City Council Minutes
August 25, 2008
August 25, 2008
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, August 25, 2008 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 Knox, Sydnor, Stout, Thomas, and Hanson. Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the minutes of the August 11, 2008 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Public Hearing For Zoning Map 302 and Map 30 Amendments:
Map 302, Parcel No. 1028, Northwest Side of Leonard Lane at the Southwest Corner of Leonard Lane and Cosby Avenue; Current Zoning R-1 (Residential Single Family Detached), Proposed Zoning Classification: R-3 (Residential Multi-Family)
Map 30, Parcel No. 12, Northerly Side of Leonard Lane; Current Zoning R-1 (Residential Single Family Detached), Proposed Zoning Classification: R-3 (Residential Multi-Family)
Anne Roane reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission met on June 17, 2008 and voted unanimously to approve the change in zoning. Prior to the comprehensive rezoning and adoption of the new maps in May 2003, the parcels were zoned R-4 (residential multi-family) and C-1 (neighborhood commercial). The proposed projects-Foxtail Crossing and Glenburn Village-located on the two parcels both have received final site plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission under the assumption that the R-3 zoning was accurate. The zoning error was uncovered on Map 302 by Planning and Zoning staff subsequent to these approvals. In order for these approved projects to be permitted, the zoning of the parcels should be R-3. The staff recommended to the Planning and Zoning Commission that the maps be change to reflect the zoning. They believe when the maps were created in 2003 there was a labeling error which is also known as a mapping mistake. The property was posted and ads about the public hearing were placed in the Daily Banner. There were public hearings held for the multi-family projects with no opposition. Commissioner Sydnor asked about the structure on Parcel 88. Anne Roane said the parcels are currently undeveloped. Wendell Foxwell asked if Map 30, Parcel 12 is between the 2 nursing homes. Anne Roane said it is not between them. It is not even adjacent to those 2 properties. Mr. Foxwell asked if it is behind the Wise Oil & Fuel tanks. Anne Roane said that is where it is. Rob Collison said it goes beyond that and goes up to Phase 2 of Clifton Woods.
Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the proposed changes based upon the criteria that were met as explained by Anne Roane. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Representatives from the James B. Richardson Foundation, Inc. to Present the Progression of the Richardson Maritime Heritage Center-Herb Kramer, representing the Richardson Maritime Museum, gave a brief history of the museum which came out of a concept idea in 1990 by the Committee of 100 for a maritime museum displaying artifacts, history, and other memorabilia from Cambridge, Dorchester County, and the lower Eastern Shore specifically that of wooden boat builders, watermen, and the crafts that have shaped our past. With the death of master wooden boat builder, James B. Richardson, in 1991, came the name for the museum. They are a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. They purchased a 4-acre piece of property at 100 Maryland Avenue. In 2007 the James B. Richardson Foundation, Inc. acquired the Brannock Museum-an extensive collection of artifacts and research material. Victor MacSorley read their mission statement. Jay Corvan explained their future plans for the property. Paul Myers said their intent is to continue the public access to the waterfront; continue community events; and encourage partnership between the City, the County and the community. Earl Brannock said they will be the sales people for Dorchester C ounty. They have full information on our history that has been used for 25 years. Commissioner Hanson said they are excellent neighbors. The community is very much behind them.
Gil Cephas to Discuss Cleaning-Up the Streets in the Neighborhood-Mr. Cephas said on August 5th, a group of men had some major discussions in reference to our community. Their group, "Concerned Brothers United", already has 51 members. One discussion was how to clean-up our community. At the meeting, Bishop Clarence Cornish said if they can clean up Pine Street, others will follow and we all can prosper. They have taken pictures of areas from all wards in the City. The second, third, and fourth wards are in need of immediate attention. Some properties have grass in excess of 12 to 16 inches tall. Nicely manicured hedges have now become bushes and small trees. Doors are falling off their hinges; properties are in need of pressure-washing and/or painting. The Concerned Brothers United are going to help those in need of help. They will start with cutting the grass, trimming the bushes, painting, and minor repairs. Once these things are done, they need the City to remove the debris from the properties. Two property owners on Pine Street have already removed the grass from the sidewalks; cut their grass and weeds in the fronts and backs of the houses; and painted a porch. They are asking the City to recognize these property owners, tenants, or the entire block. He suggested an awards ceremony with awards for properties of distinction. They hope to see a park for picnics, barbeques, and a play area on Pine Street. There is property that goes back to Race Street. They are in negotiations now and are asking the community for their support. There are 4 businesses that are looking at Pine Street. Everyone will prosper. William Jackson said all the residents are interested in cleaning up their areas. He asked the Department of Public Works to contact someone to cut the trees that are growing into the power lines.
Commissioner Sydnor said this is very honorable. The initiative that the group is taking on as a community activity is what we need for the City of Cambridge. He suggested that Steve Johnson inform the Concerned Brothers United about the City's policy on trash removal such as the lengths that limbs must be cut into so DPW can pick them up. Commissioner Stout commended the Concerned Brothers United and offered his services. He agreed that a little recognition to compliment the hard work would go a long way. Commissioner Thomas agreed that recognition would help the initiative spread throughout the City. Kay Jones asked Council to amend the Code about trash removal to include a clause that states that trash cans must be stored on the property out-of-sight from the streetscape.
Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley commended the Concerned Brothers United and asked to become part of the group. She personally offered a $50 contribution so they can buy flowers. She challenged the Council to match her contribution. At some time in the future, the Mayor and Council will have a ceremony at City Hall to recognize those who took the challenge to beautify their houses and community.
Sister Beverly, Holy Tabernacle Born Again Faith Foundation for Feeding Hungry Children, to Request Permission to Use the City-Owned Lot on the Corner of Race and Cedar Streets to Host a Tent Revival for the Second Week of September and a Noise Variance Each Night from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm (Set-up 9/6 and 9/7; Services 9/8 through 9/14)-Nobody was present to speak. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the noise variance subject to the organization meeting with Chief Malik, Mayor Stanley, and Mr. Johnson to discuss the Council's concerns. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Knox opposed. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to grant the Holy Tabernacle Born Again Faith Foundation for Feeding Hungry Children permission to use the City-owned lot on the corner of Race and Cedar Streets for a revival for the designated dates in September. The organization must discuss the camping issue with Mayor Stanley, Chief Malik, and Steve Johnson. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:2 with Commissioners Knox and Hanson opposed. Camping can be revoked by Chief Malik, Mayor Stanley, and Steve Johnson when they discuss it with the organization.
William D. McDonnell Director, Dorchester DSS, to Discuss Efforts to Start a Boys & Girls Club in Cambridge and to Request a Small Amount of City Financial Assistance-Bill McDonnell said a large group within the County have been meeting since February to discuss the possibility of starting a Boys and Girls Club chapter in Dorchester County. They believe the national reputation of the Club as far as building and strengthening values, building character, building leadership, and building citizenship are qualities that would be an asset for our children. A steering committee has been established. Several people have contributed personally and they have received assistance from the Laurel Boys and Girls Club in filing for non-profit status with the State of Maryland. They have located 2 very promising prospective facilities within the City where they could establish such a program. Their long-term goal is to begin the program in September 2009. He asked Council for $375 from the City to enable them to file with the Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)3 status. They will ask Dorchester County for the same amount. The 501(c)3 status is needed to begin fundraising. Council agreed it was a very worthwhile initiative. Commissioner Sydnor said the problem is that the budget has already been set. The money would have to be appropriated from an area and then they would have to hope it was not needed in that particular area. That is one of the dilemmas the City is facing right now. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to defer this item to a later date after the Finance Committee has time to review the budget. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Open Bids for Demolition of Structure at 711 Pine Street-Ed Kinnamon opened the bids. They were as follows:
- Eastern Shore Paving (Secretary, MD) - $12,973
- Bridges Land Management (St. Michaels, MD) - $24,660
- Eastern Shore Demolition LLC (Hurlock, MD) - $17,300
- Dorchester Dumpin Company LLC (Cambridge, MD) - $10,495
- Wheatley Brothers LLC (Cambridge, MD) - $29,886
- Charles Rideout Sr. (Cambridge, MD) - $8,500
- Brandon A. Spear Construction (Cambridge, MD) - $18,500
- Shore Waste LLC (Linkwood, MD) - $8,890
- Rocky Kimbrew (Pittsville, MD) - $14,380
- Rubble Bee Recycling & Demolition (Owings, MD) - $27,500
- Jerol Moore (Cambridge, MD) - $15,965
- Barco Enterprises (White Marsh, MD) - $37,355
Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for their review and recommendation. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Security Surveillance System at Municipal Yacht Basin-Steve Johnson said the security system would protect both the boats and the City property at the yacht basin. He is requesting that he be allowed to go to bid and then Council would be able to review the bids to see if they would like to award a contract. Chief Malik said he is not averse to looking into cameras for the marina area; however, this is a very low crime area. If the City is going to look at cameras, he suggested that they look at having them in the 400 and 500 blocks of Race Street and Pine Street. The Main Street representatives and the Pine Street Committee representatives have asked him about cameras. The cameras in the prime shopping areas would give people a sense of security when they come into those neighborhoods. Commissioner Sydnor suggested that they put the RFP out so they can see what is available and the associated costs. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to allow DPW to go to bid for the system. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Resolution to Adopt an Affordable Housing Plan for Program Income Related to the DHCD Grant for Cambridge Commons-Rob Collison said the City received a $300,000 grant for Cambridge Commons. If the project generates sufficient income, the City may, in the future, receive payments from Cambridge Commons for repayment of the $300,000. DHCD is requiring that the City formally commit dedicating any and all of the program income to a program for affordable housing. Commission Sydnor made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from Jubilee Christian Fellowship for a Variance from the Noise Ordinance for the Use of Amplified Music for Their Fellowship Picnic at 415 Academy Street on September 6th (rain date Sept. 13) from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the variance. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Improvements for 410 Academy Street-Steve Johnson said they need about another $12,400 to complete the preparation of 410 Academy Street so they can vacate City Hall. The building will accommodate MUC, City Hall, Economic Development, and the Mayor's office. He gave Council a memo outlining the required funds. Commissioner Sydnor asked Steve Johnson to find an area of his budget to take the funds from and then Council could appropriate those funds back into his budget at a later date. Steve Johnson said he would like to complete the move before the heating season begins. He said the arrangement was that MUC would front all the funds and then be reimbursed from the proceeds of the sale of their former building on High Street. At that time, DPW estimated that they would need about $25,000. Now they realize they will need $37,000. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to table the decision until the next meeting. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Discuss Dredging at the Marina-Steve Johnson said Council previously authorized spending up to $500,000 with 50% being reimbursed by DNR. They have reduced the amount of dredging down to where they estimate it will cost them more in the range of $250,000. They want to proceed and use their original contract with D&J so the dredging can be done this fall. The dredging period runs from October 1st to December 15th. The next opportunity would be between March 15th and June 1st. It would require a change order to the contract. The City will have to come up with the $250,000 in advance and then they will be reimbursed when the work is completed. Commissioner Sydnor said this amount was budgeted under capital projects. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the dredging for $250,000. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Municipal Utilities Commission Billing Policy-James Chaney, President of the Landlords' Association, said they are just barely making it anymore with all their expenses. Gas and electric utilities are the responsibility of the tenants. They feel it should be the same with the water. The landlords end up paying for the water when the tenants skip out on them. He thinks they should come up with a plan to hold the people who are using the water responsible for the water bills. He suggested deposits or shutting it off like the gas and electric company do. He offered to meet with Gary Newcomb to discuss this further. Commissioner Sydnor said Mr. Newcomb gave Council an explanation on how they can go about this situation. Gary Newcomb said as Manager of MUC, he would be totally opposed as far as taking any responsibility away from the landlord for any unpaid municipal service charges. All municipalities in the State, that he is aware of, have the service in the name of the property owner. It has always been that way in Cambridge and the City has always held the owners responsible for any unpaid charges. In the 1970s and 1980s the City was collecting deposits. He became manager in 1991. At that time they were collecting a $50 deposit. The owner of the property signed a form giving permission for a tenant to be in that property. The form stated that if there were charges that exceeded the $50, the owner would be responsible for those charges. It was not enforced. Prior to 1991, if the charges exceeded the $50, the landlords were not held responsible for the charges. He started enforcing the Code. MUC had to maintain the account and pay interest on it. At the time the tenant moved out, they had to final bill the account. A new account would have to be set up. Sometimes tenants moved out without notice to the City. There are so many problems on the City's side to be involved with tenants and property owners. His asked Council not to do something different than every other city in the State. To remove the landlords' responsibility is not in the City's best interest. Mr. Newcomb said they should not even be sending the bills to a landlord in care of a tenant. They should be sending the bill to the landlord. The landlord would know instantly what the consumption was on the property for the month. He would know instantly if bills were not paid. There are landlords who do that. The landlords who get their bills for all their properties come in and pay their bills. There is never a late charge on the accounts. They collect their money from the tenants. If Cambridge did that, they would cut their shut-offs down by two-thirds. They are currently doing 120 to 140 shut-offs a month. About two-thirds of them are rental properties. That would be completely eliminated if the bills went to the property owners themselves.
Gary Newcomb said the City collects, on behalf of the State of Maryland, a Bay Restoration Fee of $30 per year ($2.50 per month). That charge goes to all improved properties in the State. They collect $54,000 a quarter to turn over to the State. Hopefully someday the City will get some of this money back for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant. MUC receives approximately $12,000 a year for administration. The State mandates that the City has to ensure collection.
Approve PO 91232 - David A. Bramble, Inc. - 7 Tons of Blacktop - $544.25-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve PO 4961 - Ford Credit Department - Lease Agreement for 5 Patrol Cars - $37,206.02-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve PO 4962 - LWRC International, LLC - Ammunition for CPD - $660- Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve PO 4975 - CRW Flags, Inc. - City Flags - $1,000-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 5:00 pm this evening to discuss appointees and personnel issues.
Commissioner Knox made a motion to refer a request from Mark Robbins about traffic issues near Bayly Avenue to the Traffic & Safety Committee. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Sydnor asked if anything is being done about the Bayly Road ditches. Steve Johnson said they use the City's bush-hog in the ditches. The County charges $1,350 per day to use their big machine. Commissioner Sydnor said he thinks this is something the City should do because the snakes are coming out of the ditches into the yards. He suggested the City talk to the County about this at their joint meeting.
Commissioner Hanson announced that Veterans Appreciation Day will be held at Sailwinds Park on Saturday, September 6th.
Kay Jones said the Marine Trawlers Association has been given permission to use the park at Long Wharf and erect tents for their event on September 21st through 28th. She is requesting permission to use larger tents than originally specified. Steve Johnson said the area can accommodate the modest increase in the size of the tents. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Portia Johnson-Ennels invited the Mayor and Commissioners to a Town Hall Meeting on September 25th at 7:00 pm at Jubilee Christian Church on Academy Street. It is being put on by the Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol and the Tobacco Coalition.
With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 9:10 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, August 25, 2008, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer