City Council Minutes
January 27, 2003
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, January 27, 2003, in City Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Bohlen, Watkins, Weldon, Atkinson, and Travers.
Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Atkinson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 13, 2003 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Historic Preservation Commission-Commissioner Bohlen reported that the Historic Preservation Commission met on January 16, 2003 and heard cases pertaining to the following locations:
- 112 Belvedere Avenue (William & Catherine Hull)-The request was unanimously approved.
- 221 Choptank Avenue/801 Travers Street (Tom McCoy) -The requests were unanimously approved.
- 307 Choptank Avenue (Tom Keating) -The requests were unanimously approved.
- 116 Choptank Avenue (Tom Keating)-The requests were unanimously approved.
- 307 Glenburn Avenue (Gary James)-The request was unanimously approved.
- 317 Belvedere Avenue-The request was deemed to be a maintenance issue. No ruling was necessary.
Mayor Rippons said Mr. Tom McCoy, owner of 221 Choptank Avenue, offered use of a section of the building for a police substation.
Marine Fuel Station Location Task Force-William Messick, Chairman, said the committee voted against the construction of a fuel depot at Long Wharf. He said the answer was very simple. At the meeting on January 8, 2003, Mike Walsh explained that fuel would be available on April 1, 2003 at the Hyatt. He has a copy of the drawing of the expansion of the marina and it noted that there are no provisions for a fuel proposal at the new marina. The vote was 5 to 2. Commissioner Atkinson asked if the committee determined that a need exists in the Cambridge community for a fuel depot. Mr. Messick said there is definitely a need but sending them to the Hyatt is a mistake. Once you send them there, they are not coming back. The average boater will spend approximately $300 for fuel and dockage per night. The temporary system that Mr. Wise discussed at the meeting would cost about $60,000 to install but it is a good system and can be moved. Commissioner Bohlen said he had the opportunity to talk to Ned Nabb. One of the things Mr. Nabb mentioned was how they have fuel at the airport. A recreational boater who has a trailerable boat is going to fuel up at a fuel station on land for the most part. Our sailboat community does not use a great deal of fuel and from what he understood from the watermen, they are getting their fuel from tanks on their pick-ups. What we are really trying to service is the transient boater. A small tank truck could be used. An operator could pump the fuel from the truck. Mr. Messick said there is a big difference between pumping over land and water. The Yacht Club stopped them fueling from trucks this year because they were afraid of leakage. It is impossible to stop a leak immediately. Commissioner Weldon said they are grappling with is the economics of it. What was presented to the City was a lot more than they ever imagined. However, everybody pretty much recognizes that having fuel at or near the marina is an amenity that will make the marina that much more attractive to the transient boaters. In order for the fuel to be economically viable, there should be some attachment to some sort of retail activity. Mr. Messick said a lot of marinas don't have a marine store but there is one nearby. It is a convenience to have one but if you don't, it's no problem because most marinas will loan you a car or take you up to a marine store if you need something that they don't have. Commissioner Weldon said the truck driver will have to be paid by the hour whether he is moving the truck or not. There is nothing else to support that salary other than the cost of the fuel which Mr. Wise explained is minimal. If the City was going to do it, would they subsidize it through raising the marina rates or subsidize it through taxpayer contribution to the general fund. How can we justify pumping gas without having some other economic magnet to make it profitable? Mr. Messick said the big magnet is the marina. Commissioner Weldon asked if he felt it would be equitable to bump the rate a wee bit so we can afford to pay the person the run the fuel. Mr. Messick said that is correct. He has paid as high as $3.50 a foot in Nantucket. The fuel dock is open specified hours.
Mayor Rippons thanked Mr. Messick. He announced that Council will have a report from the City Planner on this issue on either February 10 or February 24. He said Natalie Chabot from Dorchester County Tourism would also like to discuss this process before a final decision is reached by Council. Commissioner Atkinson pointed out we have 385 slips around the Creek and in the marina. Many of them hold big yachts and take a lot of fuel. They pay around $1400 a year for a slip and he feels it is up to us to provide someplace for a fueling facility. Before Council makes any hasty decision, he feels it behooves them to look at any way they can to provide that service.
Resolution of Appreciation for Improvements to World War II Memorial at Long Wharf Park-Ed Kinnamon read the resolution which was signed by the Mayor and Commissioners. Mayor Rippons presented the resolutions to Brice Kinnamon, representing the American Legion Post 91; Robert Dickerson representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7460; and Chris Wilke, Joan Johnson, and Faye Phillips representing the Dorchester Garden Club He thanked the organizations for the wonderful job they did. Robert Dickerson, Commander of VFW Post 7460, said he thought it is wonderful that organizations can enhance the beauty of Cambridge. He thinks all the citizens of Dorchester County can be proud of the memorials at Long Wharf and Great Marsh. He presented Mayor Rippons with a new flag for the flagpole outside City Hall. Chris Wilke said the Garden Club was pleased to be included in the project.
Proclamation for Cambridge Jaycees Week-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation proclaiming the third week of January as Cambridge Jaycees Week in Cambridge. Mayor Rippons presented the proclamation to Michelle Plummer who thanked the community for their continued support over the past 56 years.
Mayor Rippons said as the City continues its growth and revitalization; it became evident that the City needed to hire a City Planner. Effective February 10, 2003, Mr. Lynn Thomas will fill that position. He has a Masters degree in Planning. Presently he works for the Maryland Department of Planning. Mr. Thomas said he looks forward to working with the Council and the public. He feels there are some really good times on the horizon for Cambridge and he is looking forward to it.
Dan Cada Requesting Zoning Change for Richardson Maritime Museum on Maryland Avenue-Rob Collison said this was discussed at a prior meeting. It is scheduled for a public hearing on February 19, 2003. The parcel is located in the PWCD. The request is to include commercial, retail, museum and maritime works.
J. T. Triandafilou to Discuss Senior Citizen Housing Project Proposed for Chesapeake Street (Delmarva Community Services, Inc.)-John J. Schuster said he has entered into an agreement with Delmarva Community Services to develop 60 to 90 elderly housing units adjacent to Delmarva Community Services. The site has about 12 acres of developable ground. He wants to go to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to apply for a low interest loan and tax credits in order to develop the property. DHCD will require a local contribution from the City. A resident manager will live on site. They are proposing approximately 712 sq.ft. one-bedroom units which will be fully furnished.
Mayor Rippons said as it relates to the City's contemplation, usually they ask the developer about what in-kind services they are requesting. Mr. Schuster said for a project they are doing in Salisbury, the City of Salisbury will defer 90 percent of their City tax in the first year, 80 percent in the second, 70 percent in the third, etc. In the eleventh year he would pay 110 percent of the tax that normally would accrue until he has made up the deficit. This would be his first request. It helps keep the operating expenses down in the earlier years. Mayor Rippons asked if he was going to go back to the Assessor's Office for relief as far as assessment goes. Mr. Schuster said Mayor Rippons is exactly right. There is a standard formula in the State of Maryland. They would not value this piece of property even without the PILOT agreement based strictly on cost. They would value it based on income stream. Mayor Rippons said there are three developers requesting support for this round of funding. The City must prioritize the projects. He is asking the developers for a brief synopsis of the benefits as they see them and why the City should choose them as their first priority. Mr. Schuster said he would not build the project unless he can get the funding from the State and a big part of that is the local contribution. He is anticipating bring Delmarva Community Services in as a special limited partner without any financial obligation. If they did 45 units for the first phase, he feels they would be rented within 90 days. He manages all his own properties which consist of just short of 500 units in 13 or 14 communities.
Second Reading and Vote of Ordinance to Amend Section 1-15 Regarding Change in Council Meeting Dates-The first reading for this ordinance was on January 13, 2003. The City Council meetings will be on the second and forth Mondays of the month with work sessions scheduled as needed. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed 4:1 with Commissioners Atkinson, Travers, Watkins and Weldon for the motion and Commissioner Bohlen opposed.
Request from H. Douglas Stoker for Authorization to Maintain a Storage Trailer at 105 Maryland Avenue-Rob Collison said Council is required by the City Code to limit it the authorization to 30 days. He can come back for renewal. Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant Mr. Stoker permission to maintain the storage trailer for 30 days. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. Mayor Rippons said if he comes back, they can ask him how long a duration he anticipates. The motion was passed unanimously.
Decision on Moratorium for Extension of Water and Sewer Services to New Subscribers Pending Study by Consultant-Rob Collison said there are two issues associated with this. One is that it has come to light that there has been some question with regard to extension of water services to property owners outside the City limits. The current Code reads that they in no event shall extend water lines outside the City limits without the permission of the City Commissioners. There has been some dispute as to the interpretation of that. The recommendation would be to amend Section 18-12 to state "In no event shall water service be provided to new users outside the City limits without the permission of the Commissioners of Cambridge.". This would be consistent with the City's policy that whenever possible, annexation would be required for City services. There will be no action taken on this tonight.
There will be a public hearing on the second issue. Mr. Ed Donahue has been hired by the City as a consultant to study the City's services, impact fees, and other related revenue matters. He made a preliminary recommendation as to impact fees for water, sewer, and other items. He will be making a presentation on February 10th.
Rob Collison said the other decision would be on a moratorium for new users to receive services unless they receive their construction or building permit prior to March 1. Commissioner Watkins made a motion that the moratorium go into effect pending the final report back from the consultant. This would not apply to anyone who has gone through the permitting process before March 1, 2003. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. Commissioner Bohlen said Council needs to make sure that the County is notified. Rob Collison said the property owner would need to produce a building permit from the County to the City to receive the tap-in. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve PO 2595 (Edmeades & Stromdahl) Engineering and Design of Public Safety Building ($539,430)-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve Financial Statement for December 2002-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the financial statement for December 2002. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Rob Collison reminded Council about collecting names for the Redistricting Committee. Mayor Rippons said there is a list of names at City Hall of people who are interested in serving on the committee. There is software available that computes everything. It almost takes the political ramifications out of it. He asked the Commissioners to seek representation for their wards.
Rob Collison said previously there was a public hearing advertised for January 29, 2003. That hearing was postponed for two reasons. The Consultant on the Comprehensive Rezoning could not attend. On February 10 the City will hold a public hearing on the proposed density change in the PWCD from 20 units per acre to 24 units per acre. The hearing for the rezoning designation for the Richardson Maritime Museum and the presentation for the comprehensive rezoning has been rescheduled for February 19, 2003.
Commissioner Bohlen said he was at Sailwinds Park for the Antique Automobile Club of America's Chesapeake Division parts swap meet and it was a very well-attended event. People were very happy with the facility.
Commissioner Weldon and Mayor Rippons attended the opening for the Center for Poverty Solutions which is located at the former St. Clair School in Cambridge. It is an organization that is working on the problems that poverty springs from and leads to. The City is very glad to have this organization in town to help address some of the situations in our community.
On Friday, Commissioners Watkins, Bohlen, and Weldon attended the Chamber of Commerce Dinner at the Hyatt. They met the new First Lady of the State and the Governor's Liaison for Intergovernmental Affairs. She was very enthusiastic about what she is seeing in Cambridge.
On February 3, 2003 at 7:00 pm in Council Chambers, there will be a public information meeting regarding the City's pending Main Street application.
On Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 5:30 pm at the Hyatt will be holding a forum that involves downtown revitalization, the growing relationship between the Hyatt's clientele and the businesses downtown, the potential, available programs, etc.
Commissioner Atkinson said in August the Council passed a resolution on the pick-up of white goods. He is concerned about how the City enforces the resolution if a resident who is not a property owner puts out an old stove. David Pritchett said if pick-up of the item has not been paid for, the City tags it and then they give the person a couple of days before the next pick-up. They have had well over 90 percent compliance. There are a few that sit out for quite a while because nobody came in and paid for them. DPW has only picked up one item without payment. Rob Collison said as far as a citation for any violation, the City has the choice of not picking it up or citing them. The citation would be similar to non-compliance with the trash collection procedures. If the tenant could be identified, the tenant is cited. If it is a large project, then the property owner is contacted. Commissioner Weldon said if the item is an appliance, the tenant doesn't own it, the landlord does. They decided it can vary. Rob Collison will review the language of the resolution and work with David Pritchett on it.
Mayor Rippons said the Pine Street Committee's insurance agent is working with everyone that he has latitude with for insurance for the Empowerment Center.
Ed Kinnamon announced the City's new website www.ci.cambridge.md.us. The approved City Council meeting minutes will promptly be put on the website. The City Council agendas will also be available by the close of day on the Thursday before a Council meeting. The fee schedule for building permits is now listed.
Heather Cheesman asked Council's help with trying to get infertility treatment covered by the insurance that the City has for its employees. Commissioner Weldon asked that Rob Collison look into the benefits issue and suggested that further discussion be continued as an executive matter because it is a personnel issue.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:15 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, January 27, 2003, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer