MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JULY 7, 2014
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 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 June 16, 2014, the executive session of the same date and the C-3 Neighborhood Commercial District meeting. He read the executive session summary into the record as follows:
“Mayor Cerino called an executive session to order at 9:33 p.m., June 16, 2014 to discuss a personnel matter and a legal matter. In attendance at the meeting were Council members Liz Gross, Linda C. Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, along with W. S. Ingersoll, Town Manager and Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk. The discussions concerned the Marina manager’s contract and a possible legal remedy to the Quaker Neck Sanitary issues. No motions were made or passed. The meeting adjourned at 9:58 p.m. Minutes were taken and are part of the record”.
Mr. Shoge moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes 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 submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Ms. Patti Willis of Shore Regional Health was present and gave an overview of the mission and strategic plan for the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. A summary sheet was distributed. She said that the first anniversary of Shore Regional Health was celebrated on July 1, 2014. Ms. Willis stated that there would be a significant shift in how health care is delivered nationwide with the five (5) goals of Chestertown’s hospital to be creating exceptional quality, safety and patient experience; leading the way in innovation and integrated care delivery; enhancing access to clinical services throughout the region; supporting the efforts of highly engaged team members and physician partners, and; achieving consistently strong financial performing in support of the mission.
Ms. Willis stated that documents regarding the pilot study would be submitted to the Town for placement on the website.
Mr. Shoge asked how many people were employed in Chestertown by University of Maryland Medical System. Ms. Willis stated that there were anywhere from 300 to 400 employees in the Chestertown area. She said she expected the numbers to stay relatively steady over the next 5 years.
Ms. Kuiper asked if Chester River Manor and Hospice were included in the 5 year plan. Ms. Willis stated that the 5 year plan covered the entire enterprise. She said that they worked with many partners, but Chester River Home Health supplied the home services in the region.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Bill Arrowood of the Chestertown Recreation Commission was to appear this evening, but had a work commitment. He read the statement sent by Mr. Arrowood into the record (attached). There was a request for funding for basketball equipment. Ms. Sally Harding submitted her resignation from the Recreation Commission. The Recreation Commission would meet on Friday, July 11th at 6:00 p.m. at the foot of High Street.
Ms. Gross asked if the money Mr. Arrowood was requesting was included in the budget for the Recreation Commission. Mayor Cerino stated that he was not certain if this was a separate or new request, but if it was, there was a procedure in place that had to be followed.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like to see an accounting for the Recreation Commission. She said that each member of the bocce league paid $25.00 to play, but there were 2 invoices for t-shirts that were over $600.00 and she wanted an accounting of the revenues and expenses. She said that she would like to see the invoices for the checks that were made payable to the Chairman of the Recreation Commission, and also wondered why they were not paid directly to the vendors.
Mr. Ingersoll discussed the 4th of July fireworks. He said that the fireworks were spectacular and that Mr. Nasatka and Mr. Proctor volunteer their time preparing for and shooting the show. He said that the Town gets a $30,000.00 show for $14,000.00. He thanked the College for allowing the Town to use their land for the fireworks show.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the website bid award was scheduled for this evening to allow the Council additional time to review the bids. Mr. Shoge stated that his recommendation was to award the bid to Moo Productions. Ms. Gross moved to award the website bid to Moo Productions, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the second low bidder, Ignition 72, was in the audience and thanked Mr. Dinger for the bid and for attending the meeting.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Sydney Brookes was retiring as meter monitor and school crossing guard on August 1st. Ms. Gross stated the Mayor and Council should accept her letter with gratitude for her service.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Council needed to make a decision concerning the downtown meters, as that was a large responsibility of Ms. Brookes’. Ms. Kuiper moved to bag the meters for a 6 month period beginning July 31st and reevaluate at the end of January 2015 if there was a parking problem, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Chief Baker stated that the Police Department was happy to help with enforcement, but there are administrative duties that Ms. Brookes provided that will have to be fulfilled involving the flagging of licenses and the RedSpeed system. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought in addition to that, warning letters should be sent to those with tickets who are about to have their license renewals flagged by the Motor Vehicle Association.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Doris Winter began as a volunteer at the Visitors Center and was hired as a part-time employee several years ago. She was a wonderful addition to the staff and helped to ensure that everything was run smoothly at the Center. Unfortunately, Ms. Winter was diagnosed with cancer, and although she wants to continue to work, her doctor advised against it. Ms. Winter will be retiring at the end of July. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the summer help from the Marina would be helping fill the hours until September, when the permanent part-time position will be refilled.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Emergency Ordinance 2014-04 Declaring Certain Real Property to be Surplus and Authorizing the Sale Thereof was presented for adoption at this meeting. Mr. Ingersoll read the Ordinance into the record. He said that the sale of the Satterfield Court and High Steps apartments has been discussed publicly since 2011, but the State required a public notice and wanted it in the form of an Ordinance. He said that the settlement was supposed to take place on June 27th and had been delayed until July 10th. Ms. Gross moved to adopt Emergency Ordinance 2014-04 Declaring Certain Real Property to be Surplus and Authorizing the Sale Thereof, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that originally, Satterfield Court was a nylon factory before becoming an apartment building for senior citizens. He said that the revenues from the sale of Calvert Heights were used to build the Satterfield Court apartments. He said that the High Steps apartments were a rebuild of 8 townhouse apartments, for which a State Rental Partnership loan was received of $320,000.00. That was the fee that was going back to the State at settlement. He said in 2055 the Town will receive all of the loan funds granted by the State for the sale of the properties. Mr. Ingersoll stated that low-income families have been helped over the years and the people who live in the apartments today will benefit most from the sale, as the apartments at both locations will remain for low-income families and senior citizens.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Pride of Baltimore had requested docking space at the Chestertown Marina during the War of 1812 celebration. He asked if their docking fees would be granted by the Town. Ms. Kuiper said if the fees were waived for the Pride of Baltimore, the Caulk’s Field Committee would like to know as it could be an in-kind donation for their grant purposes. Ms. Kuiper stated that she was on that Committee and would have to recuse herself from any vote of the Council.
Mayor Cerino stated that typically when the Pride of Baltimore visits they give tours but charge for sails. Ms. Gross stated that she would not want to give free docking space if they were not going to give free visits. Mayor Cerino stated that usually the Pride of Baltimore is paid to come to a port, so the Town was fortunate that they were coming to the event.
Mr. Shoge moved to approve the Pride of Baltimore to dock at the Chestertown Marina rent free during the War of 1812 reenactment festivities, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried with four (4) in favor, Ms. Kuiper abstained.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Gross was working on some changes to Chapter 30: Recreation Commission and asked if she wished to review the work. Ms. Gross stated that she sent a draft to the Council on Thursday, July 3rd, clarifying the document and strengthening the role of the Recreation Commission as an advisory body to the Mayor and Council. She said that the revisions were as follows:
1.) The Commission members should rotate. She suggested that the current members draw straws to set up a rotation system.
2.) Section 30-2 reads that the Commission shall have the power to adopt bylaws. Ms. Gross stated that “bylaws” should be changed to “rules and regulations”.
3.) Section 30-3 reads that the Commission should “provide and supervise public playgrounds”. Ms. Gross suggested a change to “conduct and supervise public playgrounds”.
4.) Section 30-4 speaks to the annual budget, and it should be added that the budget should be submitted at budget time for the entire Town.
5.) Section 30-5 gives the power to appoint Town Employees. She said that this was a prerogative of the Town and should be changed to make “recommendations only as to the appointment of personnel”.
6.) Section 30-6 requires that monthly and annual reports be submitted. She said that seems burdensome and would like to see quarterly reports, one of which could be the annual report. A budget will not be approved by the Mayor and Council if the reports are not received.
Ms. Gross stated that she would like the Recreation Commission to review the changes recommended before the ordinance was adopted. Mayor Cerino agreed, stating that the document should be forwarded to Mr. Arrowood to share with the Commission. Mr. Shoge stated that the activities that the Recreation Commission have sponsored were dynamite, but did not think they should be planning facilities for the Town.
Ms. Mulligan retrieved the Ordinance that was passed in 2013 requiring background checks for the Recreation Commission to be added to the draft revised Ordinance.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought there was a misunderstanding between the Recreation Commission and the Mayor and Council about creation of new facilities. He said that the activities are fantastic and he wanted them to continue. The role was to advise ways to improve facilities but not forging ahead on plans for facilities without Council approval.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there is verbiage in the existing Ordinance that the Recreation Commission can solicit for donations but no money can be spent without the Council’s permission. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought that there should be something added about recordkeeping for those funds.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would like to hear from the other members of the Recreation Commission because he only hears from two (2). He said that he was uncertain that the Commission was holding regular meetings.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to reappoint Johnnie A. Jones, III, Esquire to the Ethics Commission for a 3-year term. Mr. Stetson moved to reappoint Johnnie A. Jones, III to the Ethics Commission for a 3-year term, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to reappoint Ted Chase to the Ethics Commission for a 3-year term. Ms. Gross moved to reappoint Ted Chase to the Ethics Commission for a 3-year term, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like reappoint Alexa Cawley to the Historic District Commission for a 3-year term. Mr. Shoge moved to reappoint Alexa Cawley to the Historic District Commission for a 3-year term, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to nominate Dr. John Ames, Jr. to the Historic District Commission. A formal motion to appoint would be held at the next meeting. Mr. Stetson moved to nominate Dr. Ames to the Historic District Commission, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for Ward Reports.
Mr. Stetson stated that there was a meeting on July 3rd regarding the robberies that were occurring in Town. He said that the meeting was productive and he was happy to hear that arrests have been made since the meeting.
Mr. Stetson stated that the First Friday events in the Fountain Park were very nice and well attended.
Mr. Stetson stated that he would like the permission of the Council to meet with Chief Baker to discuss possible incentives for the Chestertown Police Officers to live in Town limits, noting that the officers should be part of the community. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town participates in the “House Keys for Employees” program which commits $5,000.00 towards a down payment to own a home in the Town limits. Mr. Stetson stated that he thought that there could be incentives additional to that program. The Council agreed to Mr. Stetson asking to meet with Chief Baker.
Mr. Shoge stated that he received information from the Calvert Street delegation. He said that there was a program for the local youth called “400 Block Work Group” and the children received a stipend for cleaning up the streets and other community service projects. He said that the group was planning to come before the Council to request a donation towards the program.
Mr. Ingersoll asked Mr. Shoge if the new streetlights he had requested had been installed on Flatland Road. Mr. Shoge stated that it looks like there are attachments on the poles, but the lights were not in yet. Mr. Shoge stated that there was a steel plate over the large pothole at Flatland Road and Rt. 20, indicating to him that it should soon be fixed.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she received an email from a resident on Washington Avenue alerting her that a neighborhood association has been formed in that area. She said that she would like to include the residents of Mt. Vernon Avenue. Ms. Kuiper stated that she was trying to schedule a meeting and would contact the spokesperson for the group, saying that she hoped Mr. de Mooy and Mayor Cerino would attend the meeting.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a grass height restriction and would like to see it enforced. She said that properties were abandoned and were not being mowed. Mr. Ingersoll asked for the addresses of the property so that he could see that the grass was cut according to Town policies.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she contacted Ms. Kristen Owens, DCA president, and would like to discuss a workshop for the sign ordinance revisions. She said that Mr. de Mooy has been many places over the past 2 weeks and people have been told that they would be fined for signage violations. Mayor Cerino stated that he would like the Planning Commission and Historic District Commission to jointly lead this meeting.
Ms. Kuiper stated that signs and fines have come up at every meeting held with the business owners. She said that it goes over the edge when a storefront is lost on Cannon Street because they could not have a sign. Mayor Cerino stated that he did not disagree that the Ordinance should be reviewed but it should be done in a structured way with people who are not tied to a specific business.
Ms. Kuiper asked why phone numbers cannot be on signs in the Historic District. Mr. Ingersoll stated that was a Historic District policy. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a list of recommendations from store owners would be helpful concerning any signage reform.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would contact Mr. Grotsky, Planning Commission Chairman, and Mr. Lane, Historic District Commission Chairman, to schedule a workshop session. Ms. Kuiper stated that the DCA met the evening after the Planning Commission.
Ms. Gross thanked Mr. Ingersoll for fixing the Philosopher’s Terrace pothole she complained about earlier in the day.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Mayor and Council were asked to meet with the Kent County Commissioners at their meeting scheduled Tuesday, July 15th at 6:00 p.m. There would be discussion on joint use of a police station in the future and school system issues regarding recreation for the Middle School campus.
Mayor Cerino stated that Ms. Ashley Herr had requested to be on the agenda regarding her food truck business. Ms. Herr stated that she would like to serve tacos out of a food truck in the downtown area. Ms. Herr stated that there was a $1,000.00 fee for a hawker’s license but her food truck would operate out of a private parking lot in a fixed location and would not be setting up on public property. The zoning opinion by Mr. de Mooy using the portion of the Ordinance where there was a$150.00 fee for a 30-day license.
Mayor Cerino asked for a summary of the Ms. Herr’s business plan. Ms. Herr stated that she bought a bus and was going to sell authentic Mexican-style tacos out of it during lunch hours. She said that she has 2 proposed sites; Spring Avenue by the old Arts Building (C-2), or the Dollar General parking lot (C-1). She said that she would be renting parking spaces at either location.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. de Mooy had done some research of the Peddling Ordinance (Chapter 130) and found language that allowed 30-day licenses (under Section 130-11(E)) for some food sales. Mr. de Mooy suggested an amendment could be made to that part of the Ordinance to permit food trucks in designated zoning districts and under regulations that adequately address safety, traffic and other concerns.
Mr. Ingersoll suggested allowing Ms. Herr to operate the business on a temporary probationary basis (30-days at a time) in the Dollar General site (C-1) and while the ordinance is amended to allow such an activity. He recommended a process that would include Planning Commission site plan review for the safety of pedestrian and vehicular customers.
Ms. Herr submitted a list of neighboring towns and their monthly charges for food trucks for consideration of the Mayor and Council.
Ms. Kuiper stated that people would love to have prepared foods at the Farmer’s Market. Mayor Cerino stated that was an entirely different discussion.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that this discussion was about the restaurant being mobile. He said that the Council could agree to the taco truck, provisionally, with the Planning Commission approving the site plan at the Dollar General parking lot. Mr. Ingersoll stated that it would take at least a month to make changes to the Ordinance and there could be other people coming forward with the same idea, so the Council may not want to change the fees.
Ms. Gross stated that she would be concerned if there were to be a proliferation of food trucks, particularly smells of deep fryers permeating through the downtown. Ms. Kuiper stated that she did not think that the odor would be any different than the exhaust fumes from restaurants.
Mr. Ingersoll reiterated that the probationary approval was for C-1 zoning, on private property, with Health Department approval, this would be approved on a provisional basis (30-days at a time), and a visit to the Planning Commission for site plan approval of ingress and egress of vehicles through the parking lot. This will allow time to see the progression of the business and if others follow with the same idea, the Council will have established a sound and safe process for approvals.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the second site for this proposal, located in C-2 was not a good site because of problems with parking, ingress and egress. The site proposed was also a co-op, and all owners were not in agreement with the proposed plan.
Mr. Stetson asked if there was anything preventing Ms. Herr from parking on the street and selling food. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there is language that prohibits that from happening on public streets.
Ms. Gross asked if the truck would stay parked permanently in the evenings. Ms. Herr stated that she could move the truck at any time.
Ms. Kuiper asked why Ms. Herr could not go into C-2 if she had the permission of the property owners. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the C-2 location Ms. Herr is proposing had several owners and the parking lot had been committed as parking.
Mr. Shoge moved to approve a 30-day probationary period, under Section 130-11 to allow Ms. Herr to operate a taco truck in the Dollar General parking lot (C-1)(with written permission of the owner and the Health Department) and the understanding that she will go before the Planning Commission for site plan approval, including ingress and egress, along with where the truck will be set. The motion was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Council would then try to fix the ordinance to allow for food trucks under Section 130.11.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor