• 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

May 20, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, May 20, 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 May 13, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed 4:0 with Commissioner Watkins abstaining because he was absent last week.   

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Traffic & Safety-Commissioner Watkins reported that the Traffic & Safety Committee met on May 14th and made the following recommendations:

  • Request to create a four-way stop sign at the intersection at Hambrooks Blvd and Choptank Ave. The Committee recommends installing appropriate yellow warning/caution signs prior to entering the referenced "S" turn. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
  •  Request by Daniel Swafford, 500 Race Street, to relocate his "load and unload" parking space to the south side of Muir Street immediately after the yellow "no parking" area. The Committee recommends approving this request. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
  •  Request by Daniel Swafford, 500 Race Street, for an ADA parking space on the north corner of Muir Street closest to the ADA curb cut. The Committee recommends approving this request. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the recommendation. Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS

Representatives from Dorchester County Health Department to Receive Proclamation for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation.  Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to April Ginn-Briddell and Theresa Gordon.  They invited the citizens to the Poison Prevention Carnival on June 8th at Choptank Elementary School.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Update on Salvage Yard Fencing on Washington Street-Rob Collison researched the issue.  Because it is a specific zoning requirement, he said this would need to come before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

NEW BUSINESS

Request to Go to Bid for Glasgow Street Improvements-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to allow the Department of Public Works to go to bid for the Glasgow Street improvements.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Cancel Meeting for May 27th for Memorial Day-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to cancel the Council meeting on May 27th.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve PO 2144 ($5,731.25) and PO 2145 ($3,677.12) totaling $9,408.37 for Funk & Bolton (Sewer Fund)-Ed Kinnamon said they have received a $100 credit; therefore, the purchase orders now total $9,308.37.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase orders.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve PO 2311 Jerol Moore ($20,975.00) for Planning & Zoning- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve PO 2364 Steve Wingate ($30,070.00) for DPW- Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Financial Statement for April 2002- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Discuss Permitting for Municipal Marina Improvements-This will be discussed on June 3, 2002.

Clerk Treasurer to Discuss Annexation Advertising Bill for Christ Rock Area-Ed Kinnamon said the City received a request for annexation last year.  The proposed annexation was advertised and came before Council.  Council decided to contact the rest of the property owners in the area to see if they wished to be annexed.  Therefore, Council denied the request of the individual at that time.  The individual received the advertising bill for $771 and questioned if they were responsible for it.   Rob Collison said there is no provision in the Code that specifically addresses the advertising expenses on annexations.  In the past, when a property owner requested annexation, they paid the advertising bill.  Ed Kinnamon said if this were a general denial, they would be responsible.  However, this is different because they will be coming back with a larger area requested to be annexed.  Rob Collison said when the City decided to try to annex the entire area, it was contingent upon finding sufficient funding.  If there is funding and the Council decides to move forward with it, that advertising expense will be the responsibility of the City because the City has requested the entire area to come in.  This will be discussed further on June 3, 2002.

Amendment of Floodplain Requirements (eliminate 100-ft setback)-Rob Collison said the City of Cambridge is excluded from the enforcement of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Requirement between Woods Road and Great Marsh Park.  There is a 100-ft setback requirement under the Floodplain Management Plan and this creates a hardship. Planning and Zoning has recommended that the City eliminate the requirement and address the floodplain issues from an elevation standpoint.  This amendment would be an ordinance, which would eliminate Subsection 5.4 of the City's Floodplain Management Plan, which is codified in Sections 7-13 - 7-19 of the Code and was approved by Ordinance 777.  The second reading and vote will be on June 3, 2002.

