City Council Minutes
November 19, 2001
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, November 19, 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.
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 November 5, 2001 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Planning & Zoning--Commissioner Watkins reported that the Planning & Zoning Commission met on November 6, 2001 to discuss:
Clifton Enterprises (Chesapeake Drive)-Herb Robinson requested approval for subdivision of the property. The Commission voted unanimously to give Clifton Enterprises preliminary approval of the subdivision.
Hattie Redmond (1214 Stone Boundary Road) Request for a Daycare Center-The Planning Commission recommended approval of the Special Use Permit to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Delaware Valley Development Company (5234 Woods Road)-They are requesting rezoning of the parcel from R-1 to R-4 to accommodate a 76-unit apartment complex. The Planning Commission voted in favor of this. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the recommendation of the Planning Commission and instruct the City Attorney to prepare the necessary documents for the required public hearing. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Paul Kirkley to Give Council Update on Dorchester County YMCA-Mr. Kirkley reviewed the mission of the YMCA. The YMCA is a non-profit charity that is organized and governed by volunteers. They have been offering programs and services to the community since 1986. Renovations and the addition of the pool were funded through a State bond bill. The pool opened in the fall of 1999. The three services most commonly known to the public are the gym and swim, summer day camps, and those programs that are able to symbolize a close connection between body, mind, and spirit. There are 2400 Y's in the country that serve 17 million people. Mr. Kirkley summarized their program by saying they build strong kids, strong families, and a strong community. They continually change to adapt to the needs of the community.
Last year, they gave away $32,000 to allow people to have the opportunity to use the YMCA. Currently there are 2350 members. There are two after school fun club State-licensed programs at Sandy Hill and Maple and a nine-week day camp for the summer. With the help of Delmarva Community Services, they have added a camp for children with special needs. They have several programs for teens, dance programs, health classes, a wellness center, etc. Various local corporations have helped finance the programs and equipment.
Bill Watkins (CEMS)
Discuss ALS and BLS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Dorchester County-The County Commissioners are moving forward with the EMS County Plan that they have been working on for 1½years. Every participant is being asked to sign an MOU which holds everyone to an accountability standard--the County to funding and the companies to service. The documents have to be signed and turned in on November 20, 2001. Mr. Watkins feels it should be done for the City of Cambridge's best interest. With the current funding projection for this calendar year, a revenue between the billing receipts and the County contribution will be approximately $341,000. As participating in the EMS / ALS task force billing plan proposed, our total billing receipts would be $200,500 and the County contribution of $175,000; totaling $375,500. The more runs that CEMS makes, the more money the City will make to offset their budget. He believes the County is committed to get this started and recommends the City sign both documents. Mayor Rippons suggested an addendum be added to the MOUs to acknowledge another document will be coming to spell out the gap in time before funding is coming from the County. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion for the City to sign the ALS and BLS MOUs. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Discuss Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Systems Services Equipment Allocation and Associated Expenses-Mr. Watkins applied to the State for a grant for three cardiac monitors. They cost approximately $22,000 each. The State of Maryland's price is $9,100 each and they have offered the grant to Cambridge at 50percent of their cost. The City's contribution would be $13,650 for three monitors. However, the City will have to pay $27,300 and then they will be reimbursed one-half of that in 30 days. Mr. Watkins said this is not in his budget at this time. If the City goes with the county plan, there is a possibility he will have the $13,650. Historically, when you apply for something it takes effect the next fiscal year. This grant has to be completed by April 30, 2002. Ed Kinnamon said the City has some funding in the contingency fund. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to forward the monies necessary to go forward with this project. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Rippons reported that after the work session Council held with Rescue Fire Company last week, he asked the County for a joint meeting. In lieu of a joint meeting, the County Commissioners have requested the City Commissioners appear at the County meeting on November 20, 2001. Mayor Rippons will meet with Bill Watkins and Jeff Hurley to get their input before the County meeting.
Request from Wal-Mart for Permission for Temporary Storage Trailers-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant Wal-Mart permission to use temporary storage trailers for 30 days. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Laura Weldon Requesting Permission for Non-Profit Vendors to Sell Goods on City Property Without a Permit on the Night of the Christmas Parade-Mrs. Weldon requested permission for non-profit groups to be able to obtain a 1‑day temporary vendor permit at no charge so they can sell items during the Christmas parade. This would provide an opportunity for these groups to raise funds for their organizations. According to David Pritchett, there would be about six spaces at the Pedestrian Mall and six spaces at Long Wharf. The organizations should contact Mrs. Weldon for a space. Commissioner Atkinson asked what provisions the Parade Committee would take to be sure the food is prepared properly. Mr. Kinnamon said when vendor permits are purchased from the City, the purchaser is told they have to have Health Department approval. Mrs. Weldon said the Parade Committee is not making any money from this. They are acting as an agent for the groups to pick up vendor permits. Rob Collision said the City would have no additional legal ramifications if they don't charge the permit fee for these vendors as long as they are treated the same as someone who is paying for the permit. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve Mrs. Weldon's request for permission for non-profit vendors to sell goods without paying the permit fee. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. Commissioner Weldon abstained. The vote passed 4:0 with Commissioner Weldon abstaining.
Discuss HUD Program to Rehab Property-HUD has taken over a property on Linden Avenue. Because they could not sell it, the City has a chance to purchase the building for $1. Kent Pipes of The Affordable Homes Group has asked the City to purchase the property from HUD for $1. They would pay all closing costs and all closing costs for the City to turn the building over to them. They will rehab the house and return it to the community at a greatly reduced cost. The company also pays all closing costs at the time they sell the house. The paperwork had to be submitted by November 14th. Mayor Rippons signed a document forwarded to HUD indicating the City's interest pending a vote of Council. Commissioner Weldon has seen this program work wonders in other communities. He feels it is a tremendous opportunity for the City. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the City moving forward with the HUD rehab of 415 Linden Avenue as proposed by The Affordable Homes Group. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
First Reading of Ordinance Regarding Membership on City Boards and Committees (majority of members must be City residents)-Rob Collison reported that some committees required all members be City residents. He has drafted two ordinances to amend the City code to provide that a majority of the members of the Housing Board of Review and the Board of Zoning Appeals shall be residents of the City and that members can succeed themselves. The second reading and vote will be taken next week.
Request by Developer of Cambridge Creek / Commerce St. Property for Capital Improvements and Other Concessions-Ned Nabb will represent the City on this matter. The City has received a letter from Duane Parker with the commitment letter from First Bank Mortgage that dictates the terms that were put before Council. The commitment letter goes beyond what Mr. Nabb recalls was the motions and requests that were put before Council this past summer. They requested tax abatement for the property on Commerce Street and they were discussing Brownfields. They developers were asking for tax relief so they could go forward with the environmental rehab of the property. Now they are asking for additional concessions in the form of a resolution.
They are asking to change the due date the first quarterly report to July 15, 2002. Supposedly, the settlement date is tomorrow. From the notices in the paper, it is obvious that they are moving forward. Council didn't see any problem with the new date.
They had the abatement to run through June 30, 2005 and the City had it contingent on them doing certain things. The Council had it contingent on build-out; they didn't have a final date. Council decided to keep the language they originally provided.
They have the density figure of not less than 52 units. Mr. Nabb believes this figure was brought to Council but he doesn't actually know that it was qualified. Commissioner Weldon said Council was talking about 52 units; not less than 52 units. This leaves the door open for perhaps more density than the property can handle. He feels if a number is attached, it should be a finite number. Commissioner Atkinson said Council discussed the height and number of units that night. Council didn't say yes or no.
Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to accept the resolution. The City has a vacant spot with nothing happening and now we're going to run them out of business. Commissioner Bohlen said he's not going to "give away the farm" the way the City has done over and over in the past. Mayor Rippons asked if Council would agree to 52 units. Commissioner Watkins said he could agree with this. The other Commissioners agreed. The words "not less than" will be removed.
Mayor Rippons said he doesn't feel the item stating the City will provide Palisades with a discounted contract rate for bulkhead repairs and construction needs to be in the resolution. All the information has already been forwarded to Palisades. He said a provision should be made that the City has already provided consideration. He did not enter into a contract. He told them he would put them in contact with the foreman on site. The foreman said while he is on site, he will continue his contract with Palisades. It does not involve the City negotiating anything. Mayor Rippons feels this item should be taken out of the resolution.
Mayor Rippons doesn't feel the City has given their unqualified support for an application for up to 50 boat ships with the Corps of Army Engineers. Mr. Nabb feels it is too open-ended. The second point asking for 30 slips at the City Marina might interfere with the grants the City is getting for repairs. Locking in the slip rental fee for 10 years would not be acceptable. Commissioner Weldon suggested that the developer could subsidize the expansion of the marina and then have some priority access to a portion of the expansion but this could not be decided on tonight. Mayor Rippons suggested striking this item from the resolution. This could be considered in the future.
Mayor Rippons provided Council with a cost estimate prepared by David Pritchett and Gary Newcomb for the necessary capital improvements on Commerce Street. Mr. Nabb pointed out that they were asking the City provide parking areas. Commissioner Weldon said the City should be specific as to what they will provide: the water and sewer lines as discussed, the storm water management, and the street infrastructure itself going back to the property. Anything beyond that is subject to future negotiation or it is Palisades' responsibility.
Mayor Rippons suggested it read, "The City agrees to make all necessary capital improvements as the City deem necessary." Council agreed to this.
Ed Kinnamon asked why the resolution is for a calendar year instead of a fiscal year as they mentioned. The current resolution states through the calendar year. Rob Collison replied the value of the abatement was in line to end on December 31, 2003.
Mayor Rippons summarized:
Item No. 1-Leave it as it is. The abatement dates were not changed. The dates that were changed were the deadline dates for doing certain things.
Item No. 2-There are no other points of qualification. This is simply a reporting date.
Item No. 3-The words "not less than" will be deleted.
Item No. 4-Stricken
Item No. 5-Stricken
Item No. 6-Amended to include just the first line "The City agrees to make all necessary capital improvements on Commerce Street, as deemed necessary by the City."
The provision on Paragraph 2 only takes into concept a time parameter running from monthly to quarterly.
Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the changes pending Mr. Nabb's perusal on one item. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Discuss Cooperative Advertising in Maryland State Events Calendar-The County Tourism Department will buy a page in the book and are asking for commitment from the City to forward $500 for advertising. Commissioner Weldon feels it's a good idea to market the marina in this annual calendar. It goes to anyone asking for travel information and is circulated in tourist destinations. Commissioner Weldon made a motion that the City allocate $500 to participate in the cooperative advertisement to advertise the City marina. Commissioner Bohlen seconded it. The ad is a full-page ad on Dorchester County with a number of Dorchester County businesses participating. He doesn't have the specifics on the size for the City's portion. Mayor Rippons said the motion was just to advertise the marina. If there are ample spots, there are certainly other factors like the Historic Walking Tour and Sailwinds that need to be in there. Mayor Rippons doesn't like the consideration that it's relegated at this time until the City knows what they are working with. Commissioner Weldon said it's a smaller ad that is part of a larger ad. He believes it's a photograph and a 15-word description. He will get more detail from the tourism department. If Sailwinds wants to promote its events venue, he is sure Sailwinds can find the $500. Mayor Rippons said he's talking about the Historic Tour. Commissioner Weldon said the marina generates revenue for the City directly, and by investing some marketing dollars in that, it's going to be returned to us. The Historic Tour is certainly worthy of note but it can be covered in an editorial piece that can be sent at no charge. Commissioner Weldon feels the City should promote all the renovations at the marina. David Pritchett said they do advertise the marina that does help to fill it. If Council is in favor of the advertisement, he will drop one of the advertisements that hasn't yielded as much attention and include this new source. Commissioner Atkinson wanted to know why they advertise if the marina is full. David said they fill up for annual rentals; they can always increase transient boaters. They can double transients. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve Financial Statement for October 2001-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement for October 2001. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bohlen attended the Jamboree on Friday night, which was well attended, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Commissioner Watkins heard a lot of good points on the Percy Sledge concert at Sailwinds Park. He wants to compliment the group that is doing so well with Sailwinds.
Commissioner Weldon submitted information to the Council regarding a multi-year tax abatement that has worked in other communities. It is for people who have invested in their buildings by making improvements. They will discuss this at a future meeting.
Commissioner Travers thanked David Pritchett for the outstanding job that they have done in the last few weeks picking up leaves. They are doing a fantastic job.
Ed Kinnamon received a letter from Joe Sampson and Doretha Sampson (2411 Rock Dr.) regarding some property at 2409 Cambridge Beltway. They are requesting annexation into the City. They would like to put this forward as soon as possible and are willing to pay the extra fees for the annexation to be done as soon as possible. This request will be forwarded to Planning & Zoning.
David Pritchett updated Council on the work at the treatment plant. It is estimated that 400 dry tons of sludge remain. Mr. Avon White has taken over the plant for MES. He is one of their highest regarded managers. Mr. White is evaluating the options that the City has presented to him and will meet with David and George Hyde this week. He will provide Council with a written report.
David Pritchett reported even if all the penalties are imposed on Climate Masters, builders of the Empowerment Center, the City still owes them over $7,000. They have requested a partial payment of the guaranteed amount they are owed ($5,000). Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the payment of $5,000 (Purchase Order 2087). Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
At David Pritchett's request, Commissioner Watkins made a motion to go into Executive Session after the meeting. Commissioner Weldon seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Jim Michael reported that the City of Cambridge has been awarded a grant from the State of Maryland for enhancements to Cornish Park in the amount of $50,000.
Jim Michael reported that they have selected Scott Daniels as the Buffer Management Inspector who will be inspecting the vegetation growth at the Hyatt. He should be available at least four times a year to perform inspections and monitor the project. His salary will be totally funded by a grant.
Mayor Rippons received a phone call from Senator Mikulski today to congratulate Cambridge on receiving a $900,000 grant through the VA/HUD Conference Agreement. This is for the City's DNR upgrade project and combined sewer overflow system. Some users of the sewer system users have spoken out about the recent increases in costs. This $900,000 will go a long way to keeping the costs mitigated at this time.
The legal council for the Pine Street Committee called Mayor Rippons and supplied three days he is available to meet with Council. Mayor Rippons, Mr. Collison and Commissioner Watkins will meet with him next week to discuss the occupancy of the Empowerment Center.
Mayor Rippons reported on the information session that Hyatt held at Sailwinds yesterday. Roughly 1000 people attended.
Mr. Kinnamon, Mr. Wheeler, and Mayor Rippons attended a LGIT conference where the City received a recognition plaque for its work in risk management and training.
Wendell Foxwell suggested that it should be put in the newspapers about the good things that are going on in each ward. If someone from each ward would write a column each month about what is going on in their wards so people can hear about it and see what is going on and what needs to be done. If this could not be done, the information could be compiled and given to the Mayor and the Mayor could do it. A lot of people are shut-ins and cannot attend meetings. They are taxpayers and are also a silent group of voters. He hasn't seen anything in the paper recently about the Greenlawn Cemetery Housing Project. He would like to know what is happening with the old BJ Linthicum building lot. With about ¾ million dollars of taxpayer's money invested in it, he would like to know if the fire company is going there or whether it is being aggressively marketed to be sold. He also has questions about the Lloyds Fire Company. He questioned what was going on with the old MAC Center of Race Street. The people should know what is going on if it is in litigation or if it will cost $150,000 to tear it down.
In response to Mr. Foxwell's questions about blacktopping the streets, Commissioner Bohlen reported that there are several streets in his ward that are not in the best shape. However, those are areas that are going to be worked on in the future with the sewer separation projects. It makes no sense to pave a road that you are going to tear up again in two years.
Mayor Rippons answered the question about the property on Race and Cedar Streets and consideration for a site for a new fire department. Mr. Paul Edmeades is doing a feasibility study on all sites that will be given to Council on December 10.
Anton Ennels represents a local music group. They would like a noise variance on December 8th to have a benefit concert. The proceeds of the concert will be donated to relief for the families of New York after what has happened on September 11th. They would like to have the concert downtown on Race Street after business hours. They will need ½ hour for set-up and will perform for about 1½ hours They have invited other local groups and everyone is networking well. Their music is called alternative hip-hop. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant a variance from the noise ordinance on December 8th between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm in the pedestrian mall. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously. Mr. Ennels will contact David Pritchett to confirm this date.
Corey Palmer came before Council to present a business he would like to conduct in town. The services are grass cutting, power washing, tree pruning, and yard trash removal. The services are based on his experience. He will be seeking funding and would like to get Council's support. He has been to the Chamber to their small business group but he is collecting information to go to Baltimore because they have the funding range that he needs to get going. He has talked to a local insurance company for insurance and bonding. Commissioner Weldon asked Mr. Palmer to list what his funding sources are going to require to receive a letter of support from the City.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:50 p.m.
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, November 19, 2001, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer