City Council Minutes
August 25, 2003
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, August 25, 2003 in 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.
Oden C. Wheeler 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 August 11, 2003 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Planning and Zoning Commission-Commissioner Watkins reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission met on August 12, 2003 to hear the following cases:
- Lots 27 & 28 Bayly Road-The owner requested a special exception to build a duplex in the NC-2 zoning district. The applicant has already been before the Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance request for the minimum height requirement of 1½ stories. The must go back to the Board of Zoning Appeals for their special exception.
- Woods Road Apartments-Delaware Valley Development Corporation presented their sketch plan based on the definition of subdivision.
- Lands of Luthy Farms-Waterford Landing, LLC presented their sketch plan for a 176‑acre parcel. A number of issues have arisen regarding this project such as the growth allocation needed as well as traffic concerns. Commissioner Watkins said there was a lot of opposition.
- Maces Village-Lane Engineering presented their sketch plan for 83 lots off Maces Lane.
Main Street Committee-Commissioner Weldon reported that the Board of Directors for the Main Street Committee met last Tuesday. Lynn Thomas is the Main Street Manager. Interested citizens can attend the subcommittee meetings to lend a hand as volunteers. Subcommittees have been formed to address design, organization, promotion, and economic restructuring. Carol Levy, Director of the Design Committee, expressed some concerns that the Committee was not headed in the right direction. It was agreed by the Board that the Design Committee's focus should be assisting the existing merchants with the designs of their properties. Mike Walsh, representing the Marketing Committee, addressed the upcoming Cambridge Summer Send-Off Weekend planned for September 27 and 28. Rich Loeffler, Economic Restructuring Committee, reported they are in the process of developing the baseline information that they need to have. Ed White, DHCD, suggested that the Economic Restructuring Committee begin immediately investigating which downtown property owners might be interested in making façade and/or interior renovations so they can develop a budget that might be requested as an amount for a revolving loan fund through a Community Legacy fund. Greg Vande Visser, Marketing Committee, reported on the Second Saturday events that are taking place downtown.
Proclamation for Little League Senior Division-On behalf of the Maryland House of Delegates, Delegate Addie Eckardt presented the players with a resolution in recognition of their hard work, dedication, and love of baseball. Mayor Rippons read a proclamation from the Cambridge City Council and presented a copy to each coach and player. He thanked them all on behalf of a very grateful City. Chuck Coleman, Team Manager, thanked all the parents and everyone who was involved with the team this year.
Open Bids for Franklin Street Boat Ramp Facility Improvements-Oden Wheeler reported that the City received five bids.
- Edwin & John Crandell, Inc. (West River, MD) - $525,780
- Marine Contracting Corporation (Virginia Beach, VA) - $626,800
- George & Lynch, Inc. (New Castle, DE) - $513,000
- Maryland Diving Service, Inc. (Gwynn Oak, MD) - $587,000
- Dissen & Juhn Corporation (New York) - $529,500
Commissioner Watkins made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for their review and recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Representatives from Hadco and Holophane to Discuss Options for Downtown Lighting-Ken Roth, said Holophane Lighting Company is a 103‑year old lighting manufacturer from Ohio. Their products are used in Chicago; Hurlock, Annapolis, Cumberland, Elkton, Westminster, and Gaithersburg, MD; Richmond, VA; and Harrisburg, PA.
Ken Roth said that although they offer plastic because of the lower cost, in his opinion, glass is the best choice for Cambridge. The fixture is on Conectiv standards and can be installed under their leasing and maintenance program. All liability and insurance is Conectiv's responsibility.
Dan Harris, Account Representative from Conectiv, said Holophane is their exclusive manufacturer of the street lighting systems. Conectiv would place the light on the pedestal. The pedestal and conduits would be the responsibility of the City. Conectiv would pull the wire, install the light, and it would cost $20.98 per month per light. Conectiv would take care of all maintenance including replacing lights that have been damaged by accidents. Commissioner Bohlen said if the lights were placed downtown [Water, Gay, Spring, Poplar, and Race (to Cedar) Streets including the pedestrian mall] they would need approximately 40 additional fixtures. If Conectiv purchases the lights from Holophane, they install the light and also maintain the underground system.
Bill Burris, representing J. W. Tieder, Inc., said they incorporated in 1945. They serve basically the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the lower two counties of Delaware and the lower two counties of Virginia. Their lighting layout is broken up into 6 areas. The layout is based on 14-ft poles with 175 Watt lamps. They are using the PolyAcryl globe from HADCO which has a 10-year guarantee. They have suggested installing the lights on Maryland Avenue and Cedar Street in addition to downtown. The 14‑ft poles will allow the City to put banners on them. The total project cost with concrete sidewalks would be $840,548. If brick pavers are used in the commercial district, they are looking at $1,036,628. The individual costs including the maintenance program were shown on a 5‑, 10‑, and 15‑year basis and range from $34 to $19 per month. At the end of the period of time, the City would own the system. With the event of deregulation, it is his suggestion that the City has control over their lighting fixtures because you don't know who your power supplier will be.
Don Fentress, HADCO, emphasized that John Tieder is capable, able, and willing to take on the obligations to support Cambridge. They prepared a design that allows John Tieder to install a dedicated lighting system. If at some point in the future, the utility or the City finds it in their financial ability to bury the overhead high-voltage lines and put everything underground, they will not be in conflict with the street lights. The maintenance contract for the poles after they are paid for would be $7.50 a pole.
Ordinance Adopting the Charges for the Curb and Gutter Repair in the 700 Block of Glasgow Street-Rob Collison said the work has been completed and the true costs are reflected in Ordinance 911. The monies are due on or before February 29, 2004. Thereafter they shall accrue interest at an interest rate of one-half percent per month until August 31, 2004 and thereafter shall accrue interest at the rate of one percent per month until paid. These would be liens on the properties and collected the same as taxes. The ordinance will be finalized on September 8th. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the ordinance with the amended change. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Request from Tourism for Donation Toward "Welcome to the Heart of Chesapeake Country" Sign-As nobody was present from Tourism, this item was not discussed.
Award Bid for Furnishing and Delivering One New Commercial Grass Cutter-David Pritchett reported that the City received four bids for a commercial grass cutter. E. S. Hubbert & Son, Inc. was the low bidder in the amount of $12,645 and met all specifications. He recommended awarding the bid to E. S. Hubbert & Son, Inc. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Connie Fisher for Letter of Support for Public Transportation-Mayor Rippons said the City received a letter from Jerome Stanley of Delmarva Community Services explaining the reason behind not putting a bus stop in front of the Glenburn House. This letter will be forwarded to Connie Fisher.
Request from SIS Properties for PILOT Agreement for their Amberly Meadows Senior Community-John Schuster said they are proposing to build 60 affordable elderly housing units along Chesapeake Street adjacent to Delmarva Community Services. They received preliminary approval from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for funding. Funding is contingent on receiving a contribution from the City. They are requesting that the City defer the City's portion of the tax by 90% in the first year, 80% in the second, 70% in the third, etc. so in the 10th year they would be paying the full tax. In years 11 through 20 they would be paying the full taxes plus the deferred portions from the first 10 years. This would only be for Phase 1 of their project (30 units).
Mayor Rippons said if they are going to do a PILOT for SIS Properties, then it might behoove the City to enter into the same agreement with MHA Financial Group. Rob Collison said unless Council sees a justifiable basis to treat the applicants differently, he recommends being uniform in granting of a PILOT. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to adopt the request. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. Rob Collison said for clarification it would a 10‑year deferral, paid back over 10 years based upon the cost approach. Commissioner Weldon asked that this be uniform for both projects. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from MHA Financial Group for PILOT Agreement for Their Woods Road Project-See above for details of PILOT agreement. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to authorize a Resolution of Support for the MHA Financial Group project setting forth the policy that was just adopted. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Tom Carolan Regarding Impact Fees-Tom Carolan said he requested relief from impact fees for units that he has already sold. Mayor Rippons said that Commissioner Travers received a letter discussing a similar issue. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that any contract that was signed prior to July 14th be exempt from any impact fee provided construction is started within 90 days. Mr. Carolan said he thinks this is fair. Rob Collison suggested the Council adopt a City-wide policy. Commissioner Atkinson said his motion would be applicable to everybody if their permit was taken out and the contract was signed before July 14th. Mayor Rippons said none of the permits have been taken out before July 14th. Rob Collison said he believes Commissioner Atkinson is giving them until October 14th to get the building permit and begin construction if they have a contract signed prior to July 14th. Mr. Carolan said about half of his projects do have permits and are under construction already. He is very close to pulling permits on almost all of the other ones. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. Commissioner Bohlen said he agrees with Mayor Rippons because a permit is good for 1 year so construction does not have to begin for 6 months. Mayor Rippons said in talking to other local people, they said they have read the local papers and have seen the public notices about the City's contemplation of impact fees and they have gone to market considering the additional $5000 cost. Commissioner Weldon said if someone writes a contract in good faith in advance of this and has it signed and received a deposit from the customer, he would have to honor the contract if it's not covered as a contingency. Mr. Carolan said they have been here doing sales since November. Because of the weather, the contractor has not put in all the roads. In good conscience, he did not want to pull permits on lots where he cannot actually start construction.
Rob Collison recommended establishing a uniform policy which would apply to everyone. Commissioner Atkinson asked how a contractor could charge an amount until they knew what the amount would be. Council didn't decide on the amount of the impact fee until July 14th. Mayor Rippons said the local people told him when they went out to market they outlined in their marketing that there is contemplation on the part of Council that the impact fee could go as high as $9500.
Commissioner Atkinson said he is not saying to exempt anybody who signed a contract after July 14th. He is saying before July 14th. Mayor Rippons said the local builders were telling people from January to July that their price might be a little higher because there is contemplation of an impact fee.
Commissioner Bohlen asked how many impact fees the City has collected so far. Mayor Rippons responded that they collected between four and six. Commissioner Bohlen said if anyone is caught in between this, the City will have to refund their money. Commissioner Bohlen said he has a personal friend who is buying a property in Mr. Carolan's development who called him before the City adopted the impact fee and asked him about the City adopting a $9500 impact fee. He was told by his developer it is going to cost him this much more. Commissioner Bohlen told him it was not going to be that much, and told him $4500 was being proposed. Mr. Carolan said unless that was the day before the Council voted, it might have been contemplated that if this passes, they would have to raise prices.
Dale Adams said he is the sales person and he goes in for all the permits. He had knowledge of this after he came back after his wife passed way on June 2nd and he was out for several weeks. He didn't know anything about it. Mr. Carolan said Dale Adams was out of work for about 10 days after his wife passed away. When he came back he heard inklings of it.
Commissioner Atkinson repeated his motion that any contract that was signed for building a home prior to July 14th would be exempt from the $4500 impact fee provided actual construction was started within 90 days from July 14th.
Mayor Rippons said the person who wrote the letter to Commissioner Travers had bought the lot but did not sign with a contractor to build. She signed to purchase a lot. Rob Collison said if you make it applicable to the acquisition of the lot, the exemption is going to mushroom because people have had lots for years. He said Commissioner Atkinson is referring to a contract for the construction of a new home. To qualify for the exemption, they would have to bring the contract when they apply for the permit. Commissioner Weldon asked if there would have to be proof of a deposit to validate the date of the contract. Commissioner Travers said he is in favor of supporting local people who have lived in Dorchester County their entire life. David Pritchett said he has had two other situations similar to the situation Commissioner Travers is talking about. They were shocked at the news; however, they have accepted it and their homes are under construction and they have paid the impact fees.
Commissioner Weldon said if they go back to the permit date, they can verify it. Commissioner Atkinson amended his motion to add that the footer is completed within 90 days and passes inspection. Commissioner Weldon seconded the amended motion. Rob Collision clarified the motion. The contract must predate July 14, 2003; the building permit must be obtained and construction begun (defined as a footer inspection conducted and approved) prior to October 14, 2003. The motion passed 3 to 2 with Commissioners Bohlen and Travers opposed.
Council to Authorize Clerk Treasurer to Renew Borrowing Authority With Bank of America Commercial Card Services-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to authorize the Clerk Treasurer to renew borrowing authority with Bank of America Commercial Card Services. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve Resolution for Community Legacy Grant Application-Lynn Thomas reported he is working with Ed White on the application. The Main Street Committee will be working to try to get a handle on how much interest there might be in a project for façade and interior renovation funds. He feels there will be a great deal of interest in the program. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the resolution for the submission of a Community Legacy grant application. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve PO 2938 Graves Uniforms for Winter Uniforms ($3,595.90) for CPD-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve PO 2937 Hertrich Fleet Services for a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria ($20,283) for CPD-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously
Approve Financial Statement for July 2003-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the financial statement. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously
David Pritchett said the Department of Public Works is requesting permission to hold a picnic at Great Marsh on Wednesday, September 10th. Most of the crews are done early enough to begin the picnic at 11:00 am and they would hold it until about 1:30 pm. The department offices will still remain open. There was no objection from Council.
Commissioner Atkinson asked about the inspection at "Four Corners". David Pritchett said they did a full inspection and prepared a detailed report of violations which was issued to the owner. They have met with the owner since then to work out a priority schedule. The owner may potentially be going before the Board of Housing Review on some of the items that may require more time or a variance. Gage Thomas, owner, said the scope of the work that needs to be done must go before the Historic Preservation Commission.
Commissioner Atkinson asked about the Bayly Road project. George Hyde said he met with the contractor 2 weeks ago and they told him it would begin in 3 to 4 weeks barring no major rain. The next week we had a significant amount of rain.
Commissioner Atkinson received a complaint that the clock on City Hall was not striking. David Pritchett said it is working fine but he will check it.
Commissioner Weldon asked about redistricting. Rob Collison said they should have public hearings starting the end of September or the first of October.
Commissioner Bohlen thanked the sanitation crews for immediately emptying several trash cans on Race and Poplar Streets that were overflowing. He said a lot of businesses are abusing the trash receptacles. David Pritchett said he addressed one business but unfortunately there has not been any positive response. Rob Collison will prepare an ordinance similar to the ordinance imposing fines associated with using the dumpsters at Long Wharf.
Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to consider a proposal for expansion of business within the City and for a new business relocating to the City.
Mayor Rippons said the City is purchasing houses on Schoolhouse Lane and will demolish them. He will be setting up a meeting either at the Empowerment Center or the Elks Club later next week to obtain community input as to what they would like to see on the site as the City moves forward.
Mayor Rippons received a message from Senator Rich Colburn who lives on Heron Road. Heron Boulevard is the address for the Hyatt. Many people are directed to Heron Road by computer map programs. He has spoken to Mike Walsh and is suggesting that the City change the name of the road at the Hyatt to Blue Heron Boulevard. Rob Collison will review the operating procedure for changing street names.
Rob Collison reported that all remaining issues on the public safety site were resolved at a meeting on Thursday at the Planning and Zoning Office.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 9:30 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, August 25, 2003, insofar as I personally am aware.
Oden C. Wheeler, Jr., Administrative Coordinator