Request for Noise Variance to Fire Cannon Salute-The Richardson Museum is having an Antique Boat Show on Saturday, May 25 and are requesting a noise variance to fire a cannon salute.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant the request.   Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Request by Ted Bramble for a 30-Day Permit for a Hot Dog Cart-Mayor Rippons reported that Ted Bramble appeared before Council last week for permission to have a hot dog stand on Cedar Street next to Heckler's.  Rob Collison said Council determined last week that a special exception is needed for a seasonal or temporary business.  A literal reading of Section 8-13 of the Code does permit the Commissioners to grant a 30-day use of a trailer for a commercial purpose.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant Mr. Bramble a 30-day permit.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

David Pritchett reported that the City of Cambridge is on standby to help the City of LaPlata.  At this time, they have not received word to proceed.

Commissioner Bohlen reported that he has been serving on the Charter Board for the Home Rule for Dorchester County.  The draft of the document has been completed.  The first meeting for public input will be held Wednesday, May 22, at the County office building from 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm. 

Mayor Rippons reported that Commissioner Travers will form a committee to review the holiday lighting displays that are available for the City of Cambridge to purchase. 

Mayor Rippons reported that the Economic Development Committee met last Monday.  Chuck Kelly will head the Main Street Maryland Committee with Commissioner Watkins representing Council. 

PUBLIC COMMENT SESSION

Proposed Washington Street Location for New Public Safety Building-Mayor Rippons reported that prior to this Council being elected, there was consideration about purchasing a site to erect a building for Rescue Fire Company. This administration believes as they move forward with a site and space allocations, it would behoove the City to involve those people who will be working with it on a day-to-day basis.  After hearing the considerations from the Police Department, Rescue Fire Company, and Cambridge Emergency Medical Services, the City hired Paul Edmeades to do a feasibility study.  After speaking to the Department Heads again, the City has purchased an option on property on Washington Street.  This will not be the only public hearing.  There will be other opportunities for citizens to speak. 

Paul D. Edmeades, Edmeades & Stromdahl, Ltd., said he and his partner have worked with fire and public safety facilities for about 20 years.  In conjunction with this, he gives seminars in fire station design.  In addition, they do fire training facilities.   They have also done police stations in conjunction with city halls.  Their facilities have won design awards and at the same time they have been built on time and within budget.  He described several projects they are currently working on.  They meet with members of the fire and police departments to review what they have now and the needs they have.  Forming joining facilities would eliminate duplication and the associated expenses. 

They did an analysis of each of the proposed sites.  It would be difficult to expand the current Police Department building 10,000 sq.ft. to 26,000 sq.ft.  The roof on the building was not built as a floor system.  Renovations would require a large expense for one facility.

The Race Street site is approximately 2 acres.  The Washington Street is approximately 4.4 acres.   They analyzed the proposed zoning code and the required setbacks.  They looked at the utilities and did soil boring on each site to give them indications on what the foundation system would have to be.  On both sites the borings indicate that the building will have to be built on piles.  Utilities are available at both sites.  The Washington Street site Phase 1 Environmental Analysis was done and no further analysis is necessary. 

Using the most liberal interpretation on the Race Street site, the Fire Department would have to be a two-story building.  Columns would be needed in the middle of the apparatus bays on the lower level.  This is not the best situation.  In addition, the Police Department would also be a two-story facility.  The joint use facilities would be centrally located.   There is no room for future expansion for either department.  Parking is also limited.

With the facility located on Washington Street, the apparatus bays could be located in a single-story building.  There is room for future development and parking.   Looking at all the options, they felt with the flexibility that the Washington Street site afforded and the constraints the Race Street site afforded, in their judgment the Washington Street site was the best option to pursue.

Chief Jeff Hurley said the Washington Street site definitely affords them better site management, more expansion room, better egress and ingress to the site, etc.  They are currently housing a substation to the rear of the site for the additional equipment that they couldn't get inside the present station.  They are finding that the engine responding from the location is getting on the road as fast, if not faster, than from the current location especially during working hours.  It is much easier for the public to get in and out of but also still affording them security, if needed, from actions such as September 11th.  If they need to shut down the complex, it is easily done by placing jersey barriers or gates at the entrance.  They feel this is a better site. 

Chief Bill Watkins totally agrees with Chief Hurley.  It will directly enhance their efforts on the EMS side. 

Chief Ken Malik said it was an excellent presentation.  He has to agree that it seems like you have to expand every 10 years and he thinks this site presents an excellent place for future expansion.  Parking has always been a problem for the Police Department.  He thinks the Washington Street site is certainly a much safer facility from the standpoint of vehicles entering the street.

Commissioner Atkinson favors the Washington Street site.  Cambridge is going to expand toward the airport.  There are verbal plans to annex the Burton property.  He was on the City Council when they built the Police Department in the late 1970s.  It was one of the best facilities in the State at that time but now it is outdated.  The City needs to take into account future growth of the City and expansion of the facility. 

Commissioner Weldon concurs with Commissioner Atkinson.  It gives the City the opportunity to anchor the south end of downtown with a good economic development piece on a piece of property that has already been assembled.  The drawback is the amount of money that was put into that site.  There is a blank slate to develop the south end with hopefully a good positive element that will generate tax revenue and hopefully provide some good commercial opportunities.

Commissioner Bohlen was very impressed with Paul's work and the studies that were done.  One of the things that was made clear tonight was that when these facilities were originally built, they were combined facilities.  The building at 307 Gay Street at one time housed the Administration, the Fire Company, and the Police Department.  Everything was in one building but as the City grew, it outgrew that building.  Oftentimes, the Fire Company stays in a location because of the equipment bays.  Now, combined facilities are the way of the future.   Paul Edmeades said what we are seeing a lot of, is building campuses so you have a whole campus of services.  

Commissioner Watkins can see the advantage of the three departments being together.  He thinks this is were we ought to go.

Gage Thomas asked about the financial considerations.  Mayor Rippons said the option that was purchased indicates roughly a parcel that is 4.44 acres for $1 million.   Roughly for the acquisition and the building the project is approximately a $10 million project. 

Wendell Foxwell asked if the Council would consider a second appraisal on the property.  He thinks $250,000 an acre is a little high.   Mayor Rippons said one appraisal was done and they were looking at other aspects also.  If you look at the consideration of the prior administration, you have less than 2 acres which has cost the City $790,000.  Council believes as they did their research and looked at what the appraiser had presented, the economic feasibility at that price was rationalized.   Rob Collison said the appraisal on the Washington Street property did not compare it with the Race Street property.  It looked at other properties in the Route 50 corridor / Washington Street area for its per-acre value.  Mayor Rippons said the appraisers were from outside the community.  There was no political agenda with either the appraiser or with Paul Edmeades.  Commissioner Atkinson said they looked at the prices of comparable properties on Route 50 that were sold. 

In response to a question about a time line for the project, Mayor Rippons said the City has a 90-day option so Council will have to exercise their privilege before that time.  Paul Edmeades has indicated roughly the planning phase (permitting, EPA, forestry, etc.) is 8 to 10 months and construction would take about 18 months.  

Mayor Rippons said American Ltd currently owns the property.  Commissioner Atkinson said it is owned by Fred Robinson Jr. who inherited it from his father. 

As there were no further questions or comments, Mayor Rippons closed the public comment session.

OTHER COMMENTS

Gage Thomas referenced the hearing for the Deep Harbour project.  There was consideration to abandon portions of Trenton Street and the railroad tracks.  He thinks Council intended that Howard Street and Fletcher Avenue be included in that discussion but it was not advertised as such, so it was to be re-advertised.  Mr. Thomas owns a building at 7 Cedar Street that is bounded by Fletcher Avenue.  He received a letter from Mr. Kinnamon saying there would be another public hearing.  Two weeks ago he asked if there would be another meeting and now he sees in the paper that the City is only taking written comments for some reason.   Rob Collison said it is the same ad that ran for the prior hearing.  They will be taking public comment on June 3.  It will be stated on the agenda.  Code provision requires that there be prior notification of any proposed transfer. 

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

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer