• 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
Print this page

City Council Minutes

February 4, 2003
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 4, 2002, 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 Atkinson made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 28, 2002 Council meeting as distributed with one correction.  On the first line of Page 745 the word "he" before financial should be "his".   Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Historic Preservation Commission-Commissioner Bohlen reported that the Commissioner met on December 20, 2001 and discussed the following issues:

  • Tony and Marion Thomas (313 West End Avenue) wish to install a picket fence. This request was approved unanimously.
  • Tony Thomas, Gage Thomas, and Marlyn Friedman (410-412 Race Street) are planning to repair, replace, and improve the facade. The improvements were approved unanimously.
  • Tom Keating (403 High Street) would like to install a handicap-accessible ramp. The plans were approved; however, it was later discovered that due to the situation with the building, the ramp was no longer necessary.

At the meeting of January 17, 2002, the Commission heard the following issue:

  • John and Helen Saum (3 Choptank Avenue) are planning major renovations including replacement windows, roofing, replacement siding, replacement of the garage, and demolishing the sun porch. All improvements were approved.

APPOINTMENTS

Jerry Clark of Cambridge Auto Recyclers to Offer to Remove Abandoned Vehicles at No Charge to the City-Mr. Clark has been removing cars in the City for years with no problem.  As long as the owner has the correct paperwork, they are complete vehicles and are not loaded with trash; he will remove them free of charge.

Bill Windsor of 5W Towing and Partner of Henderson Auto Salvage-Mr. Windsor will also be willing to remove cars for the City.  He has been doing this for the past 7 years.  This will be at no cost to the City.  There are no stipulations.  As long as they can get to the vehicle, they will remove it.

Commissioner Atkinson asked the gentlemen about the titles to the vehicles.  Mr. Windsor said anything in a salvage yard that is 10‑years old or newer has to have a title; however, you will not find many 10-year old cars that people will be willing to junk.  Rob Collison asked if each gentleman has a storage yard as stipulated in the City Code.  Mr. Windsor said he does.  Mr. Clark said he is a licensed salvage yard. Rob Collison said it is his recommendation that any business owner who is interested in this kind of work give their information to the Planning and Zoning Department.  Jim Michael will compile a list of approved vendors.  Mayor Rippons asked the press to announce that if other vendors are willing to make the same offer, they should contact Jim Michael.

Commissioner Atkinson said in reference to the ordinance passed last week dealing with inoperable vehicles he would like to make a motion that Council give citizens a 60‑day amnesty period before they start issuing citations.  This would give the citizens the opportunity to contact the salvage yards directly.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  Jim Michael will prepare a news release to notify the newspapers and radio stations.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Mr. Herschel Johnson of The Friends of Stanley Institute, Inc. to Request Financial Support for the Stanley Institute School-Stanley Institute is the school at the corner of Route 16 and Bayly Road.  They are in the process of trying to restore the school.  Four years ago they were awarded a $50,000 bond bill from the State provided they match it.  After two years, they asked the State for a two-year extension which runs out March 1, 2002.  They now have $45,000 toward the $50,000.  Dorchester County has contributed $10,000.  They need $5,000 by March 1 (or sooner) and they are asking for the City's help.  They have also contacted other funding sources for help.

Commissioner Watkins thinks that considering the work these folks have been doing, the City should make a contribution.  Commissioner Atkinson said it is in his ward and it is a historical site that means a lot to the African-American culture.  It's part of the history of Cambridge and Dorchester County and he thinks the City should make a donation.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that Council grant Mr. Johnson's request to contribute $5,000 to the Stanley Institute.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  Mr. Johnson said they have been told they will probably get money from the Nathan Foundation but he is not sure how much yet or when it will be.  When they meet the grant, they will still need additional money to keep the school running once it is restored.  Commissioner Weldon said he had the opportunity to see the interior of the school a few years ago.  He feels it is a wonderful project.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Sailwinds-Raymond Simmons, on behalf of the Sailwinds Management Board, gave Council a draft of a resolution for their consideration.  The Management Board was appointed by the Mayor and Commissioners to run Sailwinds.  In the process of running Sailwinds they have come to learn that there seems to be a great push by various delegations to develop the property perhaps in a way that may not be to the benefit of all of Cambridge and Dorchester County.   At the forum held by the City at Sailwinds two weeks ago, three proposals were presented.  It became clear to the Board that some parties are very interested in a shipbuilding facility.  The Management Board is 100 percent against this proposal.  They do not believe it is in the original vision of Sailwinds and it doesn't match any of the description of Sailwinds when it was originally contemplated.  A review of the proposal that was originally drafted by the Commission indicates that the shipyard that is currently on the harbor is not the best interest of that property. They feel the only appeal is the lure of jobs.  The Management Board wants to see that the property is developed in the highest, best usage that was envisioned in the original proposal.  It is quite clear that Delegate Eckardt appears not to have any opposition to that proposal. 

The resolution would create an eleven-member committee made up of the five Commissioners, Mayor Rippons, and the five Management Board members.  The purpose would be so a unified voice could be presented to the Maryland Port Administration, the State of Maryland, Department of Transportation, or anybody who is involved in this project.  The Board has an interest in this property and they need to ensure that their interests are met.  They believe it would be in the strongest of their interest to do whatever they could do to encourage the State of Maryland to convey the property at the Port back to the City of Cambridge.  They are asking the Council to consider the resolution, which would primarily create a committee that would have a unified voice from the City of Cambridge/Dorchester County to the various on-going meetings that have been taking place.  It is in the best interest of Cambridge that this property should be re-conveyed back to Cambridge who has the ability to develop the property for the best interest for the City of Cambridge.  If the resolution is passed, they ask that the City forward it to the Delegates and Senator.

Rob Collison has briefly looked at the resolution.  If Council is inclined to approve it, he will put it in final form for next week.  He asked for Council's questions and suggestions by Thursday.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discuss Amendment to Marina Upgrade Contract-David Pritchett addressed Council last week about the work at the Marina.  They are staying within their original budget but are asking Council's input on funding during this phase to add T‑piers to any or all of the three main piers.  Ed Kinnamon was asked to look into matching DPW's offer to match $6,000 of the $20,000+ needed for the "C" pier.  At this point he feels they have narrowed it down to just "C" pier.  It would cost $22,500 to do this pier, which is the pier on the Yacht Club drive.  It would be their preference to do all the piers now.  They had anticipated fitting it in but ran into some unexpected costs.  All three T-piers would cost $62,000.  The T-pier for "C" pier would cost $25,000.  DNR would pay for 50 percent of this amount ($12,500) and DPW would contribute $6,250.  DNR would also match the funds if "A" and "B" piers were done at this time ($18,500).  Ed Kinnamon said overall, the City's share would be $31,000 and DPW has $6,000 to contribute.  He said there is $25,000 available in the Contingency Fund if Council wishes to proceed.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to authorize the full amount to complete all the work at the present time.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Dorchester County Recreation and Parks Board to Hold Easter Egg Hunt at Great Marsh Park on Saturday, March 23rd at 11:00 am-Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the request of Dorchester County Recreation and Parks Board to hold an Easter Egg Hunt at Great Marsh Park on Saturday, March 23rd  (rain date March 24th). Commissioner Watkins seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Budget Amendment for Financial Administration-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment for Financial Administration.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Budget Amendment for Cambridge Police Department-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the budget amendment for the Cambridge Police Department.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

David Pritchett said it is his understanding that there is only one City employee actively serving in the National Guard.  His employee has been gone for about 6 months now.  All indications are that he will be gone the full 2 years.  David would like to know if Council would like him to explore some nominal fee package to send to the employee from the City.  This person has been an employee for 20 years.  Mayor Rippons asked David to submit his request in writing to Council so they can evaluate it.

Rob Collison announced that at 6:15 p.m. the Council met in closed executive session to consider a real estate matter.  Council took no action.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to go into executive session following the meeting to discuss personnel and real estate.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Gage Thomas said he didn't elect Ray Simmons or the Management Board to make his decisions; the community elected the Council.  He has not seen the resolution but it appears the committee is exclusive of many other people who have a stake in what happens at Sailwinds.  He thinks the Mayor should continue to hold meetings with the public as far as input and what they want as a vision for Sailwinds.  He appreciates the concerns of the Management Board because they have done well with Governors Hall and he wants that to continue.  There are many others groups that should have input into a much larger committee to make a final decision or recommendation. 

Mayor Rippons said he never heard Mr. Simmons mention they had exclusive interest.  Having appointed the Board and seeing the work that they have put in, he takes great exception to this statement especially since Mr. Thomas has not reviewed the resolution.  He suggested Mr. Thomas look at what those gentlemen have put in there vs. what was there in the past.  Mr. Thomas said the notion to exclude others in this community that have an interest would not be in the best interest of the community.  Mayor Rippons said there has never been anything done or will ever be anything done to exclude anybody in this community. 

Tony Thomas said he wishes Council would appoint a committee for downtown businesses so they can get something done.  He said it seems like all the focus is on Sailwinds.  He still doesn't have the public parking signs he asked for four years ago.  Mr. Thomas said the City Council and the Sailwinds Board are all for Sailwinds.  Mayor Rippons said the Sailwinds Board was appointed for Sailwinds.  Mr. Thomas said if Delegate Eckardt makes a statement, everybody is against her.  He said maybe there are other opinions on Sailwinds.  Maybe we need jobs brought in here.  Maybe people need to have jobs before we have more shopping centers and more parties.  We need more employees in town.  The company interested in the Sailwinds property wants to build cruise ships-not rusty tugboats.  Cambridge built its history on ships.  He thinks it is fantastic that someone wants to come here to employ 150 people. 

There is room for everything and there is also room for a downtown and everybody has ignored this downtown.  He would like metal parking signs and a street sweeper which they haven't had in two or three years.  He would like a policeman walking up and down the street.  If response to Mayor Rippons' question, other downtown business owners said they have seen a policeman walking the street. Mr. Thomas said there has not been a regular patrolman downtown since Palestine retired.  Captain Malik said there has not been a patrolman permanently assigned downtown.  Mr. Thomas said there is paper and trash all over the pedestrian mall.  David Pritchett said the street sweeper runs twice a week.  Mr. Thomas said at one time there was a City employee walking up and down and sweeping the streets.  David said the City Code is clear that the trash that is in front and on the sidewalks is the responsibility of the business owner.  Mr. Thomas said he walks around at 1:30 a.m. to pick up cups or beer bottles on the sidewalks and parking lots near him.  He said he is talking about the park area.  He feels we need an economic development plan for this City.  We have a decaying downtown.  He feels it has moved tremendously for the handful of people who have moved it but they need the City's help.

Commissioner Weldon said he submitted a list of directional signs to DPW some time ago.  David said this has been added into his upcoming budget.   He said they are not just looking at metal signs, but something uniform throughout the town.  Commissioner Weldon suggested presenting this proposal to the business community.

Commissioner Weldon said Council passed an ordinance in November to have an economic development committee appointed.  He is still waiting to hear who the members will be.  He volunteered to sit on the committee and most of downtown is in his ward.  Mayor Rippons said Council asked him to chair the committee.  He said he will not chair the committee if Commissioner Weldon is on it.  If Council wishes Commissioner Weldon to chair it, he should go ahead.  Commissioner Weldon suggested amending the ordinance so Mayor Rippons will not be involved with the committee.  This has been a priority of his for eight years. There have been people he has worked with who are waiting for something to happen.  He has to back Mr. Thomas on this.  There are a lot of things that are talked about and we don't see it happen.  He has seen an officer downtown far more regularly since Captain Malik has been on.  He appreciates the effort the Police Department has made.  He and Mr. Pritchett are making progress.  They are moving in the right direction.  Things don't happen overnight.  They have to take care of some internal inertia so as a body they can make some policy statements that are going to make sense for this community.  Mayor Rippons said if it is Council's wishes, Commissioner Weldon can chair the committee.  Commissioner Weldon said he prefers to have a member of the business community chair it.  One of his big disappointments is that ARC is falling apart.  He would rather see a private sector organization present to Council what they want to do and then Council will know that the work has been done with the best interest of the business community in mind and Council can approve what needs to be approved.  He would like to have more input from the business community. 

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 7:53 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, February 4, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer