• 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

November 22, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, November 22, 2004 Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:05 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 November 8, 2004 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 

APPOINTMENTS

Jo Chapman to Discuss Height Limits and Traffic Control in the PWCD-Mayor Rippons announced that the City will be holding a public hearing on these issues on Monday, December 6th. He informed Ms. Chapman that if she wanted to have any information to be taken into the record, she must be present that evening. Rob Collison said the public hearing will be to receive comments on extending the building moratorium in the PWCD for no more than six months. Ms. Chapman said she wanted to address traffic issues on High Street. She and her neighbors are concerned about the amount of traffic. They learned about the Point Development going to final approval on December 7th at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. She doesn't believe the planning process is designed to give adequate public notice. There are only eight property owners noticed regarding the point property. There was not a public hearing scheduled in the planning and zoning review process. Rob Collison said the specific project will not come before the City Council. Ed Kinnamon said generally the contiguous property owners and property owners in the immediate area are notified. There are also advertisements for the public hearing. Ms. Chapman said with a project of this size, it is appropriate to contact more than the immediate neighbors. The land was not posted to their knowledge. Many of the neighbors thought had fallen under the moratorium. The zoning needs to be changed to have an appropriately sized building. The residents in the area don't want the building. She doesn't think it services the residents of Cambridge. They want something that will help our community. She feels the law needs to be changed. A group of citizens who met recommend that the Council include the Point Property and the Muir Street Property into the Cambridge Creek Development moratorium until the Planning and Zoning review process can be completed and the City has adopted appropriate revisions to standards to protect the interests of the residents of Cambridge. Rob Collison asked the people present who have an interest in this project to attend the public hearing or submit a statement for the record. The PWCD review committee is recommending that they maintain the height at the 75‑feet on the west side of the Creek. The east side would have a lower height limitation with an incentive to create mixed-use. It would grant a 10‑percent variance (or increase) for mixed-use. Copies of the PWCD proposed recommendations are available for review from the Planning and Zoning Department. He said for those who have a particular interest in the Point Property, it is important to attend the Planning and Zoning hearing on December 7th. Safety issues will be discussed at that meeting.

Herschel Johnson to Request Donation for the Friends of Stanley Institute, Inc.-Mr. Johnson said they starting building a coal house in October. They will also be building a girls' bathroom and boys' bathroom just like it was when the school was attended. They will also build a handicapped accessible bathroom. They will be ready to connect to the City sewer and water in January. They are asking the City to waive the connection fees and refund half of the building permit fee. Commissioner Cephas said at the last meeting he asked Council to make a donation to the Stanley Institute because it is an historical building and they needed money for a $50,000 matching grant. Mr. Johnson said they will accept cash donations as well as in-kind services. Commissioner Knox made a motion to waive the hook-up fees for the Stanley Institute. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said that they also requested a refund of the building permit fee. Mayor Rippons said the prescient is that 50 percent of the fee be returned for non-profit organizations. Ed Kinnamon said there is a policy in place that does not require Council's authorization. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Cephas asked about the matching funds. Mr. Johnson said it will cost them $77,000 to build the coal house. When they received the grant in 1998, they estimated it would be much less. They have paid $39,629.60. They will have to make a $23,000 payment to the builder for the next phase. They are right on the edge of not having enough money to make this payment. When they pay another $11,000, the State will start to pay their $50,000. Mr. Johnson and the Assistant Treasurer have asked the Bank of the Eastern Shore for an advance if they need it. Commissioner Watkins said the City has donated to other organizations and in his judgment this is one of the most ideal things we should do in addition to waiving the fees. It is an historical school. Commissioner Cephas said the motion was made and approved at the last meeting that the Council do something. The motion should not lay dormant whether they do it tonight or meet and see what the need is and act on that motion. Commissioner Watkins agreed.

Open Bids for Furnishing and Delivering One New Dump Truck-Ed Kinnamon reported at the City received two bids:

  • Elliott Wilson Trucks (Easton) - $61,200
  • Criswell Chevrolet Fleet Sales (Gaithersburg) - $59,315

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

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Appoint Members to the Housing Board of Review-Mayor Rippons said he has to talk to one more Council person before the Board is appointed.

Appoint Members to Dorchester County Housing Task Force-Commissioner Knox appointed Joanna McCoy. Commissioner Watkins said he does not have an appointment at this time. He will call Ed Kinnamon with his appointment. Commissioner Cephas appointed Victoria Stanley. Commissioner Brooks recommended Portia Johnson-Ennels but she is not sure Ms. Johnson-Ennels will accept the position. Commissioner Travers appointed James Fitzhugh at the last meeting.

Discussion for Reimbursement for Building Permit-Rob Collison said he met with David Pritchett and reviewed the process. They recommended the following: (1) If an application has been submitted but no permit was issued and no work was done, 85 percent of the fee would be refunded. (2) If a permit has been issued and construction has not begun, 50 percent of the fee would be refunded. and (3) If the permit has been issued and construction has begun, there would be no refund. They recommended that if Council accepts the procedure, it would be codified as a standard operating procedure.

Clerk-Treasurer to Discuss LOSAP Program-Ed Kinnamon submitted a memo to Council regarding the LOSAP payout to the older members of Rescue Fire Company. Council approved the first payment toward the pension system a few weeks ago. He is asking permission to pay out the listed amounts to the members. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to allow the Clerk Treasurer to disperse the funds. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Chesapeake Country Heritage Area Management Board for Representation from Cambridge Relative to the County's Comprehensive Plan Update-Mayor Rippons asked that this appointment be made at a meeting in December. Commissioner Cephas expressed in interest in serving on this Board.

Council to Consider Adopting Uniform Rate for Sanitary District Users-The Dorchester County Sanitary District, Inc. submitted a letter to Council suggesting $250 per year per customer. Mayor Rippons said the City Engineer indicated the cost came out to $254.06 per customer. Mayor Rippons asked for a meeting with the Sanitary District Commissioners relative to this and other issues. Ed Kinnamon will arrange the meeting.

Request from Wal-Mart for a 30-Day Extension for Their Storage Trailers-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to go to Bid for Demolition of 818 Robbins Street, 703 Wright Street, 801 Pine Street, 880 Park Lane, 923 Pine Street, 1001 Pine Street, 939 Pine, 724 Pine Street, 514 Pine Street-Commissioner Watkins announced that he has interest in some of the properties so he will abstain from voting. Rob Collison said 514 Pine Street should be removed from the list. It was reversed by an appeal. Commissioner Cephas requested that Council not take any action at this meeting, particularly the Pine Street addresses. He met with a gentleman who is very much in tune with the Historic District in Cambridge. A couple of the properties are considered as historic pieces of property. His findings have not been completed so he would like to have a little more time (30 days) to meet with the gentleman. David Pritchett said these properties have gone through the entire process. Almost every home in the Second Ward is listed in the historical list. Nobody could live in the Wright Street home and that one was listed as historical.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to allow DPW to go to bid for 818 Robbins Street, 703 Wright Street, and 880 Park Lane which were approved by the previous Council. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0 with Commissioner Watkins abstaining.

Introduction of Charter Resolution to Amend Duties and Power of Mayor-Rob Collison said this Charter Resolution is being introduced tonight. The second reading and vote will be on December 13th. It will then be advertised in the Daily Banner for 4 successive weeks for a 40-day period.  It is also posted at City Hall. If there is a petition for referendum on the issue by at least 20 percent of the registered voters, it would go to referendum. If a valid petition is not filed, it becomes effective on the 50th day.  It is a proposed amendment to Section 3‑21 of the City Charter. It would amend the duties and responsibilities of the Office of Mayor. In effect, it would revert it to what it read prior to an amendment that was approved in the fall of 2000.

Commissioner Brooks said when Council discussed this issue, they said they wanted Item (e) eliminated pertaining to personnel duties. She thinks Council needs to review this Charter Resolution further before they vote on it. It does not read exactly the way they intended it to read. Rob Collison asked Council to review the document and he will re-submit it for the next meeting.

Introduction of Annexation Resolution 2004-01 (Westerly Side of Jenkins Creek Road - Proposed to be a Part of Waterford Subdivision)-Rob Collison said the applicant made a request for annexation. After the Annexation Resolution is introduced, there is a period of time where it is advertised for 4 successive weeks and then there is a public hearing. The Council will vote following the public hearing. The request received a favorable recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission at their November meeting. Copies of the Annexation Resolution are posted at City Hall. It is proposed to be zoned R‑1 which is the most restrictive single-family residential zone. The minimum lot size is 10,000 sq.ft. The developer is responsible for all the costs of extending water, sewer, and infrastructure to the site.

Scott Saunders, Waterford Land Development LLC, said they have received final approval from the Planning Commission the remainder of their subdivision which is already in the City. They are asking for the remaining 5 acres to be annexed so they can get final approval on that section.

Commissioner Knox asked about the sewer line. He doesn't think that the citizens in that area should have to pay the Sanitary District and pay the City as well. Commissioner Watkins agreed. Mayor Rippons said this is one of the items they will discuss with the Dorchester County Sanitary District Commissioners at their meeting.

Introduction of Ordinance to Eliminate Chapter 20 of the City Code-Rob Collison said this is a housekeeping matter. The City Council approved a Comprehensive Rezoning Code on May 12, 2003. The old zoning ordinance is in Chapter 20. This ordinance states that everything in the separate codified zoning code takes the place of Chapter 20. A vote on this ordinance will be taken at the next meeting.

Introduction of Resolution Authorize Application for EDA Grant and USDA Loans for Water and Sewer Extensions-Rob Collison said some of the preliminary application material will be due in December. This is to see what type of funding is available (grant or loan) for a light industrial and technology park that is proposed near the Cambridge Dorchester County Airport. It will be a joint venture between the City and County. The resolution generally authorizes the appropriate City officials to submit the necessary applications for the EDA grant funding for any proposed light industrial or technology park. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to allow the appropriate City officials to proceed with the application for the EDA funding. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 430 - Colossal Contractors - $11,620 - Painting Council Chambers-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas suggested working with Frank Bittner in the future for painting. David Pritchett said Mr. Bittner only does doors. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 438 - John W. Tieder - $7,142.92 - Long Wharf Sea Wall Pedestal Replacement (100% FEMA Reimbursement)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 440 - Elliott Wilson Capitol Trucks - $76,076 - Garbage Truck- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3391 - Pelican Mobile - $4,500 Software for Mobile Computers for CPD-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

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

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

David Pritchett said the Council gave permission for DPW to go to bid for a new administration vehicle. They always try to piggyback off a State contract when they can. The vehicle they are interested in has a sticker price of $30,600. They are able to get it for $21,465 and have budgeted $22,000. He requested permission to purchase the vehicle through the State contract. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

David Pritchett said they received a lot of complaints and requests last year about the operation of the Christmas lights. He suggested turning the light on at 5:00 pm and turning them off at 10:00 pm. Council agreed to these hours.

Rob Collison submitted a resolution to authorize Ed Kinnamon and the RFC President to act as the co-administrators (Administrative Committee) for the LOSAP program. Ed Kinnamon asked that Council approve this request. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Brooks requested that the Traffic and Safety Committee look at three problem areas. They are as follows: (1) at Peachblossom and Cedar Street there is a problem with some trees; (2) the traffic light at the intersection of Gay and Poplar Streets; and (3) the intersection of Pine and Bethel Streets.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to enter into a very brief executive session following the meeting to discuss personnel and legal issues. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Cephas said at the last meeting the Council formed a committee to discuss the Management Board at Sailwinds Park. They have not had a meeting yet.  Commissioner Knox made a motion to appoint Natalie Chabot to serve on the Sailwinds Park Management Board Selection Committee. She volunteered her services. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Rob Collison said at the last meeting the issue arose about what projects could take place on the Schoolhouse Lane property that the State grant is being used for. It reads that the funds will be used to acquire and demolish 22 vacant residential properties that have been condemned by the City or are unable to be rehabilitated. With the exception of two properties, the land will remain clear until such time as the City can attract a developer to build affordable housing unit. The City has a commitment from local developers to build new housing on two of the properties for low- and moderate-income persons.  The language is clear that the intent was to use it for residential. If Council desires to do something else other than residential, they should submit an amendment to that grant.

Rob Collison reported that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to discuss the relocation of a business in the City and they met in open executive session to hear some personnel issues; one was a presentation by the Police Department.

Rob Collison announced that there is a public hearing set for Monday, December 6, to discuss the PWCD Moratorium and the creation of a health care zoning district that would be applied to the hospital and surrounding areas of the hospital.

Portia Johnson-Ennels asked Rob Collison for the definition of affordable housing. Rob Collison said the language used in the grant document was housing for low- and moderate-income persons.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said the City Housing Committee has been on the agenda for several weeks and each time it has been deferred. She asked why it is deferred. The City is doing spot demolitions and because of the way the new zoning was written, you can't build anything so you have vacant spots. Most of the spots are in the Second Ward. Nothing is coming into the Second Ward to improve it. There is a lot of substandard housing that people are renting for $600 and $700 a month. The Housing Committee needs to be put together because we should have a livability code. Mayor Rippons said the committee that needs to have appointments is the Housing Board of Review. The Board Ms. Johnson-Ennels is talking about is facilitating a Cambridge Housing Board. That is not the committee on the agenda. The Housing Board of Review reviews cases of homeowners who feel they have unjustly received an inspection notice from the Housing Inspectors. Ms. Johnson-Ennels said maybe the parameters of the Board need to be changed. It is time for us to stand up and help our people. It is time for the Commissioners to do something. Commissioner Cephas said he agrees 100 percent. The Board has been by-passed for at least three Council meetings. Originally, there were four names submitted. The person submitted by Commissioner Knox asked to have her name taken off. The person submitted by Commissioner Travers asked to have his name taken off. Another name was added at the next meeting. It came before the Council and they did not take action on it because they didn't think it was fair. Names were submitted and there should have been action taken on those names and it was not. He did not submit the name; the Mayor submitted another name. Commissioner Brooks said they have submitted their names. Ms. Johnson-Ennels said she knows that much. Victoria Stanley asked for clarification on what the Board is supposed to do. Mayor Rippons said if an inspector goes out and cites your home and you disagree with the citation, you request to be heard by the Housing Board of Review. Rob Collison said they can reverse the decision of the Housing Office for condemnation or demolition, they can uphold, or they can uphold and reverse in part.

Mayor Rippons said the County and City had a meeting to discuss housing needs in Dorchester County. The County asked the City to appoint 5 members to a Task Force to address housing issues. The Task Force will be made up of approximately 25 members from throughout the County. They will discuss issues of affordability and meeting the needs of our citizens. Commissioner Knox said the meeting was open to the public and was a very good meeting.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens, suggested that Ms. Johnson do what they have done in their neighborhood. The Department of Public Works is very responsive when they turn in infractions. The City employees are overloaded. The most grievous offenses are dealt with immediately; everything else is dealt with in time as manpower allows. They are basically covering their West End territory which is predominantly the First Ward and a portion of the Third Ward. There is nothing stopping the rest of the City residents to motivate for their own neighborhoods to alleviate some of these problems sooner. Ms. Johnson-Ennels said it doesn't quite work that way in all parts of the City.

Marge Hull commended the City on the leaf removal. It was great this year. She asked when the service will end. David Pritchett said it will end when the last leaf is gone or it is covered with snow. They are covering the whole City and will keep going.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:47 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, November 22, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer