• 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

February 11, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 11, 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 Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 4, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  Commissioner Weldon said on the bottom of Page 752 in the discussion of the economic matters committee, the statement that Mayor Rippons made was omitted and he would like it included in the record.  The statement was that Mayor Rippons refuses to serve on a committee that Commissioner Weldon serves on.  Commissioner Atkinson said the statement was made so put it in.  The motion was passed unanimously to approve the minutes in the amended form.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Planning Commission-Commissioner Watkins reported that the Planning Commission met on February 5, 2002 to discuss the subdivision known as Cambridge West on Route 343.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the Planning Commission's recommendation for conditional approval.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded it.  Rob Collison stated that it would be conditional approval of the subdivision plans as presented.  Three variances recommended by the Commission will be addressed in the final approval.  The motion was passed unanimously.

ADA Citizens Advisory Committee-Commissioner Travers and Mayor Rippons reported that the ADA Committee met and discussed the renovations at 403 High Street (old State's Attorney Building).  Mr. Wheeler has followed up with a letter to the property owner.  Commissioner Bohlen said to the best of his knowledge, Mr. Keeting no longer owns the building and it has since transferred.  The property was settled on last week. 

APPOINTMENTS

Open Bids for Installation of Approximately 8,680 ft2 of New Concrete Sidewalk at the Municipal Yacht Basin-Two bids were received:

  • Stephen Wingate Masonry (Cambridge, MD) -- $25,320
  • CAC (Elkridge, MD) -- $29,875

Commissioner Travers made a motion to submit the bids to DPW for their recommendation.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

John R. Russell to Request an Ordinance to Establish an Auto Storage Yard at 23 Phillips Industrial Park Drive-Mr. Russell owns some industrial property off Washington Street which he has been renting to Mrs. Barbara Windsor as a storage yard for automotive storage.  She has also rented some warehouse space from him with the intention of doing automotive repairs.  Jim Michael reported that in the "I" district, the property owner must get a permit from the City.  Rob Collison said the Council must approve an ordinance permitting this use.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve this request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  Mr. Russell will provide the Planning and Zoning Office with a sketch of the property showing what areas will have fences and the location of the existing buildings. Commissioner Travers withdrew his motion.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to allow Rob Collison to draft an ordinance.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.  The first reading of the ordinance will be at the next scheduled meeting (February 25, 2002).  

Sandy McAllister to Discuss Deep Harbor Development Group (PWCD) Proposed Project on the Creek-Sandy McAllister is representing a group of investors in a project to be called the Deep Harbor Community on the east side of Cambridge Creek commonly known as the Arundel site.  The principle participant in the project is Wagner Homes.  Pursuant to the PWCD Ordinance, they are submitting their request to have the Planning Commission review their application.  As the PWCD encourages, this is a multi-use project that will have large commercial and retail components as well as maritime, residential, and open space.  Areas will be dedicated to public use.  A public walkway will go from one end of the project to the other connecting Cedar Street to the park and ramp area on Trenton Street.  The community will include up to 300 residential units which would share a common amenity area including a clubhouse, pool, recreation facilities, etc.  The commercial and retail aspects are spread throughout the project including a boat-tel of over 10,000 ft and a restaurant planned for the corner closest to Cambridge Creek bridge.  The project plans will be submitted to the Planning Commission for their review.

OLD BUSINESS

Shore Erosion Control Project on Dorchester General Hospital Property-Rob Collison reported that several months ago, Dorchester General Hospital requested that the City serve as the applicant for a shore erosion control loan through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  They are proposing to replace their bulk heading.  Rob has reviewed the loan agreement between the DNR and the City and found it satisfactory.  Before any money is given to DGH, there will be another agreement between DGH and the City which legally binds them to the terms of the agreement and requires DGH to indemnify and hold the City harmless from any costs, fees, or damages arising from a breach or default.

Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the agreement with the State.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church to Use Great Marsh Park and Pavilion on Sunday, August 4, 2002 for Worship and Baptism at the Beach-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to grant Waugh Church permission to use Great Marsh Park on August 4, 2002 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  and a noise variance if needed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from First Baptist Church to use Long Wharf on August 4, 11, 18, and 25, 2002 from 5:00 pm through 8:30 pm to hold Gospel Concerts-Ed Kinnamon said this has been done for the last 7 to 8 years with no problems.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant the request and to include a noise variance for the stated dates and times.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from Captain Malik to Promote Officers-Captain Malik reported that the officers have successfully completed all the requirements of the Police Department.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to honor the request of Captain Malik.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Reappoint Adrian Harrison and Grason Winterbottom to the Historic Preservation Commission-Mayor Rippons reported that the terms these gentlemen were serving were up in July 2001.  Both representatives have expressed a desire to be re-appointed.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to re-appoint Mr. Harrison and Mr. Winterbottom to the Historic Preservation Commission.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  Rob Collison said the motion should state the length of the term.  Commissioner Bohlen said it would be a three-year term retroactive to July 1, 2001.  Commissioner Weldon amended his motion.   Nathaniel Pierce, 107 High Street, said he felt one of the more important steps Cambridge took in recent years was to create the Cambridge Historic Preservation Commission.  He feels there is a deficiency in the way things are set up at the moment and he hopes Council will address Mr. Winterbottom's nomination for re-appointment to the Commission.  He feels that people who serve on the Commissions convey in every possible way the impression and feeling and the attitude of impartiality.  Mr. Winterbottom signed a petition on a matter that expressed a point of view on a particular issue that subsequently came before the Commission.  He recused himself from voting once but did not the second time.  The issue was the sign at Zion United Methodist Church.  Rev. Pierce said neither the Cambridge City Code nor the bylaws of the Commission specify a code of ethics for people who serve on the Commission.  Technically, people who serve on the Commission can sign a petition before the hearing takes place.  That conveys the impression that the hearing is irrelevant.  It is inappropriate for a member of Commission to sign a petition having to do with a matter that subsequently comes before it.  Rev. Pierce urged Council to be more clear in either the bylaws of the Commission or in Section 20.20b of the Cambridge City Code about what the ethical standards are people who serve on this bodies. 

Commissioner Bohlen said he has a hard time understanding where there may have been a breech of ethics.  He was sitting on the Board as Vice-Chair when the incident happened.  Mr. Winterbottom signed the petition as a private citizen and in follow-up recused himself in the vote when it was brought up and pointed out.    He asked Council if there is something they don't like, do they talk about it beforehand?  If they followed Rev. Pierce's suggestion, they couldn't make their opinions known. 

Commissioner Travers said since this was his appointment, he did not know all this had happened and he would like more information on it before he makes a final decision.  If there is a conflict in any way, shape, or form, he will not vote on it.   Commissioner Bohlen said Mr. Winterbottom signed the petition disagreeing with the placement of the sign.  The matter was heard, it was rectified, the Church got its sign, and Mr. Winterbottom recused himself.  Commissioner Bohlen said in his personal opinion, Mr. Winterbottom is probably one of the best folks on the Commission because he brings to it the knowledge of a successful businessman, very knowledgeable about the contracting trades, and also has a good sense of esthetics. 

Rev. Pierce said the Commission took two votes.  On July 20 Mr. Winterbottom recused himself and on August 17 he did not.  He doesn't feel there is any present conflict of interest.  He agrees with Commissioner Bohlen that Mr. Winterbottom takes his responsibilities very seriously on the Commission and has done an outstanding job.  He doesn't feel the problem lies with Mr. Winterbottom as it does with the absence of a code of ethics.  That is what he would encourage Council to address in the future.  It doesn't forbid you from having an opinion or expressing it in conversations with people.  He hopes the board members would act in a way that encouraged everyone to feel like they were going to get a fair hearing and everyone's mind wasn't made up ahead of time.  He said he didn't intend his remarks to suggest that Council shouldn't approve these nominations tonight but rather to show how good people caught up in a system that isn't as well defined as it could be can sometimes cross an inappropriate line.

Commissioner Atkinson said you can write all you want on a piece of paper and it still isn't going to make a person be honest or ethical.  Many people make up their mind before they vote.  He sees nothing wrong with the nominations tonight.  He will vote for approval. 

Commissioner Weldon said his motion stands.  Mayor Rippons called for a vote.  Commissioners Atkinson, Watkins, Bohlen and Weldon voted for the motion.  Commissioner Travers voted against it.  The motion passed 4:1.

Consideration of Amendment to City's Flood Plain Setback Requirement-Rob Collison said the flood plain requires a 100-foot setback which is Statewide. Where it is applicable is up to the jurisdiction. It is the recommendation of Rob Collison and Jim Michael that this requirement be eliminated completely.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to refer this matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a text amendment. Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Consider Amendment to PWCD to Require Riverwalk on all New Develop-ment Projects on Cambridge Creek-Rob Collison said because this would be a text amendment it must go to the Planning and Zoning Commission for their review.  Under the current regulations under the PWCD, a 10-foot wide riverwalk is only required on non-residential development.  It is his understanding that Council desires to have this amended to apply to all development.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to refer this item to the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Consider Adoption of Resolution Submitted by Sailwinds Park Management Board-Members of the Sailwinds Management Board submitted a proposed resolution to Council.  Rob Collison recommended changing some wording regarding their obligations and responsibilities. 

Commissioner Weldon thought it was part of the Joint Resolution to form a panel to review development projects that involved Council and representation from Sailwinds, Inc. and various State bodies.  Rob Collison said he thought it was discussed and the general consensus at the meeting but he never recalls it being reduced to writing and agreed on by the parties.  Commissioner Weldon is concerned about the makeup of the body because essentially what you have is five members of the private sector who could potentially out-vote the elected body in any decision.  He is really uncomfortable with the idea that a majority of the elected body could be out-voiced by a body that according to its own Memorandum of Understanding was appointed to serve as the management body of Governors Hall and festival grounds on behalf of the Commissioners of Cambridge.  They were given a very specific task to do and nowhere in there is deciding on the future development of that property.  He thinks they have done an outstanding job carrying out the task that is outlined in the document.  He does not believe that outside of consulting with them based on the potential relocation of the operation, that it is appropriate for them to have a full and equal voice with City Council.  The citizens gave Council the authority to move forward with the whole process. 

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to disallow the resolution.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  He agreed with Commissioner Weldon.  While he certainly respects all the members of the Management Board, and they have done an outstanding job with what they have been empowered to do, he has to question the potential that this could arise causing a potential conflict in the future development there.  Ultimately, he feels it should rest with the elected officials as far as the final determination for the use of the property.  Commissioner Atkinson disagrees.  He does not see where there will be any conflict.  Commissioner Watkins said the Board that has been running Governors Hall has done an excellent job.  The only thing we have in this proposal is in addition to governing board we put in the City Commissioners and the Mayor.  He can't see why it won't do anything but help.   Commissioner Weldon said the Council is charged with the development of the property whether it stays in its current use or whether proposals come forward and Council has the opportunity through public input and through the people who elected them to make a decision on the future of that property.  What this proposal does is take five people who were appointed less than six months ago and puts them in a position to make a decision on the future of a large part of this community without them being accountable to a single citizen outside of the Mayor who appointed them. 

Commissioner Weldon said the other thing that is available here in the Memorandum of Understanding and the Management Agreement is that the City upon written notice to Sailwinds may terminate the agreement at any time.  He said he can change his motion and disband that appointed committee or make a motion to that effect.  The elected body has to answer to the people.  It could come down to where a majority of that panel can out-voice a majority of Council and a decision can be made that is not necessarily in the best interest of this community.  Council will have no authority to go against it unless they strictly structure the resolution beyond what is written here.  He thinks the committee has done a fantastic job and he respects all of them individually.  He thinks Council can use one of their input as a spokesperson for the committee. 

Commissioner Weldon restated his motion to not adopt the resolution and have Mr. Collison revise it so it more adequately reflects the authority of this Council as vested in the lease assignment that was granted to us by the State.  Commissioner Watkins said Commissioner Weldon admitted the group already has done an excellent job and he sees no reason to assume that they won't continue to do a good job.  He feels the addition of the City Council would be an added influence on making this thing work. Commissioner Bohlen asked "Can't they do that right now?".  Commissioner Watkins said the new proposal is excellent and he will support it.   Commissioner Weldon asked that the discussion be open to the public. He felt it would be good to hear from the community.  Commissioner Atkinson called for a vote on the resolution (on the motion). 

Mayor Rippons said the motion on the floor is to deny the adoption of the resolution.  The motion failed to pass 2:3 with Commissioners Atkinson, Travers, and Watkins against.

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to adopt the resolution.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  Rob Collison asked if the motion is as the resolution was originally submitted or with his recommended amendments.  Commissioner Atkinson said as it was amended.  The motion passed 3:2 with Commissioners Bohlen and Weldon against.

Decision on Canceling City Council Meeting on February 18th (President's Day)-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that since the City offices are closed, that the Council meeting be canceled.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Consider Evacuation Plan/Procedure for City Office Buildings-Ed Kinnamon said Mr. Wheeler has updated the emergency evacuation plan with regards to the ADA act.  He has been to all departments and issued instructions as to emergency exits, etc.  David Pritchett said they have drawn the maps and they are posted as required.  Commissioner Weldon would like some additional time to review the plan.  This discussion will continue during the next Council meeting.  Commissioner Bohlen will supply Mr. Wheeler with a copy of the Dorchester County Board of Education's flip reference which fits under the telephone.  It outlines all the types of emergencies (accidents, bomb threats, etc.).

Approve PO 2238 for DPW-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve PO 2238 for DPW.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve PO 2239 for DPW-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve PO 2239 for DPW.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Schedule Work Session to Review Heritage Tourism Plan-Commissioner Weldon gave the Council copies of a news release regarding the process of developing a Heritage Tourism Management Plan that is presently underway.  The City has $10,000 invested in the project.  They are finishing up the public input and then the document will go to the State in hopes of qualifying for Certified Heritage Area status.  This will open the doors for numerous grants and funding apparatus as the State level in terms of economic development, tourism growth, and cultivating most of Dorchester County as Choptank Heritage Area.  Commissioner Weldon suggested having the meeting at Sailwinds to allow for a good turnout.  Mary Calloway from the Tourism Office said they hope to have a good turnout to express any concerns or any inclusions about the plan.  The first meeting was attended by close to 300 people.  Commissioner Weldon will contact Kim Seward at Sailwinds and get a date for the meeting, preferably Tuesday, February 19, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Commissioner Bohlen said Mr. Pritchett found information on a "doggy do-do" disposal system.  It may be helpful at Long Wharf and Great Marsh and some of the other City parks.  He will get further information on the system.

Rob Collison said in reference to the ethics code discussed earlier, Section 2-14 of the City's Code contains our ethics code and it applies to all committees.  It would apply to any appointed commission or committee, including the Historic Preservation Commission. 

Rob Collison said Dorchester County submitted a letter to the City regarding water and sewer services to the airport.  With the Council's permission, he would like to arrange a meeting with Mayor Rippons and a representative of the County and the County attorney to address what he sees as legal issues and then he will report back at the next meeting.  Commissioner Atkinson asked Rob Collison to ask the County for an update on the $1 million they have to put the road all the way out. 

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to go into executive session immediately following the meeting.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Wendell Foxwell complimented the Department of Public Works for promptly picking up the trash that was blowing all over his street.  He thinks Mr. Michael is doing a pretty good job on the housing and Captain Malik is too.  He would like to see the Chief of Police promoted from within.  He feels this would be good for the Police Department.  He feels owners of buildings should have more accountability.  He doesn't feel the taxpayers should have to pay for demolitions when a lien on a property is not sufficient.  A judgment will condemn the property, the bank account, the automobile, and all the person owns.  He would like a new ordinance passed to show that Council means business.  Rob Collison said current code is strictly limited to the property in which the demolition takes place.  If Council is inclined to pursue this, he will see what mechanisms might be available to get a judgment toward the excess costs.

Roberta Wongus requested permission to hang the African American history banners along Pine Street throughout the month of March.  She is also requesting assistance from the Department of Public Works in putting them in place and removing them.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to grant the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:27 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, February 11, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer