• 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

March 4, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, March 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 Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 25, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

APPOINTMENTS

Public Hearing on Text Amendment to Permit Sale of Alcohol Within 500 Feet of a Church or School-Rob Collison reported the public hearing is being held at the request of Anthony Thomas to ask Council for a text amendment which would modify Section 20-16(b) 12 and 13 concerning the sale of off-premise sale of beer, wine and alcohol. Rob Collison stated the notice of the public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on Monday, February 11th and Monday, February 18th

As the Code reads now, the sale is prohibited within 500 feet of a church or school.  Jim Michael reported that the Planning Commission met on January 8th in reference to this request.  They moved to recommend disapproval of the text amendment for off-premises sale of wine in the C-2 district and moved to amend the recommended sections to read "500 feet from building to building". Tony Thomas, 420 Race Street, said the text amendment would be basically for wine.  When they have wine dinners they would like to be able to sell a bottle of wine.  He would like to be able to keep up with Easton and Oxford. For a businessperson to make it on Race Street, you have to do more than one thing.  Wine dinners are the up-and-coming thing.   After you have tasted the wine, you should be able to buy it.  He has talked to Pastor Wheatley of the church behind the restaurant and he has no problem with it.  He thinks that one day you will see a lot more restaurants with bars downtown.  He would like to see off-premise wine only-not liquor or the little miniatures.  His restaurant is located 300 feet building-to-building from the church behind them.  Grace Church is approximately 400+ feet from his building.  The County's language is 300 feet.  

As nobody else requested to speak either for or against the text amendment, Commissioner Weldon made a motion to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. Council will render a decision next Monday.

Representative from The Harriet Tubman Organization to Receive Proclamation for Harriet Tubman Days (March 9 and 10, 2002)-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation.  Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Evelyn Townsend and Linda Watkins-Henry.  Ms. Townsend invited the public to participate in their celebration for Harriet Tubman Days. 

Gage Thomas Representing ARC to Discuss Proposals for Study and Review-Gage Thomas and Greg Vandevisser (co-owner of Arbor Place) presented several initiatives for Council to consider.  Mr. Vandevisser and his partner Steve Vondenbosch own Idea Works, a company of creative consultants and graphic art specialists. 

Installation of a Visitor's Map at Long Wharf-ARC feels it would be a good idea to install a map to direct tourists around town.   They have not determined the best size, location, or design.   David Pritchett met with representatives from the business district and came up with a location for a map that would have no negative impact.  Mr. Vandevisser described several signs he has helped design for other communities.  ARC is willing to contribute funds toward the purchase of the sign.

Install Two-Face Period Clock at Pedestrian Mall-ARC has proposed a clock that is 11½ feet tall.  It costs approximately $3,000 plus an additional $400 if lights are desired on both sides.   ARC has business people who are willing to contribute toward the cost of the clock.  Mr. Vandevisser offered to donate any design work for the Pedestrian Mall area on behalf of ARC and Idea Works.

Expand the Enterprise Zone to Include the Downtown Business District-Gage Thomas said for some reason, the Enterprise Zone stops south of Muir Street.  The 400 block of Race Street, Poplar Street, and High Street are not included.  Octavene Saunders said the Zone goes all the way out to Wal-Mart.  Ed Kinnamon said when the Enterprise Zone was drafted, all of downtown was included.  During deliberations with the State, the proposed area was cut back because it was too large.  Mayor Rippons said the City would entertain re-drafting the Zone.

Create and Establish in Arts and Entertainment District-Maryland was the first State to sponsor an Arts and Entertainment District for economic development in 2001.  It offers certain tax incentives, stimulates neighborhood revitalization, improves the attractiveness and safety of areas, stimulates business activities in the evenings and weekends, attracts both residents and tourists, build the tax base, supplement educational opportunities, and provide programs to distressed neighborhoods, etc.  Applications are accepted twice a year (April and October).  The City and County must both support the District in the form of a resolution.  Six applicants are selected each year.  ARC hopes to bring more information to Council by the October deadline. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discuss Old Park Meters-David Pritchett said DPW is storing between 70 and 80 old parking meters that were removed about 7 years ago.  At one time, Chief Wroten said he might want to re-implement use of the meters.  Captain Malik doesn't share that same view.  David Pritchett will research the economic feasibility of putting them out.  When he brings this to Council, they will consider the second aspect of his request to sell them.

Second Reading and Decision of Ordinance to Permit John R. Russell to Establish an Auto Storage Yard at 23 Phillips Industrial Park Drive-Rob Collison said Mr. Russell owns property designated on Tax Map 305, Parcel No. 3963.  This ordinance is pursuant to Section 20-14 (b)(2) h of the City Code.  It would grant the individual permission to have an automobile storage yard for dismantling and/or salvaging parts under the stated conditions.  Commissioner Travers would like a stipulation that the vehicles would have to be moved within a certain time period.  Rob Collison say Council is not in a position to legally change the Code in the middle of this individual's request.  This can be changed now to eliminate it as a permitted use in the I-2.   The Planning Commissioner will address this.   Rob Collison said it was correct as of now that Council cannot stop a junkyard from going in there.  In the future a junkyard can be stopped if the Code is changed.  If Council voted against it tonight, the applicant would have the right to challenge it.  In the Code, it is listed as a permitted use.  For whatever reason, the permitted use is to be done by ordinance of the Commissioners.  He doesn't know why this was worded this way.  A sunset law can be included in the new Code to eliminate junkyards within a certain number of years. 

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the ordinance.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously (reluctantly).

NEW BUSINESS

Introduction of Annexation Resolution 2002-01 Regarding South Side of Route 50 East Side of Maryland Route 16-The area encompasses the land from Route 16 (next to Wal-Mart) east along Route 50 up to the street between the Cambridge Inn and Hurst Creek Computers.  Hurst Creek Computers will not be annexed.  It would then run south over and include some property owned by Mr. and Mrs. Logan Fitzhugh on the west side of Bucktown Road.  It would then come back to include the property of James and Alma Gabriel and come back toward Route 16 and end back at the Dave Wilson's auto dealership.  It would then follow north to Route 50.  The area encompasses approximately 45.4 acres.  This annexation is being made at the request of the property owners within that area.  No action by Council is needed tonight.  Public notification will be run in the newspapers for 4 weeks.  The plan by the Department of Public Works as to how the infrastructure and City services (financing, etc.) will be extended to that area will be presented at a public hearing.  Following the public hearing, the Council will vote to either approve or reject the annexation.  If approved, it will become effective 45 days later.  During this time period, either residents of the City of Cambridge or the residents of the property to be annexed could petition for a referendum.  

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to formally receive for introduction Annexation Resolution 2002-01.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from Sgt. Pat Doyle to Hold Casual Day on May 29, 2002 as a Fund Raiser for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.  Information on purchasing special T-shirts will be sent to each department.

Discuss Purchase of Backhoe-The Department of Public Works has found a used backhoe to purchase for $22,500.  Their mechanic has checked it out and test drove it.  It fully meets their needs for ditch cleaning and drainage use.  The owner would like to trade the City's old backhoe (value of about $4,000).  His bottom line is $19,500 plus trade-in.  This funding is available in DPW's budget due to a project that will not be initiated this year.  It will save the City over $40,000 in the upcoming budget.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the request of DPW.  Commissioner Watkins seconded it.   Rob Collison would like to meet with Council in Executive Session after the meeting to discuss this matter on a legal issue.   Commissioner Atkinson delayed his motion.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss the legal issue.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Discuss Operation Change for Street Sweeper-David Pritchett said one of the big problems in town is trying to improve the cleanliness of the streets.  Traditionally, the street sweeper is used on Wednesday and Sunday mornings.  He would like to run the sweeper 5 days a week during the day.  It would dedicate 1 day to each ward and run for about 4 hours with the present manpower.  They have received complaints about the early morning sweeping.  The City would have to pay for regular advertising until people get used to the new schedule.   This would eliminate parking violations relating to the sweeper.  Mayor Rippons said David Pritchett has the supporting rationale to move ahead with the project.

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

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Captain Malik publicly thanked the Ladies Auxiliary from American Legion Post 91.  They are having an awards banquet tonight honoring a City Police Officer, a Deputy Sheriff, and a Firefighter for their service this past year.  Sgt. Pat Doyle has been elected Cambridge's Police Officer of the Year.   Ed Kinnamon commented that they have done this for at least the last 30 years.  He was the recipient 25 years ago.  Captain Malik said this is the first year they have extended it to include a Deputy Sheriff and a Firefighter.  This was due to the 9-11 incident.

Commissioner Weldon said the signs for the ordinance regarding bicycle and skating prohibitions need to be posted in the appropriate locations so people are aware of where the law will be enforced. 

David Pritchett said the parking signs have been ordered and will be in this week and put up by next week.  Commissioner Weldon would like to see them when them come in.

Commissioner Weldon visited the Phillips Hardware building where Greg and Steve are establishing their business.   He feels it is exciting to see life being breathed into one of our old buildings downtown.  He welcomed them to Cambridge.

Commissioner Bohlen received a letter from a citizen wishing to look into the marina fees and the possibility of having lower rates for citizens who live in Cambridge.  The resident feels they are paying taxes to the City and deserve some favorable fee reduction for their slip rental.   David Pritchett said he fully examined eight marinas, eleven total.  If Cambridge gave a discount to residents, they would be the first to do so.  The rates are not at the high end, they are in the mid-range.  Ed Kinnamon will investigate this issue.   

Council convened in Executive Session to discuss a legal issue at the request of Rob Collison. 

Mayor Rippons reported that a downtown merchant complimented Captain Malik and the Police Department.  She was working during the night hours and constantly saw a policeman on patrol.  The officer escorted her to her car one night.  She would like to extend kudos to CPD for what they are doing downtown.

Mayor Rippons said there was a dance at Sailwinds this past Saturday to benefit Relay for Life.  The teams that set it up were the teams from the Cambridge Police Department, Rescue Fire Company, and Cambridge Emergency Medical Services.  They raised over $4,000.  All three groups should be commmended.

Octavene Saunders, 409 High Street, referred to meeting minutes taken on July 3, 2001.   During the meeting Mr. Hayward said he told the Mayor that the Board of Directors was responsible for the running of the Empowerment Center and not just Mrs. Saunders. The Mayor stated he received calls from other groups regarding use of the building.  Mrs. Saunders said other groups would be able to use the resource room as outlined in the business plan.   Mrs. Saunders said she read in the newspaper that nobody ever asked the Mayor for a key to the Empowerment Center.  She said they never directly asked for the key because all of the things, even from their attorney to the City attorney, show a delaying in what is going on.  The Committee hasn't seen the contract that the City submitted to the Board of Public Works.  They aren't going to accept it just because the Board of Public Works says so, because they have some problems with it. Mayor Rippons said the grant stipulates that before they can enter into negotiations to enter into a contract, the Board of Public Works must approve that contract.  If there is something that the Committee doesn't agree with, then the City will prepare another document.  Rob Collison said after the joint meeting he received some correspondence from the Committee's attorney and those changes were made and sent back to his office.  Mrs. Saunders said it doesn't seem like all the changes were made.  She asked Mr. Collison for a copy of the contract last week.  She has a letter from a Commissioner stating that the hold-up is not the Board of Public Works, not the fact that nobody asked for the key, but the hold-up is Octavene Saunders, Portia Ennels, and Dr. Wallace because they are active and they don't fit into the normal mode of the good person.  She is publicly, kindly, asking the Mayor to release the key to the Empowerment Center so they can move forward. 

Mayor Rippons said he would not give her the key this evening because the key stipulates a consideration that it has been turned over to the Committee.   Until the Board of Public Works guarantees him with a letter and they have a signed document on the table, it is his understanding that it violates the constraints found in the grant.  He said at the meeting they went over the constraints that the Pine Street Committee has.  Mr. Collison prepared a document and it stipulated every concern that was talked about that day.  He then sent it out.  Mayor Rippons said he personally called the Committee's attorney at least three times during the on-going considerations and he told the Mayor he was working on it.  He doesn't feel there was any more delaying on the part of the City than it was on the part of the Pine Street Committee.  Mrs. Saunders said it probably won't be approved by the Board of Public Works because they are going to make it known that they have never seen the contract and they are a legal party of the contract.  "Things that the City put in the first three leases were so restrictive that Jesus, Himself, could not occupy that building without getting a hammer down from you." Ms. Saunders said.  In the correspondence from the Commissioner, he even promised what night he was going to bring up a vote to go ahead and let the Committee go into the building.  She continued that the City does not need to fall back on the Board of Public Works, because if you take a regular a dollar a year and just do a occupancy agreement, which was asked to be done in the first place, you wouldn't have to go before the Board of Public Works. 

Rob Collison said he cannot respond directly to parties represented by council; he has to deal through the Committee's attorney.  In early January he sent the final revision to their attorney before it went to the Board of Public Works.  Mrs. Saunders said they marked it up and they never received back what Mr. Collison submitted to the Board of Public Works.  Mayor Rippons said they submitted that document.   In answer to a question by Portia Ennels, Mayor Rippons said it is scheduled to go before the Board of Public on March 13.  Octavene Saunders said it would be open to the public. 

Greg Vandevisser said he wanted to commend the Police Department as well.  He has seen an outstanding presence in his area and in Cambridge.  He is interested in the Economic Development Committee being formed.

Mayor Rippons said the committee he is putting together outlining economic development will consist of Commissioner Atkinson and Commissioner Watkins.  He believes with their backgrounds, interests, and their longevity within the City they will serve the best interest of the community.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:20 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, March 4, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer