• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

August 9, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, August 9, 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 Knox, Cephas, Watkins, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 26, 2004 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

APPOINTMENTS

Representative from Neild Museum to Request Support for Their Application to the Neighborhood Partnership Program for Tax Credits-Tom Collins and Doug Robbins spoke representing the Dorchester County Historical Society.  They have a project underway to increase the size of the museums by 5500 square feet.  The Society has applied for State tax credits through the State's Neighborhood Partnership Program.  It provides businesses with a State tax credit of 50 percent of the amount of any donation to any project.  The minimum donation is $500 and the maximum donation is $50,000.  They are requesting the approval and support of the City of Cambridge.   Commissioner Travers made a motion to issue the requested support for the application.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  Rob Collison clarified that the City will be giving them a resolution of support for the project.  The motion passed unanimously.

Representative from Dorchester County Council to Deliver a Statement on EMS Issues-Commissioners Glenn Bramble and Tom Flowers spoke representing the Dorchester County Council.   Commissioner Bramble said in consideration of comments that were made at last week's work session regarding emergency medical services, they are speaking to clear up some mis-conceptions regarding the county's fiscal position with regards to EMS.  He presented Council with a financial accounting by fiscal year of emergency medical services. It includes all revenues and expenditures for the Fiscal Years 2002 through 2004.  The county does not have any surplus funds.  In addition to the county's three-year funding commitment of $1,350,000, the county has an additional cumulative three-year deficit of $149,648, resulting in a three-year expenditure of $1,499,448 to support the EMS services.  Commissioner Bramble asked that if the City Council is in need of information from any department in the county government, that they contact Jane Baynard, the County Manager, and she will facilitate the request.   They also feel it would be beneficial in the future if they jointly prepare an agenda for joint meetings so they know the topics of discussion.  They provided a copy of the task force report and copies of the ALS and BLS memorandum of understanding between the county and the city which was prepared several years ago. They have been in compliance with the recommendation.   Improvements to the county emergency medical service system are ongoing as more financial data is gathered.  They are suggesting that officials from the city and county meet at least on an annual or semi-annual basis to share information.   Dr. Flowers said he felt the meeting last week was very productive.  He feels the information they are providing tonight gives a greater amount of information that the city needs to look over the whole situation.   Commissioner Cephas thanked the County Commissioners for the information they provided. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Consideration of Ordinance to Amend Water and Sewer Policy for Industrial Users (request by Mushroom Canning Company)-Rob Collison said he was asked to draft an ordinance which would allow industrial users to monitor the about of water going into their factory versus the amount going out.  There is currently a policy for people who wish to install a separate meter so they can prove that the water going to the meter is not going into a sewer drain.  Examples would be the water for the Hyatt's golf course or Kool Ice's water being used in the ice machine.  For the people who have separate meters, the surcharge is a capital replacement cost of 50 percent.   Mushroom Canning Company would like to install a meter which will measure the amount of water going into the sewer drain.  The surcharge would be on the amount of water going into the sewer drain.  George Hyde said his understanding is that they will pay 200 percent on what is going back into the sewer. They would still have to pay the 50 percent on what is not going into the sewer.  They may be required to have the meter certified yearly.  Gary Newcomb did not feel that it would cause a billing problem.   Rob Collison said the ordinance cannot be limited to just the Mushroom Canning Company.  There may be more users coming in with the same request.  He feels it is a significant change in our policy.   Mayor Rippons asked if they reviewed the policies in other municipalities.  Rob Collison said the ordinance will be up for the first reading in two weeks. 

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Shirley A. Greene to Annex 2430 and 2432 Rock Drive-Rob Collison said the City has been working with the citizens on Rock Drive to try to annex the entire area and obtain State or Federal funding to pay for the water and sewer extension.  At the suggestion of Rob Collison, Commissioner Watkins made a motion to refer the request to Planning and Zoning so Anne Roane can make a recommendation and determine if the property is adjoining current city limits and to the Department of Public Works so they can look at the type of line that may be approved for the water and sewer extension.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.  

Request from MTS Broadcasting for a Special Exception Within the NC‑1 Zoning to Raise Their Existing Facilities Above Flood/Hurricane Tide Level-Rob Collison said as a special exception, this request would go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and then the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to refer the request to Planning and Zoning.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Jubilee Christian Fellowship for a Variance from the Noise Ordinance for Their Kids Alive! Harvest Party for Children on Saturday, October 2, 2004 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at 415 Academy Street-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Go to Bid to Demolish 603 and 610 High Street; 514, 724, 939, and 1001 Pine Street-Commissioner Watkins announced that he wished to abstain from voting on this matter.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Nobody seconded the motion.  The motion died.

Council to Discuss a Building and Development Moratorium on All Projects Impacting Upon Traffic on Washington Street/Route 343-Commissioner Knox said he feels with the amount of development that is taking place in the Route 343 area with the residential houses within a 15‑ to 20‑foot setback along the street, we should have a city-wide traffic study done.  He feels the City Engineer should head this study by choosing a company qualified to do a traffic study for the entire city so we have an idea of what the traffic density is going to bring upon Washington Street at its current state before any development goes on.  He is not against any development anywhere in the community.  His main concern is the traffic issue and how we are going to get around as citizens.  The west end of Cambridge is basically landlocked.  You have to get through the city to reach Route 50.  With the amount of development that is currently going on in that area (Cattail Crossing), which is going to get larger, and the development that is currently going on that could possibly start at any time, he thinks the city needs to do a study to see what we need to do before we continue for the sake of the citizens who are going to be affected.   Commissioner Watkins said he is not against the study, but he questions the validity of doing the study on the entire length because of all the development going on.  It might be putting a hardship on someone who wants to put a business in that area.  There are some vacant lots that can be used.  Mayor Rippons said Route 343 is a state road.  Commissioner Knox said he is bringing this up so we can get some momentum going between the city and the state.  Mayor Rippons said he has been talking to representatives from the state. They do not allow anyone to come in unless they do a traffic impact analysis.  They even look at roadway geometrics before they make their recommendation.   Commissioner Watkins said we have had stoplight problems on the corner or High Street and Washington Street.  Mayor Rippons said he will contact a state representative so he can inform Council on their procedures and studies and make a recommendation.  Commissioner Knox said a city-wide study is needed.  He is asking for a six-month moratorium on this until this study takes place.   Rob Collison said they cannot vote on a moratorium tonight.  They must have a public hearing first.  Mayor Rippons suggested letting the state address the issue first.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to have a representative from the State Highway Administration come in and explain what they have in mind.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. George Hyde said as the traffic impact studies are done for one site, they are also required to look at traffic from all the other proposed developments.  The numbers have been generated and the state has them now.  It does not look at what is happening on the other streets.  It looks at Washington Street and some of the intersections.  He is not against looking at what is happening downtown and other areas. Commissioner Knox said there is more traffic downtown than there has been for 20 years.  He thinks it is imperative that we look at the big picture on what the impact is going to be on the entire city-not necessarily one street.  We need to make sure that the study is done correctly by professionals.  The motion passed unanimously.

Council to Discuss a Study of Adequate Public Facilities to Accommodate Proposed Development-Commissioner Knox said in the zoning ordinance it basically says the Planning Commission will review each proposed subdivision to determine whether it is served by proper community access roads.  They may postpone or deny approval of any such subdivision until it determines that such needs are properly met.  There has to be totally planned facilities all around to support the subdivision and that includes roads.  It is not only Washington Street / Route 343.  There will be other areas in our community that are going to be faced with the same situation.  There is trouble now on Bayly Road.  Planning and Zoning should be able to use this ordinance because it is going to save a whole lot of people a lot of time.  Before the developers come in with their preliminaries, they will know upfront what they are looking at.  If they know what is expected of them before they come to Planning and Zoning, things will move much smoother and there will be less aggravation.  This ordinance gives Planning Zoning the power to look at the big picture.   Rob Collison suggested referring this to Anne Roane and getting her interpretation of it and whether they are using it.  It has come up at some meetings that the city may wish to have on its retainer, a traffic consultant who looks at the proposed projects from the perspective of the city so it is not narrowed to a certain area or street.   He suggested amending the city code so that the developer would have to pay the associated fees for the study.  Anne Roane has been getting some figures together on doing a comprehensive traffic study for the city.  He also suggested asking her to look at this and make a presentation and recommendation to the Council.  Traffic studies will look within a certain range of the development.  Obviously they are going to put the impact on the state roads. There have been occasions when the traffic consultants are not from this area so they might not realize that even a development on Jenkins Creek Road or Hambrooks Boulevard will have 40 to 50 percent of its traffic going across the Cambridge Creek Bridge.  This is one of the reasons why Cambridge should have a comprehensive traffic study.  It might cost between $50,000 and $100,000 to do such a study. 

Council to Discuss A Request to County Council to Postpone Requested Growth Allocation for Waterford Development-Commissioner Knox said he asked that this be put on the agenda but would now like to rescind it.

Discussion of Modifications to the Allocation of City's Impact Fees-Rob Collison reported that the city adopted impact fees last years totaling $4,500.  Ed Kinnamon needs clarification so he can specifically earmark the specific amount in each allocated account.  There are certain parameters in which the city can justify the impact fees.  For example, the consultant stated that the city cannot allocate more than $3,000 of the impact fee for public safety; no more than $2,000 for streets and roads; no more than $200 for parks and recreation; $1,500 for water; and $2,800 for sewer.  Last July the Council elected an amount of $4,500.  Of that, no more than $2,800 could be for sewer and no more than $1,500 for water.  The balance would go to the others.  Specific amounts are needed.  Mayor Rippons said Council will establish the amounts at the next meeting.

Commissioner Knox said he would like the city to increase the impact fee by $1,500.   Of the $6,000 impact fee, he would like to allocate $1,500 for public safety; $1,000 for streets and roads; $200 for parks and recreation; $500 for water; and $2,800 for sewer.  This may help us considerably with the proposed public safety building.

Commissioner Watkins asked what other cities and towns are charging.  George Hyde said he doesn't have the numbers with him but he knows that Cambridge is on the lower end.   Mayor Rippons said this information will be given to Council before the next meeting.

Assignment of Deep Harbour MOU to Beazer Homes-Rob Collison said this is not a complete assignment of the entire MOU.  Beazer Homes would like further assurance that the terms of the MOU, specifically the impact fees, would apply to them as well as they develop the residential portion of the Deep Harbour project.  Deep Harbour, LLC will remain the prime obligator on the MOU.  Beazer Homes is also the entity that is responsible for the construction, development, and maintenance of the riverwalk which will be dedicated for public use as a public sidewalk.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to confirm that there would not be any impact fees on Beazer Homes as an entity in working in conjunction with Deep Harbour.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3289 - MEDTEC -- Ambulance -- $139,969-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 406 John W. Tieder - Traffic Controller for Race & Muir Streets -$5,700-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 407 David A Bramble - Combined Sewer Separation Phase III -- $750,000-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3307 - Simmons Center Market - Food and Paper Products for the Seafood Feastival -- $5,000-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3311 - Kool Ice & Seafood - Crabs, Ice, Clams Strips, Freezers, etc.  for Seafood Feastival - $6,700- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison reported that Council met in closed executive session at 6:20 pm to obtain legal advice and to review and analyze some requests of department heads for the public safety building.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to go into executive session at the end of this meeting.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Knox said a few residents have requested a streetlight on the corner of Jenkins Creek Road in the Sandy Hill area.  Mayor Rippons asked that the matter be referred to the Street Lighting Committee.

Commissioner Knox reported that MUC construction workers were on the corner of Race Street without a flagger.  He asked that the department heads have someone directing traffic when they have street construction.

Commissioner Watkins said he has never seen as many cars at Sailwinds Park as they had Saturday night for Gretchen Wilson.   Mayor Rippons said there were in excess of 2500 people in attendance.  He reported that the Sailwinds Board would like to meet with the Council to give them an update on their progress. 

Commissioner Cephas said he lives on Washington Street and concurs with Commissioner Knox. 

Commissioner Cephas said in references to the agenda item about the demolitions, he met with one of the property owners who wants the opportunity to get her own licensed demolition person to demolish her house.  She said she was told by the city that she could not do this.  The city would make the decision on who demolishes the house.  He feels that if someone can get a licensed person to demolish the house at a cheaper rate, they should have that opportunity.  Mayor Rippons clarified this by saying that when the Department of Public Works makes a condemnation, the property owner can, at that time, entertain whomever they want to come into compliance with the demolition notice.  The city gives the property owner a specified amount of time to move forward on their own.  DPW moves forward after they have exhausted that time.  The city will work with anyone who will use a licensed contractor.

Commissioner Brooks said she also concurs with Commissioner Knox.  We definitely need a city-wide traffic study done because of all the proposed development.

Commissioner Brooks said she did not second the motion for the demolition because she had spoken to someone who said the proper process has not been followed.  She wants to investigate this to make sure the homeowners have been afforded their right before this is done.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion that all City Commissioners, Chief Malik, and Chief Watkins be informed and invited to attend any and all meetings with regard to the public safety building with advanced notice to allow Council to clear their schedules with him.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Travers asked Commissioner Knox if he was opposed to new development.  Commissioner Knox said he has nothing against development.  Development is economic progress.   Development will bring more citizens. It will contribute to our economic base and our tax base.  A lot of people have expressed their desire for more department stores.  When these homes and people come, the big box stores will be knocking on the door.  Jobs will be created.  Our unemployment rate is around six or seven percent which is down from ten percent.  Jobs are being created because our community is growing.  Development is good business and he will be the last person to say that he is against development.  As far as the impact fees, the Council is re-visiting the issue.  The last thing he wants to see as a taxpayer and a representative of the citizens of this community is to say that taxes need to be raised.  Nobody wants to hear it.  If we can have proper development in the community, hopefully our taxes will level out somewhere along the way.  We can advance the community through proper development or we can fade away and be nothing.   We will no longer exist is we do not continue to grow as community. 

Ed Kinnamon said the city received a request from two residents of Hughlett Street to make the street a one-way street.  Commissioner Brooks made a motion to refer the motion to the Traffic and Safety Committee.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Ed Kinnamon said the city received a request from Hi-Tech Plastics to use both pavilions at Great Marsh Park on Saturday, August 21, 2004 from 12 noon until 4:00 pm.  It has been the city's general policy not to reserve both pavilions.  He said he recalls that the hospital once requested both pavilions and the Council allowed them to reserve both because it was a community-type event.   Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request and to include a variance from the noise ordinance for the specified hours.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Chief Malik said there were between 2500 and 3000 people at Sailwinds this past Saturday night.  It went relatively well with very few incidents.  From what he understands, they expect it to be a little bit larger next year.  Everything went well.

Fred Pomeroy said he is representing a citizen's group called Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth.   It is their belief that the growth that is about to happen in and around Cambridge is going to drastically impact every citizen of the city and county.   For this reason, they believe it is imperative that the growth be planned and all planning tools be utilized.  They would like to go on record as supporting a building moratorium on all projects that will impact traffic on Washington Street and Route 343 until the traffic study can be complete.  In addition they recommend imposing a building moratorium on all projects where adequate and unbiased studies of possible impacts to the existing community have not yet been completed.  It would allow time to study the need for public facilities to accommodate future growth as well as issues that have not been addressed.  They suggest that Council not accept any new subdivision proposals for review until the city's comprehensive plan is completely reviewed and updated. 

County Commissioner Glenn Bramble said he believes he heard Commissioner Knox say he was suggesting raising the impact fees by an addition $1500.  When the county went through their study, they couldn't just arbitrarily say they want an impact fee without being able to substantiate it.  Mayor Rippons said the city's consultant substantiates up to $9500.  The prior Council elected to implement $4500.   Commissioner Bramble said they had a meeting some time ago when they talked about the rates.  The Sheriff's Department, the 9-1-1 center and the schools are county-wide.  The question came up about county impact fees for municipalities.   The impact fee that the county has is across the board.  He thinks that if municipalities increase the impact fees, they will come a point when people are going to be looking more outside the city limits.  The average cost today, being a contractor, will cost about $10,000 depending on how far south you go.  It will cost around $10,000 for a well and septic.  Before the impact fee, you are looking at $3500 between water and sewer tap fees plus on-going fees.  It costs much more for a building permit in the city than it does in the county, let alone the water and sewer tap.  The people in the city will have monthly water and sewer bills which they would not have in the county.  The typical well will last for 25 to 30 years.  Septic systems will last between 20 and 30 years.   The county is not doing the municipalities an injustice by the fee because it is across the board.  He feels impact fees should be there because if anyone wants development, they should pay for the infrastructure.  They want to keep people in the municipalities.  They don't want to force them out because that is low-impact development.     

Tom Johnson, a city resident, said he is really glad to see the Council allow Hi‑Tech use Great Marsh Park.  The business has been struggling since Black & Decker closed and we don't want to loose them.   Preston just put a moratorium on.  It is smart to be careful.  To spend $50,000 to $80,000 to have a proper study done about what is going to happen to a whole area, would probably be the best money the taxpayers can spend.  He feels impact fees should not be waived for anyone. 

Wendell Foxwell talked about the regulation of absentee ballots.  The voters can only apply and get an absentee ballot 10 days prior to the election date.  There is no emergency clause in place to get one during the 10-day period.   He suggested that the whole city voting system be looked at.  Every registered voter who asks for an absentee ballot should be given one. They should be made available until Election Day and including Election Day.  He asked Council to look into this and make all necessary changes.  Rob Collison reported that Mr. Gootee adopted the policies in place at the county and state level.  Council will be reviewing the election and see if there are any exceptions to make.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:27 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, August 9, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer