City Council Minutes
September 8, 2003
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, September 8, 2003 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 August 25, 2003 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Historic Preservation Commission-Commissioner Bohlen reported the Historic Preservation Commission met on August 28, 2003 and heard the following cases:
- 111 Choptank Avenue-The request to install vinyl siding and new windows on the second floor was approved unanimously.
- 120 Choptank Avenue-The request to add siding and repair the rotting wood of the soffit was approved unanimously.
- 325 West End Avenue-The repairs to the porch were unanimously approved. The request for installation of a fire escape will be discussed at the next meeting after they get clarification from the Planning and Zoning Commission.
- 519 Poplar Street-The application for a new sign was unanimously approved.
- 304 Gay Street-The request to remove a tilting chimney was unanimously approved.
- 106 High Street-The application to install a rear ground level deck was unanimously approved.
- 501 Race Street-The application to replace the dormers on the steeple of Grace United Methodist Church was unanimously approved.
- 543 Poplar Street-Mr. Gage Thomas appeared for advice on a tremendous amount of renovation needed for the "Four Corners" building.
- 209 Choptank Avenue-The porch deck has been replaced with plywood. This is not an approved material. Planning and Zoning will follow up on this item.
- 114 High Street-The Commission agreed that replacing the gutters was a maintenance issue and did not need their approval.
Traffic & Safety Committee-Commissioner Watkins reported that the Traffic & Safety Committee met on August 28, 2003 to consider the following requests:
- Consider Permanent Removal of Traffic Signal at Gay and Poplar Streets-The Committee recommended leaving the signal in "flash mode" for 6months and installing a pedestrian crosswalk for the intersection. They will review this again in 6months. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Weldon asked that the motion include posting a sign stating that the State law requires vehicles to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Commissioner Watkins amended his motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
- Install a Pedestrian Crosswalk at the Water and High Streets Intersection-The Committee recommends installing the crosswalks and signs as stated above. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
- Request by J. M. Clayton to Require "No Parking" on Commerce Street Near the Intersection of High and Commerce Street-The Committee recommends placing "No Parking Here to Corner" signs approximately 50 feet from the intersection on both sides of Commerce Street. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Heritage Areas-Commissioner Weldon reported that the Heart of Chesapeake Heritage Area Board met on September 4th to prioritize applications received from throughout the area before they are submitted to the State. The applications included a request from the Harriet Tubman Organization for capital improvements; the Dorchester Historical Society for planning funds; Dorchester County Tourism for continuation of operating funds, replacement of the display map inside the Visitor's Center, and updating the outdoor map; and the City of Cambridge requested matching funds for an expenditure for a non-capital grant for a comprehensive landscaping plan for Long Wharf (returned for further review).
Main Street-Commissioner Weldon reported that the Main Street Committee met on September 2nd. They discussed details of the Summer Send-Off activities. On September 27th, they are planning to close Race and Poplar Streets from High to Muir Streets. They will have two stages with four live bands performing, a food and beverage court, demonstrations, antique cars, etc. The Board elected John Nussear as Secretary, Sonny Robbins as Treasurer, Mike Walsh as Vice President, and Marge Lednum as President.
Proclamation for Veterans Recognition Day-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation. Mayor Rippons and Commissioner Atkinson signed it and presented it to Judy Moody, representing the Veterans Recognition Day Committee. The proclamation proclaims September 20th as Veterans Recognition Day in Cambridge. Ms. Moody thanked the Council for their participation.
Request from Nause Waiwash Band of Indians for Variance from the Noise Ordinance for Their Festival on Saturday, September 13th (12 noon until 6 pm) and Sunday, September 14th (12 noon until 5 pm) at Sailwinds Park-Chief Sewell Winterhawk Fitzhugh asked if the City could make a donation toward the insurance necessary to put on their event. Dorchester County did not have any funds available for insurance but helped with advertising. The insurance will cost them $680 this year. It would have been much higher but Kim Seward helped them negotiate the rate they were quoted. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the variance from the noise ordinance. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
The Chief said they have increased their admission to help increase their revenue stream. They have been actively seeking funds from other sources. Quite a few businesses have made donations as have individual households. The whole idea of their event is for education. Commissioner Weldon said the City is in a situation that is not very helpful. He challenged the business community to step up to the plate and help them accomplish their goals. Chief Winterhawk said he appreciates all the City has done for them.
Award Bid for Franklin Street Boat Ramp Facility Improvements-David Pritchett said the City received five bids during the last meeting. Upon evaluation, all five bids qualified. Their recommendation would be to award the project to the low bidder, George & Lynch from New Castle, Delaware, in the amount of $513,000. The cost is being reimbursed 100% through a combination of State and Federal grants. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. The construction should begin by November 1, 2003.
Finalize Charges for the Curb and Gutter Repair in the 700 Block of Glasgow Street-Rob Collison asked that this be deferred to a later meeting.
Shoal Creek Dredging Update-David Pritchett said one side of Shoal Creek is owned and operated by the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The other side is divided among five individual residences. The need to open up the entrance to the Creek occurs about every 3 years. The cost is typically around $3000. Dorchester County offered the use of their operator and the excavator which will only leave a cost for removal of the spoils which can be stored at DPW and be used in future projects.
Discuss Mosquito Control-David Pritchett said they budgeted $10,000 for mosquito control which should have been adequate. Of this amount, $5000 is a grant. A representative from the Maryland Department of the Agriculture contacted him last week to advise him that the City was running very low. They are spraying every week as preventative maintenance. With the West Nile Virus being a threat in the area, it has been necessary to spray twice a week. The representative feels with City will need an additional $2000 to $3000 depending on the rain. Mr. Pritchett said an amendment could be made to the Department of Public Works budget to cover this additional cost. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to accept Mr. Pritchett's recommendation to realign his budget. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Commissioner Atkinson asked about tire storage at the commercial tire facilities. David Pritchett said Brannock's Tires on Race Street has tarped their tires to some degree. They are waiting to haul away a large percentage of their stock and have acquired containers to put the tires in so they won't be out in the open after another couple of weeks. The other facility has not responded yet.
Ordinance to Codify the Revised Municipal Utilities Commission Rates-Rob Collison said the ordinance would amend Section 18-1 of the City Code on water rates. The second reading and vote will be held on September 22, 2003.
Appoint Members to the ADA Committee-Mayor Rippons said Oden Wheeler recommends the following people: Marva Sampson, Terry Brannock, Shirl Tarbox, Larry Jones, and Octavene Saunders. Commissioner Travers represents the Council. Commissioner Travers said there has been a lot of discussion about some places in the City that are not completely ADA compliant yet such as Maryland Avenue. He feels with the new members, they will get the job done. Mayor Rippons said when they started the work on Maryland Avenue, they never planned to replace the whole street. This would not have facilitated the curb cuts. The bids for the work will be opened at the next Council meeting. Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the slate of candidates. Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion. Commissioner Weldon asked if it is possible to deal with the slate on an individual basis. Mayor Rippons said it is at the privilege of Council. Commissioner Weldon said he has a concern with Mrs. Saunders because she has announced that she is running for a political office and he is reluctant to appoint her to a position where she may not be able to separate her interests from the interests of the City. He asked that either she be considered separately or that the entire slate be considered separately. Commissioner Travers asked how they could take her name off until she files for public office. Commissioner Atkinson said even is she files you can't take her name off. Mayor Rippons repeated that the motion is to approve the entire slate as stated. The motion passed 4 to 1 with Commissioner Weldon voting against it.
Approve PO 238 - E. S. Hubbert & Son, Inc. for Commercial Grass Cutter ($12,645) (DPW)-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve PO 2975 - Morean's Fire Equipment for Emergency Repairs to Engine 1‑2 ($6,473.95) (RFC)-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
David Pritchett presented Council with a re-definition of the Building Permit Administrator job description. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the job description. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Rippons received a letter from the Main Street Committee requesting a variance from the noise ordinance for Saturday, September 27, 2003 from 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm on Race Street in conjunction with their "Main Street Cambridge Open House Party". This will be held during the Summer Send-Off Weekend. Mayor Rippons said they will also need a variance from the noise ordinance on Sunday, September 28, 2003 at Sailwinds Park from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm for the boating events. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the requests. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Rob Collison announced that the Council met in closed executive session at 6:15 pm to discuss personnel matters and legal issues.
Rob Collison asked for approval to purchase the computer software program necessary for re-districting the City. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the expenditure for the redistricting software. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bohlen asked about the bids for painting City Hall. David Pritchett said that although a clause is in the bid documents referencing the abatement of lead, they feel they might avoid any possible repercussions if they re-bid it and be more specific about the lead.
Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to hold a work session the third Monday in October to discuss some housing issues and property maintenance issues. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Watkins asked that the City contact the State Highway Administration to request a stop light at the corner of Maces Lane and Washington Street. This intersection was the site of a fatal car accident this week. He would also like to see one at the corner of High and Washington Streets. Commissioner Bohlen asked the Traffic and Safety Committee to review the intersection to see if the no parking area could be extended on the sides of the road.
Commissioner Weldon asked about the proposed police substation in the west end area. Chief Malik said he has not heard anything from Mr. McCoy. He said the old Hot Spots grant is now a C-Safe grant and they have more flexibility. They have put an addendum on their grant to include additional neighborhoods including Choptank, West End, and Willis Street. Commissioner Weldon thanked the Police Department for their quick response to a couple of situations on his street.
Commissioner Atkinson said for the Fiscal Year 2003, the City collected $339,221 from the hotel room tax. The greatest contributor was the Hyatt. In the month of June, the City received $56,000. He feels this is beyond their expectations.
Commissioner Atkinson asked David Pritchett to check with the contractor to see when construction will start on Bayly Road. David Pritchett said he hopes to see them start next week.
Commissioner Travers asked David Pritchett to have a housing inspector check the second house from the end on Roslyn Avenue. He said they have been working on it for 3 years and 2 months and he doesn't see where anything has been accomplished.
David Pritchett said there are a lot of issues with trash collection. It is getting so busy on the weekends that pick-up in the downtown and commercial areas has to be addressed. They can no longer go from Friday to Monday through the warm season. There were two employees this weekend that voluntarily each took a truck and worked Saturday and Sunday and did the downtown pick-up just to make sure the cans were being emptied. The employees were Calvin Johnson and LaCurtis Opher. He said DPW has some good employees. Commissioner Bohlen said their effort is greatly appreciated. David Pritchett said they are going to be very aggressive on businesses using the City trash cans for their business trash.
David Pritchett said 60-feet of bulkhead where the fuel truck presently dispenses fuel needs repair. He is trying to get funding from DNR.
Lynn Thomas said he delivered the City's Community Legacy grant application today.
Lynn Thomas said all four of the Main Street Committees are now meeting. The Organization Committee still only has 4 members. This committee discusses fund raising, media relations, and identifying potential new volunteers and keeping them happy. The Main Street 101 Training will be held at the Hyatt on September 16th and 17th.
Ben Parks, President of Dorchester County Seafood Harvesters Association, requested a noise variance for the Boat Docking Contest. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the noise variance. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. (Sunday, September 14, 2003 1:00 pm)
Gage Thomas said part of the Summer Send-Off (September 27) is the 7th Annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race. They will have free coffee and donuts from 7:00 am until 10:00 am. The race is from 10:00 am until 12 noon. A captain's luncheon will follow the race and then they will have an awards ceremony. There will be a deck party from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Snappers. He is requesting a variance from the noise ordinance for the deck party. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Gage Thomas asked if the City had any plans for a connector road from Hambrooks Boulevard to Route 343 and then to Chesapeake Drive to Route 16. Rob Collison said there is a public hearing for annexation for the Dudley parcel on September 22. As part of that development there would be a requirement to connect the roads once Hambrooks is extended. There would be a requirement of a connector to the Luthy Farm parcel that is going to be developed from Jenkins Creek Road over to Route 343. David Pritchett asked Mr. Thomas to talk to George Hyde about the plans.
Ken Knox, representing the Jenkins Creek Association for Property Development, submitted a letter and plat. He said there are a number of issues with the proposed project. The development is too large. There is an issue of critical issues involved. Setbacks and growth management issues need to be addressed. He believes the zoning has to be changed. Everyone living west of Race and High Streets all the way to Hudson is going to be effected with the traffic issue. Safety and schools have to be addressed. They are asking Council to look at all the issues.
Wendell Foxwell said there are still a lot of small patches of grass on the street that should be pulled up. We can't leave anything for Main Street to pick at. The alleys by Sheets Florist Shop and Cheetah's Pub are full of grass. The fields on Washington Street have tall grass. Mr. Pritchett told him 3 years ago that the Rob Roy building was up for demolition probably 6 or 8 years ago. Mayor Rippons said there is a contract pending for renovation. Rather than the City spending $250,000 to $300,000 for demolition because the property owner wasn't going to do it, there is now contemplation that the building will be renovated.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:28 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, September 8, 2003, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer