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City Council Minutes

February 22, 1999
 

February 22, 1999

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 p.m. with Mayor David J. Wooten presiding.

Those Commissioners in attendance were: Commissioners Watkins, Rice, Saunders, Swafford and Vickers.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the February 8th City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried 3 to 0 with Commissioner Swafford abstaining. (Commissioner Saunders was not present for the vote.)

TRAFFIC AND SAFETY COMMITTEE REPORT

Commissioner Vickers advised that this Committee met on February 9th to deal with the following issues:

418 Muir Street - requested a "load and unload" parking space . Commissioner Vickers then made a motion to accept the Committee's recommendation and move forward to install the appropriate sign at this location. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried 3 to 0 with Commissioner Swafford abstaining. (Commissioner Saunders arrived as the vote was being taken.)

Judge John Norton / District Court - requested that a directional sign be placed at the stop light near the Cambridge Creek Bridge. Since the Committee feels this is appropriate, Commissioner Vickers made a motion to grant the request. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

FINAL DECISION ON ORDINANCE REGARDING PROFESSIONAL OFFICES

Mr. Collison advised that a public hearing was held on this several weeks ago (February 1, 1999) discussing the amendment to the City's zoning code which would only allow owner/operated professional offices to be operated in R-3 and R-4 residential districts with certain conditions .... (a) that no more than two persons could be engaged in such office (at least one of whom would be the owner of the property); (b) no more than one such professional office would be permitted at any such property; (c) the hours of operation would be limited to the period from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; (d) there shall be provided on the premises, a minimum of two off-street parking spaces; (e) there would be no significant visible change in the outside appearance of the building or premises, except for one sign not to exceed dimensions of eighteen by twenty-four with low voltage illumination; (f) there would not be permitted any sales of inventory.

It is not designed for retail sales but for a professional owner/operated office building which would mean a person licensed by the State for any mental or physical health field, lawyer, architect, engineer, accountant, real estate agent, computer program or tax preparer, bookkeeper or other similar professional persons. Mr. Collison said that approval is requested tonight to sign the final ordinance.

Commissioner Rice made a motion to authorize the Mayor to sign the ordinance; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARING: SYLVIA BROHAWN - SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR AN OWNER/OPERATED PROFESSIONAL OFFICE AT 311 BYRN STREET

Mr. Collison advised that pursuant to the ordinance that was just passed, advertising was run concurrent with this since Ms. Brohawn realized that if the ordinance had not been approved, the public hearing could not have been held tonight.

Mr. Pritchett, Director of Public Works, advised that the area property owners were notified on February 11, 1999. The property was posted on February 12th and the Notice of Publication advising of the Public Hearing appeared in The Daily Banner on February 5th and February 12th. Mr. Collison confirmed with Mr. Pritchett that the property is currently zoned R-3, R-4.

Ms. Sylvia Brohawn came to the podium to advise that she hopes to operate her accounting firm at 311 Byrn Street. She has been in business for approximately 15 years on her own and she has an established practice and clientele, and plans to keep the building in conformity with the neighborhood. The required parking spaces are available and she plans to have one employee and keep the hours of operation between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Mr. Collison asked if she has two parking spaces available off site and she stated that they are not available at this time but she plans to do that should this be approved. He further stated that the special use permit would be for a period of five years, which is subject to renewal by the Council.

No letters were received by the Department of Public Works either in favor or in opposition of the request, but Ms. Brohawn presented a petition in favor this evening.

With no one present for or against the request, Commissioner Watkins moved to close the public hearing. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and carried unanimously.

PROCLAMATION FOR "M S WALK DAY"

Mr. Kinnamon proceeded to read the Proclamation aloud and Commissioner Watkins made a motion authorizing the Mayor to sign the Proclamation; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

The Proclamation was then presented to Mr. Gerry Boyle by the Mayor who told him, "I'm looking forward to seeing you with my sneakers on April llth."

MAYOR TO AWARD 30 YEAR RETIREMENT PLAQUE TO RUSSELL CHASE

Mayor Wooten stated that a couple of years ago he had asked the City if they could have someone detailed downtown to help maintain cleanliness and "keep the streets looking good". Mr. Chase was put in charge of this and downtown never looked any better. He has served the community and the Public Works Department for 30 years and to show the City's appreciation, the Mayor presented him with a plaque and wished him well in his retirement.

SIDEWALK ISSUES

Mayor Wooten advised that these issues have been discussed since October when it surfaced. There is much effort being made to locate grants to help with these problems and there is a meeting scheduled with State officials on March 12th. Since there is an extremely heavy agenda this evening, he stated that he would limit the time on the sidewalk issues to ten minutes.

Darlene Wroten came forward and stated that it would take her longer than ten minutes to speak and requested that she be put on another Monday night agenda. Her first comment was that she does not own the sidewalk on Maryland Avenue, "I did not destroy that sidewalk". She also mentioned a problem that her Mom had with the gutter at 509 Academy Street which took one month to fix. old sewer pipes under the sidewalks are causing them to crack. The problems need to be located "before you can make any taxpayer responsible for upkeeping or replacing a sidewalk... it is a public walkway." She further stated, "when you make a clarification an a sidewalk or any City ordinance, according to the City Charter, you're supposed to have a public hearing and I don't believe I saw anything in the paper about a public hearing."

Anna Ruth Pope was next to speak saying that there is a problem and they are trying to let the Council know where their problems are stemming from. She read that Dorchester County is the third poorest county in the State and these people can't keep having everything piled on top of them. A question was also raised by Ms. Pope as to why sidewalks are needed in residential areas?

There was some concern as to why certain items are not made public to the citizens and, at Commissioner Saunders, request, Mr. Kinnamon advised that the agenda for each Council meeting is faxed by noon on the Thursday prior to the meeting to The Daily Banner, Star Democrat, Daily Times, WBOC, WCEM and the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce. If the media fails to print or announce information that is made available to them, it is not the fault of the City. The agenda is also posted outside Council Chambers on the Friday prior to the meeting.

Ms. Lois Elliott was next to come to the podium. She requested that the citizens be allowed to express their concerns to the State officials who are scheduled to come to tour the City on March 12th. Commissioner Saunders asked that the Mayor and Council allow Mr. Kinnamon to contact Ms. Elliott so she can make people in her area aware of the exact time the tour is planned for her area. Ms. Elliott then said, "there's been a lot of great sessions down here and I thank you for listening and thank you for following up on it." Mayor Wooten then told Ms. Elliott, "we'll see that you are notified."

RENDER DECISION ON SPECIAL USE PERMIT (NEW EARTH SERVICES)

Mr. Collison advised that this was a special use permit request by New Earth Services for the polymer/crab chum processing facility on Washington Street. The public hearing was held several weeks ago and Council has the minutes of that hearing before them for their consideration. For the record, he stated that the information that was submitted to him at the last meeting has not been given to Council for their consideration. If it is to be considered, Mr. Condon's consent would need to be obtained.

Commissioner Saunders addressed a concern from the Maryland Environmental Service with regards to this proposed facility utilizing 43% of the treatment plant's nitrogen limit if they operated at approximately the speculated volume. This written information was then given to Mr. Condon.

Commissioner Swafford asked Mr. Collison if Council would be in order to postpone their decision tonight. Mr. Collison advised, "you don't have to vote tonight." Commissioner Swafford stated, due to several factors, he would not be ready to vote tonight. Commissioner Watkins also had reservations due to the nitrogen volume.

Mr. Condon advised that Mr. Lloyd (MES) had been down to the factory to review some preliminary analyses that have been done. He stated that the neutralization of the waste was done with a straight acid additive which dropped the PH low enough to make the nitrogen soluble. In reality, the nitrogen will not be solublized and this computation was made on the volumes that they thought they were going to discharge (last year) and the volumes have been dramatically reduced down to almost one-third less than what was originally projected. There will not be this type of nitrogen released into the City's sewer system.

From her point of view, Commissioner Saunders asked what the procedure would be to allow Mr. Condon to review the letters in opposition that were received after the public hearing. Commissioner Rice stated the vote would need to be tabled for tonight and put off for a later date to allow time for that to be done. She also felt that this would allow time for the environmental people to give Council the "straight picture" on this operation. Commissioner Swafford feels that this would also allow Mr. Condon to speak to his landlord about things that were supposed to be done to the building that have not been done.

Commissioner Watkins said he hopes a way could be found to effectively take care of the crab residue.

Commissioner Saunders said it has been no secret, and she will reiterate, that this is not something that she will vote for to be on Washington Street and since there has been an overwhelming public attitude against this being located on Washington Street, "I am strongly opposed, strongly opposed, to any conditional vote tonight, doing anything, until all "t's" are crossed and all "1's" are dotted ... and I will still vote no."

Mayor Wooten asked, "if we postpone this, when can you make a decision?" Commissioner Vickers asked why it needs to be postponed, "why can't we vote on it tonight?"

Commissioner Rice made a motion that the permit be denied; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Swafford wanted the record to reflect that he wanted the permit to be conditional, but that is not what the motion is. Motion carried unanimously.

RULING ON AMENDMENTS TO PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ORDINANCE REGARDING SIDEWALKS

For the record, Mr. Collison responded to those people who were asking about notice of publication or public hearing. The code requires public hearings on zoning amendments and this is in regards to Chapter 4 which is just an ordinance amendment. There had been at least two readings of the proposed amendments and all the amendments do are codify In the code, in clear language, what was previously ruled by case law regarding the maintenance of the sidewalks and the streets.

Mr. Collison went on to say the law is not being changed, it was just not expressly stated in our code as clearly as it is in other codes that the abutting property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk and the ground around it. The City is responsible for the maintenance of its property which is the curb and street.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to authorize the Mayor to sign the ordinance; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Commissioner Swafford said that what Council is saying is that everybody that has a sidewalk in front of their house has to make it available to the general public.... "is that what I'm reading here?" Mr. Collison stated that this provision does not go towards the access by the public. It states that if there are public sidewalks established, (Commissioner Swafford interjected that the word "public" doesn't belong with the word "sidewalk" if it's a resident's sidewalk) it is the property owner's responsibility.

Some people in the audience stated that they're not able to comment on this.. Mayor Wooten advised that Roberts Rules of order states that when there is a discussion and a motion on the floor, the Council alone does isthe discussion. In light of what is going on, he then said, "I want you all to have an opportunity to say what you have to say, keep it brief, but I want you to speak this is my call, and I'm going to make it.

Mr. Vernon Spear came to the podium stating that he owns property on Maryland Avenue and on Henry Street. Why should he have to pay for it when the Garden Club planted the trees that uprooted his sidewalks. He and his wife were trimming the tree a few years ago because it was growing into his house. A lady affluent with the Garden Club, came by and told him,, "you can't touch that tree ... the tree doesn't belong to you." Years later during an ice storm, his tree fell on his tenant's car, "poor thing didn't have insurance." His insurance would not cover it and his tenant had to pay for it.

Commissioner Watkins advised Mr. Spear that he is responsible for the sidewalk, "because the law says you are responsible."

Ms. Lois Elliott came forward with a letter from the Board of Housing Review and proceeded to read the last paragraph which indicated that the repair notices issued to the residents were declared null and void and the Board voted unanimously that the City, in each instance, was liable and responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the sidewalks "in each of the five above captioned cases." This has her confused. Commissioner Saunders asked who advised them of this and Ms. Camper, Housing Director, stated it was John J. Neubauer, attorney for the Housing Board of Review.

Mr. Collison advised that this originated from the research that was done previously by Miles & Stockbridge where, because our code did not expressly state the abutting property owner, they had to look at the case law in Maryland. Their research found that the case law (court cases) found that the property owners owned the fee-simple title to the land up to the center of a street with a public right-of-way for the streets and the sidewalks. Based on that, in an indirect way, the property owners were responsible for the maintenance of it. The problem was that our code never clearly stated what the case law has found over the years.

Commissioner Saunders noted that grant funds are trying to be obtained for Maryland Avenue, Dorchester Avenue and Henry Street since this is where people are coming forward with the most problems.

Mr. Bob Kinnamon was next to come forward asking why only these three streets are being considered since there are some sidewalks within the City that are in a lot worse shape. At the last meeting he was at, Commissioner Rice had stated it was a law that if there was a curb, there had to be a sidewalk. Mr. Kinnamon then stated if he had a choice, he would have no sidewalk. Commissioner Rice then stated that if our neighborhood decided, as a group, that they wanted sidewalk, curb and cutter, "I would be buying 100% of the sidewalk. The installation would be 100% my bill .... what does that tell you about the sidewalk?"

Mr. Jackson Todd stepped up to the podium asking "if the Council is not responsible for the Garden Club (who planted the trees on Maryland Avenue), who is?" Commissioner Saunders responded, "the Garden Club." Commissioner Rice advised Mr. Todd that the trees planted have since been removed and the property owners had the option as to whether they wanted them replaced or not.

Ms. Anna Ruth Pope wanted to direct one thing to Mr. Collison. She pulled what Sandy McAllister did and the only thing he researched was on Maryland Avenue in reference to the trees, not to sidewalks. Ms. Pope questioned "simple feel' ownership and according to the law books this means "absolute ownership of land with unrestricted rights-of disposition." Mr. Collison said it is simple fee "subject to the public right-of-way". She then wanted to know if this ordinance is amended this evening are the sidewalks grandfathered in up to tonight? Mayor Wooten then told Ms. Pope that her time was up and that the vote was going to be taken.

Mr. Collison then re-read the amendment to Section 4-38 of the code. Commissioner Saunders then made a motion to adopt the language that is more clear; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Swafford opposing.

ADOPT SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY

Mr. Collison advised that there was a concern at the last meeting about record keeping. It was amended, whereby the records would be kept by the Personnel Review Committee. Commissioner Rice moved to adopt the policy as amended; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

NONCONFORMING USE TIME PERIOD FOR RENTAL PROPERTIES

Commissioner Vickers had made the suggestion some time back about the two year law to do with nonconforming properties that are rental. As an example, Commissioner Rice explained that if you have a nonconforming use (3 apartments in a house that has an allowable 2 apartments) and it is not used for a two year period, when it is reused it can only be used for the 2 apartments that are allowed. It doesn't eliminate rental property...it eliminates nonconforming uses of the property.

Commissioner Vickers feels the two year period should be reduced to at least one year and made a motion to refer this to Planning and Zoning Commission for their review. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Rice feels this is an excellent idea and thinks a "sunset clause" on all grandfathered property should be considered as well. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Vernon Spear came to the podium and stated, "what Mr. Rice is proposing is the most preposterous thing I ever heard of." Mr. Spear bought and paid for property that is nonconforming and has been that way for years. He went on to say, "if he is suggesting that I pay $100,000. for a 5 apartment house in a nonconforming area and he's going to take it away from me, he's taking my livelihood."

DECISION ON ZONING CONSULTANT CONTRACT

Commissioner Saunders stated that the Mayor and Council have agreed to move forward with this in order to "clean up our zoning" and we need to do it in a professional manner. She wanted to remind the Finance Chairman to come up with a ball park figure as far as a contract fee.

Commissioner Rice suggested to go to bid to find out what it is going to cost. Since some research as far as language and other particulars is being worked on by Mr. Kinnamon through other municipalities, Mr. Lyon and Mr. Dodd at the County, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to work with Public Works and Mr. Collison to prepare bid procedures. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and carried unanimously.

APPOINTMENT TO THE HUMAN RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to appoint Diane Sampson to the Human Relations Committee; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO GO TO BID FOR TWO RADAR UNITS (CPD)

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to allow the Police Department to go to bid for two (2) radar units; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. motion carried unanimously

DISCUSS 1999 FIREWORKS DISPLAY

Since the 4th of July is on a Sunday this year, Chief Wroten submitted a memo to determine if the fireworks would be held on the 4th or the 5th (actual celebration day). Commissioner Watkins felt the display should be on Monday, July 5th rather than on Sunday. He then made a motion to have the fireworks celebration on Monday, July 5th which is the official holiday for the City of Cambridge. Motion dies for a lack of a second.

Commissioner Swafford confirmed with Mr. Kinnamon that $11,500. has been budgeted for the display. Also, last year the County was asked to possibly come up with some money and he would like a report as to the status.

Commissioner Swafford then made a motion to allow the Chief to make the necessary arrangements for the 4th of July; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR SPECIAL USE PERMIT TO SELL WINE

A request was received from Anthony Thomas (Canvasback Restaurant Equipment and Design Center) for a special use permit to sell wine. Since there are two churches within the disqualifying distance, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to deny the request. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Vickers opposing.

Commissioner Vickers realizes that although the law (which states that no new or upgraded alcoholic beverages can be sold within 500 feet of a church) applies in this particular situation, but he would still like to see this referred to Planning and Zoning so it could be considered. It is his understanding from what he read in Mr. Thomas' letter, that he is not trying to establish a bar or anything of that nature. What he is trying to do is compliment the type of business he runs for cooking schools and things of that sort. Commissioner Saunders asked if he was intending to sell the wine or give it away.... "if he's selling it, I'll still vote no."

PROCEDURAL CHANGE FOR PAYMENT OF RETIREES HEALTH PLAN

Mr. Kinnamon advised that this came about due to some retirees not paying in a timely manner. In conjunction with other policies, it is customary that when someone is billed they are given a time frame to pay. If payment is not paid within a reasonable time past the due date, the retiree's insurance will be cancelled.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to adopt the policy; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

ADJUSTMENT OF DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS

Mr. Kinnamon requested Council's permission to write-off approximately $35,000 in delinquent personal property tax over seven years of age. Commissioner Rice advised that the City has implemented a policy whereby they can go to court to get judgments on delinquent accounts. He also feels that, as a taxpayer, he needs to know which accounts are being written off and suggested that the names be listed in the newspapers (as is done when people don't pay their property taxes). Mr. Collison will review and advise if this could be done.

Commissioner Swafford then made a motion to write-off these amounts; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGET AMENDMENTS FOR FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION AND HOUSING DEPARTMENT

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve the two budget amendments'; seconded,by Commissioner Rice.

Commissioner Swafford asked Mrs. Camper to explain why the extra money is needed in the Housing Department's advertising budget. She explained that it was to advertise for a new Housing Inspector. Motion then carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250.

Commissioner Swafford mentioned that he has been satisfied with all the paperwork that has been accompanying the expenditures and made a motion to approve all the expenditures over $250. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders and it carried unanimously.

VEHICLE REPLACEMENT FOR POLICE DEPARTMENT

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that rather than trading the vehicle off since it has some usage for other City needs, that it be recycled to the Administration Office. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford for discussion. He feels that if the vehicle is salvageable then he would certainly agree. Commissioner Saunders stated that the Major advised there was a small oil leak which would be fixed and if used on short term things, it could have three or four years life to it. Motion then carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison requested a motion for a closed Executive Session to consider a real estate matter. Commissioner Saunders made a motion to go into closed Executive Session to discuss a real estate matter as well as a personnel matter. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders thanked the local radio station for their announcements on the community wide Black History celebration to be held this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. She also wanted to recognize Reverend Enez Grubb in the audience who has family mentioned in the first ever local Black History recognition book that will be on sale that night for $2.00. The money will go to the Good Shepard's Ministry.

In reviewing parts of the book she further mentioned that Stephen Allen Benson's family moved from Cambridge when he was 6 years old to Liberia, Africa where he later became their second president.

Permission has been granted to park on both sides of Pine Street, without tickets, from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. this Friday for this celebration.

She thanked the Mayor and City Council for allowing her to be a representative for the City of Cambridge for this event.

Commissioner Saunders then requested that the City Council remove her from the Dorchester County Heritage Tourism Committee which they had appointed her to. She has spoken to Ms. Enez Grubb, who has a lot of caring for history in the County and in the City, to be her replacement. Commissioner Saunders was also asked by Mr. Armond Hayward to have him removed from this Committee and he will forward a letter to Council to that respect.

To speak to that issue without getting into a lot of details which would not serve any purpose at this point, Commissioner Rice moved to no longer allow Commissioner Saunders to participate. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then moved to appoint Reverend Grubb to be her replacement; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then discussed the tour of Cambridge scheduled for March 12th advising that Mr. Kinnamon was able to obtain free transportation to be provided by Mr. Santo Grande of Delmarva Community Services. She then extended an invitation to the Daily Banner, the Star Democrat and WCEM. The tour starts at 10:00 a.m. and people are to meet at the parking lot behind District Court to get their tickets. She then proceeded to mention the areas they will be stopping at and who will be speaking at each location.

Since it is getting close to time for grant drafts from CDBG, DHCD and other places, the City wants to show officials what the City has done so far with grants, and what needs to be done in the area of economic development and revitalization throughout Cambridge. The tour should end about 12:30 p.m. at the Pine Street Sub-Station where lunch will be served.

COMMENTS FROM THE MAYOR

Mayor Wooten advised that he and Commissioner Saunders spent a great deal of this past Saturday at a forum in Salisbury dealing with "One Maryland". There has been a great deal of interest expressed in areas where the economy has been perpetually depressed and there has been serious problems with long term unemployment. The State is going to take an active role in allocating resources to these areas. Cambridge and Dorchester County have been on that list for generations and we will hopefully be receiving help in this regard. Mayor Wooten went on to say that he is grateful for what the Governor, the Speaker of the House, the Comptroller and the Lieutenant Governor have done in trying to help us ... "and this is going to be a tremendous boost for our area."

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to adopt the policy that the City not send any paint notices out until after March 15th; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Commissioner Saunders asked what the start date would be and it was agreed by Council it should be November 15th. She further said that since March is a temperamental month, she would like to see it extended to March 31st. Commissioner Swafford amended his motion to make it until March 31st. Motion then carried unanimously.

He then said how proud he was of the list that Council received from the Housing Department.... 75+ dilapidated houses have been torn down. In some areas there have been so many torn down that some of the lots could be put together to build some new houses. He thanked Ms. Camper for a wonderful report.

Because an accusation has been made, Commissioner Saunders advised that no specific Ward or type of home have been targeted.

COMMENTS FROM FIFTH WARD

Commissioner Rice stated, in response to Commissioner Saunders comment, "targeted houses are the ones that nobody should live in.... if somebody shouldn't live in it, it shouldn't be there." He further stated that the City has had some help from the County before on this and it has worked very well "and I would hope that we could continue to do that." It is a cooperative effort.

COMMENTS FROM CLERK-TREASURER

Mr. Kinnamon referenced a request from Cambridge Little League to get permission to hold their Little League parade from Long Wharf to Pliescott Memorial Park on Saturday, April 17th at 10:00 a.m. with 25 entries.

Commissioner Rice moved for permission to be granted as long as they coordinate it through the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon stated that he had one building permit application from Sussex Corporation (Cambridge VA outpatient Clinic), 830 Chesapeake Drive. Permit fee is $6,245. for a single story VA outpatient clinic with an approximate value of $750,000. Commissioner Saunders moved to approve it; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Mr. Pritchett advised that this is a privately owned building which is rented out and he does not anticipate any request for refund. He further stated that this was a two step permit. The foundation permit of $150,000. was approved as allowed by BOCA and this is the final permit. Motion then carried unanimously.

Mr. Pritchett referenced his memo whereby he informed Council that he was successful in being able to have MES fund the hazardous waste cleanup at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

County Commissioner Jay Newcomb came forward on behalf of the County Commissioners to extend water and sewer lines to the Cambridge-Dorchester Airport so they could tie into the City's system. This had originally been agreed upon in 1992 but the contract was only good for three years and it was never enforced. Commissioner Saunders asked Commissioner Newcomb if he had a copy of the old agreement that the City Attorney could review. It was then presented.  She then asked if the City Commissioners grant this, "you will not be asking the City to bear any costs." Mr. Newcomb responded affirmatively.

Commissioner Swafford asked if there was any mention of annexation as part of the previous agreement whereby Mr. Newcomb informed him that there wasn't.

Commissioner Vickers feels the Council needs more information and time for review as to where the connections would take place if the City had to make them. He is all for upgrading the airport but not for running a line that everyone along the way could tap into.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to begin working with the County and the Department of Public Works to do a study as far as cost and look at an economic development standpoint; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Mayor Wooten then recognized former County Commissioner Glenn Bramble. He came to the podium to make a few comments on the airport. In his research over past years, there is a way to get water and sewer down to the airport without encroaching on anyone else's land. one way would be along the railroad.

For the record, he stated that there are taxes at the airport because most of the businesses are privately operated and by state law they must pay real estate taxes.

He then gave an update of what is going on downtown. The Maryland Department of the Environment will be relocating its office to the second floor of Craig's Pharmacy building. The expected move-in date will be May 1st and as soon as the weather breaks, the entire parking lot will be redone.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. William Jackson, President of the Human Relations Committee, came forward stating that this past Wednesday, they made their presentation to the Board of Education. In light of things that have happened, he would like to seek Council's permission to address the County Commissioners on this same issue and have a guest commentary in the local papers.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that the same presentation be made to the County Commissioners; seconded by Commissioner Rice who said that the reason to go to the County would be for funding. Motion then carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made another motion that any guest commentary be presented to Council for the attorney's review before it is submitted to the media. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM AUDIENCE

Mr. Gage Thomas said there has been more happening in downtown Cambridge in the last two years than in the last fifteen years. He has someone interested in putting a restaurant in downtown Cambridge and under the current alcoholic beverage law, this would not be possible. His proposal would be to allow restaurants within 500' of a church so people could eat and have an alcoholic drink with their meal. Commissioner Saunders said, "you go ahead and say what you want. I got my opinion and I'm going to keep it."

Mr. Thomas then asked, for clarification, if a restaurant (that serves liquor) would be allowed in downtown. The response from Commissioner Saunders and Mr. Pritchett was "no".

Commissioner Vickers stated that he personally feels that this is something that needs to be looked at.

With no further comments, meeting adjourned at 9:36 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, February 22, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer