City Council Minutes
November 24, 2008
November 24, 2008
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, November 24, 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 Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 10, 2008 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Dr. Lois A. Narr to Request Permission to Use Great Marsh Park on May 2, 2009 from 7 am Until 4 pm to Host a Fundraiser for Character Counts Mid Shore (bicycle ride from the park thru the Blackwater Refuge area)-Dr. Narr said she has already discussed this with Lt. Doyle and he has agreed to provide the necessary officers. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request including a variance from the noise ordinance. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Bob Vigarito to Discuss the Eagleman Triathlon (June 14) and the ChesapeakeMan (September 26)-Bob Vigarito said this is 1 of 30 races around the world that qualifies triathletes for the world famous championship in Hawaii and is one of the top events in the United States. A major publication has selected the Eagleman as the top event for community support and community involvement by the athletes. Over the last several years, they have donated back to the community over $50,000 in non-profit charitable monies. George Hyde has already approved their use of Great Marsh Park. Council gave Mr. Vigarito preliminary approval for the requested dates. A formal motion will follow at a later date when paperwork is provided with the dates and times for use of Great Marsh Park.
David Harrington, Dorchester County Historical Society, to Request Funds from DNR Through the City for a Boardwalk (Subrecipient of City - No City Dollars)-Mr. Harrington said they are trying to obtain a grant for $5,000 from the Department of Natural Resources which has to be applied for through the City. They think the boardwalk will have an economic, tourism, and educational value. The boardwalk will be installed on Shoal Creek next to their property. The project will not cost the City anything. They will provide public access to the boardwalk and the small boat dock. Commissioner Knox made a motion to authorize the City to proceed with the application subject to the subrecipient (MOU) agreement with the Historical Society. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Bob Vigarito, on behalf of the Eagleman, offered to donate $1000 to the project.
Approve Declaration of Intent Resolution for Tech Park Bond-Rob Collison strongly recommended that Council proceed with approving this resolution. It allows the City to use the bond funding to cover some of the primary expenses. There is still the issue of formally approving a comprehensive MOU from the City and County whereby they agree to the additional $1.2 million. The remaining issue still outstanding is the water pressure for fire-fighting purposes at the Tech Park. The County agreed to up-front the $3,000 cost to plug that standard into the model and then they would design the system based on the standard. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the declaration of intent for the resolution for the Tech Park. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Public Comment on Ordinance Making Park Lane One Way in a Westerly Direction from High Street to Leonard Lane-Rob Collison said this ordinance would amend Section 11-8 of the City Code. Scott Eberspacher and Chad Smith, representing the Dorchester County Recreation and Parks, said currently Park Lane is about 33% one way from High Street to Rigby Avenue then it becomes a two-way street. Recreation and Parks would not see any problem at all making Rigby Avenue to Willis Street one way but they would like the Council to consider not making Willis Street to Leonard Lane one way. Their department has at least one or more tractor-trailer deliveries per month using the direction of Leonard Lane to Park Lane to Willis Street. This is the only direction that they have been able to accomplish having the trucks make deliveries to their site. Parking is currently allowed on both sides of Willis Street. This makes it next to impossible and very unsafe for maintenance trucks towing trailers to make the turn from Glasgow Street. They have been instructed to only go to Leonard Lane to Park Lane direction when taking the vehicles with the trailers. Commissioner Knox made a motion to refer this ordinance back to the Traffic and Safety Committee for further review. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Thomas opposed.
Second Reading and Public Comment on Ordinance Making Gay Street One Way in a Northerly Direction from Spring Street to Court Lane-Rob Collison said this ordinance would amend Section 11-8 of the City Code. Commissioner Thomas said the recommendation at the last Council meeting to reverse the direction would take into account Mr. McAllister's concern. Rob Collison said 3 options were discussed. The original option kept it as it was as far as the northerly direction. The second option was to keep it two ways, add the parking on one side but do not allow parking on the east side of Gay Street along the Harborwatch Condominiums. The third option was to reverse the traffic pattern. If they reverse it, everyone wanting to get to Water Street, Hambrooks Boulevard, and Long Wharf who now turn right on Gay and up Court Lane would not be able to do so. Whether that would ultimately become a traffic issue at the intersection of High Street and Spring Street remains to be seen. Commissioner Stout said being intimately associated with the corners in question, he does not see the volume of traffic that turns northerly and then westerly up Court Lane to go down High Street to Water Street. He does not see it backing up the High Street and Spring Street light so significantly that it would cause traffic problems. If Gay Street at that end remains two way and it is possible to develop a turnaround at the bottom of the street, then you could leave the flow as it is. Commissioner Thomas said to get to the parking spaces on Gay Street, you would have to do a U-turn or go all the way around the block. Steve Johnson said, as proposed, it is a good safe situation. There is not sufficient room at the end of Gay Street to create a turnaround. The additional parking would be difficult with two-way traffic. Sandy McAllister said given that 90% of Court Lane is currently one way going north, it was hard to imagine that you could not parallel park without being worried about the traffic from his parking lot and Harborwatch. If it is two-way for 40 yards, it is hard to imagine that they are creating an unsafe environment. That way all his clients would go out to a lighted intersection. He is not trying to reduce the number of new parking spaces for the courthouse. Donna Hooper, an employee of the courthouse, said she supports the original plan. When asked, Chief Malik said he is part of the Traffic and Safety Committee so he supports the original plan. Commissioner Knox said his concern about diverting the traffic the other way is putting that much more traffic on High Street. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the ordinance to make Gay Street one way in a northerly direction from Spring Street to Court Lane. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Public Comment on Ordinance Prohibiting Parking At All Times Along the Northeasterly Side of Church Street, Between High Street and Mill Street-Rob Collison said this ordinance would amend Section 11-13 of the City Code. Christ Episcopal Church requested the change. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Public Comment on Ordinance Prohibiting Parking At All Times Along the Westerly Side of Leonard Land, Between Glasgow Street and Park Lane-Rob Collison said this ordinance would amend Section 11-13 of the City Code. Jerome Stanley said he opposes the ordinance. He has been living on the street since 1986 and it is going to inconvenience a lot of people. There are a lot of streets in Cambridge that allow parking on both sides and are much narrower than Leonard Lane. They have 3 vehicles at his house. Because he is with Rescue Fire Company, he will have to make sure he is the last vehicle parked in the driveway and at times, that will not be possible. When people have barbeques in the summer, there will be nowhere for people to park. There are a few homes that do not have driveways. The main issue he has with Leonard Lane is the speed. He does not think the change is necessary. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Thomas made a motion that all ordinances regarding traffic and parking will become effective January 2, 2009. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Public Comment on Ordinance to Collect Home Builder Guaranty Fund Fee-Rob Collison said this ordinance is a State mandate. The permitting office must collect a $50 fee for the construction of new homes. It does exempt contractors who are building their own homes. The new fund will assist homeowners when there is a problem with their warranty. The fee will be amended if the State amends their law. Commissioner Stout made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Partial Release of Retainage for Public Safety Building (See PO 779)-Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the release of $275,000 as requested by DPW. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Resolution for Technical Assistance Grant for Economic Development-Mary Calloway said this is the formality for the $40,000 that the City will be applying for from the Department of Housing and Community Development for the technical assistance grant. Commissioner Thomas said it is his understanding that the purpose of the grant is to set up a revolving loan fund. Allen Nelson, Director of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, gave Council some other information regarding revolving loan funds. His understanding was that this grant was for a person to administer a fund. Mary Calloway said there are some options on the table to discuss. The grant would be for technical assistance for the Economic Development Department and Main Street for the Arts and Entertainment District. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to defer any action on this item until they get a clearer understanding of the request. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from National Multiple Sclerosis Society to Hold Their 2nd Annual Walk MS Event on April 19, 2009 Beginning and Ending at Sailwinds Park-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to defer any action until someone from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is present to answer questions. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Consider and Approve Recommended Changes to the City's Health Insurance Plan-Ed Kinnamon said Council discussed 2 issues concerning health insurance at their last work session. The first item would be to modify the prescription co-pays and better define what drugs are covered. The second item is dependents who currently have health insurance by another provided (i.e. Medicare) will no longer be able to participate in the City's health insurance program. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to implement the modification to the prescription co-pay and that dependents that are currently have other health insurance by another provider will no longer be covered by the City's plan. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Council to Consider and Approve Administrative Guidelines for Public Safety Building-Ed Kinnamon said the City received some requests from other City departments to use the training room. The policy incorporates suggestions from the department heads in the public safety building. Commissioner Hanson said he thinks the training room is under-utilized. He asked that they consider allowing other agencies to use it. Chief Malik said other departments related to the City are welcome to use the room such as LIGIT, Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission, Mid-Shore Council on Violence, FBI, State Police, etc. Because of security issues, they do not want to see something unrelated to either the City or one of the emergency service departments. Commissioner Knox suggested trying this now before they go any further. Commissioner Knox made a motion to accept the administrative guidelines for the Public Safety Building. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request to Go to Bid for Great Marsh Boat Ramp Reconstruction-Steve Johnson said the City has $320,000 in the budget to reconstruct the boat ramp. They are expecting a grant of about $270,000. Commissioner Knox said he would like to see some design changes. Steve Johnson said it is designed for the optimum location. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to go to bid on this project. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Order of Demolition of Building at 610 Wells Street-Steve Johnson said the property is in structural need of demolition. Rob Collison said demolition fees would be collected the same as taxes. If they are not paid within a period of time, the property will be listed for tax sale. Steve Johnson said the land is buildable. The City allows re-construction on the existing footprint even on substandard sized lots. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to accept the order of demolition for the building at 610 Wells Street and go to bid for demolition. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve PO 91290 - Dissen & Juhn Corporation - $20,000.00 - Additional Dredging at the Marina-Commissioner Sydnor said DNR will pay half of this charge. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Application #28 of Purchase Order 779 - The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company - $276,896.47 - Public Safety Building-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Financial Statement for October 2008-Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the financial statement for October 2008. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Thomas asked that the resolution submitted to the County Commissioners concerning the liquor laws be made available to the public for their review.
Commissioner Hanson reported that the Waterfront 2020 Committee had a good 2-day charrette but suggested better communication about the comprehensive plan meetings in the future. A lot of citizens did not know about the meetings. Commissioner Thomas said the team that organized the charratte will give a report to Council at the next meeting.
Ed Kinnamon said he received the City's audit for last year. He will be meeting with Commissioners Sydnor and Thomas and the auditor to review it.
Jerome Stanley asked Commissioner Knox about the study that was done that resulted in the ordinance to eliminate parking on one side of Leonard Lane. Commissioner Knox said during his first term on Council, people were complaining about the traffic on Leonard Lane. It was suggested that the street be made a one-way street. The school bus drivers complained. The street is used by trucks going to Jenkins Creek and Sandy Hill area and to Great Marsh. All the people on the west side have a driveway facing either Leonard Lane or on the side. Leonard Lane has as much traffic as Glasgow and Locust Streets. It is a dangerous street. The Traffic and Safety Committee met and discussed it. Council agreed with their decision. It is something that could be revised at a later date if it is not working out well.
With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, November 24, 2008, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer