CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
DECEMBER 4, 2023
Councilman O’Brien called the meeting to order at 6:27 p.m. In attendance were Mayor David Foster (entered meeting at 6:20 pm), Mayor David Foster, Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano, and Meghan Efland. Also in attendance were Larry DiRe (Town Manager), Lynda Thomas (Town Clerk) and guests.
Councilman O’Brien asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council minutes of November 20, 2023. Councilman Herz moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of November 20, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and carried unanimously.
Councilman O’Brien reported that the cash on hand was $3,250,457.97. Councilwoman Efland made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
- Saturday in the Park
- Juneteenth Celebration – “Heroes of the Chesapeake”
- ShoreRivers Solstice Celebration
- Kent County High School 2024 stage rental for May 29-31
- Authorize Town Manger to negotiate lease to Town water tower space
Councilwoman Efland made a motion to approve the consent calendar for December 4, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
A Public Hearing was held to receive public comments regarding the proposed Transfer of Heron Point Internal Roads.
Representatives of ACTs (Heron Point) were present for the public hearing and gave an overview of the proposal and reviewed the need for road repairs and stripping and a plan to establish sidewalks for resident use.
Mayor Foster, at 6:20 pm, entered the meeting, during the beginning of the public hearing.
Mayor Foster noted that he plans to recuse himself from any vote regarding the proposed Transfer of Heron Point Internal Roads.
Mr. O’Brien expressed support for the conveyance and reviewed the opposition the residents have expressed and noted that Heron Point has resolved the issues and gained resident support.
The president of the resident association spoke on behalf of the residents. He noted that a separate committee did a thorough study and quoted that “they unanimously concluded that the benefits of road ownership are supported by facts and recommended that resident counsel ask ACTs to reengage with the town. …in conclusion, the resident counsel unanimously supports Heron Point of Chestertown’s petition to the Town for conveyance of the roads that exclusively serve Heron Point.”
Mr. O’Brien noted to clarify that final design did not include a gated community. The resident association president stated that was beyond the scope. This committee was specifically looking at the question of conveyance of the roads.
Councilman Herz made a motion to close the public hearing. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Kent County Comprehensive Recidivism Reduction Project
Ms. Hope Clark, Recidivism Reduction Project Director with the States Attorneys Office, presented the Kent County Comprehensive Recidivism Reduction Project. She introduced Christine Chisolm, the Recidivism Reduction Project Case Manager. Ms. Chisolm gave an overview of her position and her focus on relapse prevention.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. DiRe presented the reports on the Town boards, commissions, committees’ activity report, Communications – Content and Platforms, Finances and Early Fiscal Year 2024-2025 Budget Preparation, and January Meeting Dates – January 2nd and 16th due to holiday closures.
Mayor Foster reported:
- Attended the Dickens of a Christmas festival and thanked everyone involved.
- Participated in a discussion with Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and hospital consultants.
- Would be attending a meeting with the comptroller regarding the tax differential and read a letter from the Chief Statistician of the Department of Planning and Manager of the State Data Center, regarding incomes comparisons in municipal and non-municipal areas.
Plastic Bag Ordinance
Ms. Efland gave an update on the Plastic Bag Ordinance. She noted that the Environmental Committee submitted their feedback. She stated she would be forwarding the ordinance and the Environmental Committees feedback to Nina Fleegle with Main Street, Julia Medrano with the Farmers Market, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), and Kent County Economic Development for further feedback.
Native Vegetation Growth
Mr. O’Brien reviewed Salisbury’s Native Vegetation Growth Ordinance regarding setbacks from property lines and sidewalks.
Mr. Marcus Goldman spoke on language, size of meadow and buffer and the safety hazard of encroaching vegetation at property corners that block visual street views.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to put the Native Vegetation Growth language change out for consideration . The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. DiRe reviewed the Tree Ordinance revision.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion that the proposed changes to the Tree Ordinance be made public for public comment. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and passed unanimously.
Floating and Overlay Zoning
Mr. O’Brien reviewed the Floating and Overlay Zoning and requested research. He noted the need for affordable housing and rent in Chestertown that is accessible to anyone that works or wants to work in Chestertown. Floating and Overlay Zoning is not a zoning change but an addendum that allows specific properties to be considered in a separate zoning form to give the town flexibility to allow for more housing in areas with restrictions.
Community Improvement and Equity Committee
Mr. O’Brien reviewed the possibilities of establishing an Official Community Improvement and Equity Committee. This committee would take citizen issues and bring forward recommendations to the Mayor and Council.
Wastewater Area Nature Reserve
Mr. O’Brien reviewed the Wastewater Area Nature Reserve project. He noted that Washington College had asked that a vote be made in December so that they know whether to proceed with funding.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to approve the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) presented by ShoreRivers and Washington College to development a proposal that would be for future consideration, for a grassland restoration project at the wastewater treatment plant. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Ms. Efland asked how much time would be needed to cancel the election. Ms. Thomas stated that the first payment for the November election was submitted mid-summer.
Mr. Foster asked how much time before the election the candidates have to register. Ms. Thomas stated that candidate’s registration deadline was a month prior to the election.
Ms. Thomas stated she would contact Electec Inc. to get more information.
HDC Administrative Meeting
Mr. DiRe presented the report on the Historic District Commission Administrative Meeting regarding the posting of meeting agenda information and training.
Mr. DiRe presented the report on the ShoreRivers Lease. He discussed the possibility of ShoreRivers building out to gain more space at the current location.
2011 Executive Session Minutes
Mr. DiRe reviewed a FOIA request asking for information that was reviewed during three (3) executive session meetings, September 15, 2011, October 17, 2011, and November 21, 2011. After further review, Chris Drummond, Esquire, Town Attorney, had responded that the information stated in the September 15, 2011, October 17, 2011, and November 21, 2011, executive session minutes could be released since the information reported in the closed session minutes had already been discussed during open session.
Councilwoman Efland made a motion to release the 2011 executive session minutes relating to the Armory and make them public record. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Mr. O’Brien reviewed:
- The street lights were fixed and thanked Mr. DiRe for getting those addresses so quickly.
- People have responded positively regarding the improvement to the property on Rolling Road.
- That Dickens of A Christmas was wonderful and noted that people have complemented the extra downtown park lighting.
Mr. Herz reviewed:
- Kent County 4-H holiday basket program.
- Thanked everyone involved that made Dickens of a Christmas a wonderful event.
- People have been calling to use the emergency cold winter kits money. He stated that he is getting ideas from various groups on how to make the money stretch for the winter.
- A petition for internet service downtown.
- Nominated Melissa McGlynn to serve on the Internet Study Group.
Mr. Medrano reviewed:
- There was a house fire in Coventry Farms on Devon Drive and thanked the first responders for their effort.
Ms. Efland reviewed:
- Congratulated Washington College Men’s Soccer Team for making it to the NCAA Division III Semi Finals, their first time competing at this level in the program’s history.
- The Samaritan Group that runs the local winter shelter.
- The Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) advocates for Kent County Public Schools’ families and staff, as well as members of the broader community. The CAC serves as a channel for public concerns, advice, and communication for the Kent County Board of Education. The CAC is a structured group that meets to discuss specific issues impacting educational policy, activities, and programs.
- Holiday Decorating Contest. Each council person selects two (2) houses, and the Mayor selects two (2) local businesses. The winners may receive a cash prize.
Nina Fleegle, Main Street Manager, stated in to record that Mainstreet also supports the use of the stage, by the Kent County High School, for a non-town use.
There being no further business, Councilwoman Efland moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor
DECEMBER 4, 2023
The Mayor and Council meeting will resume in person meetings at Town Hall. A livestream feed is available at www.townofchestertown.com.
UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
- Call meeting to order
- Minutes of previous Utilities Commission meetings
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of bills
- Mr. Sipes report
- Questions or comments
MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
- Call meeting to order
- Minutes of previous Mayor and Council meetings
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of bills
- Consent Calendar – 2024 Events
- Public Hearing – Transfer of Heron Point Internal Roads
- Hope Clark – Kent County Comprehensive Recidivism Reduction Project
- Town Manager’s report
- Town boards, commissions, committees’ activity report
- Communications – Content and Platforms
- Finances and Early Fiscal Year 2024-2025 Budget Preparation
- January Meeting Dates – January 2nd and 16th due to holiday closures
- Mayor’s Report
- Old Business
- New Business
- Ward Reports
- Requests from the public to be on the agenda
- Questions or comments