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  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

November 23, 1998
 

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 P.M. with Mayor David J. Wooten presiding.

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

Reverend Anthony Dickerson led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the November 9th City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

TRAFFIC & SAFETY COMMITTEE REPORT

Commissioner Vickers advised that this committee met on November 12th and made the following recommendations:

Old Business

Former St. Clair School / Rigby and Fairmont Avenue

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to accept the committee's recommendation that curbside parking be allowed along the abandoned bus lane; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

John Fagan / Sailwinds Amoco / Corner of Maryland Avenue and Route 50

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to accept the committee's recommendation to move forward with this "special use permit" for further review; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Rice asked if a building permit would be looked into at the same time and Commissioner Vickers responded "yes". Motion carried unanimously.

400 Block of Robbins Street / One-Way Traffic

Commissioner Vickers advised that after an extensive study of traffic volume, the Committee recommended that, at this time, the idea of making this street one-way be abandoned. He put this in the form of a motion which was seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

Edlon Park / Condition of Center Median

After investigation, the Committee found there is some curbing that needs to be replaced, a tree that should be removed and one that needs to be trimmed. Commissioner Vickers made a motion to move forward with the repair of these items; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. (There is verification that this property is owned by the City.) Motion carried unanimously.

Residential Parking / Gage Thomas

The Committee decided that they would need further study and assessment of need and impact before they can make a recommendation.

STREET LIGHTING COMMITTEE REPORT

Commissioner Vickers advised that this Committee met on November 12th and made the following recommendation:

Conversion of City street lights from mercury vapor to sodium vapor

This has been going on for almost three years and Mr. Pritchett is investigating to see why the conversion stopped.

The second issue was that of the wattage used for the downtown lighting

Commissioner Vickers stated that the reduction in wattage could reduce the electric bills by about 30%.

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to do this; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Watkins was concerned that the quality of light would be reduced. Mr. Pritchett noted that after the Street Lighting Committee had met, a suggestion was made by a representative of Delmarva Power to change a couple of lights in a given area to see how the public reacts to it. Commissioner Saunders stated that, for public safety, she can't see a reason for reducing the light. The City doesn't need to take a step backwards and reduce lighting just to save a few dollars.

Commissioner Vickers then withdrew his first motion and made a new motion to take a look at this with the help of the Police Department and D.P.W. along with the electric company to see if there is an area that the City could try this in and then after 90 days, putting this up for discussion again. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders and carried unanimously.

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION REPORT

Commissioner Saunders advised that this Commission met on November 10th and made the following recommendations:

ISG International / Philip Feldman

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept the Commission's recommendation for preliminary approval of ISG's site plan for expansion of its Cambridge operations on Cedar Street, subject to phase submission of plans for their development; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

James Burton / Route 16 Bypass

Commissioner Saunders stated that the Commission, for a second time, recommended that Mr. Burton's request be deferred until further information can be presented. He failed to supply site plans, architectural plans, cost analysis, etc. She then made a motion to comply with the Commission's recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

BID OPENINGS FOR POLICE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT

Mr. Kinnamon advised that he received only one bid as follows:

Communications Electronics, Inc.

Timonium, Maryland $65,474-00

(alternative bid) 64,944.00

Commissioner Rice moved to send the bid to the Police Department so they can verify that the bid meets their requirements; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

ROBERTA WONGUS - CAMBRIDGE INSTITUTE FOR EXCELLENCE

Ms. Wongus came forward requesting to block off Pine Street between Cedar and Cross during the hours of 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for their annual Community Christmas Celebration to take place on Saturday, December 19, 1998. This event will include amplified music and singing.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to grant her request from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. He further stated that the amplification should not be a problem because "very few of us go to bed before 8:00 p.m." Motion carried unanimously.

WILLIAM JACKSON - ADDRESS CONCERNS OF THE HUMAN RELATIONS COMMITTEE

In Mr. Jackson's absence, Commissioner Saunders stated that there were some youth members to be appointed to this Committee and since more names were submitted than needed, Mr. Jackson wanted to know if they could be appointed by a Commissioner who needed to fill a spot in his/her Ward. It was suggested that the City Attorney investigate and get back to Council.

ANNA RUTH POPE & LOIS ELLIOTT - REGARDING GRANT FUNDS

Mrs. Pope came forward with a petition signed by residents from the 200 block of Dorchester Avenue between Maryland and Henry and the 400 block of Henry Street requesting direction in obtaining grant funds to fix the sidewalks and streets.

Commissioner Saunders advised Mrs. Pope that she has contacted Delegate Eckardt and Congressman Gilchrest to try to find some funding for these projects. The City's Grants Administrator is also looking into this although it might take six months to find somewhere to submit a grant, but "we are trying."

Ms. Elliott stated that the residents who received letters from the Housing Office have appealed and won their appeal. She then asked if everything is at a "stay" until grant money could be found? Commissioner Saunders said that according to her motion, only Maryland Avenue is at a "stay" until January, 1999.

Ms. Deborah Camper, Housing Director, advised that their appeal was granted at the Housing Board of Review and their notices are stayed, indefinitely. The appeal was for four people on Henry Street and one person on Dorchester Avenue.

Commissioner Saunders then reminded Ms. Darlene Wroten to get a letter to the Mayor and Council to get an extension for the property owners who got cited on Maryland Avenue.

COUNCIL TO DISCUSS DEMOLITION OF PROPERTY

Commissioner Saunders stated that the County has waived the tipping fees for this piece of property at 725-729 Pine Street. This is part of an ongoing community development and revitalization project.

The court case through the Harriet Tubman Organization for this property has been dropped and the signed papers are in the attorney's hands and the City has been released from any legal liability.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that the City tear this property down with no lien and no cost as part of the monies that the City set aside for revitalization and community economic development throughout the City; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. She added to her motion to allow the Mayor, Clerk-Treasurer and Pastor Dickerson to sign the Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried 3 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

Reverend Anthony Dickerson, Senior Pastor of the Greater Mt. Olive Full Gospel Baptist Church came forward to thank Council, on behalf of the officers and members of the church, for all they have done to help carry out the vision to better enhance their community. Upon the demolition of the property, they plan to add on to their facility as well as develop a youth facility and gym. In the near future they also plan to have a homeless shelter.

Mr. Pritchett, advised that it would be possible to get the demolition done before Christmas.

MAYOR TO APPOINT MEMBER TO HOUSING BOARD OF REVIEW

Mayor Wooten requested Council to approve David Cannon to be a member of the Board of Housing Review. Commissioner Saunders made a motion to that effect; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE CITY'S FINANCIAL STATEMENT FOR OCTOBER, 1998

Commissioner Rice moved to approve the City's Financial Statement for October, 1998; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST BY WILLIAM CRAIG

Commissioner Saunders moved to refer Mr. Craig to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a change in roof design of the Phase II of Harbor Haven Condominium; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO HOLD CAMBRIDGE CLASSIC POWER BOAT REGATTA

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to allow the Cambridge Power Boat Regatta Association to hold the 88th edition of The Budweiser Cambridge Classic Power Boat Regatta at Great Marsh Park on July 24-25, 1999 (with set up for July 23rd); seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

PROP0SAL FOR SIGNAGE IN CAMBRIDGE

Commissioner Rice noted that there aren't any items in the proposal that would address "a drop dead date" on the existing of what will become prohibited billboards within the City of Cambridge. He has no problem grandfathering things in, but "it shouldn't last forever." Commissioner Rice made a motion to table this until the next available work session, in open session; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

REFER SYLVIA BROHAWN TO PLANNING & ZONING

Commissioner Rice moved to refer Sylvia Brohawn to Planning & Zoning to,request a text amendment to the code that would allow accounting as a professional use to the code in an R-3 zone; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM DORCHESTER COUNTY TOURISM FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS

In a letter addressed to the Mayor and Council, Ms. Wini Roche requested additional funds for the printing of the Walking Tour of Cambridge Brochure .... the cost was much higher than previously projected.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to only give the $2,000. that was previously approved by Council; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGET AMENDMENT FOR POLICE DEPARTMENT

Mr. Kinnamon advised that he had spoken with Commissioner Swafford earlier today about the budget amendment and he said that he was satisfied. Commissioner Saunders moved to approve the budget amendment for the Police Department; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGET AMENDMENT FOR PUBLIC WORKS

Commissioner Saunders moved to approve the budget amendment for the Department of Public Works; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the budgeted expenditures over $250.; seconded by Commissioner Rice.

Commissioner Saunders questioned expenditures submitted by C.E.M.S. since she does not recall these items being in the budget in July. She requested that these items be taken separately with the motion and have Ms. Windsor come back to show Council that it is in the budget and/or make a budget amendment request if they are not.

Commissioner Watkins then amended his motion to approve all the budget expenditures except the ones from C.E.M.S.; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers stated that in a second conversation with Ann Nolan who is serving on the Human Relations Committee, she said that she would be willing to serve one more year. Unless the Council has an objection to her serving one year, he made a motion that she be reappointed for a term of one year only on the Human Relations Committee; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins went on to say how great the Christmas parade was this year.

He then said he wanted to clear up something regarding the Human Relations Committee. One of his appointees had been sent a letter thanking her for service on the Committee and he wanted to know if she could be reappointed. Mr. Kinnamon advised that a member can serve two consecutive terms and then come off for at least one year before going back again.

REPORT FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders advised that there is a Fall Festival and a Harvest Auction that Mr. Watkins wants to ask the media to please mention kindly at Bethel Church, Saturday, December 5th at 10:00 a.m. There will be a fresh produce auction (Councilman Ed Watkins is the auctioneer), baked goods, soup sales, crafts, houseware, games, entertainment, fun, fun, fun!!!! The sponsor is the Pastor's Aid and Committee 2000.

She then read a letter addressed to the Mayor about an information gathering session to be held at Mace's Lane Middle School at 6:30 p.m., Monday, November 30th regarding planning of the renovation of the school. The meeting will offer the architects an opportunity to hear any ideas about the future of Mace's Lane Middle School.

A reference was made to the approval earlier this evening to purchase a 2 volume ADA Compliance Guide. Mr. Collison advised that there is a money back guarantee and it can be returned if it is not worth purchasing. Commissioner Rice felt that if this is on the internet and the City has access, it could be looked at and the updates are automatically there.

She then referenced Mr. Wheeler's memo regarding utilities and made a motion that this be part of the work session when Council discusses the proposal for signage in Cambridge; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Rice then gave Council "some first hand information." The telephone savings which Mr. Spangler's company spoke about are real. On the other part of it, if they save the City anything the City gets half. If they save the City nothing, they get nothing. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then asked Mr. Pritchett if Super Soda is in PWCD. He advised they were and she wanted to know why they are allowed to have so many signs "blowing in the wind?" She also mention a store on Washington Street that also has them. Mr. Pritchett said this would be addressed in the new ordinance but he would check the BOCA code to see if it could be enforced under that.

Her final question was directed to Mr. Collison whereby she asked if the current owner of a bar in a residential/commercial area closes down, that it cannot be opened as a bar again. "We got too many bars on Pine Street." Commissioner Rice said these issues need to be addressed throughout the City in light of the City's Comprehensive Plan. Commissioner Vickers also asked consideration on cutting in half the time that a rental property can be unused and then be put back as rental.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR WOOTEN

Mayor Wooten appreciated all the time and effort that was put into the Christmas parade. It was exceptional and he wanted to thank all those who worked on it and participated in it. He also thanked the Jaycees for the work they are doing in decorating the City for the holidays again. A note was also made to the beautiful work done on the firehouse.

REPORT FROM FIFTH WARD

Commissioner Rice further mentioned the other groups that entered into partnership with the City to get the wiring changed for the Christmas lights. It was a combination of the City, County and private business.

COMMENTS FROM CLERK-TREASURER

Mr. Kinnamon addressed a request he had received to put a light in the back of the house at 400 Charles Street. Commissioner Rice moved to refer this request to the Lighting Committee; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (see amendment to these minutes made in November 30, 1998 minutes)

Ms. Darlene Wroten, 413 Maryland Avenue, came forward and stated that Tuesday night she attended the appeals hearing for the Henry Street residents ... they won their appeal.

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Pritchett what it would cost to replace a sidewalk and he stated that it takes approximately $5.00 per square foot to replace so if there are two bad sections, it would cost $180.00 for the property owner to correct the problem they have been cited for.

Ms. Wroten wanted to know if she is expected to repair her property due to the tree roots. Mr. Pritchett advised that once the concrete is up the root could then be removed. It was agreed by the City to do that repair. The flooding issue is being looked into and a new storm drain may be put in similar to another one in the area which resolved a similar problem.

Ms. Wroten requested an extension until the study is done. Commissioner Saunders advised that an extension was granted until January, 1999.

Ms. Wroten then addressed a lighting problem on Academy Street "it is dark, dark, dark." Commissioner Rice advised her that she would need to put a request in writing to Council to be referred to the Street Lighting Committee so they can look at it.

Ms. Marjorie Hull, 1301 Hambrooks Boulevard, came forward to address non-conforming uses. She stated that about three years ago, prior to the election of this particular Council, there had been a motion that the City would enter into a comprehensive studying revision to the zoning code. It is her understanding that the Department of Public Works is presently using a 1964 zoning code book with some upgrades of larger areas that have been address since that date.

Commissioner Rice stated that the Planning Commission is undertaking this and even though some laws are old, it doesn't mean they are wrong. In terms of certain zoning regulations, the State sets some of those over which there is no control. There is not preclusion of rental property in any zone that he knows of. The problem is the number of units per household.

Ms. Hull stated that what would interest her in particular would be the example that the County has set with their zoning. They have done a recomprehensive zoning and at each step of the way they have opened it for public input.

"This just in...,,, Mr. Kinnamon had another request for the Street Lighting Committee to look at the street at 509 Academy. The complaint is that the area is very dark. Commissioner Rice moved to sent this to the Street Lighting Committee; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

With no further business, meeting adjourned at 8:38 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, November 23, 1998 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer