• 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

October 30, 2000
 

The City Council met in regular session on October 30, 2000, 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.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Atkinson led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The minutes of the October 23, 2000 meeting were approved as distributed.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Municipal Utilities Commission -- Mayor Rippons reported that present water rates have been in effect since July 1998.  While the distribution system is in fairly good shape, there are pipes in place that are well over 100 years old.  The entire system needs to be maintained and future growth must be considered.  At their meeting last week, the MUC Board voted unanimously to request the City Council to increase the out-of-City surcharge from 50 percent (where it currently stands) to 100 percent effective January 1, 2001.  This is what most municipalities charge customers outside city limits.  A vote will be taken by City Council next week.

Planning & Zoning -- Commissioner Watkins reported that Ron Berman withdrew his request for a special use permit.  Other issues discussed were:

Clifton Enterprises-The Commission recommended that Clifton Enterprises' request to annex a portion of land on Chesapeake Drive into the City be approved. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to set up a public hearing to review this request. The motion was passed unanimously.

Shahbaz Azam of 603 Meteor Avenue requested to upgrade his current special use permit from off sale beer and wine to off sale beer, wine, and liquor. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the Commission's recommendation to set up a public hearing to review this request. The motion was passed unanimously.

Proposed Text Amendment/Section 20-16 "Special Use"-The Commission recommended that Council approve the proposed text amendment to allow the Board of Appeals to grant "special uses" or "special exceptions" instead of the Commissioners of Cambridge. However, they felt the Board Members should be appointed by the Mayor and Commissioners, not solely by the Mayor.

Review of the Revised Sign Ordinance-The Commission recommended that Council approve the revised draft sign ordinance.

APPOINTMENTS

Nelson Stewart Representing Millennium Community Development Company, LLC-The Company would like to work with the County in constructing homes because the entire County is a HUB Zone (low income and/or high unemployment areas).  The City, being part of the County, is also a HUB Zone.  The Secretary of the Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) will let Mr. Stewart know what funds are available to the City for the construction of homes.  The homes could be single homes, town homes, whatever the City is interested in.  They could be owner-occupied or rental properties.  According to Mr. Steward, DHCD says they have funds to assist the City in the development of these homes.  Mr. Stewart stated that he has worked with several companies and can build houses which would meet the price that individuals here could afford.  An organization called Affordable Housing works with individuals who have low income.  Mr. Stewart has looked at various locations but would like to find out exactly where the City would like to have these homes built.  They will work in conjunction with the City on their desired locations.  At the Mayor's suggestion, a public meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, November 9, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers.  The company will be available at 6:30 p.m. to talk to citizens before the meeting.

Public Comment - Proposed Sign Ordinance-The advertisement of public hearing was published in the Daily Banner on October 13 and October 20, 2000.  The consultants (Redmond Johnston) have re-drafted the sign ordinance after the last public meeting. Mr. Johnston made a presentation on the current draft ordinance.  This draft was revised as a result of the comments made by the Planning Commission and model sign ordinances that have been prepared by the American Planning Association.  This ordinance is legally defensible. The first ordinance was a content-oriented ordinance.  There is no special category of signs (i.e., real estate, construction, political, etc.).  Enforcement and administration of the ordinance has been included.  Most of the requirements are in tabular form for ease in telling whether a proposed sign is permitted, whether it requires a permit, or whether it is not permitted.  Another table tells maximum square footage for a freestanding sign or a flat sign or other various types of signs.  This makes it simpler for someone to determine the type, area, and characteristics (lighting, location, height, etc.) of permitted signs.  The ordinance provides that non-conforming signs must be brought into compliance within a period of time (3 years from time ordinance is adopted).    The ordinance is easy to enforce and administer because there is a requirement for a permit and a master sign permit for each property.  In the master sign permit the applicant will list all their signs and their locations.  It is recommended that all permitted signs have a City-issued sticker attached to them.  Sign permits should be renewed annually.  A provision is made for shopping centers that require a uniform sign format throughout the entire shopping center.  This provision allows a 25 percent increase in the base amount of signage they can have which is an incentive for a coordinated sign program.  Within this sign ordinance, the numbers (square footage) become a matter of local preference.  Wall sign requirements are dealt with as a percentage of the wall area.  There are no provisions for variances under the ordinance.  The intent of the ordinance is to get rid of all non-conforming signs.  The length of time to bring all signs into conformance is not "carved in stone".  The number suggested is 3 years but this can be extended to 5 or 10 years.  The Historic Preservation Commission must review all signs within the Historic District.  All signs are addressed by the ordinance but not all signs require permits. Mayor Rippons announced that a work session will be set up to answer questions.  Council will not even consider voting on the ordinance until they have listened to the citizens.  Written questions or concerns on the proposed ordinance can be sent to City Hall.  They will be forwarded to the consultant prior to the public work session.  

Bid Opening - Installation of Concrete Curb, Gutter and Sidewalk for Designated Areas of Henry Street and Dorchester Avenue-No bids were received.  An alternate plan will be discussed at a later date.

Bid Opening - Construction of Brick Walkways - Pine Street Empowerment Center-No bids were received. An alternate plan will be discussed at a later date.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Decision of Amending Section 20-16 of the City Code Making the Board of Appeals the Official Body That Would Decide All Issues Regarding Special Uses or Special Exceptions-The public hearing was held on October 23, 2000.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to amend Section 20-16 of the City Code Making the Board of Appeals the Official Body That Would Decide All Issues Regarding Special Uses and Special Exceptions.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Vote on Matching Funds for Race Street Pedestrian Mall-Mr. Collison stated that after reviewing the Meeting Minutes (March 27, 2000 and May 22, 2000) the match was to be a 50 percent match; that is, 50 percent of what the individual raised (not to exceed $2000).  This is a budgetary matter.  If the Council was so inclined and wanted to exceed this amount, they obviously could do so based on a budget amendment.    Commissioner Weldon made a motion to fund the project to the maximum allocation of $2000.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Award Bid for Playground Equipment at Great Marsh Park-One bid was received from West Recreation, Inc.  The price fell within the area expected.  The Department of Public Works has $20,200 budgeted for this equipment.  The bid received was for $20,832.  The Department of Natural Resources will refund 75 percent of this amount.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to accept the recommendation of the Department of Public Works to award the bid to West Recreation.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of a Special Use Permit for a Day Care Center (Bonita Green, 1404 Stone Boundary Road)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the resolution authorizing the issuance of a Special Use Permit for a Day Care Center for Bonita Green.  The motion was passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from G. Philip Reed to be Referred to the Traffic and Safety Committee (re:  Bayly Road)-Commissioner made a request to send the request to Traffic and Safety.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request to Go to Bid - Furnishing and Delivering One New 2000/ 2001 Rear End Garbage Packer-The Department of Public Works budgeted $110,000 for a new trash truck this year.  The price of a new truck will be $80,000.  This was not an intentional over-budget.  They were originally considering a tandem truck.  After careful evaluation, they feel the tandem truck is too large for most of the City streets.  The Department of Public Works would like to use a portion of the remainder to go to bid for a much-needed pick-up truck.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to go to bid for both items (trash truck and pick-up truck). They will be separate and unique bids.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Request to Go to Bid - Furnishing and Delivering One New Rotary Screw Portable Air Compressor-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to go to bid for a new rotary screw portable air compressor which is a budgeted item.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Financial Statement for September 2000-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement for September 2000.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Budget Amendment for Housing Department-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment for the Housing Department. 

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

After reviewing the bids for the pavilion at Great Marsh, all of which came in over budget, David Pritchett recommended to Council that they re-bid the pavilion.  There will be two phases to the bid-one for materials and one for installation. Commissioner Travers made a motion to re-bid for the pavilion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Mayor Rippons requested that the next work session (November 20 at 7:00 p.m.) be held at the Elks Lodge on Pine Street to receive input from the Community on what they would like to see as the functions of the Empowerment Center, which is due to open February 2001. 

The Mayor announced that he has some personnel and pending litigation matters to discuss with the Council.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to go into Executive Session after the meeting.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Weldon announced an informational meeting on November 8 at 6:00 p.m. at the Elks Lodge on Pine Street to discuss the Main Street Maryland Program.  Cindy Stone from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will discuss the program.  This is an open public forum.

Commissioner Weldon also announced a "Light Up Cambridge" meeting on November 1 at 6:00 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce. He then announced a Waterfront Development meeting on November 1 at City Council Chambers beginning at 7:00 p.m. 

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:25 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, October 30, 2000, insofar as I personally am aware.

 

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer