City Council Minutes
October 15, 2001
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, October 15, 2001, 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.
Mayor Rippons asked those present to keep our Nation and those affected in their prayers. 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 October 1, 2001 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Planning and Zoning Commission-Commissioner Watkins reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission met on October 2, 2001 to hear one case:
- Andrews, Miller, & Associates, Inc. applied for approval of the preliminary submission of plans for a Hebron Savings Bank to be built on the corner of Cedar Street and Dorchester Avenue. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to give temporary approval of the plans submitted. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Presentation of Awards for Crime Prevention Month- Sergeant Pat Doyle reported that crime prevention is done by a collective effort between the community and the Police Department. Awards were presented to Ed Kinnamon and Randy Bradford representing the Cambridge Rotary for their annual sponsorship of the bicycle rodeo and to George Enders representing Cambridge Lodge 1272 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks for their financial assistance to the DARE project.
Proclamation for National Character Counts! Week-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation, Mayor Rippons signed it, and it was presented to George Ames, Betsy Cooksey and a group of youth from the New Beginnings Youth Center, Buzz Follmer of Maple Elementary School, Randy Bradford of the Chamber of Commerce, and Commissioner Lee Weldon.
William Rickman to Discuss Development of Cambridge Plaza-Mr. Rickman's main business is as a real estate developer who builds buildings and then rents them. He owns Delaware Park and Ocean Downs Racetrack and is interesting in putting an off-track betting (OTB) parlor in Cambridge. The OTB parlor that was in Cambridge several years ago was doing over $5 million in business a year. If a dollar is bet at an OTB parlor, 80 percent goes back to the betting public, 10 percent goes to the purses at the racetrack, and 10 percent goes to the management of the OTB. He is hoping over time to get three OTB's in Maryland. The shopping center has a 263,000 sq.ft. facility of which 80,000 sq.ft. is occupied at this time. The OTB parlor would use 10,000 to 17,000 sq.ft. It would consist of large screen TV's and smaller monitors at tables in cubicles to view racing in other states. There would be a restaurant with different food concessions. They would also broadcast Monday Night Football and other sporting events. The parlor would only take up 5 percent of the shopping center. Mr. Rickman believes business can be doubled at Cambridge Plaza bringing in $10 million.
In response to a question by Wendell Foxwell (Glenburn Avenue) Mr. Rickman said he is opposed to casino gambling. He supports Governor Glendening's position on casino gambling. He feels it is a bad thing for Maryland. Mr. Foxwell is not against gambling all together. It has a lot of evils to it but Cambridge and Dorchester County can't isolate themselves from everybody else. It was here before, and you have lottery, bingo, and fraternity organizations with gambling. He's not against it all together but we have to have something here more or less as a tax base. Mr. Rickman is looking at it as a real estate venture and an OTB venture and feels both can help the community.
Tony Thomas feels everyone is forgetting the Eastern Shore is crabs and fish. Without OTB, there will be no more horse racing in Maryland. Horses are just as much a part of Maryland's heritage as crabs and fish. He would love to see a racetrack come here. It would help Cambridge. Mr. Rickman said in past years the State of Maryland has granted a $10 million purse supplement to racetracks. It didn't happen this year. Racing in the New World started in Annapolis, Maryland. If gambling comes, and it comes wrong, it would destroy racing.
Mr. Rickman would like to be up and running by the Kentucky Derby next year but he doesn't see it happening. There are so many hearings necessary. Even if he gets approval in Cambridge, he has to go before the Maryland Racing Commission. He has the support of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horseman, which is a major hurdle. He could probably be open in a year, maybe a little less. He has not purchased the property yet. He doesn't think he will fill the shopping center overnight. It will take time because it has been vacant for too long.
Commissioner Atkinson feels this will give us 25 to 28 jobs. The money will be made here and re-circulated in our community. It won't replace all the jobs we have lost but it will help to some extent. He personally supports Mr. Rickman 100 percent. It will help with the revitalization of this shopping center.
Adam Kagel, pastor of Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, has nothing against Mr. Rickman, horse racing or horses, but as a Christian Minister, he is opposed to gambling. He opposes any increase to gambling in our area. Aside for the religious reason of coveting, he feels gambling appeals to people who really are the least able to afford it.
Mr. Rickman said OTB is a destination. You make a concerted effort to go there. You can legally place a wager on the telephone from your house. You can also go Internet gambling.
Commissioner Weldon's biggest concern is about the remainder of the shopping plaza. Mr. Rickman knows a few people who might be receptive to opening a place here. Because there is presently income coming in, you don't need a lot more to break even. Therefore, he might be able to use this to help keep the rents low until they see how the businesses do.
Mayor Rippons referred to a notice that was sent to most churches in the area asking residents to call, fax, or write to the Mayor and Commissioners of Cambridge to demand that they oppose OTB. Speaking for himself, when he went out to get elected, the people put him in office. He is not going to take phone calls from any group demanding him to do anything. He will listen to requests and will listen to research that may be helpful in making an ultimate decision. He feels demanding is very degrading and shows a lack of concern and that some of the other statements made show a dis-service also.
Rosemarie "Dodie" Lazzati, Executive Director of Maryland Capital Enterprises, Inc. -Ms. Lazzati met with Mayor Rippons several weeks ago to explain their micro-enterprise development organization which has been piloted on the lower Eastern Shore for the past 2 years. This year they would like to expand to Dorchester and Caroline Counties. This is for businesses with 5 or fewer employees including the proprietor that has a capitalization need of $25,000 or less and has a net worth of $100,000. Most of the businesses they have dealt with are service-oriented businesses or a one-man shop with another employer. They work with the business to lend them up to $15,000; however, they are getting ready to apply as an SBA lender so they can lend up to $35,000. They provide technical assistance, marketing, help in making business cards, partnerships for computer training, business plan development, and they do quarterly site visits to make sure the recipient is doing o.k. Their target market is disadvantaged communities and they would like to open a satellite office in Cambridge.
Ken Beatty to Discuss Delmarva Space Training Center (DSTC)-The DSTC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Maryland education corporation. They started in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1980 to train young people for future careers in space. They have trained over 1000 people in space careers. NASA is building 6 launch facilities at Wallops Island for civilians to go into space. The complex will hire thousands of people to build, maintain, and work on these facilities. In the entire United States, there is not one certified space science teacher.
The DSTC motivates and trains boys and girls ages 10 and up. They live at the school for a week. They will have a museum of the history of man, space memorabilia, moon rocks, shuttle tile and other things for people to look at and sometimes get "hands-on". They also have programs for people home-schooling their children, an after-school program, and a Saturday cadet program. Senior citizens are also welcome. They are also interested in building a space theme park. If the space training facility becomes fully operational, they will have 116 people working there (some part-time).
The DSTC is looking at the vacant school on Mill Street. They have $100,000 worth of educational training materials and models, etc. They estimate that it will cost $700,000 to put the building back in shape. Mr. Beatty has found State money available but only a city can apply for it. There is $5,000 for a feasibility study, $500,000 in economic development, etc. They have approached 55 foundations that have said they will support the program when and if they get a building and some land. They are not asking for money from the city but are asking the city for help in applying for State and Federal grants to get the building and get started. Mr. Beatty will forward information on the grants to Jim Michael for his review.
Open Bids for Demolition of 717 Washington St., 927 Pine St., and 800 Slacum St. -Bids were received from:
- Wheatley Brothers (Cambridge, MD)--$10,475
- Jerol Moore, Inc. (Cambridge, MD)--$9,551
- Baran Brothers (Ellicott City, MD)--$19,697
Commissioner Weldon made a motion to refer the bids to Planning & Zoning for their review and recommendation. Commissioner Bohlen seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Discuss Modification to Resolution for Granting a Tax Abatement for Real Property Taxes for Palisades, LLC-This item will be discussed next week when Rob Collison will be present at the meeting.
Approval of Revised MOU Regarding Sailwinds Management Board- This item will be discussed next week when Rob Collison will be present at the meeting.
Request from Wal-Mart for Extension of Allotted Time for Storage Trailers-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to grant Wal-Mart an extension for their storage trailers. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Discuss Hiring a Buffer Planting Inspector for the Hyatt Site (Planning & Zoning) -The City is required by a pending agreement with the Critical Area Commission to ensure the buffer planting success around the Hyatt. Additional funds are available from the critical area grant to fund this contractual position. No city funds are necessary. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to allow Jim Michael to proceed with advertising and hiring for this position. Commissioner Bohlen seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Mid Shore Cruisers to Change the Date of Their Cruise-In from October 27th to October 28th at Snows Turn Market-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to grant this request. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Planning Commission for Non-Conforming Uses Review-In the process of reviewing the comprehensive rezoning, the Planning Commission has requested input from Council regarding a non-conforming uses issue. As proposed, the new ordinance would sunset most existing nonconforming uses and structures in the City within a set time frame. It would require certain registration to label all the nonconforming uses. Jim Michael will plan a meeting with the Council and the Planning Commission to discuss this in more detail.
Approve PO 2075 for George, Miles & Buhr LLC (DPW) -David Pritchett requested that Council defer their vote on this item until he has further time to review the expenses.
Approve PO 2029 for Potomac Fire Equipment (RFC) - Commissioner Travers made a motion to Approve PO 2029. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve PO 2030 for Safeware, Inc. (RFC) - Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to Approve PO 2030. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Weldon reported that because of the fire this weekend at the Cambridge Park Apartments at which five families were displaced, the New Beginnings Youth Center is establishing a relief fund. Contributions can be mailed to 630-102 Greenwood Avenue, Cambridge, MD. Any help will be welcome.
The Cambridge City Council has been invited to serve as honorary grand marshals in the Baltimore Christmas Parade on December 2 because the Cambridge parade was bigger than Baltimore's last year. The Cambridge--South Dorchester High School Marching Band will participate as well as the Cambridge Police Department Color Guard.
Commissioner Atkinson received a request to hang a banner across Race Street to announce Veterans Recognition Day. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to allow the Department of Public Works to hang this banner. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
David Pritchett reported that the Department of Public Works received a grant for marking streets in the mid-$20,000 range. This work will begin shortly.
David Pritchett reminded the public that the purpose of the leaf truck is to keep the storm drains open. This falls primarily in the first ward; however, they do some curbside clean-up in all the wards.
Judy Moody representing the American Legion Dorchester Post 91 read a letter thanking the City of Cambridge for their assistance in replacing a rope on a flagpole in front of the house of Mr. John R. Bradley, who was seriously ill and not expected to live through the weekend. The only thing he was asking to see was his flag flying. The Department of Public Works had the task completed within 30 minutes of the telephone request. The American Legion thanks the City of Cambridge, Commissioner Atkinson, and the Department of Public Works for their assistance.
At Mayor Rippons' request, Commissioner Watkins made a motion to go into executive session after the meeting. Commissioner Bohlen seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:35 p.m.
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, October 15, 2001, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer