• 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 25, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 25, 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 11, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS

Member of Rescue Fire Company to Request Permission to Hold Parade-Calvin Stack reported that Rescue Fire Company is going to host the Delaware Maryland Virginia Fireman's Convention on May 9, 10, and 11, 2002.  The events will begin with a pig roast at Sailwinds Park on May 9.  Opening ceremonies will begin on May 10 at Governor's Hall.  The dinner and dance will be held that night. On May 11 a memorial service will be held at Grace United Methodist Church on Race Street.  They will need some streets blocked off for their equipment at this time.   The parade will begin between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm.  The parade will follow the Christmas parade route.  RFC is requesting permission to hold the parade and the associated noise variance. 

Portia Johnson-Ennels spoke on behalf of the Family and Youth Committee.  She believes a letter has already been sent to the City requesting May 11 as their annual festival downtown.  They would like to work in conjunction with the fire department so they can still have their festival that day.  Ed Kinnamon responded that Mayor Rippons received a letter from the Committee inviting him to be present for opening remarks.  Seeing the date and time, Mr. Kinnamon called Kathy Hachemiester and alerted her to the upcoming Delmarva Fireman's Convention parade.  Ms. Johnson-Ennels said the Festival is held on Race Street from Muir Street to Craig's Drugstore between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.  She said they would use the street earlier in the day and then when the parade was ready to come down the street, they would move to the sidewalks.  The only problem would be the antique cars.  Chuck Kelly offered the lot at Craig's Drug Store for the antique cars.  It was agreed that this would be an ideal location for the cars. 

Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant Rescue Fire Company permission to hold the parade on Saturday, May 11, beginning approximately at 1:00 pm and the associated noise variance if needed.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant the Family and Youth Committee permission to hold their festival on May 11 on Race Street.  The street will be blocked off just like it was last year beginning at 10:00 am.  They will facilitate allowing the parade to come through.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  Commissioner Weldon amended his motion to include a noise variance.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons asked Calvin Stack to work with Captain Malik in blocking off Muir Street from Race Street to Pine Street to park the equipment during the church service.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

First Reading of Ordinance to Permit John R. Russell to Establish an Auto Storage Yard at 23 Phillips Industrial Park Drive-Rob Collison reported that this ordinance is required under Section 20-14 (b)(2) h of the City Code.  The property is identified on Tax Map 305 Grid 3 Parcel 3963.  The owner shall strictly comply with the 6-ft fencing requirement.  The opening cannot face Washington Street.  Commissioner Atkinson said this could end up being a junkyard.  Rob Collison said all the uses in the I-2 zoning are antiquated and could be eliminated. A text amendment would be required to do this.  It will be resolved with the new zoning code.  At this time there are no legal standards to deny those permitted uses because they are permitted uses under I-2.  Commissioner Travers said there are about 125 cars parking in the fenced-in area now and asked when they would be removed.  Rob Collison said there is no requirement in the law that they have to be moved. 

Jim Michael said the new ordinance doesn't have the pyramid effect that the current code does.  It would have permitted uses and uses by special exception.  Rob Collison said the new code would not allow any junkyard in the City.  He asked Mr. Michael if there is a proposed revision that has a sunset provision for non-conforming uses.  Jim said there was in the original draft and it can still be retained but it was a major item of discussion with the Planning Commission, which has recommended to the panel that the nonconformities not be sunsetted.  Mayor Rippons asked if there could be sunset laws put in the document.  Jim said Council could determine if they wish to have certain nonconformities sunsetted.

Rob Collison said the Council could immediately begin to process to amend the existing code which would fill the gap until the new code is adopted.  Regarding this current request, there is nothing Council can do because the request has been made under the current zoning. 

Commissioner Atkinson asked if the junkyard on Bayly Road could still be used.  Jim Michael said the zoning is R-1.  David Pritchett said when the area was brought in under the current zoning, it was brought in as a non-conforming use and was not allowed to expand.  Research and aerial photos show that it went from a very small junkyard to a very large one so it expanded illegally as a non-conforming use.  Mayor Rippons asked Rob Collison to look into this. 

Consider Evacuation Plan/Procedure for City Office Buildings-Ed Kinnamon said all the evacuation maps have been established and placed in the appropriate place in each building.  This is a requirement of OSHA.  Oden Wheeler is working on Commissioner Bohlen's suggestion to place something near each phone for reference.  Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to adopt the procedures.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Award Bid for Installation of New Concrete Sidewalk at the Municipal Yacht Basin-David Pritchett reported that two bids were received.   One was from Concrete and Asphalt Contractors (CAC) for $29,875.  The other was from Stephen Wingate Masonry for $30,070.  There is less than one percent difference between the bids.  Although he found nothing negative about CAC, they couldn't find anything to base an evaluation on.  It is the recommendation of the Department of Public Works to award the contract to Stephen Wingate, the local contractor.    David Pritchett said the City Code says that the City reserves the right to award the project based on the bid deemed to be in the best interest of the City.  Rob Collison said it is a significant consideration that DPW has no other work to judge the other contractor by and they know that Mr. Wingate's work is done to spec.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the recommendation of DPW to award the contract to Wingate Masonry.   Commissioner Weldon seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Hubert Brohawn to Renew Special Use Permit to Operate Produce Stand at 605 Roslyn Avenue-Ed Kinnamon reported that Mr. Brohawn has submitted a written request to renew his Special Use Permit.  To Mr. Kinnamon's knowledge, there have been no reported problems.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to renew Mr. Brohawn's Special Use Permit.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Discuss Purchase of New Street Sweeper-David Pritchett reported that the street sweeper has been down for almost two months and he isn't sure when or if it will be working again.  He contacted two vendors and received prices from a third.  He found a "Tymco" which is the exact style he was planning on including in their budget for 2003.  The unit retails in the vicinity of $112,000 to $114,000.  He found one that was a demo with 1.6 hours operation time on it and 6.8 hours running time.  They have tested the unit and it meets everything they are looking for in the price of $104,867.  The company requires a down payment of $10,000 with the balance due at the time of passing of the budget.    Leasing a unit would cost about $500 per month.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the purchase of a new street sweeper.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.

Commissioner Atkinson pointed out that if DPW waits until the new budget year, they would not get the sweeper until September or October.  Looking ahead to all the tourists in town, they want to keep the City clean.  Renting a sweeper costs $100 per hour.  It would cost $500 a week to do a halfway decent job.  The sweeper they are purchasing will have a new guarantee on it.  This will save the City $8,000 to $10,000 and he wants to congratulate David Pritchett for this savings.    The motion to purchase the new street sweeper was passed unanimously.

Discuss Annual Leave Accrual for Employees Who Have Returned to City Employment-Ed Kinnamon reported that a department head received a request from an employee who at one time was a long-time employee and had left.  The employee was requesting that their time from when they were here before be included to their current time for vacation accrual.  The Personnel Review Committee is recommending to the Council to approve this request by adding on any previous time for employees who have been here previously.  Last June an ASOP was adopted stating that an employee who leaves and returns within a year's time will be given back their vacation accrual.  The individual in question was gone longer than one year but was hired back prior to June.    If this were to be approved, it would affect six employees who have returned.  This is for vacation accrual only-it is for no other reason (retirement, etc.).  He recommends if Council wishes to accept this recommendation that it be adopted as of March 1, 2002.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the recommendation of the Personnel Review Committee.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  Rob Collison clarified that this is only for employees hired prior to June 25, 2001.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Approve PO 2178 for CPD- Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve PO 2178.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve PO 2240 for DPW- Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve PO 2240.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

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

Approve Financial Statement for January 2002-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the Financial Statement.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Rob Collison said the City received a letter from the Cambridge Schoolhouse Associates, LLC asking Council for a text amendment to the City Code regarding the former Academy School at the corner of Mill and School Streets.  They are seeking a text change to permit condominiums and/or townhouses with a density of 3,000 sq.ft. per unit.  Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to forward the request to Planning and Zoning for their recommendations.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

Rob Collison spoke with Paul Georgiou of the Department of General Services with regard to the lease of the Empowerment Center. The Board of Public Works scheduled this item for review on March 13, 2002.

Commissioner Bohlen said there was a resolution passed by Council last week forming a committee for the development of Sailwinds.  He did not vote for the resolution and he feels people know his reasons.  He informed Council that he couldn't in good conscience serve on the Board as it is now constructed. 

Commissioner Watkins said he would serve on the Board when it convenes.  He feels it is a good move.

Commissioner Weldon attended an information session regarding the Heritage Tourism project that has been underway for about six years now.  There will be a lot of funds available to the City, business owners, and non-profits in the community through the program if it is adopted.  Everything should be in order for a public hearing at the end of April or early May.  The City has a lot invested in the project and has a lot to gain from it.

Commissioner Weldon shares Commissioner Bohlen's position that he will respectfully withdraw from participating in the Sailwinds Committee.  He is writing a memorandum that will detail his thoughts and will make it available to the public.

Commissioner Atkinson requested that Commissioner Watkins and the Traffic and Safety Committee take a look at the parking of West Appleby and Shorter Streets.  They are both dead end streets and he has had a complaint about them.  It is hazardous for emergency vehicles. 

Commissioner Atkinson said he has no problem with the Sailwinds Board.  He feels it is a good Board and thinks they need to cooperate and work for the betterment of Sailwinds and Governors Hall. 

Ed Kinnamon received a letter from the Department of Social Services requesting permission to hang a banner across Race Street at the Cedar Street intersection to celebrate National Social Work Month.  David Pritchett said the only place that the City has the facility to hang a banner is in the 400 block of Race Street.  He will look into it further.

Mayor Rippons reported that Robert Bradley requesting the use of Council Chambers on Friday, March 8th at 7:00 pm for a meeting of the West End neighbors against crime.  Corporal Slowik of CPD will oversee the meeting.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to allow the group to use Council Chambers.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  Rob Collison said no official vote was necessary.

Mayor Rippons reported that the Committee reviewing the Chief of Police applicants met and screened down the 14 initial applicants.  They will be holding interviews this week.  They will have a recommendation either next Monday or the following Monday.

The City traditionally hosts an appreciation banquet in April for Council-appointed committee members.  Mayor Rippons approached the Sailwinds Board about holding the event at Sailwinds Park.  The Management Board voted to allow the use of Sailwinds at no charge and they offered to pay for the dinners, set up the room, handle all expenses, etc. to show their appreciation to the City. 

Corrine Mitsak, 100 West End Avenue, said at the Council Meeting on February 4 Mayor Rippons challenged Commissioner Weldon to set up an Economic Development Committee.  Commissioner Weldon said he already wrote a resolution and they already adopted it to form an Economic Development Committee and that Mayor Rippons was uncomfortable serving on the Commission with Commissioner Weldon because they don't agree on a lot of things. The Committee has not yet been named which at this time rests with the Mayor according to the resolution.  With the activities that are being considered for the Sailwinds property and the involvement of the Mayor and the other Commissioners in that, he feels that perhaps there is an opportunity for Commissioner Bohlen and him to work with the community on the Economic Development Committee.  He said perhaps the Mayor could serve with them as the resolution calls for or he can serve in name only and attend as he chooses.  If the business community is interested in moving forward, he is interested in hearing from them.  Ms. Mitsak said the business community is very interested in the committee and there is an ARC meeting this coming Wednesday night. 

Tony Thomas, 420 Race Street, said he didn't think they got an answer yet as to whether there was going to be an Economic Development Committee.  The business community is ready to do something.  He feels downtown has been totally ignored for the last four to five years.  A lot of people are putting time and money into redoing the area without any grant money.  He doesn't think the City appreciates what they are doing downtown.  Mayor Rippons responded that the resolution was passed stipulating that the Mayor would chair the committee and to appoint two members.  By next week he will have those two members named.  The Chamber of Commerce has already forwarded their recommendation.  He doesn't feel that the City has overlooked downtown from the scope of time that this Council has been place.  Commissioner Weldon said they have been working slowly but surely on the signage issue.  They will have samples of decorative signs forthcoming.  The new public parking signs will be up next week.  He said they fought tooth-and-nail to preserve the Historic Preservation District sometimes against significant odds. Tony Thomas said one of the best things we have is the Historic Preservation.  If it goes away, we are just giving something else away.  Commissioner Weldon said that tied to the Heritage Tourism Project, the Historic Preservation District causes to be available to the City additional funds through grants and low interest loans and a number of avenues to help with finishing streetscape projects.  There are things that we have been working on before he was a Commissioner that are starting to come to fruition.  He shares Mr. Thomas' desire to see something happen soon.  As far as designating downtown an art district, there are ongoing conversations with Jim Michael and people at the State level. 

Mr. Thomas believes the deadline for the art district is April.  Jim Michael said he briefed the folks at ARC in November and presented what was available.  He never heard another word.  He didn't feel he was the one to take the initiative; however, he understands there is a group of people that are interested in the arts and entertainment district.  He is more than willing to work with the project and lend City services as indicated earlier but there has to be a project before we can proceed and there was never a project forthcoming.  Mr. Thomas understands that the district has not been designated yet.  They need the City's permission to do this and a designated street area.  Jim Michael will attend the ARC meeting Wednesday night to further this discussion. 

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:05 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, February 25, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer