• 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

December 10, 2001
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, December 10, 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 Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 3, 2001 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Historic Preservation Commission-Commissioner Bohlen reported on the November 15, 2001 meeting.

The owners of 317 Belvedere Avenue requested permission to install an ornamental fence in their front year. The request passed unanimously.

Mr. Ken Beatty, representing the Delmarva Space Training Center, presented their plans for the old Academy School on 201 Mill Street. After a lengthy discussion, the Commission still needed more information. No decision will be made until further information is provided. Mr. Beatty has since withdrawn his request.

Street Lighting Committee-Commissioner Bohlen will make this report next week.

APPOINTMENTS

Octavene Saunders to Discuss Sale of Christmas Greenery on Race Street-Ms. Saunders read in the free paper (Dorchester Star) about ARC's concerns about Mr. Molock selling Christmas greens on Race Street.  She said other business owners park their cars on the street all day and nobody complains or asks them to move.  Mr. Molock is only on Race Street a few days of the year which brings cheer to downtown.  She feels Mr. Molock should be able to stay there until he's ready to leave.   Not one person she has talked to has any objection about him being on Race Street. 

Commissioner Watkins doesn't remember a time when Mr. Molock wasn't on Race Street at Christmas time.  He doesn't see why he can't stay there.  Rob Collision reported that under City code, the sale of Christmas greenery is exempt from a peddler's license.  The selling of laurel, holly or other Christmas greens is exempt from the prohibition of selling things from your car.  The Code is silent as to whether they must adhere to the parking requirements now that there are no meters.  If there is a concern that the City may have several people selling greenery and taking up all the parking places, his recommendation would be to refine the exemption to state that they are permitted no more than one per block and they would be exempt from the two hour parking limitation. 

Commissioner Weldon thinks it would be wise to change the Code, not only to protect the City's interest, but also to protect Mr. Molock's business interest.  Mr. Molock provided some of the Christmas greens for the Santa float in the Christmas Parade.  He doesn't feel the intention is to asked Mr. Molock to move away; he feels the intention is to make sure if there is going to be this type of business, everyone is on the same page.  An issue someone brought up is whether sales tax should be charged on this merchandise.  The State Comptroller enforces this issue. 

Commissioner Bohlen has to agree with Commissioner Weldon.  He is for tradition, however, this is the 21st century and we have to make sure the rules and regulations must be followed. Therefore, he feels it is a wise move to add the specifics to the Code. 

Brenda Hayward, 711 Locust Street, read a letter supporting Mr. Molock.  She doesn't feel his truck or his customers bother anyone or infringe on any of the other businesses downtown.  There is plenty of parking in this area.  The sale of Christmas greenery in the 300 block of Race Street is a Cambridge holiday tradition which she urges the City to uphold. 

Wendell Foxwell, 413 Glenburn Avenue, is in support of what Mr. Molock is doing.  Nobody ever complained before.  Mr. Molock is an asset to the downtown and should be allowed to sell his greenery. 

Jenell Henry Buck, owner of Henry Funeral Home, grew up in Cambridge.  It is the character of the town that makes this an attractive place for everyone to come.  Mr. Molock's selling of greenery makes this town just wonderful during the Christmas holiday and he needs to continue to stay here.

Mike Walsh, 1109 Hambrooks, has been a resident for one month now.  His wife came home a week ago with three wreaths she purchased from Mr. Molock.  Tradition is what small towns are about.  He agrees that Mr. Molock should stay.

Commissioner Atkinson said there is no question about Mr. Molock being able to sell greenery without a license.  The only issue is Mr. Molock parking in one space for over two hours.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that the ordinance be amended to allow those individuals selling Christmas greenery to be allowed to park during the business hours on Race Street.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.   Commissioner Atkinson added that no more than one individual selling Christmas greenery be allowed on one block.  Commissioner Weldon supported the addition in his second.  Rob Collison said this will be considered a "first reading" to this text amendment and he will have it drafted for final approval next week.  After the vote, he will ask for a motion beginning immediately that would exempt Mr. Molock for this current season.  Rob Collison suggested putting it in the ordinance provisions to state the duration of Mr. Molock's selling season. 

Tony Thomas suggested issuing Mr. Molock a license for $1 to run from November to the end of Christmas.  It would eliminate everyone else from coming here.  Commissioner Atkinson said the law states that he can be in business now.   Mr. Thomas suggested selling him a parking place for $1.  Octavene Saunders said her understanding is that nobody pays a fee.  Mr. Thomas' recommendation strikes her as odd because then someone is going to ask about the other people that sell things on the sidewalk like fruit stands.  They should be charged $1 also.  She likes Commissioner Atkinson's idea.

Commissioner Atkinson's motion was passed unanimously.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to allow Mr. Molock to proceed until next Monday's meeting.  Commissioner Watkins seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons read a letter from George Ames, President of the Dorchester County Maryland NAACP, asking the real issue about Mr. Molock selling Christmas greens on Race Street.  He urged the Council to abide by its Ordinance exempting the sale of Christmas greenery from peddler's license requirements.

Mayor Rippons also read the letter from Daniel Swafford, Sr., from R.R. Arcade - Renovated Rentals.  He read in the newspapers about the plight of Mr. Molock.  A few people who want to monopolize control over the business on Race Street, once again, are making Cambridge look the fool in neighboring areas.  He feels the only activities of ARC seem to be trying to thwart the efforts of people who are truly trying to help the downtown area.  Mr. Molock was on Race Street long before ARC ever existed.  Mr. Swafford wholeheartedly supports Mr. Molock.

Tony Thomas (420 Race Street) to Discuss Off-Premises Wine Sales-Mr. Thomas said what they are trying to do is strictly sell off-premise wines.  They are bringing in wines from France and Italy and would like to be able to sell them.  Along with this, they will be doing wine dinners and wine tasting.  Rob Collison said this would require a text amendment from Section 20-16 of the City Code.  Presently, the only exemptions from the special exception requirement of bona-fide restaurants would be on-site consumption.  Any other type of facility that sells alcohol must get a special use permit and they are prohibited within 500 feet from a church or school.  Mr. Thomas' location would not permit the off-premise sale of alcohol of any type.  The text amendment could be accomplished in two ways.  The Commissioners could keep the special exception but eliminate the 500‑foot prohibition or they could amend it to allow off-premise sale of just wine and exempt that from the entire special use requirement.  It would be a permitted in the C-2 district.  He could draft the wording and refer it to the Planning and Zoning Commission for their review and input.  It would then come back to the Council for their final vote for the text amendment. 

Commissioner Weldon feels they need to make an adjustment to accommodate a wine retailer or some sort of off-premise sales downtown.  Salisbury's downtown mall has a terrific delicatessen that has off-premises wine sales.  This upscale operation is an excellent service to the downtown community.  His inclination is to do away with the 500-foot rule because it is unenforceable as it stands or reduce it to a more practical minimum or more clearly define it.  There are certain businesses that do sell alcohol within 500 feet of a school.

Commissioner Watkins is not much in favor of reducing the footage.  They can make some restrictions or exceptions but don't make it carte blanche.  This would be a mistake.

Rob Collison said with a special exception, surrounding property owners would be notified of a public hearing where they could state their concerns or objections.   He clarified that when the County abolished the liquor dispensary system, certain establishments were grandfathered in under the law prior to the City's Code taking effect.  He will prepare a draft of the text amendment with off-sales wines as a special exception but not having to adhere to the 500-foot setback.  Commissioner Watkins said he thinks the 500-foot regulation should stay in place and make a special exception for one person.  Commissioner Weldon thinks the consideration should be to define exactly the measuring point for the 500 feet.  Rob Collision said this is just the beginning of the process; he will draft it in both forms and send it to Planning & Zoning for their recommendation.  This will give Council more time for consideration and for the public hearing.   Tony Thomas suggested adding "no Sunday sales". 

Octavene Saunders said it was because so much controversy came up about little stores that wanted to sell liquors that the 500-foot regulation was put in the Code.  The City Council received many complaints about these stores selling liquor at the public hearings. It was in response to the citizens' concerns, not only the religious community.  The County makes the liquor license applicants aware of the City's 500-foot rule.  They must to come to the City like Mr. Thomas is doing.  She knows there are a couple of places here that sell high-end wines.  She thinks the City will be doing a disservice to start selling wine off-premises on Race Street.  People can open the wine and drive off drinking. 

Portia Johnson-Ennels lived here practically all her life.  When they sold liquor on Race Street the citizens fought to get the place off Race Street.   She is asking the Council and Mayor take a very close look to see what happened when they City had liquor on Race Street.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Decision on Request to Allow the Sanitary District to Extend Beyond Existing Boundary-Rob Collison reported that Logan Fitzhugh requested to expand the Sanitary District to include his property.  The Council established the policy that the Sanitary Districts would only be expanded under certain conditions.  If a part of a property was already in the District, then the rest of the same parcel could be brought in.  If the State of Maryland required and demanded a parcel be brought in (environmental concerns) then the District would be expanded.  Otherwise, it is a City policy that water and sewer would only be provided if the property was annexed.  When he reviewed the properties that Mr. Fitzhugh owns, Rob found he would be able to join the present group of property owners preparing to be annexed on the south side of Route 50 contiguous to Parcel 17.  It is Rob's recommendation that the City follows its established policy and permit expansion but only through annexation.  He will contact Mr. Fitzhugh and forward him the forms that were provided to the only property owners and include him with this current annexation. 

NEW BUSINESS

Approval of ASCAP License Agreement (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)-Rob Collison explained that this agreement is an agreement negotiated between the Municipal Attorneys Association and ASCAP.  Generally, a royalty or license fee is legally due to ASCAP whenever music or other forms of entertainment are provided by a corporation or municipality or other entity.  Failure to pay the required fee would subject the City to penalties and fees.  Based on the City's population the annual license fee will be $250.00.  Rob strongly recommended entering into the agreement.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the license agreement.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons reported that the Department of Public Works has $4,000 allocated in their budget for a new two-post maintenance lift.  They are requesting to go to bid at this time.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to allow DPW to advertise for bids.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Jim Michael reported that the application deadline for second round for the Community Parks and Playgrounds grant is January 14, 2002.  The City was successful in getting a grant for Cornish Park during the last round.  He is asking for input on which project the Commissioners would like him to prepare an application for. 

Ed Kinnamon submitted four purchase orders on behalf of Rescue Fire Company.  The first (PO 2050) is to Caldabaugh Communication for $3,687.38 to install new radios in the new engine.   The other three (Pos 2034, 2035, and 2036) are for compensation that the City pays the two Assistant Chiefs for $2500 each and the Fire Chief in the amount of  $5000.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the purchase orders.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Atkinson said last week Mr. Michael indicated that the City stood a good chance to get a $500,000 grant the City applied for.  This was for the drainage and widening the road on Bayly Road.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that Mr. Michael be directed to resubmit the grant application for the next round in February.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Weldon announced that after interviewing several candidates, his appointment on the Police Board will be Brian Manning.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve this appointment.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons introduced Mike Walsh to the community.  Mr. Walsh is the new general manager of the Hyatt.  He will be an asset to the community, both as a manager and as a citizen.

Mayor Rippons asked for a motion to promote Lieutenant Kenneth Malik to the rank of Captain of Cambridge Police Department and to have him assigned the duties of Acting Chief effective January 1, 2002.  Commissioner Travers made the motion.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it.   The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons announced he will be participating in the Santa Swim in the Choptank River on Saturday, December 15th.  This is a fundraiser for the Care and Share Program.  The donations raised will help people in the community who are experiencing some difficulty in life.  Some of their wishes would not become a reality without this program.  The swim will take place near the radio station at 12 noon.  He encouraged the citizens to make a contribution.

On December 11th at 8:46 a.m. Reverend Ridley will hold a small vigil on the steps of City Council Chambers marking the third month anniversary of the attack on the American Homefront.  Mayor Rippons asked the citizen to remember what is going on in our country, the sacrifice and the deeds that the Americans have gone through.  Mayor Rippons regrets he will be unable to attend because he will be in Annapolis but encouraged the citizens to attend.

Portia Johnson-Ennels read a letter she received from Commissioner Weldon thanking her for her interest in serving on the Police Advisory Board.   Mrs. Johnson-Ennels said she attended the Police Board meeting last week because she was under the assumption that she was the representative for the third ward.  During that meeting, she said something happened that she should not have had any privy to whatsoever.  It broke the confidentiality of Chief Wroten.  Ms. Johnson-Ennels said she didn't ask to be a representative on the Police Board; Commissioner Weldon asked her.  She feels what he has done has shown that he is not worthy of being a Commissioner for the third ward.  She has a letter at her home that is confidential that she should never have received from the Chief of Police.  She feels he owes her the right to be on the Police Board because he asked her to do it.  She said he crossed the line. 

Commissioner Weldon said he did ask her of her interest and as he stated in the letter, when the opening became known, he received interest from several other people as well.  When he asked her, he did not have any other options.  When the other options became available, he discussed it with them as he discussed it with her.  As situations evolved, he made a decision based on his own judgment.  The Council never voted to approve Ms. Johnson-Ennels for the Board.  He feels it was very premature of her to assume she was appointed.  He apologized for any confusion and thanked her for her interest in being on the Board.  Ms. Johnson-Ennels asked Mayor Rippons about the legality of the letter.  Rob Collison said he was not familiar with the letter she was talking about. 

Octavene Saunders asked the Mayor about an issue she addressed with him two weeks ago. She didn't hear anything from anybody.  David Pritchett said they are proceeding with curb cuts and the cuts they receive requests for are the priority cuts.  Ms. Saunders said she was referring to the sidewalk on Gay Street coming toward High Street.  Handicap carts cannot get through.  David Pritchett said they have not made a conclusive solution, but they are working on it.  Ms. Saunders volunteered to meet with David Pritchett so she can show him the areas by traveling them on her cart.  They will do this next week.

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to go into Executive Session following the meeting concerning legal policy and possibly real estate.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:08 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, December 10, 2001, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer