Print this page

City Council Minutes

August 9, 1999
 

August 9, 1999 Cambridge, Md.

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 p.m. with Commissioner Octavene H. Saunders, Council President, presiding.

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

Commissioner Watkins led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Watkins then moved to approve the minutes of the August 2nd City Council meeting. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously.

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION REPORT

Commissioner Watkins advised that the Planning and Zoning Commission met on August 3rd and made the following recommendations to Council:

City & Roby Hurley / Critical Area Amendments - Mr. Roby Hurley came forward to discuss an amendment to the City's Chesapeake Bay Critical Area map. Most of the City has an exclusion with the exception of four areas in the City, one of which is the Eastern Shore Hospital Center. A panel has been appointed by the Critical Area Commission to hold a joint hearing with the City on August 30th.

Commissioner Rice asked, "are we going through this exercise in order to clean up things that have been dealt with in the recent past or are we creating another hoop and hurdle to go through to get this project started?" Mr. Hurley responded, "we are definitely not creating another hurdle."

The tidal wetlands line for Shoal Creek was done when the DNR did the whole state. The original "head of tide" was drawn up to Route 50 with the critical area line well into Wal-Mart. He is asking that the revised critical area map be approve.

Mr. Hurley then stated that when the property was looked at by the State as State lands, they determined that there are two sites that already exist as intense development area in the critical area. They are trying to essentially take the whole site and give it a land use category that will accommodate what the proposed developer is proposing.

In calculating, the State has determined that parts of the site already are intense development areas and do not need growth allocation. The rest of the site, that needs to be converted from Resource Conservation Area (RCA) to Intense Development Area (IDA), is 174.86 acres. The project does meet qualifications for growth allocation.

Mr. Roby is suggesting that growth allocation be contingent upon the transfer of ownership to Chesapeake Resorts, LLC or assigns. Further, the date of approval shall be the date of transfer or one year, and that the project shall be substantially completed within three (3) years from date of approval.

Commissioner Watkins moved to accept the recommendation of the Planning Commission that the revised critical are map be approved. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

A second motion was made by Commissioner Watkins that growth allocation of 174.86 acres be approved contingent that all items listed in exhibit A are met, with the changes that a) item 1 of exhibit A be Chesapeake Resorts, LLC and/or assigned and b) add " ... or within one year." to item 2 of exhibit A. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Watkins moved to have the City Attorney set up a public hearing on this matter as soon as possible; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Commissioner Swafford asked if this is for the joint public hearing scheduled for August 30th? Mr. Hurley advised that it is actually scheduled now and all responsibility for the local newspapers is being done by the Commission staff. Copies of the advertising will be sent to Public Works and he said that he will be sure the Council also receives a copy. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to ask the City Attorney to check into the Commission's recommendation "that the requirement that the Planning and Zoning Commission hold a public hearing be eliminated." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously.

William A. Green / Mortgage Organization Network, Inc. Annexation Request - Mr. William Green came to the podium to explain that he is a developer who is interested in a piece of property on Route 343 across from Greenlawn Cemetery. The property is partly in the City limits and partly in the County.

Mr. Green is requesting annexation of 75 acres of land for a development of 500 homes and 5 acres for neighborhood commercial needs. The project will be a mixed use development with townhouses, apartments and single family detached homes and the site is consistent with the government's smart growth area initiative. He then presented slide pictures of homes that were built by him in Baltimore County 8 to 10 years ago.

Commissioner Watkins thanked Mr. Green for his presentation and Mr. Green stated that he was open for any questions. Commissioner Rice asked what percentage of the housing is split between rental and home ownership whereby Mr. Green stated that they don't have a certain percentage. They look for a market analysis to see what is needed in a particular area and there would be "on site management" for the rental properties.

Mr. Ken Usab of Andrews, Miller and Associates, said another issue that was dealt with at the Planning Commission was that there is some "ambiguity in the zoning code regarding how a PUD would be handled." Commissioner Rice stated that when this issue was discussed relative to the Hyatt, it was determined that each development, as it came in, was going to be dealt with individually in terms of a PUD development.

Commissioner Watkins moved to accept the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission to proceed with the annexation of the 75 acres of land into the City of Cambridge and that the City Attorney be asked to set up the necessary public hearing. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Kinnamon to let Mr. Collison know, as soon as he returns to town, that he needs to get on this right away.

. Ted Bramble / 315 Sunburst Highway / Special Use Permit- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission to grant Mr. Bramble a special use permit to sell beer and wine at 315 Sunburst Highway (formerly the Pizza Hut ). Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers.

Commissioner Rice mentioned that last Tuesday night as he showed up at the County Commissioner's meeting, part of it had dissolved. He saw Mr. Bramble, and whether he was there himself or representing someone who had to do with some of his businesses, "he was certainly there about a violation" and Commissioner Rice felt that this should be noted. He further stated that facts from the County Commissioners, meeting should be presented at the public hearing. Commissioner Rice also stated that there is a church right across the street from Mr. Bramble's new location.

Commissioner Vickers noted that Pizza Hut had sold beer and wine but Commissioner Saunders stated that they were probably grandfathered in. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Saunders opposing.

Commissioner Watkins then made a motion to direct the City Attorney to set up a public hearing on the request from Mr. Bramble; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Clarence Johnson / 511 Court Lane / Special Use Permit - Commissioner Watkins moved to accept the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation to grant a 5-year special use permit to operate a produce stand at 511 Court Lane. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice for discussion. He stated that a special use permit for a produce stand can only be issued for a period of 1 year.

Commissioner Watkins amended his motion to exclude the term of 5 years for the permit; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Commissioner Swafford added that he had received information from the Police Department that as of today, anyone who stops the produce stand is violating two laws ... the first is "no parking" and the second is that you can't obstruct traffic on one-way street.

Commissioner Saunders reminded Mr. Pritchett to have the Traffic and Safety Committee meet on this issue prior to the public hearing which is scheduled for August 16th at 6:00 p.m. Motion carried 3 to 0 with Commissioner Swafford abstaining.

Bay Shore Warehousing / Herb Robinson - Commissioner Watkins moved to accept the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation for final approval of Bay Shore Warehousing's subdivision of a 5-acre parcel located off of Washington Street, subject to payment of money for afforestation in the amount of $3,267.00. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

Timothy Moxey / 301 Choptank Avenue - Mr. Moxey's request was for a text amendment to allow the sale and storage of propane tanks at 301 Choptank Avenue. Since Mr. Moxey was not present at the Planning and Zoning Commission's meeting they denied his request giving him the right to come back to be heard at next month's meeting. Commission Watkins moved to accept the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice, not based on the Commission's logic, but because this particular parcel is in a nonconforming use block. Commissioner Vickers requested, as a result of tonight's vote, that DPW will notify them immediately about the removal of the tanks "because they are presently doing that now." Motion carried unanimously.

LISA KANE - REQUEST FOR NOISE VARIANCE

Ms. Lisa Kane, Residential Service Coordinator for Cambridge Park Apartments, came to the podium requesting a noise variance for August 21st for a "rideless" carnival for the children prior to the start of school. The carnival is also a fundraiser for the New Beginnings Youth Center and it will run from 7:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m.

Commissioner Watkins moved to grant the request for a noise variance between the hours of 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

GAGE THOMAS - REQUEST FOR FUNDS FOR "VISITORS GUIDE"

Mr. Thomas came forward on behalf of the Association for the Revitalization of Cambridge to request the City's continued support and participation in what he feels is the most valuable promotional and marketing guides for Cambridge. They plan to print 20,000 brochures this year and ARC is asking for a contribution of $2,000. It gets wide distribution throughout the whole Eastern Shore and 500 were set aside for distribution at the Maryland Municipal League's convention in Ocean City.

Commissioner Saunders stated that there is $2,000. in the budget this year for this project. Commissioner Vickers made a motion to continue to support it; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon was requested to handle this in the same manner as in the past.

MINISTER DEDRA MARTIN (NEW LIFE A.M.E. ZION CHURCH)

Minister Martin, 1121 High Street, came to the podium to request a noise variance for Saturday, August 28th for a tent service on the grounds of the future location of their new church on Phillips Street across from Missionary Baptist Church.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to honor her request for a tent service on August 28th with a noise variance from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSSION OF ETHICS COMMISSION

Commissioner Saunders requested that a motion be made to table this until the City Attorney is present at the next regularly scheduled meeting. Commissioner Watkins moved to grant her request; seconded by Commissioner Vickers.

Commissioner Saunders stated that she had taken a class in Ocean City at the MML convention and "it peaked my curiosity to come back and read our Charter and read our Ethics." Council had approved for Mr. Collison to research what is currently on the books as well as material that was obtained from other municipalities. motion then carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM Y.M.C.A. TO ASSIST WITH CLEANUP

Mr. Pritchett advised that this was discussed two weeks ago and he was directed to come back with more information.

He met with the representatives of the Y.M.C.A. and found out that during the construction of the new pool, they ran into an area where an old footer existed. The dirt is of no use since it includes metal, rock, glass, etc. All the City could do would be to help them haul it off and he estimates that there are between 50 and 75 truck loads.

Commissioner Saunders asked if they had asked the County for help and Mr. Pritchett advised that the County has agreed to waive the land fees. Mr. Kenneth Usab, Vice President for the Board of Directors of the Y.M.C.A. came forward to say they have contacted the Dorchester County Commissioners and they have voted to accept this material in their land fill "free of charge" as their contribution. He further stated that they have been working with several contractors and some of the material has been removed. They are not asking that the City make a commitment to take all of it, "but any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated."

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to allow Mr. Pritchett, at his discretion, to assist the Y.M.C.A. in removing this material; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Usab then thanked the City for the commitment they have made to the project by putting in sidewalks and other work.

REQUEST TO GO TO BID FOR PICK-UP TRUCK FOR D.P.W.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to allow Mr. Pritchett to go to bid for the truck; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COUNCIL TO MAKE APPOINTMENT TO ENTERPRISE ZONE CORE RESPONSE GROUP

Commissioner Saunders suggested, with Council's agreement, that this be postponed for at least two weeks and be put on the August 23rd agenda.

MAKE RECOMMENDATION FOR COUNTY'S SOLID WASTE COMMITTEE

Mr. Pritchett felt that the person best suited for this is George Hyde and he has offered to do this.

Commissioner Rice moved to accept his recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COUNCIL TO VOTE ON ORDINANCE TO AMEND "CLASSIFICATION OF POSITIONS" IN CITY CODE AND "EMPLOYMENT" OF THE EMPLOYEE MANUAL

Commissioner Vickers said this was with regards to a change requiring 4/5ths of the Commissioners to terminate the employment of a department head.

The second part was to update the employee manual to include the two new department heads.

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to pass on a "Super Majority" vote for 4 people to be required to dismiss a department head; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion passed 3 to 2 with Commissioners Swafford and Saunders opposing.

A second motion was made by Commissioner Vickers to update the employee manual to reflect the two new department heads; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO WAIVE AMBULANCE BILL

Commissioner Saunders referenced a letter received by an individual requesting that an ambulance bill be waived. To her knowledge, employees have been requesting the same courtesy and Council has not made this a policy.

Commissioner Rice said he feels Council should wait until an answer is received from a letter that Commissioner Saunders sent to the person making the request. This particular group may be in a position to offset these charges, "and if so, then I think that's great."

A motion was then made by Commissioner Rice to table this until the August 23rd agenda; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSSION OF CHRISTMAS CLUB DEDUCTIONS FOR CITY EMPLOYEES

Commissioner Saunders, as Council President, met with department heads on non-personnel related issues and one of the suggestions that came up was a request to establish Christmas Clubs for employees through payroll deduction. Mr. Wheeler checked with the bank who said they could accommodate this request.

Commissioner Watkins felt this is a good idea as did Commissioner Vickers although Commissioner Vickers stated there is another alternative ... State Employees Credit Union (which is done through payroll deduction).

Commissioner Rice added that this particular vehicle happens to be a time deposit in the bank and the employees could not get the money any time they wanted.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion that the City set up a way to allow City employees to have Christmas Club accounts through payroll deduction. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford who said that guidelines would need to be established and it then carried unanimously.

REQUEST BY LAURENCE EDWARDS TO RENEW SPECIAL USE PERMIT TO SELL PRODUCE AT 746 RACE STREET

Commissioner Rice moved to refer this request to the Planning and Zoning Commission; 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 Watkins. motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Commissioner Saunders afforded a 5 minute time limit to anyone wishing to speak.

Mr. C. L. Rippons, 101 Killarney Road came to the podium and complimented Mr. Kinnamon and his entire staff. They have been most helpful as he has been trying to do some research.

He wanted to affirm that Mr. Kinnamon, as the Ethics Commission, has not received a financial disclosure statement from any of the Council people. (Commissioner Saunders stated to wait until Rob gets back.) Mr. Rippons then wanted the record to state "that a nod of ascent was there over your objection."

Mr. Rippons then asked "if the Council people are amenable to answering questions?" Commissioner Rice asked Mr. Rippons if he had received the information that he had requested and he stated that he hadn't. Since no one answered, Mr. Rippons directed his question to Commissioner Saunders as Chairperson of the meeting. Mr. Rippons then stated that according to Roberts Rules of order, once the floor has been accorded to a citizen and a citizen registers a question, that must be answered by the Chairman whether it be pro tem or not in lieu of any answer coming forth from any other member of the board.

Since no answers were forthcoming, Mr. Rippons stated, "I cannot believe that elected officials cannot stipulate or make a response to a citizen under parliamentary procedure ...

Commissioner Rice responded that he would like to see that Mr. Rippons gets the information he requested, "that way, some of the questions you may ask have already been answered."

Mr. Rippons then invited any Councilperson who wishes to give him a call to do so because he has put his research together and "I don't like to go to the press, but in lieu of coming here and having to talk to a wall ...." (Commissioner Saunders then advised Mr. Rippons that his 5 minutes was up.)

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. Anthony Thomas, 420 Race Street, requested some signs pointing to the public parking on Race Street. Commissioner Saunders asked that Mr. Thomas get together with Commissioner Rice to let him know exactly where he thinks the signs should be and Commissioner Rice will take it to the Traffic and Safety Committee to make a recommendation.

Commissioner Swafford added that the city is in the process of repaving all of the parking lots and there may be some restructuring so this can be looked at at the same time.

ADDITIONAL AUDIENCE COMMENTS

Ms. Portia Johnson, 700 Cornish Drive, came forward with reference to the vote earlier this evening requiring 4 Commissioners to remove a department head. When the time comes and there are only 3 sitting, will it be tabled until there is a full Council or will the vote die.

Commissioner Rice said that in reality it should be put off until there is a fourth.

Ms. Johnson added that she did not agree with the vote and asked if a citizen could request that a public hearing be held. Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Kinnamon to check with Mr. Collison for a legal way to do this.

COMMENTS FROM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

Mr. Pritchett stated that he has received some responses with regards to the re-zoning. They are lengthy and involved and he asked Council how they would like to handle this. Commissioner Rice feels the Council should be included in any meetings that are scheduled. Commissioner Saunders then requested that Mr. Pritchett set up an evening meeting with the individuals who sent in responses.

A building permit application (#2933) was then presented by Mr. Pritchett. It is for Grace United Methodist Church, 501 Race Street for an addition/handicap ramp. Cost of improvements is $232,000 with a permit fee of $2,360. Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve the building permit; seconded by Commissioner Watkins.

Commissioner Saunders verified that this is in the Historic District and Mr. Pritchett said that prior to issuing the permit he will make sure that they contact the Historic District Commission to meet all of their requirements. Motion then carried 3 to 0 with Commissioner Rice abstaining.

COMMENTS FROM FIFTH WARD

Commissioner Rice stated that last Tuesday he and Mayor Wooten attended a meeting at the County Commissioners Office with regards to the "One Maryland Program". One of the major items that was considered as a group was to ask that funds be available within the One Maryland Program for the City to purchase with the County and the State a new industrial park to help with growth as there are currently no lots available in the current industrial park.

It was determined that the County had already included this in the plan because they thought it was a necessity as well.

Commissioner Rice submitted this as his report of last Tuesday's meeting and Commissioner Saunders stated that the Council accepted his report and they are in concurrence with it.

With regards to the Traffic and Safety Committee, Commissioner Rice made a motion to increase the intensity of the lighting at the Greater Mount Olive Full Gospel Baptist Church on Douglas Street. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

Commissioner Rice stated that there was one more item for Traffic and Safety but it will have to wait until next week.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford asked that the Traffic and Safety Committee look into a "no parking sign" on the right side of East Appleby as you come off Race Street. Does it pertain to the whole street down to Stone Boundary?

On another note, Commissioner Swafford said he has received numerous complaints about the loud music coming from automobiles. By the time a police officer is called, the vehicle is gone. He just wanted people to know that he is aware of this but "it's hard to enforce sometimes."

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers commented on the grand opening ceremony that was held today at the new Veterans Administration Clinic. He stated that it was much more than he had expected and he felt that it was marvelous that we were able to keep the VA clinic in Cambridge..."and have an even larger and better facility."

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders referenced a memorandum received from the Maryland Municipal League with regards to the Y2K Compliance Plan. She asked Council for permission to ask Odie Wheeler to get together with Mr. Collison and put a copy of the City's plan together for consideration. Commissioner Swafford put Commissioner Saunders, request in the form of a motion; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

She then shared a letter from Shore Health Systems regarding a dinner meeting on Thursday, September 23rd to discuss regional health care issues and community health care needs. They are looking for input from local government officials so Commissioner Swafford made a motion to send a representative, to be determined, to the meeting. Commissioner Saunders stated that they need to advise Shore Health Systems a.s.a.p. of the name of the individual. Since Odie Wheeler handles Risk Management and has been involved with meetings on health insurance for the City, she suggested that his name be submitted. Commissioner Swafford amended his motion to name Odie Wheeler as representative from the City; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

A reference was then made to a letter from Sandy McAllister regarding the Hyatt-Chesapeake Resort. She passed the letter to Mr. Kinnamon and asked that he contact Attorney Collison to see how the meeting should be set up.

Commissioner Saunders then addressed a memo from Dawn Windsor, Director of C.E.M.S. regarding an "exposure plan" that was up-dated and given to Odie Wheeler for review then to the City Attorney. The reason for this memo was to make Council aware that within the last week, there have been three occasions for their people to be exposed to the AIDS virus. Ms. Windsor wants Council to be aware that when they get the plan back from Mr. Collison, Council needs to review it and let her put some controls in place.

Commissioner Saunders mentioned the block clean up that was held on High Street last Saturday. She asked Mr. Pritchett to thank Mr. Fields and Mr. Parks for their help.

With no further comments, meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, August 9, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer