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

August 27, 2012
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, August 27, 2012 in Council Chambers.  A quorum being present, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Vickers, Sydnor, Saunders, Thomas, and Hanson.  Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence.  Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance.   

Agenda Change-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to move the Representative from the Economic Development Steering Committee to the first appointment was seconded and approved 3:2 with Commissioners Vickers and Sydnor opposed; Commissioner Saunders abstained; Mayor Stanley voted aye to break the tie.

A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the minutes of the August 13, 2012 Council meeting as amended was seconded and passed unanimously.

Public Comment Sessions

Downtown Parking Lot/Cannery Way Project-Sixteen people asked to speak. Wayne Warner gave Tom Ellison his time slot. Tom Ellison suggested developing the parking lot behind Craig's Drug Store to help the merchants. He will make his Power Point presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission. He has a petition with 925 signatures of people who want to save the park. He has an alternative plan to better use the State money. Richard Lackta opposes the park being torn down. There are three other ways to get into the parking lot. Robert Aaron asked for half park and half parking lot. Phil Feldman (on behalf of Cambridge Main Street) presented a compromise by taking away the parking spaces but leaving the street. They want to help the merchants. Mari Stanley (Cambridge Main Street) said to enhance the park-like feel of their compromise, Cambridge Main Street will do its best through fundraising to provide some beautiful planters and maintain them. Amanda Bramble said it was a struggle to have a business across from Cannery Way. She spoke of several other businesses that had trouble also. It is un-business friendly. It is hard to find the entrances to the parking lot if you are not from Cambridge. Ray Shelly said he knows of businesses that are leaving because of the decision Council is making. He suggested Council talk to the business owners. Marilyn Benten said she wants Cannery Way to stay a park-not a driveway. She has never had a problem with the people in the park. She suggested Race Street becoming a one-way street to help with parking. Wendell Foxwell gave a history of Cannery Way. People can park one block down in the parking lot in the 500 block of Race Street. Joy Staniforth, a business owner, said parking is a real problem. People do not know where to park. There were not many people using the park when the City started planning this reconstruction approximately 4 years ago. She would like to know how many people who signed the petition are actually residents of Cambridge. Estelle Gore begged Council not to take the park. It is historical.  It has been there 40 years. Parents take their children there.  There will be accidents on Race Street if people try to turn into the parking lot.  Signage could help direct people into the parking lot. Tom Hutchinson spoke representing a group of outside investors who have raised $300,000 in private equity to invest in businesses in downtown Cambridge. To pass up this opportunity to use the grant money would be a tremendous mistake. The compromise is outstanding. Peg Wolff said putting a place for cars in that area does not solve the social problems in the City. Changing the park is against the Comprehensive Plan. Mark Bruce said he does not see how the Council could spend this money this way with the economy the way it is. It should be used for other things like teaching skills to people. This is not free money. Carol Levy Ruark said she lives on Race Street and has a business on Race Street. People do not know where to park.  She is afraid to walk in the park at night. The City needs parking; but the park could be improved also. This is about the City, the businesses, and about access for people to get to the downtown to help support the City which in turn helps support the community. Commissioner Saunders said she sits in the park and nobody bothers her.  Not everybody who sits in the park is a ne'er-do-well. The whole community should be considered. Commissioner Vickers said she would like it continue to be a park. Council needs to support the everyday people.  She suggested extra lighting.

A motion by Commissioner Saunders to forward the 'compromise' proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission for their review and analysis was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed. 

Preliminary Plans for Restroom Building at Long Wharf-Rob Collison reported that from a technical standpoint, the Department of Public Works recommends Option 5.  Wayne Warner said the more he hears, the more he wants to know. He wants to know that the public bathroom will be taken care of 24 hours a day. The Franklin Street boat ramp restroom was terrible inside.  If it is open to the public, it has to be supervised. Fran Gross said the beautiful river view coming down High Street is slowly disappearing. She suggested long-range plans for Long Wharf.  She said the marina itself is not maintained. She is afraid it will not be safe. Marge Hull read a letter from the West End Citizens. She gave Council printed information objecting to the proposed building. The building should house the sprinkler system only and should be close to the lighthouse. The bathroom facility should not obstruct the view. It must be handicap accessible. There should be a master plan for Long Wharf and the marina before anything is built. Marti Tomey said each time she looks at Long Wharf, little bits are taken away from the public. Everyone enjoys Long Wharf. There is a terrible flooding problem here. Council should look at the big picture. Adam Tomey said he is for the bathhouse but he thinks the need is dictating the design. He doesn't want to see it vandalized.  He would like to see how it will be constructed before the City moves forward. Marge Hull said the restroom must be monitored 24 hours a day. The boaters come here for the amenities we have. The current slip holders have access to the current locked building. It is locked so it remains clean. The boaters will not accept this new facility and will go somewhere else. Peg Wolff is shocked that this has not gone before the Historic Preservation Commission. A motion by Commissioner Vickers to table this project (restroom/storage area) until there is a recommendation from a Long Wharf Planning Committee was seconded and approved 4:0 with Commissioner Sydnor abstaining. A motion by Commissioner Vickers that the sprinkler system go before the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission and that the temporary structure be removed within 9 months was seconded approved unanimously.

Appointments

Representative from the Economic Development Steering Committee to give update-Dave Harp presented Council with a written report. Gateways will hold their third 'Fresh Coat' on September 8, 2012. Volunteers will be cleaning Pine Street, Maryland Avenue, Cedar Street, and Locust Street. They would like a 'no parking' area on Maryland Avenue. A motion by Commissioner Vickers to establish 'no parking on both sides of Maryland Avenue (from Route 50 to the bridge) on September 8, 2012 from 8:00 am until noon' was seconded and approved unanimously.

Sharon Johnston said it is evident that there are a lot of properties that need attention. There is a large number of vacant properties. These blighted properties have created a burden on the Department of Public Works. The blighted properties bring a certain opportunity to resurrect our neighborhoods and to keep the charm and character that makes Cambridge special and differentiate it from every other town across America. It is important to find a balance in our housing stock. They are asking that the City take time to inventory the existing housing; take stock of the previously-approved projects and projections of our housing needs as a whole. This should be compared to the Comprehensive Plan and Economic Development Plan and determine where we are heading in the future. They are asking for a moratorium on low and affordable housing projects until they can best determine what is best for the City. They believe a minimum of 6 months is necessary to gather, review, and present the information to the City Council.

Rev. Randall Blackmon, Pastor of Faith Baptist Fellowship to request a variance from the noise ordinance for their 2nd annual Family Fall Festival on Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 12 noon to 4:00 pm at 1312 Race Street-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the variance from the noise ordinance was seconded and approved unanimously.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, Inc. - Wallace Office Building Project-Commissioner Vickers recused herself because she is a member of the West End Citizens Association.  West End Citizens Association entered into a 15-year lease with the Dorchester County Library. They are restoring the building. In order to pull down their grant funding to start the project, they must have a preservation easement placed on the Wallace Office Building. At one point, the property was owned by the City. The City transferred it to the Dorchester County Library with the revert-a-clause to the City. Therefore, the City must be part of the preservation easement. A motion by Commissioner Thomas to support the request and instruct Rob Collison to prepare the necessary paperwork for Council's consideration was seconded and approved 4:0 with Commissioner Vickers recusing herself.

Representative from New Beginnings Youth & Family Services for a resolution for the Maryland Community Incentive Tax Credits Program-A motion by Commissioner Saunders to approve the resolution was seconded and approved 4:0. Commissioner Hanson was not in the room.

Representative from Enterprise Homes, Inc to request a letter of support for CDA-issued Housing Tax Credits to build affordable single-family housing in Cambridge (Glenburn Village)-The project consists of 109 single-family homes for working families who earn between $20,000 and $40,000.  It is not Section 8 or subsidized housing.  The homes are rented with the opportunity to buy them.  A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve the letter of support and a PILOT of $200 per year was seconded and failed 3:2 with Commissioners Vickers, Saunders, and Hanson opposed.

Lou Hyman from the Dorchester Skipjack Committee to request permission to use Long Wharf on September 22 from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm during the annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race and a variance from the noise ordinance and permission to discharge the cannon-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the requests was seconded and approved unanimously.

Mari Stanley, Cambridge Main Street, to request a resolution/letter of support for a technical assistance grant-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the requests was seconded and approved unanimously.

Unfinished Business

Request from Snip-Tuck for matching funds for a low-cost spay/neuter program-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to deny the request for funding was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Thomas opposed. 

Request from New Life Christian Church and Ministries to abandon a portion of the paper street section of Allen Street-A public hearing will be scheduled for September 10, 2012.

New Business

Discussion on formation and organization of Municipal Marina Committee-This item will be discussed at the next Council meeting.

Discussion of 2012 State requirements for residential sprinkler systems set forth in the Maryland Building Performance Standards-Local jurisdictions can op out of the requirement by adopting an ordinance by October 1, 2012.  A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to move forward with an ordinance and public hearing was seconded and approved unanimously.

Approve Purchase Order(s):

PO 91643 - Dell Marketing, L.P. - 13 computers and 3 monitors - to replace equipment lost in the DPW fire; 6 computers for City Hall  - $17,097.23-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve Purchase Order 91643 was seconded and approved unanimously.

PO 5598 - Chesapeake Industrial Leasing Co. Inc. - New World Software for Financial Administration -- $199,334.00-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve Purchase Order 5598 was seconded and approved unanimously.

Additional Action by Council

Request from Brannock Tire Service for a variance from the noise ordinance for their Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday, September 8th from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm at their store at 402 Washington Street-A motion by Commissioner Vickers to approve the request was seconded and approved unanimously.

Closed Executive Session-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to hold a closed executive session to discuss personnel on September 10th at 6:00 pm was seconded and approved unanimously.

Maryland Economic Development Corporation-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to send a letter to the Economic Development Administration to request removing the Maryland Economic Development Corporation as a recipient of the ARRA grant awarded to Dorchester County, City of Cambridge, and the Municipal Utilities Commission for the Tech Park was seconded and approved 3:0. Commissioners Vickers and Saunders abstained.

A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to adjourn the meeting was seconded and approved unanimously.  With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 11:45 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, August 27, 2012, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer