• 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

June 19, 2000
 

June 19, 2000

Cambridge, MD

The City Council met for a public hearing at 6:00 p.m. with President Commissioner Saunders presiding, as the Mayor was unable to attend.

Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioner Vickers, Watkins, and Swafford.  Commissioner Rice would be late.  Commissioner Rice arrived at 6:15 p.m.

Commissioner Watkins led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Saunders asked the City attorney to open the public hearing which was amendments to the Historic Preservation Committee procedures. 

Mr. Collison said that for the record he did have a certification of publication from the Daily Banner, which indicates that the public hearing was advertised in the Banner on June 2, 2000.  Since the Historic Commission has only been in operation for about a year or so there are some minor items that needed clarification. 

The first item is under the rules of procedures it is unclear if an item was just a general maintenance item and didn't have to go before the full commission who would make that type of decision?  It has been the practice that Mr. Hayward would make those decisions since he is the chairperson.  Therefore the proposal would be that the following language would be added "that the determination as to whether or not an item constitutes maintenance is defined in the code and therefore exempt from the commission review shall be made in writing by the chair of the HPC" (Historic Preservation Commission).

Mr. Collison had forgotten to address one issue and he needed clarification on this issue.  The issue was when a decision is made it is mailed to the Department of Public Works, the applicant and he thought the adjoining property owners.  This way if anyone disagreed with the decision they would have thirty days to appeal.  Mr. Price told him this was the procedure. 

The second item was Section 5.5 the wording now is any person aggrieved by the decision could appeal the decision the same as they do the Board of Appeals cases.  The wording should be: that any person aggrieved by the decision should appeal the decision to the Circuit Court of Dorchester County according to the Maryland rules within thirty days after the notification date.  This is also found in Section 20-20Bsub section 9 of the regular ordinance.

The third item is the inconsistency between Section 20-20 B and the by laws.  The by laws state that members of the HPC are appointed for a staggered term of three years at which time they are eligible for reappointment and there are no limitations on how many times they may be re-appointed.  The code in 20-20 B allows the members only to be re-appointed for two terms. Therefore the Council should make a decision to either follow the by laws or the code and make them both compatible.

Mr. Collison asked Mr. Hayward if he had anything to add.

COMMENTS FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF HPC

Mr. Armond Hayward came to the podium and stated that after talking to Mr. Dale Price of DPW he had discovered that the Department of Public Works is having problems with some property owners paying their permit fees.   After the property owner receives approval they either don't go through with their plans in a reasonable time or they do not pay the permit fees.  Since there is no expiration date on the certificate of appropriateness the property owner assumes they may take as long as they wish.  Mr. Hayward gave the example of Dream Catchers their sign request has been approved but they have not paid for the certificate of appropriateness or the sign permit fees and even though Dream Catchers was instructed not to put up a banner they did so anyway.  Mr. Collison said that if they have commenced construction without a permit than a citation or a letter for cease and desist should be sent.   Whatever the normal procedures HPC practices should be followed.  Mr. Collison continued by saying that maybe the certificate of appropriateness should be forwarded to the Department of Public Works and issued with a building permit instead of going to the applicant.    Mr. Dale Price said what they really are looking for is an expiration date for the certificate of appropriateness.

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Price what a good suggested expiration date for the certificate of appropriateness would be?  Mr. Price suggested a 30-day expiration date for the attorney to look into.  Mr. Collision could not remember how long a building permit was for.  Mr. Price and Mr. Pritchett said that six months to start after approval and the permit would be good for up to two years.

Commissioner Saunders had a few questions for Mr. Collison one question was on the terms of service.  Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Collison to look into what Annapolis has which is an open-ended term of service.  Commissioner Saunders wants a vote at the next council meeting on June 26th.  Commissioner Saunders wanted this to be placed in the ordinance so the ordinance and the by laws correspond.

There was some discussion on the general maintenance item.  Mr. Hayward said that Annapolis has a person on staff and they call their decision an administrative decision.  Mr. Hayward said that since we are only dealing with maintenance we might want to change this to waiver or administrative decision. 

Commissioner Saunders said that since we are modeling after Annapolis it would be a good idea to have a DPW staff representative who is qualified and has the expertise, to handle this position.

Mr. Collison explained that if Council decides to follow this procedure if the administrative staff person makes the decision that it would go from DPW, to the commission and the adjoining property owners.   This could also shorten the length of time if you wanted to appeal it could be fifteen days instead of thirty.

Mr. Hayward said that the appointments for the commission should be changed to July 1st instead of February.

Commissioner Saunders said that this would be discussed at the next meeting.

Mr. Collison asked if there were any more questions or comments.  There being none he asked for a motion to close the public hearing.

Commissioner Watkins made the motion to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Swafford seconded the motion.

WORK SESSION

Commissioner Saunders opened the work session.  

Mr. Collison explained that with the completion of a new industrial park some questions concerning the current tax abatement had arose.  One concern is whether our existing procedures for tax abatements for manufacturing businesses are appropriate.  The ASOP#17 states that if a new business begins operation that they must create fifteen full time jobs and they are limited to five- year abatement.  The issue is would the council consider providing the same type of criteria for companies that may be providing significantly more jobs.  An example would be 50 new jobs receive a ten-year abatement, a 100 new jobs possibly receiving a fifteen-year abatement.  

Commissioner Rice said that in order to get an abatement you must produce something.  The production is jobs, there was time when you couldn't get employers to create more than fifteen or twenty new jobs at one time.   With the industrial park opening there is a good possibility that you will have businesses opening and creating a hundred or more new jobs at a time.   Commissioner Rice suggested that the city and county work together for a tax abatement. Commissioner Rice suggested that when the businesses get taxed for whatever number of years it would be, their tax would be the maximum of whichever tax is higher, which most likely will be the county.  The city would get 100% of what we would have collected and the county gets the reminder.  The business will not pay double taxes.  The bulk of that tax would go to the one that gives the bulk of the service and that would be the city.

Commissioner Watkins agreed and felt this would help bring businesses to town.

Commissioner Rice thought Mr. Collison's suggestion that we give a longer abatement to businesses that hire more employees was a good idea.   For example if a company hires 50 to 75 employees they could get a ten-year abatement, and the next 80 or more could get a fifteen-year and this would be a sliding scale never 100%for the whole term.

Mr. Collision asked Commissioner Rice would he propose that the last five-years would be at 20%.  Commissioner Rice said that would be the way to do this. 

Commissioner Vickers said there would be separate abatement policies for possibly other businesses the example he used was the Hyatt.  This abatement (ASOP#17) does not apply to the Hyatt. 

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Collison to provide in their books for this coming week the agreement that the Hyatt, the city and state made on the room tax.

Mr. Kinnamon mentioned that there are some businesses in the enterprise zone that are currently reaping both benefits. 

Mr. Collison said if there weren't anymore questions or discussion that he would ask for a motion to close the work session.  There were no questions or comments.

Commissioner Saunders than made a motion to go into a closed executive session.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.

With no further business, Commissioner Vickers made a motion to adjourn, at 6:30 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion carried unanimously.

I hereby certify that the forgoing is a true and accurate account of the Council public hearing and work session, Monday, June 19, 2000 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer