• 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

September 13, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, September 13, 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, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the August 23, 2004 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed 4:0.

PUBLIC HEARING

Rezoning Hearing for Parcel 5435 Tax Map 303 North Side Meteor Avenue from R3 to C1-Rob Collison reported that this parcel is located behind the Exxon Station. The City had abandoned the street bed of the proposed Rambler Road extension. The owner of the Exxon Station would like to expand their operation. It would require a rezoning to Neighborhood Commercial. The Certificate of Publication indicates that the public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on August 20, and August 27, 2004. The Planning and Zoning staff report indicates that it appears this parcel was improperly rezoned in the last comprehensive rezoning with the adoption of the City zoning ordinance dated May 12, 2003. The parcels adjacent to the east are zoned Highway Commercial (HC) and the parcel adjacent to the west is zoned Neighborhood Commercial (C1). The parcel located to the south across Meteor Avenue is also zoned Highway Commercial. While it is not uncommon to locate multi-family within the R3 zone, it would not be desirable. The staff recommended rezoning the property to C1. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning request.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the rezoning request from R3 to C1.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

APPOINTMENTS

Ed White to Discuss the Department of Housing and Community Develop­ment-Ed White brought greetings from Secretary Victor Hoskins. He reported that the Community Legacy grant program is open right now. It is a very competitive grant process. They had $10 million last year; this year they only have $5 million. Cambridge has had very good applications in the past. The department is very proud to be working with Cambridge on the Main Street initiative. The Cambridge group is doing stellar work. Director Joseph Brown has informed him that he is going to nominate them as a one of the two best Maryland Main Streets in the third year which is unheard of. The Department has a First Time Homebuyer Program as well as other programs for mortgages. They also have programs for people who want to expand their businesses. Mayor Rippons said the Main Street Committee has a few ideas for Community Legacy. Referring to Ed White, Mayor Rippons said we could not find a stronger advocate for Cambridge. He appreciates Mr. White's efforts.  

Billy Frick, St. Paul's Church, to Request a Variance from the Noise Ordinance for Thursday, September 23, 2004 for a Block Party from 5:30 pm until 9:00 pm and Permission to Close Alley Behind Church (from Franklin Street to Hayward Street)-Mr. Frick also requested attendance by the Cambridge Police Department during their event. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Laurence Rossi, Eastern Shore Sailing Association, to Request Exception to the "Alcohol" Rule at Great Marsh Park on September 19, 2004 from 12 Noon Until 4:00 pm-Mr. Rossi said their group will consist of approximately 40 people. They will not be supplying beer; however some members may wish to bring their own. Rob Collison said the organization would be responsible if somebody abuses alcohol and something in the park is damaged. Commissioner Knox said his only concern would be maintaining the peace. This could open up a can of worms for other people to come in and ask for permission for alcohol. David Pritchett said it has been a common practice among the reputable organizations such as the one making the request tonight and has been going on for many years. To date, they have never had an episode. Chief Malik confirmed this. He does not see any problem with allowing this organization to have alcohol at their picnic. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Natalie Chabot to Request $1,500 Sponsorship for the Preserve America Celebration-The community was honored earlier this year by First Lady, Laura Bush, in designating Dorchester County as a Preserve American Community. There are grant funds attached to this designation. They felt it would be a great idea to bring this award home to the many residents who have worked many years in preserving our heritage and culture. There will be a celebration on September 27th. The Undersecretary of the USDA will present the award and tour Dorchester County. She is asking the City to be a participant and sponsor for this event. They already have five sponsors and have raised $3,000. This was an un-budgeted item. The event will cost between $5,000 and $6,000. Commissioner Travers said he does not feel it is fair to the citizens of Cambridge to ask them to contribute $1,500 to the Republican Party. If they do, he feels they should contribute $1,500 to the Democratic Party. Ms. Chabot said she cannot address the political aspects of it. The program was introduced under the Bush administration and it is about preserving our heritage and encouraging people to come to our community. Commissioner Cephas said Commissioner Travers raised an interesting point. Ms. Chabot said this is an election year which makes it difficult but it just happens to be the year they initiated the actual awards and we were chosen. The program will continue into the next administration. The celebration is about honoring the people in Cambridge and Dorchester County who have worked very hard to preserve our heritage and cultural and natural resources. The money will not be given to the Federal government and they are not supporting any political aspects. They are simply trying to have a celebration for local residents. Commissioner Knox said he doesn't think this is a political issue. We have received a great honor and we need to put politics to the side. Portia Johnson-Ennels asked who would be invited to the event. Ms. Chabot mentioned WECA, the Brannock's Museum, the Nathan, the Historical Society, the Harriett Tubman Organization, the Richardson Museum and other organizations who have been working in the community for heritage tourism for the economic benefit of the community. Marge Hull, WECA, said they have about 20 individuals dressed in Colonial costumes doing guided tours of Cambridge only. They receive no money. They are all volunteers. They have been invited to the celebration to recognize the many people who are doing exactly the same thing in different types of activities to bring the historic heritage of this community to the tourism industry. The tourism industry has been bringing in hundreds of people. Commissioner Cephas said he thinks the money will be well spent. If there is a need, they can help in any way. Commissioner Knox made a motion to sponsor the event in the amount of $1,500. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:1 with Commissioner Travers opposed. Commissioner Cephas said just in case they come up with an extra $1,500, they will not need to get it from the City. Natalie Chabot said there are several organizations they have not heard from yet.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Resolution of Modifications to the Allocation of City's Impact Fees-Rob Collison said Council needs to specify where the funds from the $4,500 impact fee would be dedicated. There was a discussion at the last meeting to increase the fee by $1,500. Mayor Rippons said the major constraints for the $4,500 are not to exceed $1,500 for MUC and not to exceed $2,800 for sewer.  Commissioner Knox said before anyone makes a motion, he is a firm believer of having an additional $1,500. If not, he is afraid of a tax increase. At the same time he would like to be fair to the individual homeowners. He would like to adopt the $4,500 but not etch it in stone so they can look at a bracket or housing size or something else to be fair. Since the County introduced the excise tax, the increase in impact fee could create an extreme hardship on first-time homeowners. Mayor Rippons said this can be discussed at the next meeting when they will obtain public input. Rob Collison said it can be drafted on a sliding scale based on square footage. Mayor Rippons asked the press to advertise that Council will be taking public input at the next meeting.  Julie Fox, President of the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors, presented Council with a position paper to speak to affordable housing. She offered the Mid- Shore Board of Realtor's help in drafting the allocation. 

Second Reading and Vote on Resolution to Amend Water and Sewer Rate Policy for Industrial Users-Rob Collison said the resolution will modify the City surcharge for industrial, commercial, and business properties located within the corporate limits of the City of Cambridge. The business must have at least 25 employees. Their sewer surcharge would be 50 percent of the water bill on that portion of water that does not enter the City's wastewater collection system. They will pay the standard sewer surcharge for any other water that enters the system. The business will be required to install an outflow meter that monitors what actually goes into City's wastewater treatment plant. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the Resolution. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Tax Abatement for Newly-Annexed Properties-Ed Kinnamon reported that the City has received comments from people living in newly-annexed areas. They were complaining that they received their tax bills but were not receiving any additional amenities. One taxpayer in the City is receiving a discount due to the fact that the City is not providing him with all the amenities (water, sewer and trash pick-up). The minutes of the City Council meeting of May 4, 1981 stated that the Commissioners would allow a 40 percent discount. David Pritchett said they feel the water and sewer lines will be installed in one year. Police and fire protection and trash pick-up are offered at this time. They pick up trash for about 20 to 30 percent of the residents. Many have elected not to use the City trash pick‑up. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to allow a 40‑percent tax abatement to all newly-annexed properties (commercial and residential) until full services are available. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Commissioner Travers announced that he will abstain from voting because it involves his daughter. They are paying $150 every three months and also paying $82 per month for trash pick-up. They have spent about $15,000 to be hooked up to the Sanitary District. He does not think a 40-percent reduction is enough. He thinks they should get at least a 60-percent reduction in taxes. Once they are hooked up to the water and sewer lines and are getting their trash picked up, they should pay the full amount. There are approximately 30 properties involved. David Pritchett said he is confused about the trash pick-up because it is offered. Commissioner Travers said evidently they have not applied. They do not feel they should pay any City taxes until everything is completed. Commissioner Knox said the 40 percent was set some years ago and is a guideline. Commissioner Cephas withdrew his motion for the 40‑percent reduction in taxes. Commissioner Brooks withdrew her second to the motion. Commissioner Cephas amended his motion to provide a 60‑percent reduction in taxes for the newly-annexed properties that are not receiving full City services. Commissioner Brooks seconded the amended motion. The motion passed 3:0 with Commissioner Travers abstaining.

Commissioner Knox said the citizens in Clifton Woods and Canterbury are paying the Sanitary District for use of the sewer line. When these areas were brought into the City, the Council should have made a provision for that line to be part of the City. He feels it is imperative that the City take control of those lines. Mayor Rippons said he asked for a joint meeting with the Sanitary District to discuss proper procedures for these developments and other new developments.  Rob Collison said he feels the developers made the decision to go that route, not the City because it would be less expensive; however, it needs to be addressed.

NEW BUSINESS

Discuss Rental Registration-Discussion on this item has been postponed until the next meeting.

Request for a Variance from the Noise Ordinance for the "Kerry the Shore" Rally at Sailwinds Park on October 16th from 2:00 pm Until 5:00 pm- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary to Use Great Marsh Park on September 19, 2004 from 12:00 pm Until 4:00 pm for a Picnic and Safe Boating Program-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request and included a variance from the noise ordinance if it is needed. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Mayor Rippons asked that the group be advised that in the future, the City would like more time or have a representative at the meeting in case there are any questions.

Request from the Nause Waiwash Band of Indians for a Variance from the Noise Ordinance for Their Native American Festival at Sailwinds Park on Saturday, September 18 from 12 Noon Until 6:00 pm and on Sunday, September 19 from 12 Noon Until 5:00 pm-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from William Cook and Jennifer Langrall to Use Long Wharf Park on Saturday, April 23, 2005 from 3:00 pm Until 7:00 pm for a Wedding; Including a Variance from the Noise Ordinance; Permission to Install a Tent; and Use of the Park in the Morning for Set-Up-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Adkins and Walton to Use Great Marsh Park for a Wedding on October 9, 2004 from 2:00 pm Until 6:00 pm and a Variance From the Noise Ordinance-David Pritchett said this is the day the Chesapeake Man Triathlon will be held. Chief Malik said the swimmers will enter the water at the Hyatt and swim to Great Marsh where they will get on their bicycles. David Pritchett said it would not be possible to have a wedding in the Park the same day.  Mayor Rippons said this request will be tabled until David Pritchett can get the details of the Triathlon. He asked Ed Kinnamon to inform the applicant that there may be a conflict and they should contact the Department of Public Works. If it is possible to have the wedding on October 9th, a decision will be rendered at the next meeting.

Approve PO 3375 Graves Uniforms for Winter Uniforms for CPD ($2,646.74)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 3318 Clifton Gunderson LLP - FY2004 Audit - ($16,500)- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Ed Kinnamon reported that the prior Council approved this amount for this year when they approved a five-year contract. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 3373 IBM - Laptop Computers for CPD ($4,184)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked if there was any particular reason to purchase IBM computers. Chief Malik said these are sturdier computers which are compatible with the others. They are mobile data terminals and the computers will be in the vehicles. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 3338 RFC Chief -1 Stipend ($5,000); Approve PO 3339 RFC Assistant Chief 1-1 Assistant Chief Stipend ($2,500); Approve PO 3340 RFC Assistant Chief 1-2 Assistant Chief Stipend ($2,500)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase orders. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 3247 CPD -- Galls Inc. - Vests ($3,599.95)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Chief Malik said half of the amount is paid by a U.S. Department of Justice grant. The City will take all the funds out of the drug forfeiture funds so it will not cost the City anything. They will replenish half of that back in the drug forfeiture fund when they get the grant money. The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to consider a proposal to locate a new business in Cambridge and to discuss a personnel matter. Commissioner Travers made a motion to go into executive session after the meeting to discuss personnel. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Rob Collison reported that the public hearing originally scheduled for next Monday, September 20, on the proposed moratorium has to be postponed.  Because of the heavy docket for the Planning and Zoning Commission, they were unable to consider it at their meeting.

Commissioner Knox said he is the liaison between the Council and the Historic Preservation Commission. He will be unable to attend the meeting on Thursday. Commissioner Cephas will attend in his place.

Commissioner Knox said he is also the liaison between the Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission. There is an issue concerning subdivision in the Historic Preservation District. He received a tremendous number of calls about it. The citizens are concerned about what could happen within the Historic District. He would like the City attorney along with the City Planner to look at the lot sizes within our Historical District to prevent over-subdividing which could possibly lead to the downfall of our Historic District. He asked for the support of the Council to have Rob Collison and Anne Roane look into this as soon as possible.

Commissioner Cephas said he received a call from Tony Thomas regarding some vandalism in front of the Canvasback Restaurant. Seven cars had tires sliced. There are two parking spaces across the street which prohibit parking because they are a loading/unloading zone but there are no hours stated. He felt if parking was allowed in those spaces, then maybe some of those cars would not have been vandalized. Mr. Thomas also requested a parking space for his business. His business stays open until 12 o'clock or 1 o'clock in the morning. Commissioner Cephas feels like this is a reasonable request.  David Pritchett said this issue was heavily reviewed by the Traffic and Safety Committee. There is only one parking space for loading and unloading. It was a very legitimate request for the safety of the drug companies because they have to load and unload in the night hours. To load or unload controlled substances behind the store is extremely hazardous. Mr. Thomas can load and unload behind his store which is well-light. The sign in front of Craig's can have hours listed on it. Traffic and Safety will review this and then make a report to Commissioner Cephas.

Commissioner Cephas said for the past two months he has been attending meetings for the Heart of Chesapeake at Tourism. He has not been appointed to represent the City. Commissioner Knox made a motion to appoint Commissioner Cephas to represent the City on the committee. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Commissioner Brooks said on Willis Street there are either one or two fire hydrants on the part that is connected to Park Lane. A resident who lives on the street asked her to look at it. There is no marking on the curb indicating that you cannot park in front of the fire hydrant. The residents feel it is a public safety issue and she does also since legally they can park there. She asked David Pritchett to look into this. David Pritchett said there is a standard code for parking near fire hydrants whether there are markings or not. However, markings make it more practical. Chief Malik said you cannot park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. Commissioner Brooks said some people need to see something because they are parking in front of it.  David Pritchett said they will have it done this week.

Ed Kinnamon received a request from Olivia Shunick representing the Dorchester County Life Chain. They are planning to have the life chain on Sunburst Highway. They have contacted State Highway and will contact our Police Department. Ed Kinnamon said they sent the letter for information purposes only. No action is required by Council.

David Pritchett requested permission to move forward with the construction documents for the marina expansion. They have completed, in draft form, the proposal of how they would like to lay it out. It has been permitted. It is not a finalization that it is going to be realized as drawn but they would like to proceed with the documentation so they can proceed to the next step. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

David Pritchett requested permission to go to bid to dredge a small area near the Generation III business on Cedar Street. They have been working on this for almost three years now and were finally able to get MDE approval.  There are two 36-inch discharge lines from storm drains. Over the past ten to twelve years, it has finally silted-in. He has lost four slips now. It is a relatively minor dredging operation but is not the responsibility of the business. He asked if this is something they should ask the County to contribute funds toward because the business pays County taxes also. They are going about it in the least expensive way. Most of the work will be done from the shoreline with an excavator. Mayor Rippons suggested forwarding a request to the County. Rob Collison said if the storm drain lines connect to Washington Street, they should request funds from State Highway also.  David Pritchett said he will verify how far the lines are. Rob Collison said there may be State or Federal funds for keeping the Federal channel open. David Pritchett said it is a shoreline problem. Commissioner Travers made a motion to go to bid. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

David Pritchett said the computer program they use for inspections crashed over the weekend and is not restorable. They have been working for about a year on upgrading it and have decided on a program called Black Bear. The new program will let them keep track of new construction, inspections, status, etc. The Black Bear program does all permitting. They have done cost comparison over a nine month period and have found this is the best program they can get for what they have to do. It costs under $2500 so they do not need to go to bid. He is requesting permission to purchase the program. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve purchasing the Black Bear program. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Chief Malik said he is meeting with Tom Keating this week in reference to the substation at Choptank and Travers. They will see the fruition of this substation after a long time.

Chief Malik reported that Summer Send-Off is September 25. Poplar Street and the 400 block of Race Street will be closed to traffic during this event. The Dorchester Showcase will be on September 26 on High Street. There will be thousands of visitors in the City of Cambridge that weekend.

Mayor Rippons reported that the terms of the members of the Housing Board of Review expired in August. The members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Commissioners. He asked the Commissioners to give him names of people they feel might be an asset to the committee. He will make the appointments at the next meeting.

Mayor Rippons said the Planning and Zoning Commission has been receiving a large number of applications and has a tremendous amount of paperwork to review for their meetings. He feels it is time to pay these committee members because of their tremendous workload. He would like Council to agree to have Rob Collison draft a proposal including a fee schedule so it can be revenue-neutral to the City.  Rob Collison said it is a standard practice in other cities and counties to compensate their Planning and Zoning Committee members.

Mayor Rippons said after the last Council meeting, he and some of the Commissioners met with traffic consultants. He would like to move forward with an RFP. He is asking Rob Collison, the City Engineer and the City Planner to prepare the documents for Council's review. He suggested that one or two Council members may want to be at the meeting. 

Commissioner Cephas said there is a gentleman by the name of John Mooney who has been sending e-mails to the Council. He was hoping that Mr. Mooney would come to a meeting to address his concerns about skateboarding. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to invite Mr. Mooney to a meeting.  Portia Johnson-Ennels asked the Council to research what the town of Easton did to get their skateboard park. They dedicated it a couple of weeks ago. Young people have been coming to Council for years asking for a skateboard park.  

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:25 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, September 13, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer