• 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

December 28, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:15 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 Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 13, 2004 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Traffic & Safety Committee-Commissioner Brooks reported that the committee met on December 7, 2004 to discuss the following requests:

The committee recommended creating a four-way stop at the intersection of Peachblossom and Phillips Avenues. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the request. The motion passed unanimously.

The committee recommended applying Stimsonite to mark a five-foot crosswalk just to the left of the Pedestrian Mall. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Watkins seconded the request. The motion passed unanimously.

The committee recommended expediting the installation of "synchronized signals" in the downtown area. The light at Race and Gay Streets will then be reevaluated with the intent to convert back to a fixed signal when the synchronization is possible. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the request. The motion passed unanimously.

The committee recommended installing a "No Parking Area" in front of Bethel Church for an approximate distance of 50 feet. One or possibly two ADA spaces could be installed at the northern most end of the church frontage with restricted times similar to other churches. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Watkins seconded the request. The motion passed unanimously.

The committee received a request to evaluate the visibility at Peachblossom Avenue near Cedar Street. The site was visited by a Code Official and revealed a violation. The property owner was sent a notice with a seven‑day compliance time.

PUBLIC HEARING

Blackwater Crossing (formerly know as Wyatt Woods) Growth Allocation-Rob Collison said the public hearing is for a request for growth allocation of 25.74 acres. The property is located on the south side of Church Creek Road between Stone Boundary and Maple Dam. It is zoned partially R1 (single-family residential), partially R3 (multi-family residential), and partially G3 (general commercial). The total acreage of the entire parcel is 131.52 acres. The project proposed is for 348 condominium apartments, 417 townhome units, and 21 single-family homes. The Certificate of Publication of the public hearing was published in the Daily Banner on December 10, 2004.

Anne Roane said the owner is proposing 765 units. The project received general development plan approval from the Planning Commission on January 6, 2004. The project is requesting a growth allocation to re-designate 25.75± acres of resource conservation area (RCA) to intense developed area (IDA) from the City of Cambridge for the proposed development within the critical area. The City currently has 63.77± acres left in the growth allocation account for in-fill. In the process of reviewing the general development plan for the January Planning and Zoning meeting, staff identified a potential mapping error on the critical area map which would have eliminated the need for growth allocation for this project. The Critical Area Commission denied the potential mapping error. The critical area program for the City of Cambridge requires growth allocation to be reviewed and recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission to the City Council. The City Council shall hold a hearing, vote, and if approved, the request will be sent to the Critical Area Commission for their consideration. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval for the requested growth allocation at their September 7, 2004 meeting. 

Sandy McAllister, representing Blackwater Crossing, LLC, introduced Ken Usab of Morris & Ritchie Associates, who brought some drawings to assist Council. Mr. McAllister said there are a series of criteria that must be met in order for Council to grant the requested growth allocation. He feels the property should never have been mapped resource conservation. In the mid‑1980s when the critical area mapping was done, properties that were located within the City with town water and sewer were eligible to be mapped as limited development area (LDA) or intense development area (IDA). It was a mistake and the Critical Area Commission as much as acknowledged it. As part of the effort, the City was attempting to get the institutional uses concentrated for the school system. The school complex is absolutely an institutional use and should have been zoned IDA. The Critical Area Commission, in essence, acknowledged it but denied the global request on a variety of technicalities. The Critical Area Commission is motivated to exhaust growth allocation. The developer cooperated with the City for many months to try to get the map changed without having to come to Council for growth allocation. The project has received general development approval unanimously from the Planning Commission and is on the February docket to be heard for the next level of review. The project is designed to minimize the forest clearing to keep the habitat protected. All the woodlands are outside the critical area.  There is a drainage ditch that crosses the western portion of the site. It flows into the head waters of the Little Blackwater River. This project will enable them to significantly restore and enhance the ditch to actually create a stream. The project does not create the flow; it happens to be the site where the flow comes from the City across the property into the River. It is an opportunity for the City to use the developer and his resources to treat the run-off that otherwise goes straight into the Blackwater with no ability of the City to stop it.

The project has significant amenities for the City and the community including a $2 million 10,000 sq.ft. recreational center for neighborhood use as part of the project. To make this project happen, they have to convert 25.75± acres from RCA to IDA. This property was not annexed; it was in the City when the critical area law was passed.

To grant the request, the City has to consider the following guidelines.

  • Improve the quality of run-off from developed areas that enter into the Chesapeake Bay or its tributary streams. The project will improve the quality of stormwater run-off.
  • Accommodate additional development of the type and intensity designated by the City provided that water quality is not impaired. The proposed development is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and applicable zoning. State law requires that the developer manage the stormwater run-off from the site. All State requirements will be satisfied. As part of the growth allocation approval, development of the site also requires that the stormwater management system reduce pollutant levels by at least 10percent of their current conditions.
  • Minimize the expansion of IDA areas into portions of the critical area designated as habitat protection areas and resource conservation areas. The new area must be at least 20 acres. The request is only slightly larger than 20acres but they do satisfy the minimum.
  • Conserve and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant habitats. The project is designed around the sensitive area of the site including the ditch and the wooded area. The development is concentrated outside the sensitive areas.
  • Encourage the use of retrofitting measures to address existing stormwater management problems. He believes the enhancements are the principle reason the Planning Commission has unanimously endorsed the proposal thus far.

The project will be located on a State Highway on a site that was already in the City with existing water and sewer cattycornered from a commercial application (Snow's Turn) and adjacent to institutional uses (schools). It is located in the City's and County's designated growth area. The new IDA meets the criteria and is consistent with all of the general policies. They are providing a significant Delmarva fox squirrel pathway. The development will provide very extensive impact fees and affordable housing. The units will be at price points significantly under area developments at Egypt Road. No residential or commercial buildings will be located within 300 feet of the tidal wetlands.

Ryan Showalter, Miles & Stockbridge, said the existing ditch actually contains the non-tidal wetlands so there are minor habitat protection areas on site that will be impacted but the design is such to minimize the impacts and enhance the areas around them.

Commissioner Knox said he is very pleased to see that Maple Dam Road will be re-aligned. He asked if anything will be done to enhance parking facilities at the school. Ken Usab said there may be some need to address drainage from the intersection improvements where Maple Dam intersects Route 16. Some space was reserved for park and landscaping enhancement area. There may be additional space for parking when the existing roadbed is removed. Commissioner Knox asked about the pumping station. Ken Usab said it will actually pump into either the existing gravity collection system or the force main that is on Southside Avenue. Commissioner Knox asked if the water facilities at Stone Boundary would have to be addressed in the way of an additional water tower. Gary Newcomb said he didn't believe they would need one for this particular project. They will be needing property somewhere along the Cambridge Beltway for a future station. As far as elevated storage tanks, he thinks with Egypt Road, their other proposed area should be somewhere in the Leonard Lane/Washington Street area.  Commissioner Knox asked about the build-out time. Sandy McAllister said it is being phased. It is safe to assume that current estimates are three to seven years but that depends on the market. It could easily be ten years.

Sandy McAllister offered to assist Rob Collison in doing a draft findings-of-fact.

Catherine McCulley (Hurlock) asked if the development will proceed without the results of the Little Blackwater study. Sandy McAllister said he feels they will be on parallel paths. The project is still in the approval stage so it will take well in excess of a year. Bill Giese asked if the money for the study would be released to the County. Sandy McAllister said the original agreement with the City had the release of the money triggered to certain approvals that have not yet been approved. The County has asked that the money be released early. The developer told them they would seriously consider it but they haven't committed to when it would be. The County wants to get moving on the study. They had it out for bid and have selected a contractor. They are waiting for the funds to do it.

Barbara Edgar (Maple Dam Road) asked if Sandy McAllister said the stream running across from Route 16 which empties into the Little Blackwater is tidal affected. Sandy McAllister said part of it is. Ms. Edgar said she has been around for quite a few years and the tide never affects it. It's all drainage. Sandy McAllister said the Corps of Engineers doesn't agree.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Rob Collison said the Council will vote on the issue on January 6, 2005.

APPOINTMENTS

Victoria Stanley to Discuss Cold Weather Emergency Shelter Program-Victoria Stanley, Dorchester County Department of Social Services, spoke representing a collaboration of community service providers in the County. They have identified a need to provide homeless shelter during the time of severe weather for community members. Beginning on Monday, January 3, 2005, when the weather reaches 20 degrees or below, they will have a facility available to house people who are homeless. Terry Byrd, the newly-hired Program Coordinator, said the program is being run in collaboration with Dorchester Community Development Corporation, Dorchester County Social Services, the Emergency Management Team, Salvation Army, Cambridge Police Department, Dorchester County Sheriff Department, and the Maryland State Police. The shelter, which will be housed at 435 High Street, is for men, women, and children. Meals will be prepared by volunteers from different churches throughout the County. They have 20 beds available for men and 20 beds available for women and children. Children or teenagers will have to be accompanied by a guardian or an adult who has passed clearance.  Mayor Rippons commended them for their efforts. Commissioner Watkins said he his happy to see DCDC moving forward with this program.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Second Reading and Vote on Ordinance to Add Certain Provisions Which Would Clarify the Process and Procedures for the Establishment of a Planned Water Resort District-Rob Collison said there are two proposed ordinances amending the PWRD. The first amends Section 142 which is the residential provision. The maximum density is 15 units per acre. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. (Ordinance 929)

Rob Collison said the second ordinance is a modification to Section 132 which is the PWRD district. This is the clarification for the modifications that were made earlier this year that went from a two-step process to basically a six-step process. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request including a change to Item 6 of the checklist which should be amended to indicate that the scale is 1 inch per 2000 feet (not 200 feet). Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. (Ordinance 930)

Second Reading and Vote on Ordinance to Create a Health Care Zoning District That Would be Applied to the Hospital and Surrounding Areas of the Hospital-Rob Collison said this ordinance received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission. Public hearings were held with no unfavorable comments. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the ordinance to create a health care zoning district. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. (Ordinance 931)

Decision to Re-Zone a Portion of the Property Binding Upon the Westerly Side of Dorchester Avenue, the Northerly Side of Byrn Street and the Easterly Side of Franklin Street to "Health Care Zoning District"-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request including the adoption of the findings of fact that were submitted with the proposal. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Water Street Light Installation-David Pritchett said he will meet with Commissioner Cephas after January 1st and then he will update Council. It is not time-sensitive.

Request to go to Bid for Demolition 724 Pine Street, 801 Pine Street, 923 Pine Street, 939 Pine Street, and 1001 Pine Street-Discussion of this item has been postponed until the meeting on January 6, 2005.

NEW BUSINESS

Rotary International "Centennial Tree"-Mayor Rippons said that Rotary International will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2005. They would like to plant a tree in Cambridge in commemoration of this event. David Pritchett suggested that the tree be planted in the western end of Long Wharf Park (Yacht Club Drive) and fairly close to Water Street. This is near the "Cancer Survivor" tree which begins to create a collection of worthwhile memorials to organizations. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to grant this request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

First Reading for Charter Resolution to Amend Duties and Power of Mayor-Rob Collison said Commissioner Cephas stated that he had some amendments at the last meeting but he has not had the opportunity to meet with him yet.

Discuss Recommendations of the Personnel Review Committee Concerning Clarifications to the City's Employee Manual-Commissioner Cephas had some questions on these issues. Mayor Rippons asked any Commissioner with questions to present them to Ed Kinnamon or Oden Wheeler. This item will be discussed at the next meeting.

Discuss Recommendations of the Personnel Review Committee Concerning Changes to Employee Health Insurance Plan (prescription plan) - Commissioner Cephas had some questions on these issues. Mayor Rippons asked any Commissioner with questions to present them to Ed Kinnamon or Oden Wheeler. This item will be discussed at the next meeting.

Request from Columbia Triathlon Association to Use Great Marsh Park for the Eagle Man Half Ironman Triathlon on June 12, 2005 (set up June 7 through 11)-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Columbia Triathlon Association to Use Great Marsh Park for the Chesapeake Man Ultra Triathlon on October 1, 2005 (set up September 26 through September 30)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

DPW Request to Make Emergency Purchase of a Sign Making Machine- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

DPW Request to Purchase New Vehicle for Inspectors-Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Ordinance to Amend Chapter 17 of the City Code-Rob Collison said this is another housekeeping ordinance. The City is due to finalize the compilation of all of are amendments. They have to be out by the end of the year. When the City approved its comprehensive rezoning on May 12, 2003, they overlooked the fact that it contained within it all the subdivision regulations that are in the old code in Chapter 17. This ordinance eliminates Chapter 17 and states that the new subdivision regulations are in the zoning code. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. (Ordinance 932)

Approve Council Meeting Schedule for 2005-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the schedule. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

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

Consideration of Establishing a Temporary Amnesty Period for Interest and Penalties for Demolition Fees-Rob Collison said this item was submitted to Council in September. The City has demolished several properties and has placed lien(s) on the property for the cost of the demolition. They seldom receive the monies. Most of the time, the cost of the lien is worth more than the property. There is not much of an incentive to pay them off because many times the lots are not buildable under the new code. They are asking for an across-the-board temporary (three month) amnesty so that everyone could pay their demolition fees. The City would waive the interest and penalties. After that, the interest and penalties would continue to be collected. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve a temporary amnesty period through March 31, 2005 for interest and penalties for demolition fees. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  Commissioner Knox asked when the City stops charging the people interest and asked if the City has the power to acquire the property. Rob Collison said the City amended the code several years ago. For a long time the demolition lien only applied to the property that was demolished. It was amended to state that the demolition lien is on any property that the owner has. If the lien is filed at the Circuit Court and reduced to a judgment, it would be on any property that the owner has for a period of up to 12 years. It can be renewed for another 12 years. If it is on a specific property, it will stay on there forever until that property is transferred. In most cases they are useless properties. There is not much advantage for the City to take the properties back in the form of a tax sale because it will be a burden to the City. By waiving the interest and penalties, they may get the adjoining property owners to pay the actual demolition costs to increase the size of their yards. He advised the City to send notices to the outstanding property owners. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

David Pritchett said the Historic Preservation Commission does not have an alternate member. They are having a hard time maintaining a quorum.  He is asking Council to consider selecting an alternate. Grason Winterbottom might want to consider coming back as an alternate. Rob Collison said this would probably require an amendment to the HPC code. Commissioner Travers made a motion to amend the Historic Preservation Commission to include an alternate member. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to hold the next City Council meeting on Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 7:00 pm in lieu of the January 10th meeting. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Cephas applauded Octavene Saunders and her committee for raising over $1000 for two families for their medical conditions.

Commissioner Knox asked the Council to think of someone who had a background in architecture for the Architectural Review Committee. He would like this committee formed by the first meeting in February.

Commissioner Knox asked how the Sailwinds Board Review Committee is progressing. Mayor Rippons said they are reviewing the resumes and will meet shortly.

Rob Collison said in addition to the special meeting of the City Council scheduled for next week, there is a special meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday, January 4, 2005 to conduct a public hearing on the proposed moratorium. The moratorium is proposed to be for a period of up to six months on any site plan reviews and issuance of building permits for new construction within the PWCD. It would not apply to two projects that have already been vested-that is Deep Harbour and Waterside on Muir Street. It would not apply to renovations or repairs to existing structures. The City Council meeting on January 6, 2005 will also be a public hearing and a vote on the moratorium if Council feels there is a need for it.

Wendell Foxwell asked if the impact fees of $4500 are still in effect. Mayor Rippons said they are still in effect. Mr. Foxwell asked when they were going to raise them to $6000. Commissioner Brooks said there was a recommendation to raise the impact fee. Council is still reviewing it. Commissioner Travers said to build a new home in the City of Cambridge today, it would cost over $10,000 just for impact fees and permits. Mr. Foxwell said growth must pay for growth.

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 Tuesday, December 28, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer