Categories: 2004 Council Minutes Date: Mar 5, 2010 Title: City Council Minutes
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 9, 2004 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Bohlen, Watkins, Atkinson and Travers.
Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Atkinson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 2, 2004 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Debbie Davidson, Packing House Antiques, presented Mayor Rippons with framed and matted checks (from the 1940s) made out to his father when he helped Mr. Ruark with the charter service on Hoppers Island.
Annexation Resolution No. A-2003-04-North and South Sides of Glasgow Street, East Side of Hambrooks Blvd., and South Side of School Street-A developer who acquired the property just west of the restaurant and quick shop for a 20-unit subdivision requested this annexation. The area was extended to make it contiguous for City services. David Pritchett said the area is well served with sewer by Sanitary District No. 1 and water is available from the City source. The requested zoning is in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan. Rob Collison said the area would remain compatible to the current County zoning. The Certificate of Publication of the postponement of the hearing (originally scheduled for January 26 but postponed because of weather) was published in the Daily Banner on January 30 and February 6, 2004. The original notice was published in the Daily Banner on December 12 and 26, 2003 and January 2, 2004. The certified mailings sent to Dorchester County and the State of Maryland were issued on December 12, 2003. The City received a letter from the Maryland Department of Planning indicated that they reviewed the information from the State perspective and find it to be consistent with the State growth management policies. If the parcels are annexed, they will retain their priority funding area status. A copy of the annexation documents were submitted to the Maryland Department of Transportation for comment. They do not have any adverse comments.
Jeffrey Thompson, spoke representing S&S, the developer of the properties. He said other properties that would be annexed are the Board of Education property, the church, as well as the properties that Rob Collison pointed out.
Nobody asked to speak for or against the annexation. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to accept the annexation resolution. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Annexation Resolution A-2003-02-Ocean Gateway Bucktown Road Area (continuation)-Rob Collison said this is a continuation of the public hearing held on January 12, 2004. The notice of postponement was published on January 30 and February 6, 2004. There was some concerns about feedback and comments from the County Highway Department concerning South Road. The proposed area runs from the Exxon Station at Maryland Route 16 and US Route 50. It would go down US Route 50 to Bucktown Road. It would then continue down Bucktown Road to South Road and then back across a portion of South Road including the Gabriel property behind the Cambridge Inn and back up to Maryland Route 16. They were concerned about who would maintain South Road because the City is only taking in a portion of it. Rob Collison said there have been discussions between the City and County and it is the City's proposal to enter into a road maintenance agreement stating that the City would maintain all of South Road and provide snow removal. David Pritchett indicated that this would not be a burden to the City. Rob Collison said Mr. Slacum, who spoke at the previous public hearing, is still asking for Council's consideration to give those people who signed the petition in opposition to this annexation of not including them in the annexation due to financial hardships. Rob Collison said the Council might consider giving a grace period to those people in the area who have a current working septic system and well or who are currently connected to the Sanitary District. The grace period would allow them to remain on their current systems until some date in the future. During that time, the City could abate all or a portion of the taxes and then gradually require them to come in. The annexation began some time ago at the request of some of the businesses who had failing septic systems.
Nobody asked to speak either for or against the annexation. Commissioner Bohlen suggested deferring a vote until the next meeting. Commissioner Travers made a motion to suspend this part of the annexation proceedings. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Proposed Redistricting of Voting Wards-Rob Collison reported that the Redistricting Committee for the City of Cambridge made a presentation to Council at the last meeting. There were two issues for consideration. The first is the actual redrawing of the wards. They presented two maps for Council to consider. The current map with the delineation of the 2000 census information creates a large deviation in population. It runs from a low of 1564 people in Ward 2 to a high of 2702 people in Ward 4. Generally, you want to be within a 10 percent deviation. The map the committee is recommending has about a 7 percent deviation. The Maryland Department of Planning reviewed the maps last week. There was just one block which was moved from Ward 4 into Ward 5. The Committee felt that in this year since there is major redistricting, it would be beneficial to have a single polling place as opposed to a polling place in each ward. A major issue would be providing transportation to the locations since it will not be in walking distance for everyone in the City. Delmarva Community Services is willing to help in providing transportation for anyone wishing transportation to the polling place. Both of these matters will require a charter amendment because the charter dictates and defines where the ward boundaries are as well as polling locations.
Portia Johnson Ennels of Cornish Drive said as of this drawing, she is now back in the Second Ward. She is here to support the one polling place. She is an election judge and understands the problems we have when things are changed and people go to different areas to vote and then they can't vote there. She doesn't agree with the redistricting, but she does agree with having one polling place.
Rob Collison said it is at Council's discretion whether they wish to vote this evening to accept the recommendation of the Redistricting Committee with the wards as shown on the exhibit. The sooner the City begins the process, the better it is. There will be a formal charter resolution adopted at the next meeting and there is a period of time for publication of that.
Claude Gootee, Supervisor of Elections, said he is in complete agreement with the redistricting. He thinks the committee did a good job. He thinks that choosing one polling place is one of the best things that ever happened. With the new touch voting machines and the central polling place, he thinks we are going into the 21st century with a streamline voting procedure. His job is to get the people to the polls and count the votes. The committee had a hard job. They should be commended on the work they did. Mayor Rippons thanked him for the work he did over many years.
Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the redistricting according to the first choice that was indicated by the committee. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Watkins made a motion to have a single polling place with the facility to be determined at a later date. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Public Comments on Lighthouse-Patrick Hornberger said the Lighthouse Committee met twice with the Historic Preservation Commission. They would like to put their lighthouse at Long Wharf. It would sit back 20 feet from the water. The footprint of the lighthouse is 42 feet. The height is 40 feet. It is less than the mast of the Nathan. It is a hexagon shape. He presented an actual drawing from the National Archives that they will be using. It will not be a wall which will block off the waterfront. They are asking to put up a structure that they feel is a reasonably attractive structure. It has a direct connection to Cambridge's maritime history. They have been working on this since October and have found a tremendous amount of support from people. He read a list of organizations supporting the concept of the lighthouse. The park is public property. It belongs to all the people of Cambridge. They do not feel any particular community group should be talking about it without consideration of other groups in this City. They will build it at no cost to the City and then turn it over to the City with the one condition that the lighthouse remains for use of the public. The two best suggestions have been a City visitor center and some part of it can be used as a dockmaster's office. They feel this lighthouse should be part of the marina plan.
Commissioner Travers apologized to the HPC. He was misinformed on the group that turned down the Lighthouse Committee.
Mike Darby, Oakley Street, thinks the lighthouse is a wonderful idea. His concern is the proposed location. With the marina expansion and possible parking problems down there and a possible fuel depot there, it should all be incorporated into the marina expansion. There will eventually be parking problems. The lighthouse will eliminate some of the existing spaces.
David Pritchett said by the zoning ordinance they require one parking space for every four slips. Right now they have 230 slips in the marina. The City is responsible for 177 slips. The Yacht Club is responsible for the rest. Calculating in an expansion of the size they are looking for, there is adequate parking even with the 8 or 10 spaces that will be eliminated by the lighthouse. Boating does not draw a lot of parking. They have talked to other marinas that have gone as low as one parking space for eight slips and still had adequate parking.
Enez Stafford Grubb, Bradley Avenue, supports the lighthouse. She sees so many values that a lighthouse would have at Long Wharf. The educational value is overwhelming for both children and adults. She hopes the City will agree to do this. The esthetic value of it at that location is a win-win for the City.
Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, applauded Pat Hornberger and his committee for the work they have done. They have put a lot of thought and research into it. Their main concern is an issue that the City must decide. They have had discussions on fuel docks, a possible bandstand, and other thoughts that have been flying around. What they have yet to see is a comprehensive marina plan that incorporates all of these issues. Mayor Rippons said the City has engaged an engineering firm in conjunction with the Cambridge Yacht Club. They are proceeding with the expansion possibilities because it is necessitated by a lot of factors. Before they can bring it public, there has to be the completion of the engineering study and then the consideration of the Yacht Club and their Board and then in conjunction, they will endeavor to meet with them. Between the two entities, the total will be $3.8 million. The City's portion would be $2.5 million. Half of that funding should come from DNR. They are planning 95 additional slips. Jane Devlin asked if the lighthouse should be included in those discussions. She questioned if a decision was made beforehand, would that not be considered premature to get the best use of the land with all the amenities they would like to include. Mayor Rippons said the way they look at it, the end of the expansion would go right behind the fountain. Ms. Devlin said thinking of where a lighthouse normally is positioned, could it be incorporated in the marina expansion itself as possibly a headwater for the boats that are coming in yet at that northeast point of the marina expansion with a walkway of some sort. This way you would be serving all purposes. Ms. Devlin said she spoke to Mr. Hornberger directly and she knows Long Wharf is the specifically the spot they would like. If it comes to a point where the City sees the need for a location other than Long Wharf, he would be willing to consider it. Mr. Hornberger spoke up and said putting the lighthouse offshore is a reasonable idea historically, but when you dig into the mud you are faced with environmental issues and you would require a walkway which is a liability issue. Ms. Devlin said she knows talk of the fuel dock has surfaced again. These are things that need to be addressed now to get it done right the first time. The developers that want to stay will stay if we can guide them and we will benefit from all that.
Stephen Meehan, Oakley Street, said a very common mistake in planning is that a board of planners will make a plan in a vacuum saying this is how the structure we want is. They will spend six months drawing it and dreaming about it and then they will go and ask an architect to draw it and incur expenses and then they will go and check out all the permits and zoning and come back and find out how much it will cost. If they had integrated into the strategy early on to monitor funding that is available so that they knew early on if they included certain items, they could get the project 50 percent funded. He would be happy to address the Council on how to do this on an ongoing basis and a very feasible one.
Octavene Saunders, High Street, said every time she hears about the lighthouse, she hears about how much it is going to cost, how great it will be, how big an asset it will be, but nobody says who will maintain it, where the money will come from to pay for the utilities and upkeep, will the City have to take on more work with Public Works, etc. The other thing that concerns her is that we do have a tourism office that City tax dollars help support one way or another. Are we going to duplicate services by having a City office and a County office? She is concerned about the "after" financial effects. She is not concerned about where it is going or who is building it.
Mr. Hornberger said he doesn't think they can answer all those questions. They haven't discussed who would run it but their suggestion would be that the City would approve a commission to manage it, etc. They have not gotten into where the total finances would come from. They will built it and also get finances to maintain it over a period of time, but there has to be a point if it is a gift to the City that the City says it is of value to them and it is something they are willing to pitch in on.
Rob Collision said the plan right now is for the City not to relinquish any type of property. It will be built on City property and the plans are now for the committee to raise the funds to construct it and then gift it to the City. As it stands right now, the City would be responsible for it.
Gloria Warner, High Street, said she was thinking exactly what Mrs. Saunders was thinking. She thinks this is something the City Council really must look at. If they are given this property, this would become a public nuisance. Some places have fences around their lighthouses to protect them. She asked who would protect the property at night. Insurance is also an issue to be discussed.
Ms. Warner asked if the City had precedence as to maintenance. Mayor Rippons said there are several issues where the City would have insurance on facilities and the City also maintains some properties. David Pritchett said DPW maintains the structures. The lessee would take care of day-to-day activities. The City would have to work on major parts of the structures. As far as the lighthouse, he doesn't foresee that much expense to maintain it. They certainly have the in-house staff to do it. Mayor Rippons said as far as Sailwinds Park goes, DPW cuts the grass. The insurance for Sailwinds is through the City. The City has come forward on those projects which they perceive to be in the community's best interest.
Octavene Saunders said the Pine Street Committee also has insurance on the building. The Elks Lodge removes the snow and cuts the grass. Any repairs that are being done at this time are due to things that weren't done right during construction. The Pine Street Committee pays all the utilities. They don't come to the City for one dollar for running that building. She wants this to be clear with the taxpayers.
Mike Darby said if the lighthouse was incorporated into the marina, it could pay for itself. Maintenance could be taken care of if it was incorporated into the entire plan of the marina and the marina revenue could be charged with maintenance.
Edgar Williams, Oakley Street, said he is a lover of open space. Cambridge apparently is not. We've lost a lot of open space on the creek and a lot of waterfront open space. A lot of it is understandable because it is private property. When we talk about Long Wharf Park, it has been open space since they tore down the old oyster packing plant steamboat terminal. Open space is eyed on by most City officials as an opportunity to put something on it. He admires Pat Hornberger and his crew for coming up with this idea. He will go on the list for supporting the lighthouse. He thinks it will be a good thing for Cambridge. His problem is with the location. A lighthouse belongs in the water. He suggested putting it 50 feet offshore with a causeway out to it. The causeway could be used as a fishing pier. Every purpose could be met by putting it in the water. The expense is going to be higher but he doesn't think it will be much higher because in either case you are going to put the lighthouse on piles. The parking lot is nothing but shell. There will be the expense of the causeway but one of his points is that we don't know what the expense difference is going to be. So there isn't any justification in saying we shouldn't put it out there because it is going to cost too much. If it doesn't go there, it could be part of the marina expansion. He could picture a beautiful lighthouse sticking out of the end of the Cambridge city marina as a beacon up and down the Choptank River for boaters to hone in on. The issues of the marina expansion, fuel dock, and lighthouse have been discussed for a while now along with a hotel and convenience store. We have treated them as separate issues. They are all one issue. He strongly thinks Council should do nothing until it gets a comprehensive plan on that portion of the waterfront that runs from Long Wharf all the way down to the duckwalk. The area should be treated as one unit and come up with the best possible plan.
Wayne Warner, High Street, is very concerned about the very little bit of open space that is left in the City. There was a plan a few years ago for a walkway around the creek but we have managed somehow to give away practically all of that ground so that the open space we had is no long available to us unless we buy it back. There is a nice facility at Sailwinds and a wonderful facility at Long Wharf. It is amazing the number of people who really enjoy being able to drive down and be in a position where they have an unobstructed view of the water. People get a lot of piece of mind and a lot of time to contemplate. He loves to see people use the park. He is very concerned about any structure that's built on Long Wharf Park at any place on the park. He looks with pleasure at the expansion of the marina and would love to see it done properly. We really need a good workable plan for the future. Our major objective is to make this community as wonderful as we can for the people who live here on a daily basis. He applauds the planning he has heard from Mr. Hornberger and the Council. He just wants to see more cohesiveness in that planning. He thinks we need to address the spaces that we have very, very carefully,
Derue Hoffman, Stone Boundary Road, said her fondest childhood memory has been Long Wharf with the fountain. She has enjoyed the fisherman sitting on the docks, fishing, the concerts and the festivals in the open space. She enjoys so much coming across the bridge and seeing the little bit of beach in front of the hospital and Long Wharf. She wishes she could tell a lot of intelligent reasons why she doesn't want the lighthouse there. They have all been given. She hopes the lighthouse is not put at Long Wharf. She thinks the lighthouse would look good on Rooster Island with excursion boats taking people out there.
Ray Shelley, Somerset Avenue, said this issue has many emotions and is a two-sided coin. He has seen a lot of lighthouses up and down the coast. Many places that have lighthouses charge entrance fees. This is part of the answer. It doesn't necessarily have to be at Long Wharf. He thinks a lot depends on the marketing thread and added values that you put with it. It could be a paying proposition. He has heard a lot of people say we lost a good thing when we didn't grab hold of the lighthouse that St. Michaels got.
Commissioner Bohlen said we have heard a lot of discussion on open space. Open space is a diminishing resource and something that Cambridge is blessed with having. We need to protect it. If this were all parkland where the Lighthouse Committee was contemplating placing this on, he would have a great deal of issue with it. What we have is basically a parking lot. He doesn't see asphalt as being that esthetically appealing. He finds that the work that these folks have done has been stellar. He thinks one of the advantages of having this structure on land is that you are up close to it. You can admire the architecture and intricacies of what it looks like. He has talked to Mr. Pritchett about the maintenance. As we expand the marina, the duties of the dockmaster are also going to need to be expanded. He would like to personally see an expansion of that role and a new title for that person as Harbor Master of the City of Cambridge. He thinks we need that because we will see in upcoming years, an increased volume of waterborne traffic-not only with the marina expansion, but hopefully with cruise ships coming to Long Wharf and the port property at Sailwinds, and an increase of tourist-related things coming in and out of the creek. He envisions the lighthouse being an office for the Harbor Master with his other dockmaster and assistant dockmaster during the season being the ones pumping the gas and pumping out the billages as part of the marina expansion. He doesn't want to see the gas docks at Long Wharf. It will have a practical function. It will be esthetically pleasing and complimentary to the location. Commissioner Weldon asked him to remind everyone that this is a private group doing this. He has to applaud them. He would like to see more private groups trying to do things to better this community. This is a targeted heritage tourism area. As a result, private investment of this nature can be used by the City as leverage to then be able to further help with the plan and the overall improvements at the park and the Long Wharf area.
Commissioner Watkins said he is certainly nostalgic about Long Wharf. He would go to Long Wharf two or three times a week to watch the boats coming in to bring product, meat, and everything else to Cambridge. If you talk about history, in his mind, one of the greatest historical moments of his life goes out of there. He has fished and crabbed down there. He doesn't see that this lighthouse would prevent any of that from going on. He thinks it would be a great asset to Cambridge and Dorchester County. It might cause some traffic but that can be worked out. We gave away one lighthouse away. We could set fees to take care of it. He thinks it is a great idea.
Rob Collison said that Council could make a motion to generally support the concept at this location. There are specifics that have to be worked out with regard to the issue of right-of-way, easements, maintenance, etc. or it could be deferred to the next meeting. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to delay any decision until the next meeting so people can contact them individually with their comments. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. Rob Collison said anyone can submit comments to City Hall. The motion was passed unanimously.
Walter Smith, Associated Black Charities, to Discuss Their Programs-Mr. Smith said Mayor Rippons was integral with getting Associated Black Charities in Cambridge. They have been on the Eastern Shore for almost two years. They are an intermediary organization. They were established more than 18 years ago and their focus was, and to some degree still is, African American communities. They have evolved to serve all communities where there are needs. They do not have any direct service programs. Before they came to Cambridge, they researched who and what was already here. In Dorchester County, there are 118 nonprofit organizations. About 10 percent of the 118 have a budget of over $25,000 which means there are a whole lot of nonprofit agencies that are established that have a commitment to the community. We have to prepare for the diversity of people coming to the area. We have to ensure that as a City and Council we are equipping people who are serving those in the community. That is what Associated Black Charities does. They don't provide any direct service. They are a fiduciary for Federal, State, and private foundation dollars. This year, over $26 million is passing through their organization. They operate similar to a local management board. They are not in competition with the local management board; they work with them to coordinate leadership. They want to bring value to Cambridge and empower organizations to better serve the community. He suggested Cambridge have a preliminary committee of individuals to discuss community projects and become part of the brainstorming that takes place. He has offered to serve on the committee if it is formed.
Public Comments on Proposed Disposition of a Portion of Rambler Road Between Meteor Ave. and Roslyn Ave.-Rob Collison reported that this discussion began during the last meeting. The City does not own the property; it has a dedicated right-of-way for a proposed street. There are no plans for the City to construct a roadway so the property owners in that area have asked that the City relinquish any rights it has to that paper street in which case the adjoining property owners would acquire clear title without any easement for a roadway for the portion that they own. Several people spoke in favor of this request at the last meeting. Because nobody asked to speak, Commissioner Travers made a motion that the City go ahead and turn this property over to the adjoining owners from Roslyn Avenue to Meteor Avenue. Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request to Go to Bid to Demolish 801 and 923 Pine Street and 706 Academy Street-Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request to Go To Bid for Annual Street Paving-Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. The list of streets will be published in the newspaper and will be available at City Hall for the public to view.
Request to Purchase Dump Truck from MUC-David Pritchett said the truck is ageing but it is still in mechanical condition. MUC will still have use of the truck so it is just a paper transfer. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Budget Amendment (Financial Administration)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Rippons reported it cost $26,000 to train a new recruit for the Cambridge Police Department. Right now the City has little latitude on what they can offer a certified officer who currently works in another municipality. In support of Chief Malik's request, the Police Board recommended allowing CPD to hire certified officers at a higher pay scale than a beginning officer. Chief Malik said right now they are only one step from a beginning officer (about $1800 increase). They would like to be able to put them at a higher pay grade. If they have 4 of 5 years of experience, perhaps put them up two or three positions above the current starting salary. This would put the officer in a more compatible pay scale in what he is receiving in the town he is leaving. Currently they have to take a $5,000 or $6,000 pay cut. Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to allow Chief Malik to use his discretion to have more latitude in the hiring of certified officers. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Rob Collison announced that the Council met in closed executive session at 6:30 pm this evening to obtain legal advice on three matters and one personnel matter.
Rob Collison gave the Council a Memorandum of Understanding with regard to the expense of water and sewer expansion to the proposed Comfort Inn on US Route 50. The developer would pay 30 percent of the cost (projected at $120,000). Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the MOU. Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bohlen thanked everyone for the turnout this evening and the public input on the lighthouse and also with the redistricting.
Commissioner Watkins said he is elated to see so many people interested in City business. It shows that the City is growing. Differences in opinion will allow them to make the right decision.
Commissioner Atkinson said he attended the press conference today sponsored by the Management Board of Sailwinds Park. Afterwards, he thought of something that concerns him that didn't come out in the meeting. Nobody from the State, other than an elected officials, made any statements concerning any activities of the Mayor or Commissioners. He would like to see Rob Collison see what he can do to get a statement or have some knowledgeable person bring them up to date on that. He would like to see this thing solved and put to rest. He asked if anyone had any objection to that. During the meeting, he heard a representative from the County read a letter they had written concerning Sailwinds Park. It was addressed to everyone in the State except the City Council. He asked for a copy of the letter.
Ed Kinnamon reported the City received a letter from Dorchester County Tourism regarding information they had submitted to the Maryland Office of Tourism regarding sites related to the Civil War. It is a state-wide program called Civil War Trails. They would like to put four markers in Dorchester County denoted that this area had history in the Civil War era. They are asking Council's permission to put the marker in the Cambridge Cemetery marking the Governor Holliday Hicks' gravesite. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to grant the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. Ed Williams, Oakley Street, stated that the Governor Hicks mansion still exists at Appleby. He recommended notifying the Civil War historical people.
David Pritchett said restoration of City Hall will begin in approximately three to six weeks. Council Chambers will be done by in-house services.
Chief Malik requested parking on both sides of Pine Street on February 21st from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm for a Black History Program. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to grant the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Ken Knox, Jenkins Creek Association, said that the S&S Development notified him in November saying the properties to be built down Jenkins Creek Road would be from a price range of $250,000 to $400,000. He heard scary rumors today that it is going down to $120,000 to $140,000. Secondly, he heard that the Cattail Crossing people are going to jump across the road by the cemetery. He asked if Council had knowledge of either of these. Mayor Rippons said there has been discussion on the street about it (Jenkins Creek), but there has not been any official notification to the City. He believes they went for their preliminary and are coming back for developmental Phase 2. At times, the Planning Commission will have all complete drawings. Rob Collison said the Planning Commission only approves subdivision plats. They have no control on the size of houses. Once any developer gets final approval can build whatever the market will allow. If they show a particular size house, they are not obligated under the law to build that size house. There is nothing the City can do to require it. Ken Knox said one thing the City has to keep in mind is the effect on adjacent property owners. There are homes down there going anywhere from two hundred thousand to a half million dollars. If you let these folks come in there and fill their armor car up and leave, and the property values go down the drain, what are you accomplishing? If you start building $100,000 or $120,000 homes down there, he is putting his on the market and moving out of the County and he may take is business with him.
David Toomey asked if the Marine Committee is still active. Mayor Rippons said the one he is alluding to was put together just to factor in consideration of the fuel docking facilities. In fact, the committee came back with their response that they were not asked to meet to look at the overall planning. Mr. Toomey said there was one before that when the City first started talking about expansion and development in the Long Wharf area. David Pritchett said there are certain people who had been designated to be on the committee from the Yacht Club. The same people represent the City as before. In that vein, it is still intact. They haven't met lately. They have been working out their issues as the City has been working out their issues. Mr. Toomey said he was involved with the Committee of 100, the previous lighthouse committee. His committee is still active and still well-funded. They can fund about 25 percent of the lighthouse just by turning over their funds. He thinks everyone in the room tonight felt the same way. They want to know about funding the overall vision. He doesn't know if it falls back to the wisdom of the Council or if there is another committee that is already in place, such as the marine committee, that would look at this big picture and incorporate the visions of a lot to come up with a common ground to tie everything together. He noticed the new plans for the marina expansion. One of the things they did learn last year after a heated debate and a lot of people spent a lot of time doing research on where the fuel gas should be. It is ironic that the fuel docks appeared the exact place that everyone agreed they should not be. On the most current plan that he has seen, the fuel dock is still back in the same place. He asked the lighthouse committee if they were aware of the proposed location of the fuel dock and they said they don't have anything to do with what happens around them. We still don't have that big plan. Certain people are still adamant about how far over the marina is going to come because it will block the view as you go down to Long Wharf. You won't be able to look straight out. The people from the Yacht Club want to maximize the amount of income they can get off their slips that they are going to pay to put in and over on the other side, people in the Choptank Avenue area have called him and want to talk about not putting it out any further north on their side of the Yacht Club, they are o.k. There is a choice piece of land there that belongs to the City. He asked if the land on that side of the Yacht Club was any different and if anyone is exploring the options. Mayor Rippons said the City Engineer is working with the engineers working on the plan. The Yacht Club personnel are also working with the engineers. David Pritchett said there was no need to spend a whole lot of time and resources going any further until they heard further back from the prospects of getting a permit approval. They are waiting on that. They have waited almost a year to do two very small dredging projects. They are expecting a delay on the permit. They have held up moving forward with any more engineering work and meeting with the committee. Mayor Rippons said comments on the proposed development or suggestions can be sent to the City and then the City will review them and forward them to the engineers.
Ed Williams, Oakley Street, said the current Cambridge Comprehensive Plan is dated 1997 or 1998. He understands that the State requires the City to update it every five years. He asked if anything was being done to update it. Rob Collison said private consultants would be hired for that purpose. David Pritchett said they had discussed putting it into the budget for requests for proposals for the coming 2005 fiscal budget. Mr. Williams said his concern is all the development going on before we have a comprehensive plan in place that is viable. He feels we should slow down on our development until we do.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 9:00 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, February 9, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer