Mayor and Council Meeting Minutes – August 20, 2018

MAYOR AND COUNCIL

AUGUST 20, 2018

Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Linda C. Kuiper, Ellsworth Tolliver and Marty Stetson, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.

Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the TEFRA Bond Hearing or the Mayor and Council Meeting of August 6, 2018. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of the TEFRA Bond Hearing and Mayor and Council meeting of August 6, 2018, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $255,092.86. Restricted funds for the Marina project totaled $136,503.53.

Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.

Sgt. Lozar presented the Police Report for July 2018. Mr. Stetson asked for future reports to include the pie chart for overtime as had been done in the past. Rev. Tolliver stated that he wanted to commend the Police Department for the work that they were doing in resolving the issues in the Calvert Street area.  He also said that it was great to see the police on foot patrol during this past Saturday’s Legacy Day and Block Party.

Mr. Andy Scott, president of the homeowner’s association at Chester River Landing and Mr. John Seidel of Washington College were present to discuss the possible reduction of the speed limit on Quaker Neck Road (South Cross Street Extended) beginning at the town limit of Chestertown. Mr. Scott stated that he was aware that the State Highway Administration was the entity that ruled on the speed limit on state roads but he was looking for support from the Town of Chestertown to petition the State Highway Administration to review the speed on Quaker Neck and possibly install traffic calming along the road.

Mr. Seidel stated that there have been changes to Washington College’s property along the waterfront in the past few years which will bring an additional 250 students to the waterfront on a daily basis, either to the boathouse or the new environmental center, and this number did not include faculty and staff. The students come by bike, on foot, or by car.  He said that the 40mph is now too fast for that stretch of road.  Mr. Seidel stated that the concern is shared by the residents of Chester River Landing as there were increasing numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists entering and exiting on the street as cars drive by at or above 40mph.

Mr. Scott gave a PowerPoint presentation on his findings regarding speed in this area and how vehicles come in at a higher speed and only begin decelerating by the boathouse property. He said that the police department did spend some time in the area monitoring the speed and most of the observations speeds were 40 to 45mph.  Chief Baker indicated that he thought this was due to a “speed trap effect” as the officers were in uniform while monitoring the area, which has a dampening effect on speed.

Mr. Scott stated that he thought 40mph was just too fast for the area with all of the expansion that has taken place over the past few years. Mr. Seidel stated that the request to the State Highway Administration will be made with the support of Chester River Landing, Washington College, Stepne Manor and KRM Development.  Mr. Seidel stated that they were hoping that the Town of Chestertown will also support the request for a decrease in speed from 40mph to 25mph where the Town limits begin on Quaker Neck Road, along with traffic calming efforts such as pedestrian warning signs, crosswalk flashers and narrowing the white lines on the road allowing additional space for bicyclists and pedestrians.  A map was given to the Council to show the area he proposed for 25mph.

Mr. Stetson stated that it took over a year to have the SHA remove a single sign heading out of Town. He said that at the time police were monitoring Quaker Neck Road he was bicycling and said that he saw the traffic slowing down, agreeing with Chief Baker’s thoughts on why there were not many cars over the speed limit.

Mr. Seidel stated that 40mph was demonstrably too fast on this stretch of road with all of the new construction in the area. Mr. Scott asked if the Town would consider writing a letter in support of the request to lower the speed limit to 25mph.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that the District Engineer retired in May 2018 and he did not know that a new district engineer had replaced him but said the proposal was a must. Mr. Ingersoll stated that for decades there have been more and more walking and biking in this area, along with growth of the area.  He said that he would like to see the Rail-Trail go around the bend to a suitable safe crosswalk aligned with the boathouse location.  This would allow visibility in both directions for pedestrians.  Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought combined letters of support and a first meeting with representatives from each group and the SHA might be the way to start.  Mr. Ingersoll stated that in-town speed limits were most always 25mph.

Mr. Stetson stated that the SHA usually did not deviate from their formula for setting speed limits, but there were reasons in this case to have them review it and see if it could happen.   Mr. Foster stated suggested that they find another term instead of using “road narrowing” as bicyclists especially have a hard time with the width of the road as it is.

Mayor Cerino stated that the Comprehensive Plan supports a lower speed limit, noting that the Planning Commission discussed making it a boulevard divided in the center with landscaping. Mr. Ingersoll stated that was exactly the type of traffic calming he would like to see with sidewalks and biking lanes.  Mayor Cerino stated that this may be the perfect time for the Town and the College to collaborate on the concept of the Riverwalk and wrap it on the front side of the Armory making a sidewalk from the Radcliffe Creek Bridge along the side of the road owned by the College.  He said that this could be a pedestrian-friendly amenity outside of SHA’s schedule that would take the pedestrian burden off the shoulder of the road.

Mr. Scott stated that he would draft a letter for the Town to submit to the SHA.

Mr. Stetson moved to support a decrease in the speed limit on Cross Street extended (Rt. 289) to 25mph was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.

Mr. Drew McMullen was present on behalf of the Sultana Education Foundation to discuss Downrigging Weekend. Mr. McMullen stated that the Town has been enormously helpful, especially Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. de Mooy, in planning for Downrigging in the midst of a major construction site.  He said that Downrigging Weekend will be held this year from Friday, October 26th through Sunday, October 28th.

Mr. McMullen stated that the permit request this year differs from other years because the layout of the Marina is different, but the request was to use most of the Marina from October 24th through October 29th with the exception of the slips that are rented by Echo Hill and Shore Rivers.  The request included the closure of the boat ramp during the event, in particular from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 27th.  Mr. McMullen stated that launching a boat during a major festival had become too dangerous.

Mr. McMullen stated that safe pedestrian movement has always been a concern for the Sultana and in past years the information tent has been at the foot of Cannon Street with a lot of foot traffic through the Fish Whistle Parking lot and into the street. This year, Sultana proposed a pedestrian only zone where the Marina buildings are housed, on the high ground by the large shed and Interpretive Center.  There was a map with the request showing traffic flow in a counterclockwise direction around the Fish Whistle parking lot allowing a continuous flow of vehicular traffic while blocking off the area for pedestrians.

Mr. McMullen stated that they were also requesting use of the Marina Office for ticket sales, information and merchandise for the weekend. Mr. Ingersoll asked if the Sultana was expecting use of the bathrooms over Downrigging weekend.  Mr. McMullen stated that Mr. de Mooy communicated that the bathrooms will be in working order by the time of the festival.  He said that if they were not finished he would order port-o-potties.  Mr. Ingersoll stated that the bathrooms would have to be stocked.  Mr. McMullen said they were prepared to take care of that.

Mr. McMullen asked if the Town stage could be borrowed for the weekend and set up as shown on the map in the Marina lot. He said that there will be tents set up with food and beer & wine around the stage where different bands would play throughout the weekend.  Mr. McMullen stated that he thought the electricity would be functioning at the Marina by festival time and they would supply a sturdy 30amp cord to reach the nearest electrical.

Mr. McMullen stated that the foot of High Street would be closed from October 26th through October 28th for the classic car and boat exhibit as in years prior.  The fireworks would be shot from Wilmer Park on Friday, October 26th at 7:00 p.m. with a request for assistance from the Town for mesh fencing along the walkway to the pavilion.

Ms. Kuiper suggested that the metal building be utilized in case of inclement weather. Mr. McMullen stated that he was thinking along the same lines, but there are materials in storage and he wanted to plan ahead so he was just going to install a temporary tent for the weekend.

Mr. Ingersoll complimented Mr. McMullen on his idea for the three (3) dock design scenario at the Marina. He said that it will work so much better than the four (4) dock configuration.  Mr. McMullen stated that it was amazing to see all the work taking place at the Marina and it was going to have a huge impact on Chestertown.  He said that there is the potential to expand the Downrigging Festival which hasn’t been acted on because the waterfront area had been questionable.  He said that with the improvements there could be big changes to the Downrigging Festival, in particular, in the future.

The Council agreed to all aspects of the permit for Downrigging Weekend from Friday, October 26th through Sunday, October 28th including earlier set up requests.

Ms. Tess Hogan was present to discuss the details of the HP Festival which was set to take place October 5th and 6th in Downtown Chestertown.  Ms. Hogan stated that the permit request for this year was almost identical to last year’s permit; the only change is the October 5th street closure in front of the Garfield Center to a later time in the day allowing for business as usual for surrounding businesses.  Ms. Hogan stated that it would be appreciated if the Town Crew allowed the installation of the tent before installing the stage.  Ms. Hogan stated that there will be a few new businesses taking part in the festivities this year but it was still within the same scope as previous years.

Mayor Cerino asked if the Farmers and Artisans will be asked to relocate on Saturday, October 6th.  Ms. Hogans stated that the Farmers are never asked to relocate and the Artisans and non-profits who did not wish to participate in the festival moved to Memorial Plaza for that day.  She said that she will make arrangements with the Artisans Market Manager before the event takes place.  She said she will also alert Emmanuel Episcopal Church of the festival taking place that day.

Mr. Stetson moved to approve the permit for the HP Festival on Friday, October 5th and Saturday, October 6th as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.

Ms. Kay MacIntosh and Mr. Zane Carter were present to discuss holiday fountain décor in the Fountain Park. Ms. MacIntosh stated that there was no holiday tree in Town and the Dickens Festival had the idea of turning the Hebe Fountain into a tree with Hebe as the angel.  A rendering of the tree was shown to the Council.  Ms. MacIntosh stated that a group has been meeting to discuss the idea, including Mr. Jon Hanley who is the caretaker of the fountain.  Mr. Carter stated that the “tree” will be made of conduit and aluminum frames connecting at the corners with conduit joints, wrapped with chicken wire and adorned in garlands and LED lights.  The tree will stand on its own without help from the fountain but will be constructed around the fountain.  Mr. Carter stated that he could bring the power for the lights from the fountain for the holiday season.

Mayor Cerino asked if wind or weather would affect the structure. Mr. Carter stated that the tree will be constructed in such a way that it should not move in different weather conditions, but there would be foam placed around the fountain protecting it from damage.  Mayor Cerino asked if the Garden Club was aware of the proposal.  Ms. MacIntosh stated that they have met with the Garden Club and their board has approved it.

Ms. MacIntosh stated that she wanted to thank Mr. Carter, Ed Minch, Jon Hanley and Rob Glebe for their help on this project as they came up with the engineering for the tree. She said that this year would be an experiment but thought it was a terrific idea for the holidays.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that due to the Labor Day holiday, the next Utilities Commission Meeting and Mayor and Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 4th at 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that he submitted two (2) separate grant applications to the Waterway Improvement Fund, both for 100% funding. The first request was $95,000.00 for the final basin improvements, including finger piers and minor modifications around the basin.  The second grant request was for $150,000.00 for dredging north of the third pier and south of the first pier.  He said that he spoke with officials at the agency and said that this would be the final requests and, if funded, the funding will not be available until next June.  Mr. Ingersoll stated that by this time next year the Marina should be open for business with only minor issues to address.

Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Mr. Steve Atkinson to a three (3) year term on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Ms. Kuiper moved to reappoint Mr. Steve Atkinson to a three (3) year term on the Zoning Board of Appeals, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino asked for ward reports.

Mr. Stetson stated that the playground equipment was installed at Bailey Park. Mr. Stetson stated that he posted additional signs in the Dog Park portion of Bailey Park (paid for by Friends of the Chestertown Dog Park) announcing that the Dog Park area was not an area for children’s play.  He said that he was afraid that larger dogs could knock children over or the children could trip over the smaller dogs.

Mr. Stetson stated that the Town team will be participating the fall Bocce League.

Rev. Tolliver stated that he participated in the “Your Voice, Your Vote” campaign this year and said that he wanted encourage people to vote.

Rev. Tolliver stated that he wanted to encourage residents in the Calvert Street area to remain vigilant and said that the police are doing all they can to resolve the issues taking place. The Town needed help in maintaining peace and civility in the neighborhood.  He said that he was available to speak to anyone if a resident needed to share their feelings regarding the problems in the area.  Rev. Tolliver thanked the police department for their work, noting that this past weekend with Legacy Day and the block party on Calvert Street went off without a hitch.

Rev. Tolliver stated that he met with Kent County’s IT department head, Scott Boone, who gave him a detailed walkthrough of the new broadband project. He said that they discussed ways to include the underserved neighborhoods in an effort to help the students have access to the internet so they can do their schoolwork.

Rev. Tolliver stated that he agreed to be a facilitator for the River Arts Film Series for the  showing of “To Kill A Mockingbird” on Friday evening, August 24th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the G.A.R. Sumner Hall building.  Pre-registration through River Arts is encouraged.  Rev. Tolliver thanked Ms. Leslie Raimond and Ms. Louise Miller for the opportunity to facilitate the program.

Rev. Tolliver asked who was responsible for the maintenance of the round-a-bout at Rt. 20 and Rt. 291. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. Casey Hurd, owner of Greenscapes Landscaping, voluntarily maintains the circle as a public service.

Ms. Kuiper stated that she emailed the Council a draft of the proposed Rules and Regulations for the Town of Chestertown’s Farmers’ Market. She said the draft included farmers, artisans and non-profit organizations.  Ms. Kuiper stated that since she has become more involved in all aspects of the market since Mr. McCoy’s passing, there were issues that need to be addressed and answered for the vendors.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the purpose of the market was to give local farmers, artisans and non-profits the opportunity to sell in an open market and provide education and information about their organizations.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the Mayor and Council had dictated that each space at the market would cost $10.00 per week, but people who were taking up two (2) spaces were only paying $15.00. Each space will be charged $10.00.  Ms. Kuiper stated that there have been issues with vendors who have been overly demanding and those issues are addressed in this draft.  Ms. Kuiper stated that there were issues with idling vehicles (due to their refrigeration needs) which had to be addressed by alternative methods due to complaints of the noxious odors and noise.

Ms. Kuiper stated that basic liability coverage should have to be provided from each vendor and non-profit in the park. Licensing requirements from those selling food should be visible at the market.  Expenses (public health inspection) incurred for tastings are the responsibility of the vendor offering said tastings.

Mayor Cerino asked how many vendors were in the park on a typical Saturday. Ms. Kuiper stated that there twenty-eight (28) farmers, not including one who is there for the summer and the temporary vendor selling honey.  She said that she thought the Artisans had twenty-five (25) spaces.  There was no count on the number Non-Profits each week.  She said that each non-profit should submit their 501 status to the Town along with their permit form.

Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like the Council to direct her as to when to begin enforcement of the full price for each space. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the only thing the Council ever said was that each space was $10.00.  Therefore, two (2) spaces should be $20.00.  He said that he was uncertain how a different determination was ever made.

Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a section addressing where the fees collected for the market were spent, as vendors were asking how the fees were spent. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the fees collected by the market went to much more than trimming trees, reseeding the grass, and maintaining the fountain as described in the draft. He said that the fee should be considered as a cost of doing business.

Ms. Kuiper stated that she has warned vendors about parking in handicap spaces and from this point forward she was going to ask that the police impose a fine. Mr. Ingersoll said that he thought there was a $100.00 fine for parking in handicap spaces, and Sgt. Lozar agreed.

Mr. Foster asked if the Rules & Regulations were open for discussion. Ms. Kuiper stated that she has been working on the rules with the interim Farmers’ Market Managers, who are all experiencing the same issues.  Mayor Cerino asked if the draft could be emailed to Ms. Wanda Gorman, the interim managers and Mayor and Council for input and then vote to approve them.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the rules limit participation to vendors from Kent and Northern Queen Anne’s Counties, with one farmer grandfathered in from Cecil County.

Ms. MacIntosh asked if there would be a process for the public to make suggestions or find out what the proposed rules were. Ms. Kuiper stated that it was in the rules that interested parties not involved directly in the day-to-day operations of the market should present suggestions, views and opinions to the Chestertown Mayor and Council, in writing, or at a Council meeting (before lobbying Council members and market managers).  Mr. Stetson asked if the draft could be put online.  Ms. Kuiper stated that she did not mind putting the draft rules online but did not want the actual application online, as other towns did not put their application forms online.

Ms. MacIntosh stated that she thought people would want to enter the market from other places to see if their product was well received, noting that if they could they might consider a brick and mortar business in Chestertown.

Mr. Ingersoll asked if there would be a process in the proposed draft regulations where the vendors reapply each year for the market. Ms. Kuiper stated that the Farmers now operate year-round.  Mr. Ingersoll stated that there should be a clear application process with set rules and annual resigning.  Ms. Kuiper stated that the Town should also reserve the right to deny vendors who represent a conflict of interest with the merchants of the Town of Chestertown.

Mr. Foster stated that he wanted to thank the Kent County News and Chestertown Spy for getting the word out and generating discussion on the tax differential and the issue of double taxation. He said that this Thursday, August 23rd at the Holiday Inn, the Community Breakfast Group will have three (3) candidates running for Kent County Commissioner and the other three (3) candidates the following week.  He passed around a letter explaining the tax differential in the context of a Kent County Crab Festival and read it into the record.  He said that the tax differential had to stay on the radar for the entire delegation so they begin to understand that it is necessary.

Mr. Foster stated that Legacy Day was a grand event and said that Rev. Tolliver forgot to mention that he was one of this year’s honorees.

Ms. MacIntosh asked if the Council would review a permit she submitted for a block party on September 15, 2018. Ms. MacIntosh stated that this was a joint event between Main Street Chestertown and the Downtown Chestertown Association and the hope was that people would stay in Town after the Farmers Market.  The SHA granted a street closure between High Street and Cannon Street on South Cross Street from noon to 5:00 p.m. that day.  There will be music, food, beer and wine, desserts, games and other things to fill the block with a party atmosphere for the afternoon.  Ms. MacIntosh stated that High Street has been closed many times and it would be a nice change to give the merchants along Cross Street a day.

Rev. Tolliver asked if the detour was planned. Ms. MacIntosh stated that vehicles can go either left or right and both streets onto High, amounting to a two block detour.  Ms. MacIntosh stated that she would work out no parking signs with Chief Baker.

Ms. Kuiper moved to approve the Fall Block Party for Main Street and DCA on Saturday, September 15, 2018 with the closure of South Cross Street between High Street and Cannon Street from 11:00 to 5:00 p.m. was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.

Ms. MacIntosh stated that the Jazz Festival starts on September 5th and was expanded this year, running from Wednesday through Saturday.

There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Rev. Tolliver moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.

 Submitted by:                                                             Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                                  Chris Cerino

Town Clerk                                                            Mayor

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