Print this page

City Council Minutes

March 29, 1999
 

March 29, 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 Rice moved to approve the March 22nd City Council minutes; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Watkins abstaining.

TRAFFIC & SAFETY COMMITTEE REPORT

Commissioner Vickers advised that this Committee met this morning to discuss a request for "Reserved for Handicap Only" spaces opposite the Virginia Avenue pool front entrance, and a walkway crossing painted on the road leading to the curb cut for access to the entrance. The Committee recommended that the appropriate spaces be designated through appropriate signage and painting as requested. Commissioner Vickers made a motion to accept their recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

STREET LIGHTING COMMITTEE REPORT

Commissioner Vickers advised that this Committee also met this morning to discuss a complaint regarding poor lighting on Chesapeake Court and Schoolhouse Lane. He stated that some of the lighting is poor and the Committee was looking into increasing the intensity. Some of the lights have also been broken. As a result of today's meeting, the Committee recommended that the lights be replaced with bulbs of a higher intensity and be equipped with protective shields which have been used in other areas and proved to be satisfactory in situations of this nature. He then moved to accept the Committee's recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion that this be completed within thirty (30) days; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSS SERVICE ROAD BEHIND THE NEW HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS

Commissioner Saunders mentioned that at last week's meeting there was discussion about the maintenance and cost sharing for this road with the County.

Mr. Pritchett included a memo for Council with two options and preliminary cost estimates. The preferred route to go, according to the City's engineer, would be option one (Woods Road to Peking House). Commissioner Rice interjected that he would hope that the City could get the blacktop for less than $50. per ton.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that a letter be sent to the County, under the Mayor's signature with the options and estimates on the road, asking for cooperation and assistance; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

She made a second motion, under the Mayor's signature, that we let the Governor know about our situation and financial predicament and see if he would be willing to have some infrastructure money allocated for this road. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

PAVING MUNICIPAL PARKING LOTS

Mr. Pritchett referred to a list given to Council of parking lots owned by the City for which they are responsible.

The list also included streets that are in need of repair along with estimated costs for blacktop overlay. Commissioner Swafford asked if the parking lots would all come under ADA compliance with the figures submitted. Mr. Pritchett advised, "anything we do here, we take into account ADA compliance."

Commissioner Swafford made a motion for the paving of all the parking lots and the first three streets (Southside Avenue, Race Street from Cedar Street to Elm Street, and Insley from East Applyby Avenue to the end). Commissioner Saunders asked to include Park Lane from Oakley Street to Rigby Avenue. Commissioner Swafford then amended his motion to add Park Lane and delete Race Street. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice.

Commissioner Swafford then said he would like to see Council dedicate $150,000. to paving next year because of the special things that were done these past two years.

Motion carried unanimously.

GUIDELINES FOR HIRING CONSULTANT FOR RESTRUCTURE OF CITY'S ZONING LAWS

Mr. Kinnamon included information in Council's packets which he received from the County with regards to the process they used.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to use any "bold face" information out of the County's packet and that Mr. Pritchett, the City Engineer and the City Attorney be asked to work together to give Council a working document so that they will-be ready to go to bid by the end of April; seconded by Commissioner Swafford.

Commissioner Swafford added that he realizes how important this is and he is trying to locate funds to cover this expense. Commissioner Rice mentioned that Council also needs to reevaluate what they think the scope of it needs to be as well. Motion then carried unanimously.

PRODUCE STAND ORDINANCE TO BE PUT IN PLACE

I Mr. Collison advised that he will have the proposals for this, as well as "use permits" for businesses coming into the City, ready for Council at the April 12th meeting.

DECISION ON P.W.R.D. ZONING FOR HYATT

Mr. Collison advised that there have been several public hearings on this matter and there were a few minor amendments on the original proposal submitted that were recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission. He added that he also has a couple that he would recommend to Council.

Regarding the Zoning Statute for the creation of the P.W.R.D. on page 2, Section (b)(1), he proposes that this be amended to read "that the parcels comprising the total land area proposed for inclusion in the PWRD shall contain at least one thousand feet of frontage along a navigable body of water." This changes a prior recommendation which was that 50% of the parcels must bind upon the water. He feels that this would allow this type of zoning in more parcels than this one.

As previously discussed at one of the public hearings under Section (b)(2), Mr. Collison agreed with amending the minimum acreage required from 200 to 20.

Under Planned Water Resort District-PWRD-l/ Development Standards, there is a question with regards to the height on the navigational structure. When it was originally submitted there was no height limitation at all as to this structure which is going to be at the end of the breakwater out from the marina. He suggested that a height limitation of 40 feet be placed on this although prior to tonight's meeting, Mr. Usab asked that it be 85 feet. (Mr. Collison stated that they would get back to this after he goes through the other changes.)

On page 4 of the Design Criteria, Mr. Collison recommended that they delineate the height limitations on the residential units so that no townhouse shall exceed 40 feet of height and that no other multi-family residential building shall exceed 75 feet of height. These were all categorized in one as 75 feet high which theoretically meant they could build a town house 75 feet tall. The City's current code delineates between the two and this would be more in keeping with the existing code.

There was a recommendation for the change on page 5 that the PWRD residential districts would include all parcels for attached structures, single family structures and detached accessory structures. On page 6 under "conflicts", regarding the priority of this type of zoning, he recommends that the words "zoning laws" be inserted in the last paragraph and that the following sentence be added: "Nothing herein shall be interpreted as exempting any structures from within the PWRD from compliance with all applicable BOCA regulations as adopted by the City Council."

He recommended that on page 9, Subsection III, C(2), that the word "to" be deleted.

Under "Site Plan", Subsection IV, C, it would read that "all slopes must be properly stabilized to prevent or minimize erosion and sediment-ladent run-off ... 11

On page 10, under Subparagraph J, we would insert the words, "and approve" after the word "confirm".

On page 13, under Subparagraph A (1), at the end of the first line, "is" should be "as". Under Subparagraph B(l), it should read "the Choptank River or its tributaries." Subparagraph B(2)(b) would read, "where fuel docks are permitted, they must be designed with art attractive housings which shall be compatible with surrounding structures." Subparagraph B(2)(d) references the "Public Works Shore Health Department" and it would be his recommendation that it gets the approval of the City of Cambridge Public Works and the Dorchester County Health Department.

On page 19, a suggestion was made to state as to the type of roofs permitted... it would be natural "and man made slate" and heavy asphalt shingles "minimum of 25 year architectural styles."

On page 23, Subparagraph (h) it says "wherever possible" it should state "when feasible" the building should open to provide outside seating and dining.

Finally, on page 27, regarding the trash containers, it states that "trash containers should be conveniently located along and in all pedestrian walkways and spaces." He suggested that the following paragraph be added: "the maintenance and trash removal for said containers shall be the responsibility of the owner of the development" so that the City would not be responsible for them.

These were the only changes that Mr. Collison would recommend to the document as submitted with the only pending item being "the aid to navigation height limitation."

Commissioner Rice made a motion to adopt all the changes with the one exception of the navigational item; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Saunders questioned if "time shares" were included. Mr. Collison advised that the wording is in the document to permit it so they would more than likely allow it. Her next question was, "how do we benefit tax wise on time shares?" Commissioner Rice advised that, "if they sell them we get taxes on them, if they don't we get room taxes on them."

Mr. Ken Usab, Andrews, Miller & Associates, had some questions regarding the master plan and he was advised that those items were separate from what is being voted on under the motion. With no further comments, motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Collison then went on to say that Council needs to address "the aid to navigation structure" item. Under the height limitations, the hotel is limited to 110 feet in height and in the marina of the area "no building shall exceed 30 feet in height from the deck of the supporting structure except that this restriction shall not apply to any aid to navigation structure" and no where else is that aid to navigation structure cited as a height limitation.

Mr. Usab showed an architect's rendering of the aid to navigation at the end of the pier. It is roughly a 2,600 sq. ft. covered shelter that is to be used to keep people out of the elements when they are waiting to board boats. They are hoping to have this viewed as the "icon" for the resort and it is approximately 85 feet tall. Commissioner Rice said he could not understand why they would need something that tall. Mr. Usab said it was his understanding that they were trying to achieve a look similar to a lighthouse. Commissioner Watkins stated that he doesn't have a problem with it "so long as it doesn't interfere with the airplanes ... 11

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to go ahead with it; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Rice opposing.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that Council approve the PWRD Zoning Statute with changes as they were voted upon tonight; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept the Development Standards for the PWRD-1 with specific changes as voted tonight; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion that Council approve the Master Development Plan as presented with maps; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR TO SIGN RESOLUTION FOR OHANA CREATIONS' SPECIAL USE PERMIT

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that Council request the Mayor to sign the Resolution for Ohana Creations. She went on record to say that the Resolution states there will be no type of weaponry or weaponry training to take place at 412 Race Street, Cambridge, Maryland. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and carried unanimously.

IN-KIND SERVICES / GLENBURN GARDEN HOUSE

Mr. Pritchett advised that one of the last directives given to him was that until the building was actually underway and Council saw that it would materialize, at that point in time they would make a decision on whether or not and how much to grant for in-kind services. Currently, the foundation is up and the walls are beginning so we are at a point to evaluate the in-kind services.

Commissioner Rice moved to stick with the commitment that Council made in a specific dollar amount back in August, 1997 of $6,165.00; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM FAMILY & YOUTH COMMITTEE FOR ANNUAL FESTIVAL

On behalf of this committee, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to grant permission to hang their banner across Race Street by April 18th; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

She then made a motion that they be allowed to have a variance from the noise ordinance from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 8th; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSS CHANGES TO RULES & REGULATIONS FOR GREAT MARSH PARK

The General Rules for Great Marsh Park were reviewed by the City attorney and amendments were made based on his comments. (These are the rules that DPW provides to anyone wishing to use the facility.)

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept the guidelines since the attorney has looked at them with the addition under commercial use that "prior approval must be given by Council." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers.

Commissioner Vickers had a question about the responsibility of the "Port-o-Pots" and Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to include after "individual" the words "or group." Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO COMMIT DPW ADMINISTRATIVE TRUCK TO PARK MAINTENANCE

Mr. Pritchett advised that they are excited about the new tractor and trailer for park maintenance and will be operating more like a lawn service than an on-site facility at this time. However, they do not have an appropriate vehicle that they can allocate towards towing the trailer. He feels they should have a truck dedicated to stay with the trailer throughout the whole day, bring it back, put it in the garage and leave it there for the night.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow Mr. Pritchett to do this; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR TO SIGN PROCLAMATION FOR "FAIR HOUSING MONTH"

Commissioner Rice made a motion to allow the Mayor to sign the proclamation designating April, 1999 as "Fair Housing Month". Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250.

Commissioner Swafford addressed two of the budgeted expenditures. one was a $700. auto repair for transmission and he has since received phone call and the transmission is beyond repair and a new one would cost approximately $1,400. He made a motion to put this on the next agenda since the Police Department is looking to transfer funds to cover the cost; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

The other item was the one for Sirman's Travel for which he would like to give conditional approval since he did receive information about this expense. He stated that he would like to see a copy of the invoice. Commissioner Rice moved to accept the recommendation contingent upon the receipt and information that the finance chairman requires; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Saunders opposing.

Commissioner Swafford then made a motion to approve the balance of the purchase orders over $250.; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

CITY ATTORNEY TO DRAW UP AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE CHESAPEAKE GROUP

Commissioner Saunders advised that earlier this evening a meeting was held with a representative of the Chesapeake Group concerning a situation in Ward 5. They have offered to help by putting together a Request For Proposal (RFP) as well as other information to go to bid for a study to be done.

She then made a motion that Council direct the City attorney to draw up the proper contracts; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison presented Standard Operating Procedure regarding inter-office communications and correspondence. Commissioner Watkins made a motion that the Mayor be authorized to sign the Standard Operating Procedure; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers said that someone had asked him at a previous meeting why they don't do the pledge allegiance to the flag, and he couldn't give him an answer. Commissioner Watkins said that he can go back for 29 years and this has been the procedure although he doesn't see why it can't be changed.

Since he feels this is the right thing to do, Commissioner Vickers made a motion that Council begins its next regular meeting with the pledge allegiance to the flag. Motion dies for a lack of a second.

REPORT FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins stated that he was glad he was healthy enough to be here this evening after two weeks of illness.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders mentioned that there are no nominations for the "Good Neighbor Award" for the second and fourth Wards and asked if the respective Commissioners could submit names by tomorrow.

Per Council's directive, Ms. Kathy Foster submitted a suggestion for the narrative section of the MML Year 2000 Cities Book with the help of Commissioner Saunders and Armond Hayward. Commissioner Saunders asked Council if this could be submitted as is on behalf of the City of Cambridge or would they like to make any changes.

Commissioner Watkins stated that he read this and feels they did a very good job although he would like added that "the Black Community, before the Freedom Riders, was the leading Black Community on the Shore."

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that Ms. Foster go back and research that and put it in cleaner language and then with the changes, that it could be submitted; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Rice added that Commissioner Watkins is right, "definitely from political strength." Commissioner Watkins added that Cambridge had the first Black policeman in the State of Maryland. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then referenced a draft of a letter to be submitted to the County Commissioners from the director of C.E.M.S. She made a motion that this letter be redrafted under the Mayor's signature; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Her next motion was that the Mayor add to the letter the fact that it is the Mayor and Council's wishes that any financial negotiations or financial information pertaining to C.E.M.S. will be directed to the City's Finance Chairman from the County Commissioners. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Saunders then amended her motion to include Commissioner Rice's suggestion that a broader statement be added, "that any interaction with any of the City departments, be it financial or operational, needs to be directed to this Board here and not to the department heads themselves." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and carried unanimously.

Her last motion was to strike the name of a former Commissioner who's name is not relevant to what is being done; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders read a letter from Michael L. Haring, Manager of the Transportation Department for the Board of Education regarding a Bus Safety Committee. She then made a motion that we send them a letter back requesting for each department and Mayor and Council to be sent specific information and specific locations of what they are asking and the purpose of it; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to let them understand that this was a "concern" from the City, not a "complaint." Amended motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and carried unanimously.

On another note, Commissioner Saunders was asked to put together an operating budget for the Cambridge Millennium Commission. She put a budget together for the period April 1, 1999 through December 31, 1999.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that if Council accepts this, that it become a part of the Economic Development budget; seconded by Commissioner Swafford who said that the funds for this budget year could come from the contingency fund. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM FIFTH WARD

Commissioner Rice mentioned that the Cambridge Day celebration again this year will be enmeshed with the appreciation dinner. The purpose of Cambridge Day is to honor past and present citizens for the contributions they have made to "get us to where we are today." He is hoping that in doing so, the citizens of this town will be as proud of living here as he is ... and I wasn't born here... I wouldn't go anyplace else."

Last year there were ten inductees, five were businesses ... (Cambridge Wirecloth, Phillips Packing Company, Camper Sisters Bakery and two small businesses that have been in downtown Cambridge in excess of 100 years ... Craig's Pharmacy and Garner's Men's Shop).

There will be five more inductees this year and they are very deserving folks who have done a great deal to make this town what it is today.

COMMENTS FROM CLERK-TREASURER

Mr. Kinnamon addressed the contract between the City and Penn Credit Corporation to handle collection problem accounts. Mr. Collison reviewed it and said it was fine.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept the contract; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

Mr. Pritchett advised that he was given authorization to go to bid for a new line striper. Since that approval, he was able to locate one at a price lower than what is required for the bidding procedure and he request Council's approval to purchase it.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to allow DPW to purchase the line striper unit; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Pritchett then advised Council that there is a sewer problem on Roslyn Avenue that DPW is aware of. Commissioner Swafford asked him to keep Council informed.

Going back to the in-kind services for Glenburn Garden House, Mr. Pritchett said that he understood Commissioner Rice to say to refund the money of $6,165. The original agreement was to do two curb cuts and he asked for clarification.

Commissioner Rice said the original commitment was for $6,165. and as far as he's concerned, "that is what we need to do."

Commissioner Saunders stated that since the curb cuts total $1,560. and DPW is doing this work, the refund should only be $4,605.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Demetrius Kaouris came to the podium on behalf of Sandy McAllister from Miles and Stockbridge. He wanted to thank the Mayor and Council members for all their hard work on the Hyatt project.

Ken Usab, on behalf of Andrews, Miller and Associates and Chesapeake Resort, LLC, also wanted to thank the Commissioners, the Department of Public Works, the City attorney and everyone who has worked with them on helping to get one step closer to making the project a reality. Without the commitment of the Commissioners, the Planning Commission and others who have worked on it, "we wouldn't be where we are today." He also wanted to thank the Mayor and Commissioners for their support during the permitting process in trying to obtain the State and Federal permits. There have been some difficult issues and he appreciated their assistance.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Ms. Beverly Era was present to try to solve a problem which was expressed in a letter given to Council this evening regarding a citation she received from the Housing Office which she thinks-is frivolous.

Commissioner Saunders feels this is something that should be handled at the Housing Board of Review. Ms. Era said that she feels this process is costing the City a lot of money and the citizens work too hard for tax dollars. She further stated that if repairs are not acceptable to the Housing Office, the violator needs to be notified before the Court notice comes in the mail.

Commissioner Swafford mentioned that Council had talked about having a reinspection fee to go back and see if compliance has been done. This way, the problem either gets fixed or the property owner is still aware that it is a problem. Commissioner Saunders then requested Mr. Pritchett to get a copy of Ms. Era's letter to Ms. Camper, Director of Housing.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Portia Johnson came to the podium to ask who is accountable for the resurfacing of a street after repair work is done. Commissioner Rice stated that it is the City's responsibility for streets to be in good repair. As far as he knows, the people who tear them up are obligated to put them back according to Mr. Pritchett's standards. Ms. Johnson then asked if there was a time limit to put the street back in order. Commissioner Swafford mentioned that when a street is opened, it takes a while for it to settle before they can do any blacktopping.

With no further business, meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, March 29, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon