.  David Pritchett said the cost of the fuel facility would be somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000.  The additional paying customers (96 new slips) would cover debt service on the cost of the marina expansion.

Commissioner Weldon said he would like to see a perimeter brick walkway with antique lighting defining the 20‑ft path as a walking path.  The City is in negotiation with the Deep Harbour folks and that might be something they can help us with. 

Mayor Rippons and David Pritchett said Mr. Bill Wise was a great help in working with the engineering department to get the cost down.

Commissioner Atkinson asked if the City was going to provide any service this year.  David Pritchett said there won't be a truck service.  They won't be providing a gas service unless this project is done.  Commissioner Atkinson said he feels we have an obligation to provide some type of service to the boaters in the area.

Bill Burris asked why this couldn't be done on the Franklin Street boat ramp.  It would give us better access as far as gasoline facility and a place for the lighthouse to go.  He doesn't feel there are enough parking spaces at Long Wharf when you look at the Nathan and the number of cars it draws in on a regular weekend.  You don't have room for 200 cars there.   Rob Collison said one legal problem we have is that the City doesn't own the riparian rights of the hospital.  Mayor Rippons said there are other sights being looked at.   Commissioner Weldon said having everything at Long Wharf gives you a comprehensive facility.  You don't want to have it scattered all over the place because then you are impacting everywhere.  There has been a marina there since the 1930s and a steamship dock 100 years before that.  It has always been the center gravity.  You want to have the services close to where the boaters are.  Mr. Burris said he thinks he would still go with that relocation because in the long term, with the number of people that are moving into Cambridge and Dorchester County, the more activities that you have around here, the higher the density is going to be down on Long Wharf. 

Commissioner Bohlen said these are preliminary plans.  A lot has been said over the last few months about open space and access to the water.  One of the things that disturbs him probably the most with this proposed plan is that sight line down Long Wharf and down High Street.  Even though it doesn't go all the way across the bulkhead with this, he envisions that view being irrevocably damaged.  If we continue straight out from the existing sight lines of the existing marina, outward within the boundaries of that expansion, he thinks that is perfectly acceptable.  If we move it over for the sake of a few more slips and a few more dollars, he thinks we are giving up far too much.  He sees driving down High Street and looking at a sea of masts.

David Tomey asked about developing on the other side of the Yacht Club.  There could be parking developed where the duck walk once was.  He is also concerned about the ability to fight a fire.  David Pritchett said stand pipes will be installed just like at the Hyatt.   Mr. Tomey said the City already commissioned a committee to determine that the potential for the fuel facility and the place the City is proposing was turned down adamantly.   His concern is above-ground storage.  You are going to have to ventilate the facility somehow. 

Corey Hubbard, Hambrooks Blvd., who works for Andrews Miller, said in regard to the issue of the area in front of the fountain, the breakwaters are low-profile breakwaters which are 18-inches off the water.  They are the same breakwaters used at the Hyatt.  He said there has been a lot of time invested in picking this location.

Marti Tomey, High Street, said she is really glad to see this plan which is long overdue so the citizens can see what kind of impact it is going to have and what kind of overall changes we will see with the combination of everything that is happening.  There is a great loss of open space.  She commended Council for putting this together and asked about the next step because there will be a lot of public input that is going to be needed to be heard.  There will be a lot of people with definite opinions on this. 

Mayor Rippons said first they will be meeting with the Yacht Club because before they can move forward, they need to know their partner is there.  The Yacht Club has also done an independent study.  Their consultant will be returning his report.  Commissioner Weldon said he thinks the public is asking for a formal public hearing.  This will also fall into the six month moratorium.  Mayor Rippons said the committee may recommend that the scope of some things that the City is doing falls outside of those parameters.   

Request from Wal-Mart for Temporary Trailers-David Pritchett said Wal-Mart is undergoing a thorough renovation of the interior of the building.  The trailers are to house items during that time.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to grant the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  Mayor Rippons said the permission would be granted for a 30-day period as permitted by the City Code.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Trudy McFall to Discuss a Project on Greenwood Avenue-Trudy McFall, Chairman of Homes for America, said they would like to acquire and rehab Parkside Village Apartments.  They are a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation who totally specialize in affordable housing.  Their particular focus is acquisition and rehab and preservation of existing affordable, particularly federally assisted, housing.  This would be their 43rd affordable housing community in the mid-Atlantic states.  When they were brand new, about a decade ago, Cambridge selected them as the developer of some City-owned land to create a small homeownership community (Patamoke II).  Six years ago they developed and own the Glenburn House.  They now have an opportunity to acquire Parkside Village Apartments which were built in the 1980s.  They are proposing a comprehensive rehab and improvement.  They would do roughly $1 million in rehabilitation to the units with funds coming from the State of Maryland through its rental housing production program.  They would have on-site property management.

When you apply to the State of Maryland to get their resources, they want to know that the community supports the project and what the community will do under State law that is a contribution.  Because it is the same kind of thing they did in some other communities, they proposed that perhaps the City could give them a break on the taxes on the additional improvements they are adding to the property.  They suggested five years or five years to go to full assessment being phased in at a rate of 20 percent per year.  Because this is an income-restricted property, it really isn't appraised on the improvements.  It is appraised on income generated.  Because they work with federally-restricted rents, whether you rehab it or not, it tends to have the same assessment applied to it.  This satisfies the State and in reality, it is a very minimal hit on the City's tax deferral.  They deadline for their application is May 4, 2004. 

Commissioner Watkins said he is impressed with this proposed project and was impressed with their projects in the past.  It would be a benefit for our citizens. 

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to support a letter of support including the consideration of the City's contribution of a five-year phased in tax abatement program for any improvements.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.  

Robert Boyd, President of the Tenant's Association at Bay Country Apartments, said that what they would expect from Homes for America would be to give the residents a lot of lead way about the ins and outs of those apartments.  They know them best.  They know how they want to live comfortably.  They would like to have a lot of input because Bay Country looks nice but inside they have a lot of problems.  They have walls falling down.  It's a shame that the City of Cambridge and the federal government have invested that much time and money and his whole ceiling is falling down.

Trudy McFall said one of the things that they always try to do is create strong resident councils and associations to give them guidance and advice. 

Council to Consider Joining Eastern Shore Government Purchasing Cooperative Due To Electric Deregulation-Mayor Rippons said the electric industry is going to deregulation.  This will cause an $18,000 increase to the City.  Several other municipalities and counties have joined this purchasing cooperative and they have offered their services as a negotiation agent.  The impact will not be $18,000.  The cost to join will not exceed $1,500.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to join the cooperative.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Approve Budget Amendment for Department of Public Works- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3048 - Fireworks Production, Inc. ($20,000) (Dorchester County Council Approved $5,000 Donation)-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Approve Financial Statement for March 2004-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the financial statement.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Commissioner Watkins introduced a group of citizens who are interested in trying to develop pieces of property that the City owns on Schoolhouse Lane and Chesapeake Court.  They are interested having affordable housing built on the sites.  Pastor Leon Hall said they are asking for site control of the property.  The Cambridge Community Development Corporation (CCDC) has held several community meetings to address the needs of the citizens.  Enez Grub, President and CEO, shared their strategy and proposal.  They see this project as a major and historical opportunity for the citizens of Cambridge.  The CCDC is a community-based organization formed for the purpose of developing Cambridge communities through community service.   Their mission is to assist in the development of a better quality of life for the residents of Cambridge/Dorchester County through community service and development.  They have proposed plans to build in the primary designated area.  They have stated 14 houses but Mr. Pritchett has told them they can only build 10 so they will negotiate the number.  The target will include units that will be occupied by median- to low-income or very low-low income households. 

Pastor Hall said this will not only be a development of affordable houses for low to medium income.  Part of their strategy is to help families become self-sufficient through budget counseling, drug and/or mental counseling (if necessary), etc.  The CCDC submitted a proposal to the City of Cambridge on March 22, 2004 outlining their plans to develop this property.  This proposal was approved at a Schoolhouse Lane development meeting held at the Pine Street Empowerment Center on March 22, 2004.  The CCDC is in the process of submitting a proposal to the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust for a developmental grant.  The proposal is due April 15, 2004.  To complete the application, they need site control from the City and are requesting the site control tonight. 

Commissioner Bohlen said he attended one of the meetings.  We are not only talking about housing opportunities, we are talking about neighborhood revitalization.   Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the site control for the CCDC.   Rob Collison asked about their definition of site control.  If it means that the City is permitting to transfer title to them, there are some legal requirements.  They have to advertise and have a public hearing.  Commissioner Weldon said the City solicited the proposals and received only one proposal.  If they need a letter of support, he will amend his motion.  Pastor Hall said there is not a conflict that he envisions.  All they are asking is that since they presented the proposal and the proposal was approved by the committee, they are only asking the City to allow them to move forward with the grant process.  They will be the entity that will be developing the project.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion that as the sole submittal of a proposal that the City provide a letter of support indicating that the process for site control will be initiated.  Pastor Hall said at this time they are not looking for a final decision on the legalities but they need to have a concrete statement from the City that they are the lead agency in the development of the property.  Mayor Rippons asked if the motion can be focused on saying that the City recognizes the CCDC to be the lead agency of site control factors in the project.  Commissioner Weldon said this sounded logical and would amend his motion.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the amended motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Rob Collison asked if Council wished to begin the advertising process to have the public hearing on the land transfer.  Commissioner Weldon answered yes.   Mayor Rippons asked them to wait to see if the State says this is part of the process and they can entertain it at that time.

Ed Kinnamon said that proposals were also solicited for an area on Edgewood Avenue.  He heard nothing about this area.  The owners are waiting for a response from the City. 

Rob Collison reported that the Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm this evening to discuss personnel matters, legal matters, and the investment of public securities.

Commissioner Bohlen thanked everyone for their comments on the PWCD and the Department of Public Works' efforts on the marina expansion.

Commissioner Watkins thanked Council for moving forward on the Schoolhouse Lane project to show the world we are trying to improve housing.

Commissioner Weldon thanked Pastor Hall for sharing a letter he wrote many years ago and for all the effort the CCDC has put into it.  He is looking forward to seeing it come to life.

Ed Kinnamon announced that Council will be meeting next Monday, April 19, at 6:00 pm to receive budget requests from all departments.  It is an open meeting.

David Pritchett said they are ready to go into their new building.  The only thing they don't have is a telephone system.  It is in excess of 90% of the cost of a new system to upgrade their present system.  They are looking at about $9,000 to what they need to do for the whole department. 

Mayor Rippons said that Cambridge Main Street has a Main Street improvement program matching grant in the amount of $8333.  The State will give them half of that and they are requesting help from the City toward the match.  This will be discussed further at the next meeting.  Businesses should come forward with part of the money.

Mayor Rippons said he had the opportunity to sit beside Commissioner Watkins this past Saturday at a Bethel Church program entitled "Remember the Struggle."  He thanked the members of the church for keeping this program going.  It was a pleasure being there.  Commissioner Watkins thanked Mayor Rippons for accepting the invitation to attend the Remember the Struggle program.  Mayor Rippons was a main speaker.  He did an outstanding job.  He heard all kinds of favorable compliments. 

Robert Boyd said several weeks ago they talked about the clean-up campaign.  The Sophisticated Brothers are requesting a roll-off dumpster on April 23rd so they can help clean up the Pine Street area.   David Pritchett said they don't have dumpsters but will be conducting a clean-up campaign on April 17th for the entire City.  Mr. Boyd said they will be away at a conference on the 17th.    David Pritchett will investigate some options for the next meeting.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 9:40 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, April 12, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer