• 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

July 22, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, July 22, 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 July 15, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

APPOINTMENTS

Public Hearing - Amend Ordinance to Require Riverwalk on All Waterfront Projects in the PWCD-Rob Collison said this is an amendment to the City's zoning code.  The proposed amendment to the development standards are applicable to the PWCD as codified in Section 20-15B of Chapter 20.  The notification of public hearing was published in The Daily Banner on July 5, and July 12, 2002.  The Commissioners deem it to be in the interest of the public to amend the Development Standards to require a public walkway along all waterfront projects, including residential projects, located within the PWCD.  This would assure public access to Cambridge Creek on all remaining waterfront projects. 

Commissioner Bohlen said he thinks this is something that is long overdue.  Public access to Cambridge Creek should not be denied.  It will only be for the betterment of the community.  Commissioner Watkins agreed.  Mayor Rippons asked if anyone in the audience wished to speak.  Hearing none, Commissioner Travers made a motion to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.  The vote will be taken next week.

Octavene Saunders to Discuss a Project Sponsored by the Dorchester County Senior Council-Mrs. Saunders said the Dorchester County Senior Council is made up of citizens appointed by the County Commissioners.  They have worked with Premier Cinema in Cambridge who will offer reduced rates for seniors (ages 55 and over) on Wednesdays beginning July 31, 2002. The cost will be $2 per senior.  Each senior will receive a free small soda and a free small popcorn.  They are not asking for any funding but are asking the Council to support the project in spirit by spreading the word. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Second Reading and Vote on Proposed Ordinance To Regulate the Number of Stored Vehicles at Automobile Repair and Assembly Businesses and at Automobile Storage/ Impound Yards-The first reading of the proposed ordinance was last week.  The purpose of the article is to prevent the excessive accumulation and storage of motor vehicles, or parts thereof, at approved and licensed impound yards and automobile repair and assembly businesses throughout the City of Cambridge.   He read the article in its entirety.  Mayor Rippons asked for public comment.  Commissioner Weldon asked how this would relate to farm equipment.  Rob Collison said the Planning and Zoning Department would have to determine if the owner of the property in question is in the process of repairing or selling the equipment.  If it is for the repair or replacement and assembly, then it appears it would apply to number of vehicles permitted. Commissioner Weldon asked if the screening requirement would apply if they are just there as a parts source.   If it were in existence when the code was passed (1964), it would be grandfathered in as a nonconforming use.  Rob Collison will check with Jim Michael on this situation.  Commissioner Bohlen said the definition of vehicle will need to be addressed.  Rob Collison said he thought it was defined in the Chapter, but not within the particular ordinance they are discussing.  Commissioner Weldon said the equipment is on a leased piece of City property.  He asked if the City property should conform with the existing zoning.  Rob Collison said if that was a legally existing use of the property when the zoning came into being, they would legally be in compliance as a nonconforming use.  If it is an annual lease that has to be renewed each year, the lease could be renegotiated.  The City could say they are not going to lease to a nonconforming use.  If the period of years has not expired, they technically are not in violation as a nonconforming use.

Commissioner Watkins suggested a grace period.  Commissioner Weldon said with the abandoned vehicle code, there was a grace period.  Rob Collison said they could elect to approve the ordinance but not have it enforced until January 1, 2003.   Mayor Rippons asked about the validation of having mutually exclusive.  A lot of businesses have licenses for many uses.  They could easily get by with the 50-vehicle limit.  Rob Collison will contact Jim Michael, who supplied the numbers.  He suggested delaying the vote until next week so he could get the answers.  He said he believes Jim Michael contacted businesses in the City to obtain workable numbers. 

Monroe Smith said he has been in business for quite a few years and asked if this applied to him.  Rob Collison said if he is in the business of having an auto body repair business or assembly yard, it would apply.  The limit would be 50 vehicles.  If Mr. Smith also has a licensed impound yard (towing service) it would be limited to 50 vehicles.  If he ran both operations as two separate businesses, he would be limited to 100 vehicles.   Sylvia Smith said they have a salvage yard on Bayly Road.  She asked if the cars in the salvage yard are illegal.  Rob Collison said if it is approved, and there are more than 50 vehicles, then they would have to reduce it to 50 vehicles.  He said the clarification would be if a salvage yard falls within this definition.  It is his understanding that it does not.  He said what they are speaking about is what the Council eliminated as a permitted use in the I-2 zoning.  Mayor Rippons said Mr. Smith would be grandfathered.  Rob Collison said as of now, no new salvage or junkyards will be created in the City.    

Octavene Saunders said she doesn't understand the answer Rob Collison just gave because it says automobile storage or salvage dealers.  Rob Collison said it is his understanding that it is only applicable to a licensed impound yard.  He thinks the word "salvage" should be deleted.  It was intended for impound yards.  The changes will be made for next week.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Wal-Mart to Hold Company Picnic at Great Marsh on September 22, 2002 from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm (no amplified music)-Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to grant the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from Cambridge Police Department for a Variance from the Noise Ordinance for Their 19th Annual National Night Out on August 6, 2002 from 6:00 pm Until 9:00 pm-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from Seafood Feast-I-Val Committee for Variance from the Noise Ordinance for the Seafood Feast-I-Val on August 10, 2002 at Sailwinds Park from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request To Go To Bid for Main Street/Legacy Program Upgrade-David Pritchett said the City received a $53,000 grant from the Community Legacy Program to work on the main street area (Pine Street, High Street, Poplar Street, and Race Street).  They are looking to go to bid for the items to be installed.  Mayor Rippons said there is consideration that the lighting can either be put in by conectiv and then the City would pay a rental fee or the City can purchase them.  He would like to have a meeting with David Pritchett and Commissioner Bohlen to discuss this further.  Commissioner Weldon asked to be included also. 

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to allow DPW to go to bid for the accessory items (trash cans, etc.) except the lighting.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request To Go To Bid to Upgrade Equipment for Cornish Park (DNR Grant)-David Pritchett said they are looking to put in a new playground like the one that is at Great Marsh, a new pavilion, a new bleacher set, and they would like to resurface and rebuild the basketball court.  Commissioner Watkins asked to be included in the planning and suggested that Mr. Cromwell or any member of the Cornish Park Committee be included also.  David Pritchett said the grant itself is in the amount of $50,000.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

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

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Chief Malik announced that on August 3, 2002, in conjunction with the Department of Public Works, there will be a community clean-up.  The Cambridge Police Department will be offering security surveys for the residents of the City.  This is paid for by a small grant ($2,500) by the Governor's Office on Crime Control and Prevention. 

Chief Malik said this afternoon at about 3:15 pm they arrested Joseph Moore who was wanted on an arrest warrant for the murder of Charles Jenkins in February. This arrest was made possibly through a citizen contacting the City Police by telephone and advising them that the suspect was in the area. 

David Pritchett said further to the August 3rd clean-up, this is the first time they will have a City-wide clean-up day.  It will be difficult but can be achieved by allowing a one-pass method of going down the street one time.  Trash must be put out the night before.  The local media will advertise this clean-up day.

Commissioner Travers congratulated the Cambridge All-Star Team.  They have done an outstanding job. 

Commissioner Atkinson asked about the status on Glasgow Street.  David Pritchett said they will go to bid within the next three weeks.  They are expediting getting the utility poles moved.  

Commissioner Atkinson asked about Bayly Road.  Ed Kinnamon said the grant money will be available; the City just hasn't requested it yet. 

Commissioner Atkinson asked David Pritchett to begin work on the bidding process for the fence on the Race Street parking lot.  David Pritchett said he already received two quotes.  Commissioner Atkinson said Mrs. Whitten has contacted four or five property owners who live in the area and they would like a six-foot galvanized-mesh fence with slats in it. 

Commissioner Atkinson asked about the ordinance on trashcans.  David Pritchett said trash must be placed in cans or it has to be put in plastic bags.  Commissioner Atkinson has received a lot of complaints about cats in the areas tearing up garbage bags.  David Pritchett said they could start enforcing the ordinance stronger. 

Commissioner Atkinson said he rode around the whole City today and this weekend and hopefully the Hyatt will be opening the last of August.  Hopefully people will ride through town.  He feels the town needs cleaning up bad.  Grass is growing in the streets and some sidewalks are not safe to walk on.  A sign on Water Street says "scenic drive".  The first two blocks are great.  From Choptank Avenue to Oakley Street is a disaster.  One building should come down.  Sidewalks are completely covered with grass.  He is asking the citizens to help.  The street sweeper sweeps more than it ever has in the past.  He would like to see us put our best foot forward when these people come to Cambridge.

Commissioner Weldon said a couple weeks ago we were certified as a Heritage Area by the State.  The Comprehensive Plan has to be amended because none of the funding sources become available until all the municipalities involved do that. 

Commissioner Weldon said if he remembers correctly, last fall after all of the sewer work was done, it was determined that Vue de Leau and William Street were going to paved this year.  David Pritchett said the work will be done this year.  The crosswalks will be painted after the streets are paved. 

Commissioner Weldon said he shares Commissioner Atkinson's concerns.  One of the things he comes across through Maryland Municipal League activities is that there are a lot of cities that take a very pro-active approach to sidewalk replacement.  The cities initiate the construction and replacement of sidewalks and bill the property owners.  The work is contracted by the city in a uniform fashion over larger parcels that need to be done.  He thinks Cambridge needs to look at this. 

Commissioner Watkins would like to meet with David Pritchett to discuss some streets that have hidden stop signs because of overgrown hedges. 

Commissioner Bohlen has been working with Jim Michael on one property on Hambrooks.  One of the things he and Commissioner Weldon discovered at the MML conference is that many times a lot of municipalities, when they have a difficult property where grass is never cut, they take a pro-active approach and the City will cut it and bill the property owner an exorbitant amount.  Commissioner Atkinson said we already do this. Commissioner Bohlen said he noticed appliances sprouting like mushrooms all over the City. The pick-up for these items is the last Wednesday of the month.  He will be working with Rob Collison to draft some tighter legislation to limit when people can put such things out for pick-up.  Commissioner Weldon reminded everyone that doors must be removed before appliances are put out for pick-up. 

Commissioner Bohlen said on Hambrooks Boulevard near Belvedere Avenue there is parking allowed on the south side of the boulevard opposite of the new construction.  This may present a hazard.  The Traffic and Safety Committee will review this corner.

Commissioner Bohlen said the fine for littering in the City should be enforced.

Rob Collison gave the Council a copy of a proposed resolution which will be on the agenda next week concerning the Heritage Tourism Management Plan. 

Commissioner Atkinson asked Rob Collison to draft a proposed ordinance which would amend the City's animal nuisance provisions.  This will be on the agenda next week. 

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to enter into Executive Session following the meeting to discuss a legal matter.   Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons said he was at the Power Boat Regatta all three days.  There must have been at least 50 to 100 comments made about how much better Cambridge looks over the last year.  Particular emphasis was placed on the upgrades at the marina.  Mayor Rippons asked David Pritchett to pass this on to his department and to Josh Wheeler, the Dockmaster.   They also wish to thank the Police Department for all the security and Rescue Fire Company and Cambridge Emergency Medical Services who were on the scene every day.  The people also asked the Mayor to thank everyone in the community for what they are doing. 

Octavene Saunders agrees with Commissioner Atkinson on the sidewalks.  Last year she took a spill on her cart in front of a business on Race Street.  The sidewalk is still the same way.  She has contacted the Mayor, DPW, Jim Michael, and Mr. Wheeler and the sidewalk is still bad.  She and Zeke Willey visited several sidewalks that people with carts travel on.  She realized a little bit has been done but the businesses on Race Street have to do something.  Everyone tells her they are working on it.  Not only is it an eyesore, sooner or later someone will get hurt.

Octavene Saunders said a code was enacted that trash could not be put out before 5:00 pm the night before pick-up.  The cans must be taken in by 5:00 pm the day of pick-up.  She has made numerous calls about her block and nothing has been done.  She doesn't know who enforces it now.

Octavene Saunders spoke about animal control.  They have a problem on High Street.  She tried to get out of her house one day and found two pitbulls sitting on her step.  She called the Humane Society and the Police from her cell phone.  Finally an officer came out.  She asked whom she should call.  Mayor Rippons responded that she should call the Humane Society.  The County Commissioners ordered them last Tuesday to provide services to the entire County. 

Marge Hull asked Commissioner Bohlen where he was talking about limiting the parking on Hambrooks.  Commissioner Bohlen said when you make the turn near the new home on the south side coming into town.  Marge Hull said that corner is an accident waiting to happen.  You cannot see the traffic coming from the city down Hambrooks Boulevard to Belvedere.  It is a total blind spot.  She asked if it would make sense if there were a line that would mark the traffic coming and going from town.  Commissioner Bohlen said the committee will look into this.

Glen Smith asked the Commissioners about trash blowing onto vacant lots.  He asked if the landlords collected it, could the City pick it up one day a month.  Mayor Rippons said they could do that.  David Pritchett asked if the person picking up the trash could call DPW and let them know, they would be glad to pick it up.

Wendell Foxwell lives on Glenburn Avenue and there are a lot of leaves in people's yards.  If a fire starts in one yard, it will spread to others.  People should rake their leaves into the street.  He also feel the weed and grass ordinance should be enforced.   David Pritchett said at this time the City does not have a leaf pick-up truck.  Shortly, they will have one.  The proper procedure is to bag them and put them out for pick-up. 

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:10 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, July 22, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer