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City Council Minutes

May 24, 1999
 

May 24, 1999 Cambridge, Md.

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 p.m. with Commissioner Philip Rice presiding.

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

Commissioner Rice led in the Lord's Prayer.

The public was informed by Commissioner Rice that the Mayor was not present this evening due to some personal business and Commissioner Vickers is ill.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the May 10th City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Watkins then moved to approve the minutes of the work session of May 17th. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION REPORT

In the absence of Commissioner Saunders, Commissioner Watkins gave the following recommendations made by the Commission at their May l1th meeting.

Henry Thomas / Proposed Mooring: The Commission recommends approval of the proposed mooring and finger piers at 207 Trenton Street. Commissioner Watkins moved to accept their recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

Linda Holliday / 410 Talbot Avenue: The Commission recommends Ms. Holliday's request be approved to transfer her special use permit to operate a child day care center from 512 Glenburn Avenue to 410 Talbot Avenue. Commissioner Watkins moved to accept the Commission's recommendation and that this be referred to the City Attorney to schedule a Public Hearing. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously. (At this time, Commissioner Saunders arrived and apologized for being late.)

BLACK & DECKER'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Mr. Leon Sampson of Black & Decker in Talbot County was present to speak to Council seeking permission to hold their 25th anniversary celebration in Cambridge. He then introduced Mrs. Joyce Green and Mrs. Patty Kiss who are also part of their Activities Committee.

They are planning a formal dinner/dance/party on Saturday, September 25th at Sailwinds Park and estimate entertaining between 1,600 and 2,000 people. Their first request was for permission to have a fireworks display. After seeking comments from some local residents who live it that area, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow the fireworks from 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Saunders then added to her motion that the Fire Department and the Police Department contact Mr. Sampson to advise him of the "rules and regulations." Commissioner Watkins seconded the amended motion and it carried unanimously.

Mr. Sampson then stated that they plan to host 900 people indoors and the balance will be outdoors under a 100' x 200' tent. The music will be in the main arena and they will have a "video link hook-up" from the main building which will provide TV and monitors to the tent. He feels he can control the noise that goes through the monitor to the outside tent.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow them a noise variance until 10:30 p.m. in the tent and after that time, it will be cut down so it cannot be heard fifty feet away or it will be cut off in the tent; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM CORNERSTONE ASSEMBLY OF GOD

Mr. David Hinds came to the podium requesting Council's permission to sell baked goods, refreshments and crafts at Long Wharf on Sunday, July 4th or, in the event that the fireworks are cancelled due to inclement weather, the evening of when the fireworks are held. They plan to set up around 4:00 p.m. and break down just after the fireworks.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow them to have a concession stand for the church at Long Wharf with the contingency that they contact Public Works to keep them appraised of what is needed regarding trash. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins who stated that the church would also need to contact the Health Department. Motion carried unanimously.

DECISION ON CONSOLE FOR POLICE DEPARTMENT

Commissioner Swafford stated that Council has received notification from the County accepting the City's proposal as it was originally sent in stating that this equipment is Y2K compatible.

He then made a motion to approve the decision for the console; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

AWARD BID FOR HAZMAT SUITS FOR R.F.C.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to award the bid to Safeware, Inc. as recommended by Chief Hurley; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

AWARD BID FOR SELF CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS FOR R.F.C.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to award the bid to Safeware, Inc. as recommended by Chief Hurley; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

RENDER DECISION ON RENEE CLAYTON'S SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR DAY CARE CENTER

Mr. Collison stated that the Public Hearing on this was held last week for Ms. Clayton to operate a day care center at her home at 417 Robbins Street. There was no opposition.

Commissioner Watkins moved to authorize Council President to sign the Findings of Fact and the Resolution to grant the special use permit. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

RENDER DECISION ON MARGUERITE JONES' SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR DAY CARE CENTER

Mr. Collison stated that this request also did not receive any opposition at last week's Public Hearing. Ms. Jones wishes to operate a day care center at her home at 710 Meadow Avenue.

Commissioner Watkins moved to authorize Council President to sign the Findings of Fact and Resolution approving the special use permit. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

RENDER DECISION ON AMENDMENT TO CITY ZONING CODE REGARDING SEASONAL AND/OR TEMPORARY COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Mr. Collison mentioned this is a zoning amendment for which a public hearing was held last week.

This dealt with seasonal and/or temporary development for commercial activity to establish specific criteria and guidelines. Mr. Collison stated that if this ordinance is approved tonight, it would apply to anyone coming back for a renewal of their special use permit. In the past, Council had approved that if a permit was previously approved, on renewal, a public hearing would not be required.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept the new ordinance and that it becomes effective upon voting on it. No one will be grandfathered in and it will not be an automatic renewal. Anyone applying for renewal would need to comply with this ordinance. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

RENDER DECISION ON SALE OF ALCOHOL AT "BONA FIDE RESTAURANTS"

Mr. Collison stated that since there were some differing opinions at the public hearing, he submitted two proposed ordinances. one was as previously written which criteria would exempt a bona fide restaurant from the special use permit requirement for the sale of alcohol. This would only be for on-premises sale at a restaurant equipped with a dining room to serve meals, seating at tables for a capacity of at least 100 persons or more (not including seats at bars or counters) and that the average daily receipts from the sale of foods exceed the sale of alcohol. By doing that, it would require a 100 seat restaurant in order to get exemption from the special use permit. If a restaurant was under 100 seats, and they were within 500 feet of a church, they could not get any type of beer or wine permit.

If Council wishes to allow the possibility of smaller cafes or restaurants to get beer and wine only within 500 feet of a church in the C-2 district, he has a second proposed ordinance for consideration. They would still need to be equipped with a dining room with facilities for preparing and serving full-course meals at least twice daily with seating capacity at tables for at least 60 persons (not including seats at bars or counters) with a ratio of seats at tables to seats at bars or counters.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to approve the first proposed ordinance for restaurants with capacity of 100 persons or more for the on-premises sale of alcohol; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Another motion was then made by Commissioner Saunders that the Council, at a later date, revisit the 60 seat capacity ordinance; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Mr. Collison advised that because this would be a change in the zoning, another public hearing would need to be held and if passed, it could be a subparagraph under the ordinance passed this evening. Motion carried unanimously.

AMEND CODE REGARDING HISTORIC COMMISSION

Mr. Collison advised that the original legislation which created the Commission had some concerns regarding Section 20-20B, Subsection 8 (regarding Demolition by Neglect). The amendment merely clarifies that the Historic Commission will make the referral to the Department of Housing and/or the Department of Public Works and those agencies will do their independent investigation and act thereupon.

Commissioner Saunders moved to adopt the ordinance as submitted; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

AMEND CHAPTER 20, SECTION 20-17 ENTITLED "NONCONFORMING USES".

Mr. Collison said that, at the request of Council, this is to amend the definition of nonconforming uses by reducing the time period of discontinued use to one year rather than two years.

Commissioner Saunders moved to adopt the ordinance as submitted; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Rice had a question relative to time frame... "which ones are still going to be two years, which ones are going to be one year because you have an overlapping time period and you can't make it retroactive." Mr. Collison suggested to make it effective July 1, 2000. Commissioner Rice also added that if a building is vacant for fifty years and it is zoned property, this would have no effect ... it only deals with nonconforming uses.

Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to include that there be some publication to inform the public of the change and Commissioner Watkins seconded it. Motion carried unanimously.

Another motion was made by Commissioner Saunders to make this effective July 1, 2000. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO PURCHASE OUTBOARD MOTOR FOR YACHT BASIN

Mr. Pritchett said he had received approval to research the budget for funds for a small motor for the dinghy at the Yacht Basin. He does have funds available in the General Services-Building Account and was able to locate a 1998 leftover at Gootee's Marine which includes a full warranty for $1,149.00.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve his request; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL FOR EVALUATION AND CHANGES TO THE CITY'S ZONING ORDINANCE

Mr. Pritchett submitted an RFP for Council's review regarding updating the current zoning ordinance. He has spoken with several imaging companies to see about the photographing from high altitudes to determine what kind of maps Council would want (to get the most uses out of them with overlays). The other issue is just how much of the area Council wants to map. It gets more expensive for the photograph imaging as you go farther. Commissioner Saunders said that Council wants the whole City's zoning revamped, "in the City limits of Cambridge."

Commissioner Saunders said she only has one question on the proposal ... "why would the proposals for Public Works ... be sent to City Hall?" She feels that if this is adopted tonight it should be changed so that all sealed bids are submitted to Public Works. Commissioner Saunders then made a motion to accept the request for proposal with the change that the address and contact person would be Mr. Pritchett; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Bids would still be opened at Council table by Mr. Kinnamon. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE CITY'S FINANCIAL STATEMENT FOR APRIL, 1999 (ASOP #10)

Commissioner Swafford moved to approve the City's Financial Statement for April; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. For everyone's benefit, Commissioner Rice said "it shows we're still in the black." Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM THERESA STAFFORD FOR ANNEXATION INTO THE CITY

Ms. Stafford is in the process of purchasing land located on Christ Rock Drive in Dorchester County from her aunt. The contract for the property is contingent upon acquiring sewer and water.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to refer this matter to the Planning & Zoning Commission for proper research and information as to the annexation process. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM GENERATION III MARINA

A request was received from Generation III Marina to put a cover over their work slip at the marina. Commissioner Saunders moved to refer this matter to the Planning & Zoning Commission; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM KEVAN SULLIVAN FOR DAY CARE CENTER

A request was received from Kevan Sullivan for a special use permit to operate a day care center at 117 Washington Street. Commissioner Saunders moved to refer this request to the Planning & Zoning Commission; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO HOLD 20TH ANNUAL SEAFOOD FEAST-I-VAL

A request was received from the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce to hold the 20th annual Seafood Feast-I-Val on August 14th at Sailwinds Park from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with tent and booth erection taking place within three days prior.

Commissioner Watkins motioned to approve the request; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to grant a variance to the noise ordinance from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for this annual event. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

DISCUSS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PARTICIPATION IN COUNTYWIDE RECYCLING STRATEGY

Commissioner Rice mentioned that there was an item from Mr. Wheeler in Council's books relative to recycling countywide. He feels it's there "for an f/y/i concept and I think that's the way we need to take it."

REQUEST FROM TOURISM DEPARTMENT TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

Commissioner Rice referred to a request from the Department of Tourism offering the City an opportunity to participate in a cooperative advertising campaign with them in Chesapeake Bay Magazine publications. He believes this is the second time the request has come before Council. Unless it's free, he feels this is a budget situation. Commissioner Saunders said that at the time this was discussed before, there were many factors that Council needed to weigh out so she made a motion, pending further deliberation, to table this; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE FINAL DRAFT OF PLANNED WATER RESORT DISTRICT ZONING AND PWRD DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

Mr. Collison advised that the formal statute and ordinances which approve zoning for the Eastern Shore Hospital property (Hyatt development) had not been executed. There were public hearings and Council formally approved on the record as far as the vote. Since that time there were two minor amendments that have come through. Initially there was no height restriction for the "aid to navigation" at the marina and Council had approve an eighty-five foot restriction. It is now being reduced to sixty-five foot.

Another minor change was made with regard to Critical Area legislation. As you recall, the provision was inserted that stated, "nothing in this statute shall be interpreted as exempting this property from any of the BOCA code requirements." It is now going to include "or the Critical Area legislation." In other words, only this zoning requirement would apply to this property, however they would still have to comply with Critical Areas and BOCA code.

The other change would be relocating the restaurant from the green over to the marina.

Commissioner Saunders brought up the fact that the PWRD zoning does not only apply to the proposed Hyatt property but to any twenty acre parcel in the City limits that lies upon some water.

She then made a motion to adopt the modifications discussed for the Planned Water Resort District and also the specific design criteria for the PWRD; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGET AMENDMENTS

Commissioner Swafford moved to approve budget amendments for the Housing Department, Financial Administration and DPW; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve all budgeted expenditures over $250; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

Mr. Pritchett advised they have begun a study with regards to the marina to see how much advertising they should do. The marina is extremely busy with most weekends being at full capacity between annual slip holders and transients. He feels there is no need to advertise, "if we can't offer the product." There are currently twenty-three boats on a waiting list.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford advised Council that he had received a call from Mr. Pritchett for emergency lumber for a repair. The paperwork will be forthcoming.

He then mentioned that this Thursday, May 27th the Hotel Room Tax bill will be signed in Annapolis.

On another note, Commissioner Swafford mentioned the fact that there are approximated twelve houses scheduled to be demolished as they are deemed unfit to live in. Hopefully when the zoning is "squared away", we can come back and revitalize some of these areas.

COMMENTS FROM FIFTH WARD

Commissioner Rice thanked Mr. Pritchett for trying to get money for project Open Space at Great Marsh. This is probably one of the best utilized facilities that this town owns. He gave credit to Commissioner Watkins "and at least two of his compadres" for not selling this property years ago.

He then referred to the status report on "downtown loans" and the actions being taken. Commissioner Saunders wanted it clarified that she is not delinquent and Commissioner Rice added that she is making her payments, "and I can't say that about everybody on this list."

To further comment on the scheduled demolitions, Commissioner Rice pointed out there has been a dedication to removing substandard housing by this Council as well as previous Councils. It's been a slow process and in some cases, it took three Councils to get one piece of property demolished. The commitment is there to get it done whether it is by this Council or their successors. They are dedicated to the concept that at some point in time, there will be no substandard housing.

Commissioner Saunders stated that she and the Council had the opportunity on Saturday to go to the Governor's mansion. It was a reception to thank everyone on the Eastern Shore for their help and an opportunity to "build some support across the bridge."

She has made her arrangements to go to the hotel bill signing on Thursday and extended an invitation to everyone.

The Millennium Commission still needs a few more nominees. There are three missing from the First and Second Wards and two from the Fifth Ward. The first meeting has been scheduled for June 15th and she wanted to be sure the City Commissioners were invited.

On Friday, she attended a meeting that was sponsored in part by the Harriet Tubman Organization regarding "June Teenth Day". She asked Evelyn Townsend to come to the podium to explain about this event. Ms. Townsend stated it is a celebration that has been held over the years throughout the United States. The observance brings to our teaching that slavery was no longer allowed on this date in Texas three years after 1865. Her organization was invited to participate in Baltimore but they decided to hold their own here on the Eastern Shore. She invited all of the community to participate on June 19th and 20th.

Ms. Townsend further stated that she would like to have a proclamation from the City with regards to this special event and Commissioner Saunders suggested that she get a copy to City Hall before Thursday. Commissioner Saunders then made a motion to honor Ms. Townsend's request and have a proclamation officially signed by all the Commissioners and the Mayor; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to refer a request from William McDonnell, Director of Social Services, to the Traffic and Safety Committee. The request is to use forty parking spaces on the City's parking lot next to what used to be Johnny's Shoe Store to accommodate two large meetings they have scheduled. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins took this opportunity to say how pleased he was about the "June Teenth" celebration and thanked the group for organizing it.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison requested a closed executive session for a real estate matter and Commissioner Saunders made a motion to grant his request; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Ms. Portia Johnson, 700 Cornish Drive, came to the podium to say that about two weeks ago she heard a rumor concerning the Mayor's office and she was here tonight for some answers. With the move of the Choptank Treatment Center to Crownsville for four months, it is her understanding that Mayor Wooten, one of its employees, will not be commuting each day but working from his home. Will he be using his office space at City Hall or his home to work for the Choptank Treatment Center? She was not asking for an answer tonight but to give her concerns.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. Gage Thomas, 1502 Race Street, came forward to thank Council for use of the Chambers tomorrow night for the Cambridge water tank project. There will be a public meeting for comments and input on the project. They have already received some good ideas from high school students. The project deadline is July 1st and all suggestions will be submitted to Council for a final decision within the next 30 to 45 days.

Regarding the Seafood Feast-I-Val, in the past they have asked for use of the Franklin Street parking lot. Because of the many events that weekend, they are only asking for use of one quarter of the lot for refrigerated trucks and vendors so the main parking lot could be available for customers and attendees of the event. Commissioner Saunders moved to allow his request to use one quarter of the Franklin Street parking lot; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously. Mr. Thomas said he would meet with the Police Department and Dave Pritchett as far as barricades.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Judy Moody came forward with reference to earlier comments about sealed bids being sent directly to the individual department requesting the proposal. She just wanted to make sure, before this is initiated, that there is a "chain of command" to make sure the bids are not opened when they come in and that they need to be to Council by a certain time.

Commissioner Saunders said "that's an insult to our Department Heads." These people know the procedure.

The other question she had was whether a special use permit could be put in practice prior to a public hearing. She was advised that it would need to go through the full process before being issued. Her concern was relative to a day care center and she was informed that there are some rules that supersede the City. By State law an individual could take care of 4 children without requiring a special use permit from the City.

Ms. Linda Holliday of 410 Talbot Avenue came to the podium to answer Ms. Moody's questions. She is licensed by the State to care for 4 children and she is licensed at her new address ... 4 children first shift, 4 children second shift and 3 children third shift. She decided to keep her 24 hour license pending the results of her special use permit in case she needed to watch children again 24 hours a day to pay her bills as a single parent.

With no further comments, meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, May 24, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Heidi R. Adams, Administrative Assistant