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City Council Minutes

July 12, 1999
 

July 12, 1999 Cambridge, Md.

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. Saunders, Swafford and Vickers.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the June 14th City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Watkins then moved to approve the minutes of the June 21st City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION REPORT

Commissioner Watkins advised of the following recommendations made by the Commission at their July 6th meeting:

Harbor Haven Phase II Piers / Ed Mowbray - The Commission recommended to approve Mr. Mowbray's request to construct six boat slips at Harbor Haven Phase II. Commissioner Watkins moved to accept their recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Swafford wanted to make sure that this is cleared with the Department of Natural Resources and Commissioner Watkins assured him that the stipulation will be in there before they can proceed. Motion carried unanimously.

Kevan Sullivan / 117 Washington Street - The Commission recommends Ms. Sullivan's request for a "special use permit" to operate a day care at 117 Washington Street be approved, contingent on final approval from the State. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve their recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Swafford.

It was Commissioner Saunders' understanding that there was a twelve (12) week moratorium on in-home day care. Mr. Kinnamon said that he believed the request was received prior to the moratorium. Mr. Collison suggested checking to verify when the request came in and when it was referred to Planning and Zoning. Commissioner Watkins withdrew his motion until that fact could be verified.

Gloria Bailey / Annexation Request - The Commission recommends Ms. Gloria Bailey's request for annexation of her property on Christ Rock Drive, Parcel 221, Map 41, into the City be approved. Commissioner Watkins moved to accept their recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Watkins then asked the City Attorney to set up the necessary steps to have a hearing for annexation. Motion carried unanimously.

Bayshore Warehousing / Herb Robinson - The Commission recommends conditional approval of Bay Shore Warehousing's subdivision of a 5-acre parcel located off of Washington Street, contingent on submission of a final plat. Commissioner Watkins moved to wait until Council hears back from the Planning Commission after Mr. Robinson submits the final plat; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

McMahan Oil Co., Inc. / Annexation Request - The Commission recommends McMahan Oil Co., Inc.'s request for annexation of property, known as 2721 Ocean Gateway, into the City be approved. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept their recommendation and instruct the City Attorney to set up a hearing for annexation; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO CLOSE 400 BLOCK OF HIGH STREET FOR CLEAN UP

Sister Patricia Marie, 406 High Street, came forward in response to a letter submitted to Council with a request to hold a neighborhood clean up day on Saturday, August 7th from 8:00 a.m. to noon. In the event of rain, they asked that the date be transferred to Saturday, August 14th.

They would like to have High Street between Park Lane and the end of the Jackpot Foodmart's parking lot (at Glasgow St.) closed to traffic during this time. They also hope that the City will provide a trash truck and driver during the hours of the clean-up project; re-cycling containers for glass, plastic, aluminum cans and newspapers; and yellow traffic paint so they can re-paint the "no parking zones" within their blocks. They would also like permission to have a cook-out celebration for the participants at the end of the clean-up time and to play music during the clean-up hours.

They are trying to get a "crime prevention watch program" started and they call it the High Street Block Association.

Commissioner Saunders stated that there would be a problem blocking off Park Lane to Jackpot Foodmart. For safety reasons, too many intersections would be blocked off.

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion to block off the 400 block of High Street (up to Jackpot Foodmart) and, if the whole street from Park Lane down is to be cleaned, that volunteers keep their eye on people in the street so they don't get hit; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made another motion to grant a noise variance for Saturday, August 7th from 8:00 a.m. to noon (rain date August 14th); seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Swafford offered to supply a truck and trailer with 15 to 20 trash cans to be used and then transport it to DPW to keep the City from having to pay overtime.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that DPW supply the , yellow paint and brushes to re-paint the "no parking zones" and that they contact the two sisters to make sure it is done correctly; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Another motion was made by Commissioner Saunders that Public Works be asked to supply recycling cans; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM D.C.D.C. HEAD START FOR NOISE VARIANCE

Ms. Barbara Myster came to the podium to advise Council that they are planning to sponsor a program on September 18th with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland Free State Health Plan. This was done inside last year but this year they are planning to use the parking lot at the old St. Clair Elementary School located at 824 Fairmount Avenue. They are requesting a noise variance because they plan to have gospel singing and a DJ.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to grant the noise variance for Saturday, September 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

DOUG STOKER REGARDING RIGHT-OF-WAY AT 105 MARYLAND AVENUE

Mr. Stoker came to the podium and said that he has contacted Kool's Crab Shack and Portside Restaurant about "people blocking in my doorways." He came tonight before Council to ask the City to instruct their police officers to issue tickets to those people who block his doorway. His wife has started a business there and they need the doorways clear for deliveries. If they are parked on his property, he will have them towed but if they park on the right-of-way, he will need assistance from the police.

At the request of Mayor Wooten, the City Attorney said he would research the matter as to whether this is a city street or not. Mr. Collison said he would get back to Council at their next regularly scheduled meeting on July 26th.

COUNCIL TO PRESENT AWARD TO P.F.C. MC CALL (C.P.D.)

Mayor Wooten read the Certificate of Honor for P.F.C. Gilbert W. McCall's life saving efforts on March 18, 1998 "when without fear for his own safety, entered the frigid waters of the Choptank River to save the life of another."

The Certificate, as well as a picture taken at the Maryland Municipal League convention in Ocean City when he received the Maryland Top Cop award, were presented to P.F.C. McCall.

COUNCIL TO RENDER DECISION ON LINDA HOLLIDAY'S SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR DAY CARE AT 410 TALBOT AVENUE

Before the decision was rendered, Mayor Wooten read a statement he prepared on this issue. In response to the Mayor's comments, Commissioner Vickers made a motion that the Council deny the special use permit; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Vickers said he definitely feels that this is something where we had a large number of people come forward and the purpose of a special use permit is to allow citizens to express opinions. This location is totally in an R-1 residential single family area.

Commissioner Swafford said that this is one of the most difficult decisions that he has had to make since he has been on the Council. He personally comes from a family of 12 children and on one side of the fence "if my mother and father lived in that area, they wouldn't be welcome." But when he looks at the other side of the picture, he can see where the neighbors had some good points regarding the R-1 zoning.

He went on to say that Council realizes that there are some problems with the current zoning. There has been a large amount of money set aside in the budget to correct many of the problems "so we may not have to do this in the future."

Commissioner Saunders said that she did a lot of research on this issue and proceeded to read the definition of day care centers as stated in Sec. 20.2 of the City Code:

"Children's day care center means any nursery.. person., association, corporation, institution or agency which provides care and supervision for five or more children under 18 years of age in lieu of care and supervision ordinarily provided by parents in their own homes...."

She has looked at a copy of one of the resident's deeds and it states that "this would remain residential"....there would be no businesses in that area. She further stated that "if we go by our own Zoning Code, I have no choice but to vote no."

Motion carried 3 to 1 with Commissioner Swafford opposing.

AWARD BID FOR SIDEWALK STUDY

Mayor Wooten advised that this item has been postponed for a week or two.

APPROVE FINANCIAL STATEMENT FOR MAY, 1999 (ASOP #10)

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve the Financial Statement for May, 1999; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR NOISE VARIANCE FOR TWO CONCERTS AT SAILWINDS PARK

A letter was received from Kimberly Seward, Facility/Events Coordinator of Sailwinds Park, requesting a noise variance on Saturday, August 7th for a concert and car show featuring 70's legend John Kay & Steppenwolf and on Sunday, August 29th to host a 40th Anniversary tribute featuring The Supremes starring Mary Wilson. They requested the variance from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. although the shows don't begin until 7:00 p.m. each night.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to grant their request seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

NOISE VARIANCE REQUEST BY REVEREND BLACKMON

Commissioner Vickers referenced a letter received from Reverend Randall Blackmon of the First Baptist Church at 501 Glenburn Avenue requesting a noise variance for their planned Family Movie Night on Wednesday, July 28th. They will be using a film projector and an amplification system for the showing of this movie on the front brick wall of the church. The film is planned from 7:30 p.m. and will conclude around 9:00 p.m.

A motion was then made by Commissioner Vickers to grant them a noise variance from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR ANNEXATION(WASHINGTON ST./MD ROUTE 343)

Mr. Pritchett advised that the property is located after the bluish colored apartments on the left side of Washington Street as you leave Cambridge. It is identified as parcel number 285, tax map 30, liber 200 folio 582 according to the letter received from Mortgage Origination Network, Inc.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to refer this to Planning and Zoning; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST BY D.P.W. TO PURCHASE COMPUTER UPGRADE

Mr. Pritchett realizes that the purchase of capital expenditures were not to be made until later in the year, but this budgeted equipment is needed to start off this fiscal year.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve this early expenditure; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Commissioner Swafford then advised that funds are available and although it is unusual to have a capital expenditure this early in the year, this is something that will help to be ready for the year 2000. Mr. Pritchett advised that three of the four units being replaced were not compatible with the Y2K problem. Motion carried unanimously.

COUNCIL TO AUTHORIZE AGREEMENT WITH NATIONS BANK FOR A PURCHASING CARD

Mr. Kinnamon advised that this is another vehicle to help improve accounting and financial spending for equipment and supplies. This would be an authorization for the City to secure credit cards for employees who are authorized to make expenditures. At the end of each month, instead of having to pay multiple vendors, the City will receive only one statement.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to move forward with this purchasing card; seconded by Commissioner Watkins.

Commissioner Swafford then mentioned that the cards can be individualized with a maximum limit. It would help alleviate the problem of employees having to take money out of their own pockets on occasions to make purchases and then wait to be reimbursed. If it doesn't work, we can always cancel it.

Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

Commissioner Swafford stated that five purchase orders were submitted. He asked that purchase orders #000879 and #1216 be held over until he gets more information. A motion was then made by Commissioner Swafford to approve the other three purchase orders; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. (Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Pritchett if he was going to recycle the chairs that he has in his conference room and it was determined that they would be used somewhere else in the City.) Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR

Mayor Wooten said he had tried to make an appointment on a City Committee several weeks ago and since it didn't get approval, he wanted to try making it again.

He submitted the name of Calvin Stack for appointment to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Commissioner Vickers said he would have to abstain from voting because Mr. Stack is family.

The Mayor said he makes presentations and the Council confirms. He has made this selection twice and feels that Mr. Stack would have been a good choice for the Board of Zoning Appeals. He wanted to give Council the opportunity to consider this a second time but it looks like the "verdict is what it is" and he said he will deal with this in another way.

MESSAGE FROM INCOMING COUNCIL PRESIDENT

As incoming Council President, Commissioner Saunders thanked the Mayor and the Council members that were kind enough to vote her in for this fiscal year. She takes this job very seriously and said she will do a good job.

She proceeded to read her message stating that:

1. She will keep lines of communication open with Mayor, City Council, County Commissioners, state and federal representatives, city employees and most importantly, our citizens.

2. She, along with the Council and Mayor, will increase her efforts to work diligently with the community to increase home ownership. She will work hard with everyone to help improve rental houses stock and help clean up our communities.

3. She will cooperate fully and openly with the City of Cambridge Mayor and Commissioners to reduce and phase out the business inventory tax as they have been trying to do for several years.

4. She will keep her pledge to continue, along with the Mayor and Council, to help the Rescue Fire Company get a needed new firehouse.

5. Continue to fight for public safety of all - Cambridge's citizens.

6. Step up efforts to bring more up-scale, lucrative and better paying employment to Cambridge.

7. Always remember, "I'm elected by the people to make the right and prudent decisions for all the people."

Mayor Wooten said he looks forward to working with Commissioner Saunders in her position as Council President and "I think the next year leading up to the election is going to be a productive one and we'll get a lot done."

Commissioner Watkins took this opportunity to congratulate Commissioner Saunders publicly and stated that he is willing to work diligently with her to see her plan come into fruition.

Commissioner Vickers also congratulated her and stated, "I'm sure things will work out. If it doesn't, what thou giveth, thou can taketh."

Commissioner Swafford said that he is looking forward to working with Commissioner Saunders. He stated he is working with her and extended his congratulations.

Commissioner Saunders then thanked everyone for their vote of confidence.

COMMENTS FROM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

Mr. Pritchett referenced the DNR Grant list that he had previously submitted. He asked for Council's wishes on this and suggested to resubmit the ones that were not granted last year.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to have Mr. Pritchett resubmit the list; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Pritchett then referred to a memo he submitted regarding a request to change certain accounts to "revolving accounts" such as the sale of ice at the Municipal Yacht Basin. Commissioner Saunders made a motion that Council authorize the Finance Chairman to work with Mr. Pritchett and Mr. Kinnamon on this and if it is legal and feasible, to let them implement this. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins.

Commissioner Swafford stated that he believes, in future budgets, this could be addressed up front "and we wouldn't have to go through these revolving accounts as much." He then asked for permission from the Council to look at each Department because some of these revolving account may be needed in other Departments in the City. Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to include the suggestion from the Fourth Ward Commissioner. The amended motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

Mr. Pritchett then commented on the problems this evening with the air conditioning in Council Chambers. There are a few units down and one is not repairable. He will submit a report next week with the options and the logical way to go.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD COMMISSIONER

Commissioner Swafford referenced the labor statistics for Dorchester County as being 12% for May and he just wanted to share this information. Everyone else is way down at 10%, 6%, 7%, 5% even one County at 2.6%.

In the budget process, Commissioner Swafford said he had asked to possibly change the employee manual to have a six month probation. He then made a motion to leave the policy as is with twelve month probation; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

He then referenced a memo from Dawn Windsor, Director of Cambridge Emergency Medical Services, eluding to the triathlon which brings a lot of people in this area. The memo mentioned what these particular people donate to the City for services versus what the City does for them.

He then made a motion that Ms. Windsor, Council President, Mr. Pritchett and the head of the triathlon meet and work out any problems; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Saunders stated, while this event brings many people to the City and she thinks it is a good thing, she feels Council needs to meet with the Public Works Director and the Director of C.E.M.S. and list some of the road blocks and the demands that were put on the City. She also feels that next year, the head of the triathlon needs to deal directly with Council, with the Department Heads present. Commissioner Swafford said the service provided by C.E.M.S. costs approximately $950. The cost to transport four of the people was approximately $1,850., "so it did not cost us any dollars out of pocket as far as the City was concerned but there are other issues that need to be addressed." Motion then carried unanimously.

Commissioner Swafford then presented a Resolution for Charles Brohawn's produce stand which had been previously approved. He made a motion authorizing the Mayor to sign the Resolution; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR WOOTEN

The Mayor said the City had a very productive visit with Senator Sarbanes on Friday. The Senator was shown areas of the community "where we have made serious, substantial and sustained progress" with some of the federal help that has been given to the City. He further stated that this Council has been very diligent in the expenditures of funds that were provided them by state and federal representation. Areas of other serious needs were also discussed with Senator Sarbanes.

The Mayor said that we need to be aware of the fact that "no matter what we try to do, our demands are always going to be outstripped by resources." We are very fortunate to have people at this federal level who care about a small community and are trying to help us in such positive ways as Senator Sarbanes has done.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders, in going through job descriptions, realized that they were not all typed as directed by Council so she made a motion that all job descriptions state "other duties as assigned by the Mayor and the City Commissioners". Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously. She then asked Mr. Kinnamon to follow through to make sure this is done.

Commissioner Saunders then referenced a letter that was received from Christ Rock Terrace, Inc. regarding real property rights involving the lot located at 423-425 Race Street. Mr. Collison advised that this was responded to on June 22nd advising, that although the City was granted use of the right-of-way, they have not applied any ownership.

A June 23rd letter addressed to Mayor Wooten from the Dorchester County Planning & Zoning Office, referencing the County's growth allocation, was then read aloud by Commissioner Saunders. A meeting is planned for August 3rd at 9:30 a.m. in Room 110 of the County Office Building " ... since the amount of growth allocation requested for your jurisdiction will ultimately determine the growth of your municipality on Critical Area lands being those areas within a 10001 of tidal waters and wetlands." Commissioner Saunders then made a motion that Council have either Mr. Pritchett or someone from his department who understands this to go to the meeting; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Mr. Pritchett advised that he will be in court that day but he already has two people scheduled and confirmed to attend.

Commissioner Saunders then stated that she and two City employees attended an Ethics class and a Municipal Government Hierarchy class at the MML convention in Ocean City. Taking the Ethics class led her to come back and read the Ethics Code in the City Charter. She requested Mr. Kinnamon to look into obtaining the code of several other municipalities to have City Attorney review them and make a recommendation for revamping of the City's current Ethics Code.

She also gave Mr. Collison a list of certain things in the City Charter that need to be revised and asked him to give feedback to Council within a couple of months.

Commissioner Watkins mentioned a concern, that was brought to his attention by a citizen, in the change of the traffic pattern on Meteor Avenue going into Route 50. He made a motion to refer this to Traffic and Safety. It may need to be worked with the State, "but it needs to be done." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion to refer a request to the Traffic and Safety Committee from Mount Olive Church on Douglas Street asking for brighter lights in the community and to look into the possibility of a handicapped spot. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

With reference to Commissioner Watkins concern on Meteor Avenue, Commissioner Vickers said that he was chairing the Traffic and Safety Committee when this came up. Based on a survey done, they found that traffic moved more efficiently because of the number of cars that wanted to make right turns onto Route 50. The difficulty is local citizens got used to the old pattern. Commissioner Swafford suggested putting up a "new traffic pattern" sign.

Commissioner Vickers then stated that he agreed 100% with the Council President on the triathlon issue. It is a very good thing for the City, but sometimes it gets a little out of hand.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Pastor James Nelson, pastor of Holy Temple at 1026 Cosby Avenue, came to the podium. He requested a noise variance for an outdoor service in front of their church to introduce himself to the community on Thursday, August 5th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. On August 28th, he would like to have a gospel block party and bring in some choirs from Baltimore City and Washington, D.C. to give a positive influence back to the community.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow a noise variance from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on August 5th; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made another motion that they be allowed to have the gospel block party on August 28th from 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Cosby Avenue Family Park; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

She then requested that Mr. Pritchett supply them with some extra trash cans.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. Gage Thomas, 1502 Race Street was next to speak. He re-extended an invitation to the Mayor and Council to the formal announcement of "Company's Coming" at Snapper's this Thursday. from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. He would like to have as many as possible there for what they think is going to be an exciting program not only for the City of Cambridge, but Dorchester County as a whole where they bring private, nonprofit and public sector together for the betterment of all.

With no further comments, meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, July 12, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer