Mayor and Council Minutes – April 4, 2016

MAYOR AND COUNCIL

APRIL 4, 2016

 

Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz 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 Mayor and Council Meeting of March 21, 2016. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of March 21, 2016 as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.

Mr. Andy Meehan, president-elect of the Chestertown Rotary Club, Mr. Paul Heckles, current president and Ms. Lily Britt, former president of Washington College Rotar-Act Club and class president of the Washington College Class of 2016 were present to discuss the “Flags for Heroes” project that was planned for commencement and Memorial Day Weekend. He said that this program gives community members an opportunity to recognize a personal hero in their life with an American flag.   The flags would be flown in the College owned field at Rt. 213 and Rt. 291. Mr. Meehan stated that the donation per flag is $50.00 and the names of all heroes as well as donors will appear in a local publication over Memorial Day weekend. Mr. Meehan stated that this was a way for people to express their patriotism and he thought it would compliment all the events happening over the Memorial Day Holiday.

Mr. Heckles stated that the Chestertown Rotary was founded in 1926 and this would be the 90th anniversary of Rotarians volunteering their time, talents and money to the community. There would be a dinner party held at the Chester River Yacht and Country Club to celebrate the anniversary on Saturday, April 30th with keynote speaker Sheila Bair, Washington College President. Mr. Heckles invited the Mayor and Council to attend the dinner.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Margo Bailey was scheduled to appear this evening on behalf of the Environmental Committee but was unable to attend. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Chestertown Environmental Committee and the Colchester Farms CSA were presenting “The Vanishing of the Bees” at the GAR Sumner Hall on Thursday, April 7th at 6:30 p.m. The public was invited to attend.

Mr. Brandt Troup and Ms. Jenn Hicks of the Chestertown Recreation Commission were present to discuss the idea of developing a community playground and their findings for recreation needs as a Town.

Ms. Hicks stated that after meeting with the Council in December, the Commission held a meeting to discuss playgrounds in Town, which was well attended with over 30 people. A survey was developed and made available through several social media websites and email outreach. The Commission received over 220 responses and from them developed a set of recommendations.

The recommendations of the Recreation Commission are as follows and are more completely detailed in the Recreation Commission recommendation report:

  1. Community Playground area at Bailey Park;
  2. Small playground unit at AJAX;
  3. Enhance the existing basketball court at AJAX;
  4. Evaluate walking trails to all parks in Town;
  5. Develop and finalize land use for Bailey Park;
  6. Form a Police Athletic League;
  7. Work with Kent County Board of Education and Garnett Elementary School to extend the playground at Garnett.

Ms. Hicks stated that the survey included many questions and 75% of those that answered the survey were Town residents. There was across the board agreement that play equipment for children over the age of 12 (such as fitness stations) were needed. Mr. Ingersoll noted that fitness stations were going to be installed at the Kent County Middle School playground in the Community Parks and Playground grant.

Mr. Shoge stated that outreach to the community alerting residents as to what was already available in the way of recreation would be helpful. He said that there was a significant amount of resources used at the Gateway Park and the Kent County Middle School was slated to begin.

Ms. Hicks stated that Stoltzfus Bros. was liquidating their playground equipment and had a price on a swing set that could be purchased with money in this year’s Recreation budget.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought there was a void in their survey relating to County Recreation League teams not playing in Chestertown. Mr. Troup stated that he spoke with Mr. Bill Lobley, head of the Kent County Soccer League and he was interested in having space for two (2) U6 teams at Bailey Park. Mr. Troup stated that the league has grants for securing equipment through the County.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that he did not think that the forested area shown in Bailey Park was a good idea since there was not that much recreation open land in Town.

Mayor Cerino stated that short-term he thought it was important to cater to the younger children in Chestertown as there was a fair amount of activities for middle-school age children, although it was spread out in different areas.

Mayor Cerino stated that money was always the issue and the reason Town parks are typically grant funded. He said that the grant for Gateway Park was closing in May, and the Middle School grant had to be used and closed out, allowing a clean slate that may be able to fund Bailey Park improvements.

Mayor Cerino stated that he was not sure about preserving a basketball court at AJAX but did think it would be a great idea to move the playground equipment currently at the Police Department and to add a new swing set. He said if the play equipment was used at AJAX the Town could always add more to the area.

Mr. Ingersoll suggested that the Town try to move the playground equipment to the AJAX site. He said that areas that pond with water can be filled and any crumbling asphalt could be removed. He said that there was an area parallel to the green shed at the site that would fit the swing set.

Mr. Troup asked if the Council agreed that the swing set should be ordered. The Council agreed.

Mr. Shoge stated that there were park areas not listed on the report and said that he would like to see this information posted on the website, noting that that there was already the perfect link at the site called “Family Time”.

Ms. Gross moved to proceed with plans for improvements to AJAX as outlined by the Recreation Commission utilizing the equipment at the police station and Town staff with the understanding that the Recreation Commission will be purchasing a swing set from Stoltzfus Brothers (to be paid out of Recreation Commission funds), was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.  

Ms. Hicks stated that the Commission would begin a preliminary budget to submit to the Council for the upcoming fiscal year.

Mr. Zane Carter was present on behalf of RiverFest. He said that this event was in conjunction with Washington College and Sandbox and would be held on September 24, 2016 (Washington College Fall Family Weekend). There were many activities planned for that day, including a kayak race. This year they would like to add the installation of sculptures along the river walk that would be lit at night. Mr. Carter stated that Sandbox was putting out the requests for artists, trying to draw talented people from up and down the east coast.

Mr. Carter stated that they RiverArts has applied for a matching grant in the amount of $10,135 which included parts and labor for this year’s art and they were confident that they would at least get a part of it. They were raising funds to compensate for the match required.

Mr. Carter stated that any financial support from the Town would be appreciated.

Mr. Shoge asked if RiverArts would collaborate with the Arts & Entertainment District and put their information on the Town website. Mr. Carter stated that they were already working together.

Mr. Carter stated that the Town funded projects in the past for projects of this nature anywhere from $500.00 to $1500.00 and said that if the Council would consider a similar donation, RiverArts would be grateful.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Juneteenth celebration party at the GAR building would be held on Saturday, June 18th from 10:00 am to 8:30 p.m. He said that the requests for the Town assistance along South Queen Street were the same as last year’s event.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had prepared the Ordinance that would allow food trucks on private property which included licensing requirements and attending festivals when invited. Fees for licensing would be set by Town resolution. He said that copies were distributed to the Commission with highlighted changes. Mr. Ingersoll stated that if the Ordinance was introduced this evening, it would become effective on May 9th. The Ordinance did not include the proposed pilot project to allow food trucks on public streets either on Memorial Plaza or Park Row which would be prepared by resolution. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Ordinance was amendable until the time it was enacted.

Ms. Gross moved to Introduce Ordinance 01-2016 Chapter 130: Peddling, Soliciting and Food Trucks, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would present the annexation resolution requested by KRM for the Northeast part of Town at the next Mayor and Council meeting. He said that he was waiting on the metes and bounds description to finalize the document.

Mayor Cerino asked for an update on the demolition of the Hogan’s Building on Washington Avenue. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. de Mooy has been in contact with Mr. Hogans to discuss the demolition of the building. The insurance issues have been resolved but the lingering issue is the sharing if an electrical drop by the Hogan’s building and Kunkel Supply. Ms. Gross stated that she would at least like the fencing to be reinstalled if it was going to take some time.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that a large Sycamore tree broke off and fell against a house on Maple Avenue during the wind storm this past weekend. He said that Sharp Tree Service was in the area and removed it on Sunday since it had knocked out the electricity to two properties and was a threat to pedestrians.

Mayor Cerino read parts of the Resolution Supporting the Chestertown Enterprise Zone Designation into the record. The Chestertown Enterprise Zone would provide tax incentives on the added value and improvement it created on any parcel approved in the Zone.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the map did not show an additional inclusion made at the County Commissioners’ meeting this past Tuesday. She said that she agreed with Ms. Jamie Miller that the entire Town should be declared as an “Enterprise Zone”, including the residential areas. Ms. Miller was present and said that it was her feeling that they should ask for more area and have the State take it away, saying that she thought it was not a zoning issue, merely an overlay, and there was no way to tell what would happen in any area over a 10-year time period.

Mr. Ingersoll noted that the total acreage of the Enterprise Zone had doubled since the meeting with the County Commissioners the week before. He said that the Resolution signed by the Council was in support of the County’s application but felt that the Council should know what they were approving and that it be relevant to the Enterprise Zone language concerning business versus residential properties. The Mayor read the entire Resolution into the record.

Mayor Cerino read a letter of support into the record for the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, which provided grant funding to local organizations for projects promoting tourism. Ms. Gross moved to approve the letter of support to the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino read a proclamation declaring Monday, April 25, 2016 as Arbor Day in Chestertown.

Mayor Cerino read a proclamation declaring April 23, 2016 as “Rose McGreer Day” in Chestertown in celebration of Ms. McGreer’s 105th birthday.

Mayor Cerino stated that he was in receipt of two (2) letters of resignation from the Historic District Commission from Ms. Veronica Golden and from Mr. John Ames.   Mayor Cerino stated that he was sorry to see these Commission members leaving the Commission and wished them well in their future endeavors.

Mayor Cerino nominated Ms. Barbara Jorgensen to the Historic District Commission. Mayor Cerino stated that Ms. Jorgensen would be appointed at the next meeting.

Ms. Kuiper stated that business from Ward 3 called “Spa Angels” has moved to Ward 2 (306 Park Row) and was owned by Patricia Kelly.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the Farmers Market signs have now disappeared for the third time. Ms. Kuiper stated that Mr. Ingersoll suggested permanent silk screened meter covers be installed reading “No Parking from 6 am to 1 pm Saturdays” on three (3) sides of the park.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the Health Department would be enforcing the State regulations and permits for giving samples or selling food in the Farmers Market. The Health Department would have to attend the Farmers Market each Saturday for compliance, the cost of which would be borne by the person wanting to sell food.

Ms. Kuiper stated that non-profits were coming to the Farmers Market to set up without a permit and there should be a new permit designed for non-profits designating locations and timeframes for non-profits.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the Artisans were setting back up in the Farmers Market on April 16th.

Ms. Kuiper stated that anyone leaving their bicycles on the grass at the Farmers Market is doing so at their own risk, as it is not the job of the vendors to mind another’s property. Mr. Ingersoll stated that bike racks have been installed in and around the Fountain Park.

Mr. Stetson stated that he water would not be turned on at the Dog Park until a week after the last hard freeze.

Mr. Stetson stated that he attending the CBC Breakfast on March 24th where the candidates for the Board of Education spoke. He said that this was an important decision and the residents should try to hear from all of the candidates before voting. Mr. Shoge stated that the Board of Education candidates were also speaking at the League of Women Voters meeting on Tuesday, April 5.

Mr. Jeff Carroll of the Fish Whistle asked for an update on the Marina. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town was unsuccessful with their capital budget requests and were still waiting on permits from the Corp of Engineers. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he alerted our Congressman that permits have still not been issued and said that at this point there was no excuse. The Town intended to start work again as soon as they could because there were funds and matching funds for bulkhead work.

Mr. Carroll stated that when the bulkhead work was complete, he would have to shut down the restaurant for some time for renovations. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought that was at least 12 to 18 months away at this point. Mayor Cerino agreed, noting that the Town was ready to go on bulkheads, as stated earlier, but were held up due to the permits. Mayor Cerino stated that the next large grant funding they were going for was through the USDA, the application for which was due in July.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that that there was additional dredging to be done and that had to be done when the Marina was closed. He was hoping that would take place next winter, right after downrigging.

Mr. Andrew Oros, co-owner of Widehall on North Water Street, stated that he wanted to express his disappointment in the suggested pilot program for the downtown food trucks. He said that he was concerned about all things related to food trucks in a historic district. Mr. Oros stated that food trucks should be held to the standards of brick and mortar restaurants and he was not excited to think that they could one day be parking at the Foot of High Street. He said that the effect of food trucks on local businesses, trash, noise and aesthetics should be considered before any decisions were made on the matter.

Mayor Cerino stated that the sites considered for a pilot program for food trucks were the east side of Memorial Park and one of the sides of Fountain Park. Mayor Cerino stated that when the language came forth for the pilot program he thought there would be people wanting to comment and he would listen.

There being no further business, Mr. Shoge moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:40 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                            Chris Cerino

Town Clerk                                                     Mayor

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