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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

July 12, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, June 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, and Travers.

Heidi Adams 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 June 21, 2004 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed 4:0.   

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Amendments to PWRD Ordinances-Rob Collison reported that the Certificate of Publication indicates that the notice of the public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on June 25, and July 2, 2004.  The public hearing is being held to hear comments generally on the proposal by the Commissioners of Cambridge to amend and modify Section 132 entitled Special Base District of PWRD Planned Water Resort District of the Zoning Code of the City of Cambridge by adding certain provisions which set forth the process and procedures for the establishment of the PWRD.  This section appears to have been left out when the Comprehensive Code was revised and reprinted last year.   This section gives the general parameters of the creation of the PWRD district.  It reiterates that it is a floating zone or district which means that the Council could locate this on any district of the City providing it meets the criteria as set forth therein.  It must have a minimum of 20 acres.  It was created initially when the Hyatt was in the negotiation stages.  Rob Collision said he met with Anne Roane earlier but they did not get a chance to put their comments in writing.  He suggested that Council may wish to take comments this evening and then approve the ordinance next week.

The Planning Office would like to see a three-step process on the PWRD.  They will also recommend that the PWCD mirror that.   Anne Roane is recommending that there be a preliminary master development plan stage that would go to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.  This is when they would look at the footprint of the development.  There would then be a design master development plan in which the specifics of how the architecture would look including height, setbacks, etc.  The third stage would be the final master development plan approval going to Planning and Zoning and City Council.  They also recommended that the residential density be dedicated to the property that is devoted for that particular use.  To mirror the other zoning within the City, if a denial of approval such as by Public Works on a building permit, rather than appealing it to City Council, the appeal would be to the Board of Zoning Appeals.  If they do not succeed at the Board of Zoning Appeals it would go to the Circuit Court.   Nobody from the Council or the audience wished to speak on this issue.  Rob Collison closed the public hearing.

Rezoning of Egypt Road Property (PWRD District) -Rob Collison reported that the Certificate of Publication indicates that the notice of the public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on June 25, and July 2, 2004.   This property was recently annexed into the City of Cambridge under conditional annexation resolution.  The Commissioners of Cambridge will consider the adoption of an ordinance to rezone the 1061.72 acres of land which is shown on Tax Map 41 (Parcels 42, 128) and Tax Map 52 (Parcels 2, 13, and 31).   The property is located on both sides of Egypt Road in the seventh and ninth election districts of Dorchester County.  The proposed new zoning classification is Planned Water Resort District as set forth in the proposed ordinance.  The property was annexed under Annexation Resolution A-2003-06.  The property is presently zoned Suburban Residential, Agriculture Conservation, and Resource Conservation under the Dorchester County zoning ordinance.  The subject property does not currently have any zoning classification under the zoning ordinance of the City of Cambridge.  When the annexation resolution was adopted, there were two conditions.  One was that an annexation agreement be entered into that was agreeable to both the applicant (the developer) and the City.   This has been completed.  The second was for the adoption of a zoning ordinance in the PWRD which is the topic of the hearing tonight.   State zoning law does not permit the City to change the zoning that is significantly different from the County's comprehensive plan which the PWRD would have been over a majority of the acres.  Approximately 200+ acres could have been developed, but not the balance.  Dorchester County has amended their comprehensive plan to permit the rezoning.   Once the property is zoned PWRD, that does not dictate the density, the layout or the development of the project.  This will come at a later date when the developer would submit a master development plan.  Additional public hearings will be held. During the design level, they will give specifics as to architecture, etc.  Then there will be a final master development plan.  The property was posted and the property owners were notified of the proposed rezoning.

Mayor Rippons asked for public comment.  Nobody from the audience asked to speak.  David Pritchett reported that the Department of Public Works has reviewed the submitted PWRD-3 proposed design standard and recommends approval.

Rob Collison said unless there are any comments or questions, the Council could make the decision that the PWRD designation is appropriate for the Egypt Road property.

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the designation.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0. 

APPOINTMENTS

Sailwinds Management to Give Update on Their Summer Concert -Raymond Simmons announced that they have sold close to 1000 tickets for Gretchen Wilson concert will be held on August 7th.   They are looking at attendance of between 3000 and 5000 people.  Council granted them permission to close the Franklin Street boat ramp on August 6th at 6:00 pm until August 8th at noon.  Based on the number of bleachers and the sanitization facilities they have to move into position, they are requesting that Council consider backing the closing date up to August 5th at 6:00 pm.   They will put flyers on all the boats and trailers that are currently in that facility on the weekends before the concert.   He has met with Mr. Walsh from Dorchester General Hospital and their facilities manager.  They don't have any problem with a request to close Franklin Street to Byrn Street on the day of the concert.  They would like to close Byrn Street on August 7th at 6:00 am to allow them to finish what they need to do.  The hospital does not have any objection with this.  He has not had the opportunity to contact the property owners on the corner yet.  The doctors probably aren't open on Saturday. 

David Pritchett said the City is down to two boat ramps and Great Marsh, due to damage on one side, is a one-boat launch.  August is their busiest month. The Franklin Street ramp just opened.  He was concerned when they asked for the ramp to be closed on the other days.  Ray Simmons said the bleachers will be put where the boats and trailers park in the parking lot.  David Pritchett said if they close the ramp at 6:00 pm, that wouldn't be as bad as all day.  Chief Malik asked how long the street would be closed.  Ray Simmons said they would like it closed from 6:00 am until the concert is over.  He has met with Lt. Doyle and he has the basic plan.  Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Calvin Stack to Request Permission to Hold a Parade in Conjunction with Their Convention on Saturday, May 14, 2005-Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant the request.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.   The parade route will be presented to Council at a later date.

Veterans Recognition Committee to Request the City Maintain Its Position as a Commemorative Partner of the Veterans Recognition Committee-Judy Moody said the committee was established in 1999 to give a veterans' tribute recognition day.  This year they are very fortunate to have September 11th as their tribute day.  They will have a full memorial service.  The City of Cambridge has been very kind and courteous to them with their program.  From 1999 to November 2003, they were affiliated with the Department of Defense as Commemorative Party of the Korean War anniversary celebration.  The Committee has decided to continue on.  Basically, they have not asked for any funding from the City.  George Ames said they are not asking for money.  Each year the Council does a proclamation for that day.  He is asking them to continue with these proclamations.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to continue with their support as a commemorative partner.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Veterans Recognition Committee to Request Noise Variance for Their Event at Sailwinds Park on Saturday, September 11, 2004 from 8:45 am Until 3:00 pm (Salute Cannons at 8:45 am, 9:03 am, 9:43 am: 10:00 am, 11:00 am 12:00 pm and 21 Gun Salute at 11:20 am)-Judy Moody said they are also asking the churches to ring their bells.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve this request.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.  Mayor Rippons thanked the Committee for their work.

John Nussear (Main Street) to Discuss Submitt­ing a Maryland Heritage Area Grant-Mr. Nussear said he thought there was some work done already to submit a Maryland Heritage Area grant application or a Community Legacy grant application to fund some additional lighting on a couple of blocks in the Main Street Area.  He believes it is Poplar Street and one block of Race Street.  The Main Street Board of Directors met earlier this evening on the issue and give their wholehearted unanimous support to the new application.  They are willing to commit an effort to match a portion of the grant.  Their goal is to provide about $5000 as a partial match.   Commissioner Bohlen made a motion of submitting the grant application.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  He submitted written information to Council and the Department of Public Works for two separate projects.  Their first project would be to fully engineer the system and arrive at an installation cost to do Poplar and Race Streets.  David Pritchett said he has met with all of the utility companies involved in this.    They are compiling the data to come up with an estimate.  Commissioner Weldon said one of the issues he was concerned about was the property maintenance code and the sidewalk maintenance issue.  What they would have to do is trench behind the curb to install the conduit.  This is just the engineering phase at this point so another proposal could go into action to fund the installation. 

Commissioner Weldon said the second application is a follow-up to some conversation that came about as a result of the proposed lighthouse project at Long Wharf.  At one point, we had approved a location and in tandem with that location, Council had approved some funding ($8000) for a landscaping plan to be done.  Council rescinded the location but he doesn't think the rescinded part addressed the funding.  He asked that someone research to see if the funds are still available to match this particular one.  The goal is to discuss the long-discussed comprehensive landscape/amenity plan for Long Wharf Park which would include dealing with the site lines of the marina expansion, landscaping of the Long Wharf parking lot, etc.  Under the draft it would be a public input process facilitated by a consultant to arrive at a final plan.  Elements to be considered include the location of the marine fuel facilities as a necessary amenity to serve the marina; the scope and size of the final expanded municipal yacht basin, including the design and location of the replica lighthouse on an extended pier in the river; a landscaping plan for the parking area of Long Wharf that ensures the preservation of the traditional water views and maximizes available parking required for the larger marina; consideration of additional amenities that may be desired such as a bandstand or additional landscape features that support the recreational aspects of the park; and a plan for the landscaping of the area west of Yacht Club Drive (former duck walk area).  Other elements may be considered depending upon input and the needs of the community.  Consideration will also be given to the concerns of the Historic Preservation Commission and the needs of the immediate neighborhood with an overall view that improvements are a benefit to the City as a whole.  The product would be an overview plan of the entire target investment zone which bounds from the rear lot lines on Choptank Avenue on the west, to Cambridge Creek on the east, Water Street on the south and the river on the north including the extended marina. 

Commissioner Weldon asked that the motion be amended to encompass both applications.   Commissioner Bohlen said he has no problem with including both projects in his motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Open Bids for Proposed Lease/Sale of Cambridge Public Safety Building-Heidi Adams reported that the City received four bids. 

  • Nason Construction (Wilmington, DE)
  • Atlantic Builders (Baltimore, MD)
  • Scheibel Construction (Huntington, MD)
  • Whiting-Turner in partnership with Lord Baltimore Properties (Baltimore, MD)

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for their recommendation.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  David Pritchett asked that the review also include Ed Kinnamon and Rob Collison.  Commissioner Watkins amended his motion to reflect David Pritchett's request.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the amended motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Resolution for Revised Permit Fees-Rob Collison said this resolution was submitted previously but the Department of Public Works was still in the process of getting the plumbing inspection fees finalized.  The proposed plumbing inspection fees would be as follows:  a minimum permit fee would be $50; plumbing fixture (maximum of 5 fixtures) would be $50; for each additional fixture in additional to the base permit rate would be $6; sewer connection permit fee would be $50; a sewer tap-in fee of $750; a water connection permit fee of $50; a gas connection permit fee of $50; each gas fixture permit fee of $6; a interceptor separator fee of $50: a fire service pipe fee of $50; a sewage pump exterior fee of $50; and pump other than sewage fee of $10.  The plumbing license fee for issuance of a plumbing license authorizing a plumber to perform services in the City of Cambridge shall be $20.  The term for all City-issued plumbing licenses shall run concurrently with the plumbing license issued to that individual by the State of Maryland and shall as such, expire every two years.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the revised permit fee schedule. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Approval of Amended Ordinance and Quit-Claim Deed for Green and Trenton Streets-Rob Collison said this is a second reading of these ordinances.  The two modifications discussed during the last meeting have been incorporated in the Finding of Fact and the Ordinance.    Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the Ordinance and Quit-Claim Deed.   Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.   The motion passed 4:0. [Ordinance No. 922]

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Bay Country Church for a Carnival Permit for Saturday, Sept. 18, 2004 from 12:00 pm Until 6:00 pm at Their Church Property Located on Race Street Extended (directly in front of the Little League Park)-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the request with the addition of a noise variance for the time periods requested.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  Rob Collison advised that they should apply for the permit with the Clerk-Treasurer.   The motion passed 4:0. 

Request from New Life A.M.E. Zion Church to Request a Noise Variance and to Have Douglas Street Blocked Off on July 24, 2004 From 11:00 am Until 3:30 pm for Their Annual Community Day Fair-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Morale and Welfare Committee of Dorchester General Hospital to Use Both Pavilions at Great Marsh on Saturday, September 11, 2004 from 9:00 am Until 5:00 pm-David Pritchett said the unwritten policy to only reserve one pavilion at a time but due to the nature of this function, they have no problem reserving both pavilions.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request and to include a noise variance for the specified times.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Consideration to Reclassify a Planning and Zoning Coordinator Position from Pay Grade 10 to Pay Grade 13-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

First Reading of Ordinance for Collection of Rental Registration Fees by MUC-Rob Collison said previously the Department of Public Works had collected rental registration fees for non-homeowner units.  MUC will now collect the fees because they have a better grasp of the rental units through the water collection and disposal fees.   The ordinance would amend Section 4-42 and Section 18-16.  

The fees shall be collected by Director of MUC in the same manner as unpaid water and sewer charges and trash disposal charges.  All unpaid rental registration fees shall be collected in the same manner as taxes. 

Glenn Bramble said he owns a house on Glasgow Street that he bought for his mother about three years ago.   She cannot afford to pay rent because she only receives $500+ a month from Social Security and is paying at least $400 a month for prescriptions.  He has a problem with this because he is not in the rental business and never plans to be in it.  It is not the dollar amount; it is the attached part to it that says he is in the rental business.  He has done some research and supposedly there is not any provision in there but he would ask that it be looked into.  Rob Collison said the issue has been raised a couple of times where a family is the occupant of the property and rent is not being charged.   The problem from the City's perspective is from an enforcement standpoint.  The City doesn't know who is related to whom.  If Mr. Bramble had a life estate provision for his mother on the deed that says she has a life interest, then the City could see some evidence because it would be homeowner occupied.  Otherwise it is difficult to enforce.   He could have a legal document showing that she is living there.  He doesn't want to go through the whole process with the deed.  Rob Collison said Council could take in under advisement if they want to create exceptions for certain family members.  David Pritchett said this has become a big issue.  No rule is perfect for everybody's case.  They have no less than 300 to 400 people in this same situation saying that relatives are living in the houses.  It was a matter of drawing a clear line.  They felt that non-owner occupied was the fairest clearest way to divide the line.  In enforcing the property maintenance code, they have as much trouble and use the inspectors and resources just as heavily on houses or structures that are owned by a family as they do for someone who is totally unassociated.  

Approve PO 3302 HCP/Aboard Publishing Inc. $2,975 - Advertising-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 3238 Motorola $2,550 - Radio Carrying Cases - CPD- Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

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

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison reported that the Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm this evening to consider several personnel and legal issues.

Rob Collison discussed a letter from Mr. Eckels asking the Council to consider an abatement or waiver of some late fees, interest and any penalties on a demolition cost for a certain property on Belvedere Avenue.   He believes the parties are interested in acquiring it and getting it back on the tax roles.  The demolition was done in 1996.  David Pritchett said he received input from several people who wished to purchase City property at the tax sale but would not do it because of the liens placed on the properties.  They had no value.  He feels it is something the City should look into if they want to get rid of these properties.  Commissioner Weldon said with the market percolating along the way it is, it is hard to say that the property doesn't have any value.  Mayor Rippons said the demolition was just under $12,000 and there is a property clean-up in the amount of $164.  There are back taxes owed in the amount of $258 and the rest bringing it up to date, which is the late charges, would bring the bill up to $21,202.   Rob Collison advised Council not to waive any of the actual costs.  They are not asking for abatement of taxes.  David Pritchett said his comments on values were not related to Belvedere.  They were related to the ones on that are 1000 square feet between two small homes and cannot be built on.   His recollection is that the Belvedere lot is not buildable either.   It is only of value if it is attached to the adjoining properties.  The prior owner had sold off the back section of the lot.  It shortened the depth of the lot.  He will check the new code to see if it meets the new regulations.  Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to defer this item until next week.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.   

Rob Collison said the City Charter requires that the newly elected commissioners be sworn in on the third Monday of July following the election.  There will be a brief meeting on July 19, 2004 to finish a few unfinished items from this meeting and then the Commissioners will be sworn in.

Rob Collison announced that there was some publication that the election results would not be official until July 23, 2004.  That applies only to military serving overseas and Mr. Gootee researched and there were no applications requested for overseas so the elections results will be official at the end of this week.

Commissioner Weldon said at the Heritage Area Management Board meeting, Dr. Tom Flowers introduced a program that the county is doing for litter abatement.  He wants to commend the county for establishing this county-wide project.  It is something that the City should look very closely at partnering with the county to move it along in our area.  The first thing people see is our roadsides.  Litter puts a bad impression on what we are trying to do in terms of cultivating tourism.  Commissioner Atkinson has been a pretty good champion for keeping the City clean.  We need to be more aggressive in the education side to let people know that it is not acceptable to toss that can out the window. 

Commissioner Weldon said through the Heritage Area process he has been introduced to a couple of very exciting projects.  They looked at the scope and plans for the Richardson Museum that is proposed for Cambridge Creek.  He encouraged citizens to look at the plans and help them with donations.   They also looked at the plans for Cambridge Row, the former Herbert Hern Hardware building on Race Street.  There are a lot of exciting things happening in Cambridge as a result of the coming together of Historic Preservation, the Heritage Areas, Main Street, etc.  There are a ton of opportunities coming together at this point in time. 

The Commissioners reminded everyone to vote tomorrow. 

Chief Malik spoke about the malfunction of the fireworks on July 4th.   Two technicians were injured.  The State Fire Marshall is doing an investigation.   The company who was to put on the display is a very good company.  They did 150 shows that night.  Cambridge was the only one with a problem.  They instruct the new State Fire Marshal people on fireworks so they have experience.  He will inform Council when he gets the results of the investigation.  Commissioner Bohlen asked if the City would be reimbursed because they did not get what they paid for.   Chief Malik said he will wait for the Fire Marshal's report and then proceed from that point forward.

Sandy McAllister said in light of tomorrow's election, he wanted to take the opportunity on behalf of several of his clients to thank each and every member of Council individually and collectively for a very, very rewarding four years.  They are to be commended for the time they put in to evaluating things in perhaps the most transitional period in our history.  

Glenn Bramble said he would also like to commend Council.  He sees tremendous changes in the development of Cambridge.  The changes are positive.   He thanked them on behalf of Dorchester County.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:15 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, July 12, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Heidi R. Adams, Executive Assistant