• 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
Print this page

City Council Minutes

August 5, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, August 5, 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 Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 22, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 29, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.    

APPOINTMENTS

Minister Dedra Martin, New Life AME Zion Church, to Request Permission to Hold Tent Service on August 24 in the Parking Lot Behind Murphy's Store (Washington Street) at 2:00 pm and Noise Variance-Minister Dedra Martin said the time for the service will be from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm.  Commissioner Watkins made motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons said as the City moves forward with their streetscape program, they are looking at decorative streetlights.  They have asked two different companies to present proposals for the work.

David DePorter of HADCO to Discuss Decorative Street Lights-Mr. DePorter said they have warranties on their products for 3 years for the product itself-workmanship, paint, lamps, etc.  They have a 20-year warranty on dis-colorization of the globe.  The proposal is for the 12-foot standard height.  The pole has a 5‑in. fluted tubing.  It is made of cast aluminum.  The globe is the Washington-style globe.  They have an option to add outlets.  One of the bid advantages to purchasing the globes outright is complete control.  The transformer and ballast have an 8- to 10-year life.  The lamp has a 5- to 7-year life.  The photocell has an 8- to 10-year life.  An electric contractor could install the light and give the City a maintenance contract or work on time and material.  The acrylic enclosure will take a hard ball 15-feet away, 100 miles an hour without cracking.  This is a big advantage over glass.   A decorative cage and/or graphics (flags or medallions) could be added later.  Banner arms could be added for festivals.  The outside reflector helps prevent light trespass to second floors of buildings or into storefronts.  In answer to Commissioner Bohlen's question, Mr. DePorter said he thinks the lights cost $380 per unit for the standard unit.  The cage would be $150.  He will have to get back to Council with the cost of the pole.  They range from $550 up to $700.  In answer to Commissioner Weldon's question, he feels the maintenance could run about $80 an hour.  A ballpark figure would be about $125 to $150 to change everything.   David Pritchett said they originally planned to replace between 80 and 100 lights.

Ken Roth of Holophane to Discuss Decorative Street Lights-Ken Roth introduced Bob Pietro, a utilities specialist from conectiv.  He said Cambridge had eggshell glass in their acorn-style fixtures, which were on 8- to 10-foot poles.  They have an acorn unit that comes in two sizes.  They have very similar poles.  They are cast aluminum-style poles with a 5-in. shaft.    Cambridge doesn't have any Holophane glass.  He showed an example of what is at the marina.  Part of the project is to replace those fixtures, which have been there for 8 to 10 years.  Mayor Rippons said the fixtures that are represented here are not conducive to the ones that are already in place.  Mr. Roth said it is the same fixture.  Mr. DePorter said this is incorrect because they are polycarbonate.  Mayor Rippons said that is what he thought.  Mr. Roth said they are the same size fixtures.  Mayor Rippons said the components are different.  Mr. Roth said one of the advantages of his products is that they have a relationship with conectiv.  Conectiv went through a design review period where his product was picked for the decorative street lighting.  Cambridge can make a decision not to use conectiv.  To summarize, he said Holophane is not just a street lighting company; they are an industrial lighting company.  They allow financial freedom for the future.  When LaPlata had a F5 hurricane come through the town, they did not loose one light.   Mayor Rippons asked for capitalization and amortization costs.  Mr. Roth said what they have been looking at is a conectiv product that conectiv would lease to the City.  From a cost standpoint, he feels it would be about $950 for the light pole and fixture.  Bob Pietro said the lease price depends on the wattage but it is in the neighborhood of $18 month.    One of the big benefits of going with someone like conectiv is when a light goes out, you call them and it is taken care of.  You don't have to worry about who has the contract, who do we call, who can come out at this point of time, etc.  Holophane's electronics will last longer because the fixture runs cooler. 

As far as installation of the conectiv product with Holophane, basically the City would responsible for the foundation and getting the conduit underground.  Then conectiv would come back when the street is ready and set the poles, pull the wires, and set the poles and fixtures and make the connections to the distribution system.   Conectiv owns the wires, poles, and fixtures.  The municipality is responsible for the foundation. David Pritchett said this is no different from what we have now. 

Mayor Rippons asked what part of the $18 a month is lease.  Mr. Roth said he would have to contact conectiv for that figure.  There are a variety of options because every wattage is a different cost because of the amount of energy it uses. 

Mr. Roth said conectiv has two standard poles--the base pole and the upgraded pole.  The upgraded pole has a more substantial base, which is more appropriate for downtown street lighting.  They charge $100 per pole upfront for the upgrade.  Decorative cages could be added to the larger Washington series.  The pole is also capable of handing banner arms and flag brackets. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Council to Offer Decision to Require Riverwalk on All New Waterfront Projects in the PWCD-Mayor Rippons said at this time the Council is going to delay a decision but they would like to hear input as it regards the requirement for the riverwalk on all new waterfront projects in the PWCD. 

Commissioner Weldon has had many conversations with citizens this week on this subject.  Some people raised some very valid concerns.  He is sure there is a way that the City can accomplish what he is hoping they can accomplish.  If it is not something that is well received and does not have the cooperation of the people most directly involved, then there is no point in it.  He asked Rob Collison to review ordinances in other communities and how they operate, how they involve the property owners, and how they involve the City from a liability standpoint.   He asked Jim Michael from a Planning and Zoning standpoint to report back on his thoughts on whether this works within the framework of existing and the upcoming revised zoning.  He also asked for ways to fashion this in such a way that if there are owners that feel they need to opt out for any reason, that there is flexibility built into it.  He would like information from the Department of Public Works that if this moves ahead, and if one of the components is that the City is involved in some sort of maintenance angle, what the potential cost may be to the City.  The other issue is that there are proposals for developments along the Creek that are offering to incorporate this as part of their project with or without this change.  It may come to pass that what they are proposing is adequate to create the linkage between downtown and the waterfront.  That is his main objective.   Rob Collison suggested making the presentation at the September work session. 

Joe Brooks, VP of the J. M. Clayton Company, said he is for development in Cambridge and on the Creek.  However, he is strongly against this amendment requiring a public access riverwalk in a residential development.  He realizes it is just for new development.  He does not think it would be required in his present state of business.  When it is written on paper, it is there for a long time until someone takes it off.  In the future he may have a need to make changes.  He feels like this could be very detrimental to the further development of his property particularly if it is for condominiums.  He did not realize that if he wanted to redevelop his crab house into a more labor-friendly or visitor-friendly crab house, he would need to put a riverwalk all around through areas that would actually be hazardous to the patrons.  They pay a lot of liability insurance and there is quite an exposure for someone to fall overboard into the water.  If this passes, he would like to request that his piece of property be exempt from the amendment.  He doesn't feel that it is appropriate for someone that doesn't have any financial interest to dictate that he has to allow public access on his property.  His company has been paying property taxes for over 80 years, maintaining the bulkhead, and paying the insurance.  He feels the decision should be left up to the one developing the property.  He has talked to 12 tax-paying property owners on the Creek, and he has not found 1 who is for this amendment.  He feels they should have quite a say in this because they are the ones who will be most affected.  The cost of installing the walk would be quite an undertaking.  In the future when a big decision like this concerning a few taxpayers come up, he feels like more than a small advertisement in the back of the Banner would be appropriate.  When he was on the Waterfront Development Committee last year, it was decided at that point that this would be a recommendation and not a requirement.  He feels all the constituents should be polled and asked if they would like a 10-ft wide public walkway, 5-ft outside their back door. 

Rob Collison said as far as exemption, the City would have to exempt a classification, not just a specific site.  Mayor Rippons said you either legislate it or if it's wrong, then let's get rid of it.  Commissioner Weldon said when they were looking at it 1½ years ago, they all understood that it was badly written.  The reason it came back up is because there is a development proposed for the Arundel property, where they have offered to build it. In conversation it came up and it was re-introduced.  He thinks that if we identify a particular route, without impeding Mr. Brooks' business or the existing condos or anything else because so much of the east side of the Creek is relatively undeveloped or is in the process of changing hands.  If that can be identified and we can work out arrangements with those individual developers, then Mr. Brooks is right, they can strike the language from the ordinance as it stands.  Mr. Brooks said the property owners should be dealt with on a one-on-one basis. 

Commissioner Bohlen said he is open for ideas.  He wants to get the feedback from the community to guide him in the decision-making process.  He wants to emphasis that he understands the individual property owners' concerns.  By law they are required to advertise when thing are brought before the Council.  The City goes beyond that because the law requires that it is advertised one time but they advertise it twice and the agenda is printed in the paper and posted on the front of Council Chambers.

Mr. Brooks said they have over 600 feet of waterfront around their property.  If you multiply that times 10 feet wide, you are taking a lot of his real estate and it is not useable for him at that point. 

Mayor Rippons announced on September 16, 2002, this issue will be further discussed at a work session.

Frank Derringer, 200 Trenton Street, is the owner of Mid-Shore Electronics.  The nature of his business is unique.  They have an electronics company where boats come from all over the world.  They dock at his facility and he installs electronics on their vessels.  In doing so, they have a lot of test cables, extension cords, ladders, antennas on the land, etc.  This takes a lot of waterfront space.  Cable needs to be tensioned and can be somewhat dangerous to bystanders.  He is FCC licensed in radar repair.  There are requirements and restrictions of distances for testing radar depending on the kilowatt power of the transmitter.  His licensing requires him to have safety precautions in the way he does his work.  It is clear in his mind that it is an unsafe situation.  He needs Council to consider how shuttling public traffic through his property would hinder his work in many ways.  He would like Council to consider removing Mid-Shore Electronics from this proposal based on the type of work he does and the federal licensing they must maintain in order to do this work.

Henry Thomas is glad to hear that Council is going to give this some more thought.  He would like to talk about civics.  He has heard people talking about paying taxes.  They don't own anything; all they do is pay for the right to use it.  He has heard about riverwalks.  He asked if anyone could define a riverwalk and it's distance from the river.  There is a sign at the marina saying it is for boat owners and guests only.  Evidently, the City doesn't want any guests around their riverwalk.  The City also has a gate with a lock at the marina.  The riverwalk which is about 12-ft wide has a gate on it.  It seems strange to him with the jig-jag shoreline how the City is going to put the walk in there so everyone walks around.  Trenton Street doesn't have a pavement on either side of it to walk on.  He personally doesn't see how it is going to work.

King Burnett, an attorney from Salisbury, is here to represent Mr. Darringer of Mid-Shore Electronics.  He would like to pass on some experience he has had.  Ocean City, for example, proposed a riverwalk from the Coast Guard station around the bay down to the inlet.  They approached the property owners and attempted to work out something with them.  It has never been worked out.  A restaurant doesn't mind having it when they are open, but when they are closed they want a barrier on the walkway because they are worried about their property.  They didn't even think of trying to do what this ordinance requires.  It requires a public walkway as a condition of getting a permit to build.  It goes even further if there is a redevelopment of a property.  That is really a taking of property.  He feels Cambridge really has a serious problem.  He is here to pass on his experience; he is not here to threaten anyone.  He is suggesting that it wouldn't be legal to require someone to put a public walkway across his or her waterfront.  It will stop his client from using his waterfront. 

Commissioner Weldon said everywhere else in the City and all the residential parts of the City they require the homeowners to construct and maintain sidewalks.  One person mentioned tonight that there are no sidewalks on Trenton Street.  If the City were to make that a uniform policy and require the property owners to construct a sidewalk because of basic fundamental safety and drainage issues, he asked if Mr. Burnett feels there would be a legal argument not to do it.  Mr. Burnett thinks there is a big difference.  The City actually owns the land where the sidewalks are located.  Commissioner Weldon said not consistently.  Mr. Burnett said he doesn't know how the City can make a person put one in on a private property.  It is true that cities generally do require homeowners to pay for the sidewalks but they are mostly on public property.  Of course, they aren't stopping the access to the water which would be the case here with the walkway. 

Commissioner Weldon said the representatives from Mid-Shore Electronics are 100 percent right.  This is the kind of business, just like Clayton's; you want to have on the Creek because it continues the maritime history and heritage of this area in addition to being a pretty good economic engine to have.  That is why he thinks it is a good idea to revisit the ordinance as it is currently written. 

Rob Collison asked Salisbury's history where they have a certain segment that has a riverwalk.  Mr. Burnett said Salisbury acquired it, constructed it, maintains it, insures it, lights it, etc.  It was a public project for them to do that.  Cambridge is asking the private property owners to do it for the public.  If someone wants to develop an eatery and wants to have a boardwalk in front of their property, then it is in their interest and probably the interest of the City.  Of course, if you have a street that ends at the water that might be a place where you want to make public improvements and have public access at public expense. 

David Wheatley, Generation III Marina on Cedar Street, thought he understood what the City is proposing but since he is here, he is mixed up.  He hasn't had the luxury of hearing any positive notes.  It would have been nice to be contacted by his City representative.  Commissioner Weldon said Mr. Wheatley was on the list when they had the discussions 1½ years ago.  Mr. Wheatley said he could give a lot of negative feedback on something like this.  Basically what the City is proposing is annexing private property for public use.  The people who take a shortcut from Cedar Street to Cemetery Avenue down his bulkhead have not been very beneficial to him.  He can't keep a fire extinguisher on the piers.   They discharge them, discharge them on the boats, throw them overboard, beat the cabinets down, etc.  If they are going to open up this slice along the Creek, it is a policing problem.  You can't select who will be on the riverwalk.  He can't see how this would be an overall benefit.   If a developer, in developing the Arundel property, has some restaurants and would like to have a riverwalk, the City could help him facilitate that.  As un-segmented as this is going to be, he can't see how it would be an economic benefit. 

Jack Brooks said as Henry Thomas mentioned earlier, the issue of security of the property, both real property and personal property, is a major concern for the same reason that the City tries to control the access to the boat at the marina.  They have boats tied up at their location and there is a security problem.  There are things on his property that he has to have for his business.  When you leave that, who is going to protect it from being vandalized or stolen?  The City knows how expensive it is to maintain bulkhead.  He asked who is going to accept liability of this forced public.  He thinks the government is going to have to assume a considerable amount of this liability.  He doesn't know how they can do it without taking the property.  If the City takes the property, it's not waterfront property anymore.  He feels Cambridge has, for the size of our community, an unprecedented access to waterfront property on public property.  He hasn't heard anyone speak in favor of this riverwalk. 

Council to Offer Decision on Animal Nuisance Ordinance-Rob Collison said Commissioner Atkinson has received numerous complaints from residents with regard to animals not being property controlled.  This would amend Section 3-2.1 regarding animal nuisances.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to accept the ordinance.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.  In answer to a question on who would enforce the ordinance, Chief Ken Malik said they enforce the code dealing with barking dogs, etc.

NEW BUSINESS

Council to Render Decision on Location of New Public Safety Building-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to exercise the option for the Washington Street location for the new public safety building.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Discuss on New Regulations for the Pick Up and Disposal of Used Appliances-Commissioner Bohlen asked for Council's input on a new policy for disposal of used (discarded) appliances.  Rob Collison will draft a resolution to add this policy to the trash pick-up regulations.  Basically, used appliances (known as white goods) have been picked up on the last Wednesday of the month.  What has happened recently is that they have been set out well in advance of the pick-up date.  In reviewing the procedures of other municipalities, he has found that they pick up on demand for a fee.  Commissioner Bohlen is proposing a $20 fee.  If you have an appliance you would like to get rid of, you would go to the Department of Public Works, pay your fee, and receive a sticker.  In the next day or two, a crew would come out to get the appliance.  The City has lost their free disposal with the scrap metal dealer.  As a result, the City will have to pay the tipping fee to the landfill.   Mayor Rippons asked the Commissioners to forward their input to Rob Collison.   David Pritchett said he agrees with the proposed procedure.  He feels it is the best way to go.

Council to Approve the 7th Amended and Restated LGIT Agreement-Ed Kinnamon reported that from time to time, the Local Government Insurance Trust will make modifications or adjustments to their agreement that they have with each individual member city or town.  The amendment to this agreement is that members are no longer required to enter into a health benefits funding agreement in order to obtain health benefits.  The term "premium" has been replaced by the term "fee".  Arbitration is available at the option of the member city and the trust for coverage disputes involving $10,000 or less.  The trust will not be responsible for any costs, expenses, or fees incurred by a member city in connection with arbitration.  Their Board has approved these amendments and they are now asking for the members to sign off on them.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the agreement.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from Marcia Christopher, Portside Seafood Restaurant, for a Variance from the Noise Ordinance for Sunday, August 11, 2002 from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm for Live Entertainment on the Outside Deck-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Mayor Rippons said the Council received a letter from Julia Davis concerning the City having a parade to welcome the Hyatt.  Council will review the letter and discuss it further next week.

Rob Collison reported that the Council met in closed executive session at 6:15 pm tonight under the personnel and legal advice sections of the law.

Commissioner Bohlen said he appreciated all the public input tonight concerning the riverwalk.  It is a good example of democracy in action. 

Commissioner Bohlen said the next round for the Community Legacy Grant will be coming up September 9th.  The City is looking for community input for proposals for possible projects.  Mayor Rippons asked for public input during the third meeting of the month.

Commissioner Watkins said the Traffic & Safety Committee is working on a request to review the traffic on Maryland Avenue.  They will report next week.

Commissioner Atkinson received a request from Robin Slacum at 1212 Race Street for a streetlight.  He will forward it to the Street Lighting Committee.

Ed Kinnamon received a letter from Mr. Tomey at 100 High Street who asked to be entered into the record that he was in opposition to the riverwalk.

David Pritchett said during the month of July they did $11,523 in transient boater business at the yacht basin.  That is the highest ever recorded in the history of the basin.  They are at $25,914, which is the highest they have ever done for an entire summer.  There are three months left in the season. 

Chief Ken Malik would like to thank the Department of Public Works for the outstanding job they did in conjunction with the Police Department during the clean-up day.  He reminded the public that August 6th is the National Night Out at the Dorchester County Pool.  Mayor Rippons complimented both departments.

Evelyn Townsend thanked the Mayor and all the Commissioners and the Department of Public Works for having the privilege to use Great Marsh.   Everything went along well.  She wants Council to know that most of the visitors had never been to the Eastern Shore.  They came from various parts of the United States.  Good things are happening here and the word is out.  They want to come back to Cambridge again.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:37 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, August 5, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer