• 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

March 10, 2014
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, March 10, 2014 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 Cooke, Thomas, and Hanson. Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve the agenda as presented was seconded and passed 3:0.

A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the minutes of the February 24, 2014 Council meeting was seconded and passed 3:0.

Public Hearing

Opening and closing of the Cambridge Creek Bridge-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to hold a public hearing was seconded and approved 3:0.

Commissioner Thomas announced that the purpose of the public hearing is intended to be informational from the point of view of understanding who has ownership, jurisdiction, and control of the bridge. Council also wants to gather public input to consider scheduled bridge openings to possibly diminish the traffic issues on both sides of the bridge vs. the current on-demand practice. Part of the current traffic issues may involve the actual mechanical operation of the bridge. Due to mechanical issues, the length of some bridge openings may exasperate the traffic problems.

Wayne Weichmann, Assistant District Engineer for SHA, reported that the bridge is owned by Maryland State Highway. The current schedule posted with the Coast Guard is that the drawn span shall open from 6:00 am until 8:00 pm except from noon until 1:00 pm (Monday through Friday) and from 8:00 pm until 6:00 am (Sunday through Saturday) the draw need not be opened. The contract is for a 24-hour bridge tender. The current contract expires at the end of this year. If they are to make some adjustment, now would be the time to do it so they can incorporate it into the new contract. It states that from 8:00 pm until 6:00 am (Sunday through Saturday) the draw need not be opened. They have had a bridge tender on duty 24 hours a day. There are some vessels that need to get out earlier. The statement from the Coast Guard says a drawbridge can open any time and there is no violation or objection for providing vessel openings beyond the special operating regulation for the subject bridge. There were some issues on the maintenance of the bridge. The bridge is maintained by State Highway's Office of Structures (Baltimore). They perform a yearly inspection. There is a monthly maintenance group that greases, adjusts, and inspects for minor issues. Two years ago there was a complete overhaul of the bridge. The Mayor and Council would have to submit a letter to the district engineer to have the opening scheduled changed through the Coast Guard. The State has to request it. If there are changes to be made, the State would submit a request to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard would post it in the Federal Registry for a period of time to receive comments and public feedback. After that period of time, it would be up to the Coast Guard to make the decision. The highest months of openings would be May through September with over 1000 openings a month. The bridge was opened 1999 times in July 2013. In December 2013 the bridge was opened 192 times.

Lou Hyman, Vice Chairman of the Dorchester Skipjack Committee, said they are concerned about scheduled openings of the bridge because that is one of the routes they use for tourist trips. They talk about the history of Cambridge as they travel up the Creek. They are on a tight schedule. Last year they had over 1500 passengers-most from out of the county. They also do training exercises up and down the Creek.

Norman Schuyler has a workboat docked above the bridge. He runs a commercial clam rig. If the bridge is put on a schedule, it would cripple the watermen. He is out of the Creek by 5:00 am at the latest. They have to be in by 1:00 pm or a little before. If they get hung up there, there is an hour wait from 12 noon and 1:00 pm with seafood sitting in the boat cooking in the sun. This would be devastating to the watermen. He suggested a flashing light to detour the traffic down Dorchester Avenue to Cedar Street when the bridge is open. From a waterman's perspective, the City would be putting them out of business. If it is a navigable waterway, he believes Federal laws prohibit blocking it.

Wylie Abbott, who keeps his boat in Cambridge, said Mr. Schuyler pretty much covered everything. A couple of times last year, the bridge was hung and the watermen could not get out. That cost them a lot of money. He doesn't know if the City reimbursed them for it. He would think a scheduled opening on the hour would probably be the way to go. It will alleviate a lot of ups and downs. He suggested a scheduled opening for 15 minutes on the hour or half hour.

Jay Meredith, State Highway Administration, clarified that the bridge is manned 24/7 as a courtesy to the watermen. The Coast Guard regulation says the bridge does not have to be opened from 8:00 pm until 6:00 am.

Aubrey Vincent, representing the Chesapeake Bay Commercial Fishermen's Association and a local seafood dealer, said her main concern is the watermen. She buys from a lot of the boats at the head of the Creek, especially in the summer. It is hard for the boats to get in and out with live product. If there is an hourly schedule, it will be tough for some of the boats. In a county like Dorchester where seafood holds the prominence that it does, she thinks these are things we need to consider. The watermen work all different schedules. They need the flexibility. She thinks there is a better solution than a scheduled opening.

Brad McCready, a resident of Harbor Haven, said the watermen are not unruly when they are going to work. There is not traffic on the bridge early in the morning. During the day it is a little busier with car traffic. There are times the bridge may get stuck up or when it is being worked on that there is a little inconvenience but it has not been problematic. People who live in town know how to get around if the bridge is up. A sign would be a good option for tourists. It is an enjoyment to watch the boats traveling up and down the Creek. To block that would be negative to the residents. He does not want to hear blasting music from a boat that has to sit in the Creek waiting for a one-hour scheduled opening.

Marge Hull said she thinks the watermen have a very good stand, however, she can speak for people in the traffic jam while the bridge is continuously going up and down. She suggested a study of car and boat traffic as to when most of the people are traveling in that area. She suggested talking to other communities that have watermen using the surrounding water. Cedar Street and Washington Street are two other routes to get out of town.

Eddie Insley has his boat in the Creek. He leaves the Creek at 3:30 am. They only have 9 hours for regulations so it would be a real hurt for them to close the bridge. He doesn't want hourly openings or every 15 minutes or anything like that.

Jane Devlin said a lot of the shore area in New Jersey works with timed bridge openings. It is normally on the quarter and a quarter to the hour. However, we have to come with a compromise understanding that the seafood is perishable. If the bridge is open and a local person is heading out of town, they can use Cedar Street or Washington Street. She suggested looking into signage coming off Route 50 to let those who are local and also tourists know that the drawbridge ahead is open. There are a lot of marketing tools that we could have for alternate paths rather than timed openings.

Wendell Foxwell says a lot of times when he is stuck in traffic, he sees little boats going under the open bridge. He asked if the bridge has to open for all the boats, even those with antennas that can be put down. Jay Meredith said he believes that the Coast Guard asks that you put your antenna down if possible. Any boat in navigable water has the right to demand the bridge open over any vehicle or traffic. A lot of antennas are fixed; they cannot be taken down. The Bridge Contractor (no name given) said the bridge will not be raised for an antenna, a Bimini top, or anything that can be lowered. A lot of people think the height from the water level to the bridge is a lot greater than it actually is. At high tide, there may be six feet from the deck of the boat to where you can actually reach up and grab the bridge. A lot of workboats have fixed antennas where they are drilled through the roof of the boat on the side; they cannot be taken down. If a boat has a retractable roof, that roof has to go down before they will attempt to open the bridge. If the roof goes down and they are still unable to access, then the bridge will be opened.

Commissioner Hanson asked if it is possible for the Bridge Contractor to key the two lights (Hayward Street and Academy Street) to blinking so everyone coming down Maryland Avenue would know (through signage) that the bridge is up. Jay Meredith said State Highway only owns the bridge. They have no method to control any of the signals because they are not State Highway signals. Oden Wheeler said the easiest way to divert traffic would probably be at Dorchester Avenue. If you bring the people up to Hayward Street, they may not know where to go. Wayne Weichmann said if Council would consider that, the State would need a recommendation from Council. They would probably have to do a traffic study before a design is done.

County Councilman Ricky Travers said there is a "Right to Harvest Law". It is a law in Dorchester County's books which is to secure our heritage through the watermen. We have a right to harvest and a right to agriculture for farming to protect those watermen doing their job. He suggested that Council look into this regulation.

County Councilman Tom Bradshaw supports what the watermen said as far as any kind of scheduling on the bridge. There has to be a way to work together to make a happy medium for everyone.

Claudia White-Cooke likes the suggestion to put a blinking light to alert people coming off Route 50 that there are other routes that you can divert to. She reminded everyone that you can still use Trenton Street to get to Henry Street, Dorchester Avenue, and then Cedar Street. She thinks this is the best way to deal with this situation.

A motion by Commissioner Thomas to leave the record open for 30 days (until April 14th) for people to provide additional written comments was seconded and approved 3:0. Written comments can be submitted to Edwin Kinnamon at City Hall.

Appointments

Representatives from Rescue Fire Company to discuss the future of their Annual Train Garden-Randy Travers said this year will mark 80 years of operation of the train garden. Since 2003, they have had guests from 27 different states and 6 different countries. The train garden is built and maintained 100 percent by volunteers. It is one of the largest train gardens in the tri-state area. Their display has approximately 300 to 350 feet of track. This past year they had nine trains running at one time on a platform which was ten tables long by two tables wide (about 40-ft by 16-ft) with a mountain on the side. The Committee is asking permission to use the engine bay for 2014 train garden. Mayor Stanley said they do not have a problem with that. On behalf of RFC, Inc., Mr. Travers asked Council to consider leaving the engine bay for the train garden when the building is renovated. It is a very historic piece of Cambridge. In the 30 days they are open, they average 2000 to 2500 tourists. People who visit the train garden also visit downtown. Commissioner Thomas suggested that RFC come forward when the City meets with the architects to discuss the uses for the building.

Chris Rodgers, Shore Shakespeare, to request permission to perform Romeo & Juliet at Long Wharf Park (grassy area) on Saturday, June 7th at 6:00 pm and Sunday, June 8th at 3:00 pm with a rehearsal on Friday, June 6th (alternate dates: June 20-22 or July 11-13) a variance from the noise ordinance; and use of a moderate amount of electricity-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the requests was seconded and approved 3:0. Proof of insurance must be provided to the City.

Daniel Cada, Dorchester Skipjack Committee, to request permission to host a celebration for the 20th anniversary of the skipjack, Nathan of Dorchester in Long Wharf Park on Friday, July 4th from 10:00 am until 12 noon on the paved area near where the boat is berthed and a variance from the noise ordinance-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the requests was seconded and approved 3:0.

Nancy Lee Harvey, Cambridge Sail and Power Squadron to request permission to hold a flare demonstration at Great Marsh park on Saturday, May 24, 2014 from noon until 4:00 pm; use of one pavilion; and a proclamation for Safe Boating Week-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve the requests and allow Mayor Stanley to sign the proclamation was seconded and approved 3:0.

Mari Stanley, Cambridge Main Street to request the following:

Farmers Market, Thursdays, May 1 through October 16 from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the city-owned parking lot and adjacent grassy area at Long Wharf and a variance from the noise ordinance for occassional musical entertainment (site plan to be provided to DPW)

Taste of Cambridge - Saturday, July 12 from 1 pm - 11 pm; closure of 400 block of Race up to 507 Race Street; 500 block of Poplar Street; Gay Street from Poplar to 322 Gay Street (Chesapeake Equipment); the alley leading to the parking lot behind 413 Muir Street (Stoked), crossing Race Street, to the back property line of 447 Race Street (Main Street Gallery and Magnolia Grove); variance from the noise ordinance from 5:00 pm until 10 pm; permission to serve alcohol; Police Department presence; and the use of spare city garbage cans (Muir Street will be left open to traffic.)

Summer Send Off - Saturday, September 13 - closure of the 400 block of Race Street and the 500 block of Poplar Street from 2:00 pm until 11 pm; variance from the noise ordinance from 5:00 pm until 10 pm; permission to serve alcohol; Police Department presence; and the use of spare city garbage cans

A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the requests for the Farmers Market, Taste of Cambridge, and Summer Send-Off was seconded and approved 3:0.

Jeff Hubbard, Lane Engineering, to receive proclamation for "National Surveyors Week"-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the proclamation was seconded and approved 3:0.

Unfinished Business

Distinguished Service Cross Monument-Raymond Simmons received a letter from Claudia White-Cooke offering a solution to the monument. His Committee is in agreement with the proposal and compromise. They stand ready to work with whomever to make it happen to the extent that they are able to do it. Mayor Stanley suggested the Committee and representatives from the Long Wharf Committee and Historic Preservation Commission look at the various options and then meet the City Property Committee on Monday, March 31, 2014 (5:00 pm). A motion by Commissioner Thomas to defer any decision on the monument until after the meeting of interested parties on March 31, 2014 was seconded and approved 3:0.

New Business

Approve budget amendment from Cambridge Police Department-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the budget amendment was seconded and approved 3:0.

Approve budget amendment for Department of Public Works-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the budget amendment was seconded and approved 3:0.

Approve purchase orders:

PO 2014-068 - Computer Information Systems - yearly maintenance and license fee (CPD) - $9,450.00-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve the Purchase Order 2014-068 was seconded and approved 3:0.

PO 2014-070 - Graves Uniforms - summer uniforms (CPD) - $1,533.25-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve the Purchase Order 2014-070 was seconded and approved 3:0.

Public Comments

Oyster roast to raise money for Long Wharf on Saturday, March 29, 2014-Jeff Hubbard, Cambridge Rotary, requested use of City-owned trash cans and a variance to the sign ordinance for Long Wharf so they can put a sign on the fountain from now until March 29, 2014-Rob Collison said the variance to the sign regulation would have to come from the Board of Appeals. The City will provide the requested trash cans.

Mayor's and Commissioners' Comments

Closed Executive Session-Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to consider the acquisition of real estate and issues related thereto as well as to obtain legal advice.

County Council Bill 14-3 eliminating the opportunity for the County to waive (reimburse) excise taxes for any development in Dorchester County-A motion by Commissioner Thomas that the Cambridge City Council take a position against Bill 14-3 and that the Mayor be authorized to send a letter stating the City's opposition to the bill was seconded and approved 3:0.

Hiring Process at Cambridge Police Department-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to allow Chief Malik to begin the hiring process for a vacant patrolman position was seconded and approved 3:0.

 

A motion by Commissioner Thomas to adjourn the meeting was seconded and approved unanimously.

With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 8:48 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, March 10, 2014, insofar as I personally am aware.



Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer

COMMISSIONERS OF CAMBRIDGE
CLOSED SESSION REPORT
A Date: March 10, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: City Council Chambers

B Citation of Authority/Purpose: State Government Article, Section 10-508(a) (check one of the following):

1 discuss: (i) the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction: or (ii) any other personnel matter that affects one or more specific individuals;
2 protect the privacy or reputation of individuals with respect to a matter that is not related to public business;
x 3 consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto;
4 consider a matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the City;
5 consider the investment of public funds;
6 consider the marketing of public securities;
x 7 consult with counsel to obtain legal advice;
8 consult with staff, consultants, or other individuals about pending or potential litigation:
9 conduct collective bargaining negotiations or consider matters that relate to the negotiations:
10 discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including: (i) the deployment of fire and police services and staff; and (ii) the development and implementation of emergency plans;
11 prepare, administer, or grade a scholastic, licensing, or qualifying examination;
12 conduct or discuss an investigative proceeding on actual or possible criminal conduct;
13 comply with a specific constitutional, statutory, or judicially imposed requirement that prevents public disclosures about a particular proceeding or matter; or
14 before a contract is awarded or bids are opened, discuss a matter directly related to a negotiating strategy or the contents of a bid or proposal, if public discussion or disclosure would adversely impact the ability of the public body to participate in the competitive bidding or proposal process.


C Members present and vote of each member as to closing the session:

Victoria Jackson-Stanley (only in a tie)
Jackie Vickers Vote: Absent
Donald Sydnor Vote: Absent
Frank Cooke Vote: Y
Gage Thomas Vote: Y
Commissioner Hanson Vote: Y

Motion to close meeting: Comm. Cooke Seconded: Comm. Hanson

D Topics Discussed: Explanation of topics to be discussed (this may be by reference to the citation of authority listed above if further explanation would thwart the purpose of closing the meeting: (1) Sailwinds Project ; Gateway Project (2) Participation of a Member of Council who was previously a member of a City Committee
E Persons Present at the Closed Session: If listing an individual as present would thwart the purpose of closing the meeting, do not list the individual but note that an individual was not listed for this reason Mayor Stanley, Commissioner Vickers, Commissioner Sydnor, Commissioner Thomas, Commissioner Hanson, Rob Collison, Ed Kinnamon, Oden Wheeler, Natalie Chabot
F Actions Taken at the Closed Session: (1) Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the documents brought before Council tonight and that Mayor Stanley be allowed to sign them. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. The motion passed 3:0. (2) Legal advice-no motions were made.