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City Council Minutes

December 13, 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 Vickers, Watkins, Saunders, Swafford and Rice.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the December 6th Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION REPORT

Commissioner Watkins advised that the Planning & Zoning Commission met on December 7th and made the following recommendations to Council:

Sherry Stoker / 1107 Roslyn Avenue: A request was heard by the Commission for a special use permit to operate a day care center at 1107 Roslyn Avenue. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the Commission's recommendation to approve the permit and that the City attorney be authorized to advertise for the necessary public hearing; seconded by Commissioner Swafford.

Commissioner Rice brought up the fact that this property is up for sale and if a special use permit was issued, it would not be transferable. If the City proceeds with the process, Ms. Stoker would be responsible for costs incurred even if the property is sold.

Commissioner Saunders felt the motion should be withdrawn and "table this until you get some concrete evidence as to what's going to happen with the property."

Mr. Bill Jones, representing the City attorney, suggested that Council send this to him for advertising anyway and they will get an answer as to the disposition of the property before it comes back to Council for their final decision.

Commissioner Watkins amended his motion to include "pending upon clarification from the attorney." Motion then carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Saunders opposing.

Shahbaz Azam / 603 Meteor Avenue: This request was for a special use permit for the retail sale of beer and wine at 603Meteor Avenue. (The building is more than 500feet from a church.) The Commission voted 3 to 2 for approval of the permit.

Commissioner Watkins moved to accept the Commission's recommendation and instructed the City attorney to advertise for a public hearing; seconded by Commissioner Vickers.

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Dwight Cromwell, as a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission, to enlighten her as to why he voted against approval of the permit. Mr. Cromwell said "the question being, was it from property line to property line or from building to building ...property line to property line is less than 500 feet."

Mr. George Hyde, City Engineer, stated that it was his understanding that Mr. Price from Planning & Zoning consulted with Mr. Collison's office and they determined that it should be building to building.

Mr. Cromwell said building to building was used "in this instance" and he feels it's a conflict. Gage Thomas stated that one additional point that was brought out by Mr. Collison was the fact that this was a multi-use building and it had some other retail space. Motion then carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

BID OPENINGS FOR DEMOLITION OF EIGHT CITY OWNED PROPERTIES (CONTRACT NO. 00-08)

Mr. Kinnamon proceeded to open the bids that were received:

1) Bennett Construction, Inc. --    Fruitland, MD         $48,449.00

2)Kelly's Excavating  --    Cambridge, MD        $26,000.00

3)Jerol Moore, Inc. --    Cambridge, MD       $22,090.00

4)Wheatley Brothers  --    Cambridge, MD        $13,800.00

5)Keith Morris Landscaping & Excavating   t/a Elzey's Septic System -- Cambridge, MD        $51,458.00

Commissioner Swafford moved to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for evaluation; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR LETTER OF SUPPORT TO SEEK FUNDING FOR REPAIRS TO THE MEREDITH HOUSE

Mr. Hubert Wright came forward to speak on behalf of Dave DeLaria, President of the Dorchester County Historical Society. He stated that the Meredith House is in the third year of restoration work being done through grants with the Maryland Historical Trust. They have encountered a major problem with the west wall (it's collapsing) and they are requesting a letter of support for their bond application to seek funding. Mr. Wright said there is no financial obligation to the City.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to supply such a letter under the signature of the Mayor; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Commissioner Saunders and Mayor Wooten offered their help in testifying for funding when the Historical Society goes for it. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR FUNDING FROM CITY FOR RECREATIONAL SKATEBOARDING PARK FOR CITY'S YOUTH

Jamie Booze and John Mooney came to the podium and stated they have had a skate park on Washington Street for about five years. They indicated that they have put money and time into this project but over time, due to weather and usage, the ramps are now non-skateable. Pictures of the park were shared with Council.

In response to a question from Commissioner Saunders, they stated that they have had verbal permission from Koske Enterprises to use their property. Commissioner Saunders then told them that there are two things that they need to do, and "you started in the right place." She suggested they get a business card from the City's Grants Administrator and they would also need to talk to Ms. Kathy Hachemeister from the County's Recreation and Parks Department and get on the agenda for the County Commissioner's meeting. Another suggestion was made by Commissioner Saunders to find a location and identify the size of the land, if the land is for sale, how much it costs and who owns it. She then offered to help draft plans if they needed her assistance.

Commissioner Saunders said, from her experience, she feels this is worthwhile "and if the City were to be legally able to work with the youth on this, it would be better for the City to work with the County and everybody involved so it can become public property with all the insurance protections..."

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion that the City seriously consider working with the youth in helping them to explore the possibility and opportunity of having such a recreational facility in cooperation with County and State; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Rice said he was concerned with the liability issues if the City participates in one of these ventures. Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR TO SIGN STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE REGARDING "PROCEDURES FOR REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION"

Mr. Jones stated that this was the Standard Operating Procedure that was presented to Council a week or two ago. Council had some concerns which Mr. Collison addressed.

Commissioner Saunders proceeded to read the Standard Operating Procedure aloud and then made a motion to adopt the procedure to begin to be effective tomorrow morning; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mayor Wooten stated that there was an item in the original procedure and he had indicated that "if there wasn't an alteration made, I wasn't going to sign it." The alteration has been made and "it is not restricting anybody for any information. It is just clarifying and streamlining the process."

DISCUSS D.P.W.'S "WISH LIST" TO BE PRESENTED TO STATE LEGISLATORS

Commissioner Saunders said it was granted by this Council that she could work with City departments, "based on the most impressive needs for the citizens", to put together a wish list for the State legislators. The most pressing list came from the Department of Public Works. Of the items that were listed, Senator Colburn asked that the City pick two of the most significant ones.

Mr. Hyde, City Engineer, said that three items were discussed last week at the Legislative Luncheon. The primary one was the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade "and there are really four aspects of that within that project." The major part of it is the Bionutrient Removal ...that in itself is about an eight million dollar project. The other parts are Odor Control, Sludge Removal from Shellfish Protection Pond and New Emergency Generators. The total upgrade for the treatment plant is estimated at $12.2 million.

Commissioner Rice indicated that the Trenton Street Forcemain Replacement is extremely important "as we found out last year when we had a problem on Roslyn Avenue." The line was constructed in 1936 and "if it should ever collapse and fall apart, we're going to be in a world of hurt."

He also stated that the Sludge Removal from the Shellfish Pond is important because it would help with odor problems immediately.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to make Trenton Street Forcemain Replacement as number one on the list and do Sludge Removal as number two; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

One expenditure was submitted and Commissioner Swafford made a motion that Council not approve it. He stated there are other areas that need to be explored before they approve it. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Jones advised Council that Mr. Collison should be back when Council meets again. After that, Mr. Jones indicated "I'll only meet with you from time to time as necessary."

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Since tonight will be the last meeting before Christmas, Commissioner Vickers took the opportunity to wish everyone in the City of Cambridge a very Merry Christmas and a very prosperous New Year.

COMMENTS FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins expressed the same sentiment as Commissioner Vickers and stated he hopes Y2K doesn't cause any problems and that we have enough money to keep going as we have in the past.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders stated she is not going to worry about Y2K because, "what will be will be:"

She then stated that she and Ms. Kathy Foster have submitted the grant for the sidewalk study and underlying problems. It was hand delivered three weeks ago.

Ms. Foster also went to a Community Development Block Grant training last Friday and asked if CDBG money could be used to help repair sidewalks to offset the cost for the residents in any area, and specifically in the area that has had a problem. It seems that it can fall under a different category other than income eligible.

She asked that Council keep in mind, after the Christmas holidays, that decisions need to be made with regards to Community Block Fund Grants for the coming year as far as what is needed.

With regards to the elevator for the firehouse, to make it ADA compliant, there is a possibility that funding (either totally or partially) could be grant applicable.

Commissioner Vickers said it was his understanding that until an actual design came up, it would not be required. Mr. Hyde said that he wasn't at the latest meeting with the ADA people although Mr. Pritchett may know something.

Commissioner Saunders said to her knowledge they were looking into a stair lift and at that time Commissioner Rice made a valid point that if the building were renovated to accommodate other City offices, they may not keep the staircase.

Commissioner Rice suggested looking into other options since there may be other projects that may be of a greater benefit and he moved that all City departments come back to prioritize what Council considers to be the most efficient use for any available grant funds. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders, in speaking to Attorney Bill Jones, said she has two legal documents that Mr. Collison is expecting and asked that they be given to him.

She then wished everybody a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Quanza and Happy New Year.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR

Mayor Wooten announced that there will be a Police Board meeting on December 20th at the Police Department at noon. During the recent forum at Bethel Church, that the A.C.L.U. sponsored, there were many questions as to when the Police Board meets, and where. He then wished everyone a Happy Holiday Season and the Best for a New Year.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford had a request from Mr. Henry about the lighting at 917 Peachblossom Avenue. He then made a motion to refer this to the Lighting Committee; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

He then commented about Salisbury contemplating a City Manager and he just wanted to say he will be pushing hard again for a City Manager for Cambridge again next year.

In response to Commissioner Swafford's question, Mr. Kinnamon advised that the next Council meeting will be January 3rd, 2000.

He then wished everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year "and I do hope that everybody keeps their health because that's worth more than money."

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders said she had a request from Mr. Kim Elzey for brighter lights from the corner of Race and Muir down to Race and Washington and she made a motion to refer this to the Lighting Committee. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FOR CITY ENGINEER

Mr. Hyde stated that the B. J. Linthicum building is almost totally demolished and within the next two days all the debris is expected to be removed.

With no further business, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to adjourn at 7:44 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, December 13, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer