City Council Minutes
May 23, 2013
The City of Cambridge is planning to submit a Community Development Block Grant application to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development on an emergency basis for a preliminary structural engineering study on the building located at 509-511 Race Street. Mary Calloway reported that the structure has been rapidly deteriorating over the last several months. Windows are falling out of the upper floors. The roof has fallen in. There is now a gaping 15-ft wide hole adjacent to the sidewalk at the base of the building. The application addresses a preliminary structural engineering study for this property. The purpose is to find out what the actual condition is of the property. The building is condemned at this time. The Department of Public Works wants the windows blocked on the upper levels. In the essence of time, the City requested a sole source letter so that this project would not have to go through the bid process and take even more time. An estimate of $6,500 was provided which is what the City will ask for in this emergency application. The organization would prepare a structural report of the building and either make a recommendation on what would be required to repair it or recommend demolition. The City would provide $1,000 in in-kind services. George, Miles & Buhr is named as the sole source provider. The completion timeline is relatively short-within approximately 4 weeks.
The City received letters of support from Senator Richard Colburn, Delegate Addie Eckardt, Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Ricco, Delegate Rudy Cane, Cambridge Main Street and the Cambridge Downtown Merchants.
Tim Crosby, 513 Court Lane, spoke in favor of the application. This is a very important building. He is not a structural engineer so he cannot speak of its structural condition, but of greatest concern to him is the top façade. It is a typical braced façade. It was braced to the roof and because the roof is collapsed, the façade is no longer stabilized. It is coming forward. He has talked to at least two developers who are interested in the building. Because of the current ownership situation, this completed report would go a long way in giving them information that they would need to look at the building. He hopes Council looks at this favorably. Nobody else from the audience asked to speak.
Oden Wheeler, Director of Public Works, said it is his understanding that the building will be going for tax sale on June 18th for back taxes and liens. He does not know if they will be able to have it completed by then. He thinks a report like this would be of interest to someone if they wished to purchase the building. Over the years, the City has done a lot of work cleaning up that building. They just did the board-up to prevent the collapse. They City has well over $1,000 in in-kind services already on that structure. Rob Collison reported that in order to comply with some of the grant requirements, the City will be requesting an administrative inspection warrant from District Court that would authorize the City to gain access for inspection purposes.
A motion by Commissioner Thomas to close the public hearing was seconded and approved 3:0.
A motion by Commissioner Hanson to authorize the Economic Development Department to move forward with the CDBG application and to authorize Mayor Stanley to execute a resolution (Resolution 13-009) confirming the Council's approval of the application was seconded and approved 3:0. A motion by Commissioner Hanson to authorize court action to obtain access into the building was seconded and approved 3:0.
A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve a request from the Cambridge Sail and Power Squadron to waive the docking fee at the Municipal Yacht Basin for two nights (May 31 and June 1) for one boat during their on-water training was seconded and approved 3:0.
A motion by Commissioner Vickers to adjourn the meeting was seconded and approved 3:0. With no further business, Commissioner Thomas adjourned the meeting at 5:16 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Thursday, May 23, 2013, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer