MAYOR AND COUNCIL
AUGUST 15, 2022
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien (via phone), Tom Herz, Jose Medrano and Meghan Efland, W. S. Ingersoll, Town Manager, Jennifer McCann (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council meeting of August 1, 2022. Ms. Efland moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of August 1, 2022, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that operating funds on hand was $1,982,653.24.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to pay the bills. Mr. Herz moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Ms. Nina Fleegle and Ms. Kristen Owen of Main Street were present to discuss the proposed Wayfinding Signage in Chestertown. Ms. Fleegle said that she hoped that increasing signage would help with tourism. Ms. Fleegle stated that a committee formed several years ago after receiving a grant for $103,000.00 from Department of Housing and Community Development. She said that an open bid process was held, and the winning bid came from Arterial, a design firm in New Jersey. Ms. Fleegle stated that Arterial worked with local business owners on a design package, which was then submitted to the Maryland State Highway Administration for sign-off. Ms. Fleegle stated that an extension was given for the grant, and they are now working with Century Engineering and MS Signs of New Jersey on fabrication and installation of the signs.
Ms. Fleegle stated that due to budget constraints, they were currently focused on pedestrian signage only. This signage would be installed along the sidewalks. She said that locations may change slightly depending on the viewpoint, but what they were presenting was what they wanted to send to the engineer for creation and installation. The signs were aluminum with “break away” poles. All signs will be installed on Town owned easements and Main Street would be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the signs.
Ms. Fleegle stated that before Main Street submits to the Historic District Commission in September, they would like to have the approval of the Council. Ms. Efland asked that the nomenclature be reviewed before the signs were made. Mr. Herz stated that public restrooms should be noted. Ms. Fleegle stated that public parking will also be added. Mayor Foster asked when the project would begin. Ms. Fleegle stated that the project was ready to go once approved. She said that there was a 6–8-week timeline with fabrication.
Mr. Herz moved that the Council provisionally approve pedestrian wayfinding signage as presented by Main Street, pending approval of the Historic District Commission, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Jim Bogden of the Recreation Commission was present to discuss a proposal for fencing at Aunt Sarah’s Playground in Wilmer Park. He said that it sounds like there is general agreement to install fencing along the inner path, rather than directly adjacent to the playground. He showed renderings of different style fencing, stating that he preferred the 3’ high wooden slatted fence.
Ms. Efland asked the cost difference of having the fencing closer to the playground rather than around the parking lot. Mr. Herz stated that there was precedent for the fence as shown as a hawser fence used to be in that location. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought there should be more time with the playground in use to see if a fence was really needed because it does not seem to be a problem at this time. Ms. Fleegle stated that she thought plantings would create enough of a visual barrier. Mr. Ingersoll suggested putting up temporary fencing in different areas to see where a fence, if installed, would be most effective. Mr. Bogden stated that he was a member of the Garden Club, and he could work with the Club to produce a design for plantings or berms to create a visual barrier.
Ms. Efland asked if temporary fencing would suffice for the time being. Mr. Bogden stated that he thought that temporary fencing was a good idea.
Mr. Bogden stated that the LLRP funding was submitted for chess tables in Wilmer Park. He said that he would also like to see picnic tables at the park and there were benches that would be installed. There was a donation from the Little Free Library on the playground site as well. He said that trash cans were already in place.
Mr. Bogden stated that Mr. O’Brien alerted him that there was a wheelchair access ramp, but the handicap parking was in a different location. He suggested a cut in the curb to allow easier access.
Mr. Bogden stated that he would like to see additional trees planted where a dead River Birch now exists.
Mr. Bogden stated that the dedication for Aunt Sarah’s Playground will be on Saturday, August 20th at 2:30 p.m.
Mr. Dwight Zilinskas of the Recreation Commission was present to discuss installation of kayak racks at the Wilmer Park and the Marina. He said that the Wilmer Park kayak rack could be installed on the right side of the walkway to the pavilion in between the 2 well established trees. He said that the Marina kayak rack could be installed by the kayak ramp by the condominiums on the grass area.
Mr. Zilinskas showed a design for the racks using 6×6 posts, noting that each rack would accommodate 18 kayaks. He said that Chestertown Lumber is helping with the pricing of the lumber, but he thought each rack would cost $800.00. He asked that $2,000.00 be allotted for the project, which would be built by volunteer labor. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the footer depth would have to be 2’ deep at the Wilmer Park.
Mr. Zilinskas stated that the racks were designed to be used by residents of Chestertown who would register for a slot. If demand was too great, there could be a lottery for slots with a $25.00 donation each year for upkeep of the racks.
Mayor Foster stated that there was discussion of rental kayaks and canoes and he said that this would be a good starting point to see if it was something that interested people. Mr. Zilinskas stated that donated kayaks could also be checked out and used for free, or they could have a company come in that charges for rentals. He said that there was liability involved but after signing waivers and paying the fee, they would receive a code to unlock the kayak. Mr. Bogden stated that Bay Outfitters would like to give a presentation to the Council on kayak rentals. The Council agreed.
Mr. Zilinskas stated that Saturday in the Park was set up to be a terrific event, but it was so terribly hot that few people attended.
Mr. Herz moved to budget $1,000 for the construction of a watersport rack at Wilmer Park between the two trees on the west end of the pavilion ramp, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried with four in favor, Mr. O’Brien opposed.
Mr. Herz moved to budget $1,000 for a construction of watersport rack at the Chestertown Marina, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster called forward Lieutenant Linz who reviewed the July 2022 police report. Mr. Herz stated that there were complaints that people were running the red light by the Walgreen’s on Rt. 213 and other red lights for that matter. Lieutenant Linz stated that he was aware of the complaint, and they would be on the lookout for those in violation.
Lieutenant Linz stated that the department was interested in purchasing a Polaris UTV for use in Town, especially during festivals. He said that there was an 8 month turnaround on the product once it was purchased. Lieutenant Linz stated that there was over $10,000.00 in forfeited seizure money that could be used toward the purchase, and they were requesting the remaining $4,517.00 be funded using ARPA funds.
Mr. Herz asked where the UTV would be housed. Lieutenant Linz stated that there was a shed at the police department, or they could use a carport on the premises.
Mr. Herz moved to fund $4,517.00 or as needed to purchase a UTV vehicle for the police department to be used out of ARPA funding, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster asked if the sign board could be used on town streets because he was hearing many complaints about speeding.
Mr. Herz stated that there were complaints about the Farmers Market blocking off the road forcing people to use the crosswalks and asked if the center could be opened to allow for crossing in the middle. Lieutenant Linz stated that he was not there to see how the barriers were set up but said he would be happy to discuss the best way to make it work for the future.
Lieutenant Linz stated that by 2025 all police officers would be required to have body armor cameras and the department received a quote from Axon for 13 cameras, which would be leased over a 5-year period, in the amount of $20,156.00 annually. Lieutenant Linz stated that Chief Dixon submitted a $13,000.00 grant request for the cameras, but he has not heard if they would receive the funds.
Ms. Efland moved to approve $100,780.00 to be divided over a 5-years period to move forward with the purchase of the body cameras using ARPA funds for anything that is not funded by grants. There was no second to the motion and a request was made for additional information at the next Town Council meeting.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Chestertown Lions Club has agreed to move the time of the Halloween Parade to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29th to avoid any conflict with the Farmers Market. Mr. Herz moved to approve the permit for the annual Halloween Parade at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29th, was seconded by Mr. Medrano and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a permit request in for the Earth Day Music Festival on Saturday, April 22nd at Wilmer Park hosted by Washington College CES. This would be in addition to Chestertown’s Earth Day Festival (held downtown by the Chestertown Environmental Committee). Mr. Herz moved to approve the Earth Day Music Festival by Washington College CES as outlined in their permit request from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 22, 2023, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a request for the Kent Goes Purple Color Fun Run/Walk at the Wilmer Park. Mr. Herz moved to approve the Kent Goes Purple Fun Run/Walk on Sunday, September 11th from 6 a.m. to noon as outlined in the permit request, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a request by the Chester River Health Foundation to hold the Chester River Crab Chase on Saturday, October 22nd from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Wilmer Park. Mr. Herz moved to approve the Chester River Crab Chase as outlined in the permit request, was seconded by Mr. Medrano and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Pip’s Liquors was moving from their present location diagonally to where UPS /Towne Stationers stores had been located. Pip’s Liquors was filing a request for a beer, wine and liquor license (with tasting and delivery) on premises with the County Commissioners.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had a $12,500.00 contract for the 4th of July Fireworks in 2023, which would be funded by an anonymous donor.
Mayor Foster stated read a thank you letter from the Council to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for their performance in Chestertown.
Mayor Foster stated that he had a letter of support to the Maryland Historical Trust for the Historic Society of Kent County for a $30,000.00 grant submittal for projects planned in 2023. Mr. Ingersoll stated that this is for digitizing of records and creating public displays at their location on High Street. The Council approved the letter of support.
Mayor Foster stated that he had a letter of support to NEA from the Kent Cultural Alliance for funds for the public art displays coming to Chestertown. The Council approved the letter of support.
Mayor Foster stated that Mr. Queen was present for an update on the Charlie Graves/Uptown Club signage. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he and Councilman Medrano met with Monica Graves at the site, and she told them where she would like the plaque to be displayed. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the tenant on the corner arrived shortly thereafter at Town Hall complaining about the sign being on her land and how it would not last if it was installed. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he explained to the tenant that it would be installed on Town land and would be installed so there was no danger of anyone hitting it. He said that it was now up to the Council where this signage should be installed and said that he thought it should be installed by the stop sign (where a camera is located) so if it is vandalized, they will know who did it.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a tenant is the person complaining about the sign, but at some point action needs to be taken by the Council to have the sign installed. He said that if it was vandalized the sign could be redone in bronze and installed in the ground.
Mr. Queen stated that the Town has gone to great lengths to get the sign installed and met with the family multiple times over the last 6 months. Mr. Queen stated that he thought the Town should install the sign in the ground. The Mayor recommended mediation as a means of reaching an agreement with the installation of the plaque. There was a lengthy discussion of the idea of mediation. At the end of the discussion, Mr. O’Brien moved to install the plaque for the Graves family and the Uptown Club, adding that Ms. Graves preferred it on College Avenue, was seconded by Mr. Medrano and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster asked for ward reports
Ms. Efland stated that move in day for first year college students was August 22nd. She said that students will be active with walking tours.
Ms. Efland stated that Foxley Manor has not yet had a recycling pick-up and there was a pick-up in other areas of Town exceedingly early that was missed by many residents. Mr. Ingersoll stated that recycling has been a disaster in every way and there was going to have to be a major change in the near future. Mr. Ingersoll stated that all residents should place their recycling out the night before a pick-up.
Mr. Medrano stated that on the 600 block of High Street there was a complaint of a leather love seat that has been out by the road for a month.
Mr. Herz stated that he has been working on the Kent County Lodging Tax with Jamie Williams and in order to get it done right, each Town has to pass an Ordinance and have the registration form online. He said that the Towns need to update lists so that they know who is registered. He said that other Towns in Kent County do inspections for rentals and that Chestertown might look into such a program.
Mr. Herz stated that he hosted a Hurricane Awareness event last week and said that it was informative, and each resident should know the zone in which they reside in the case of an emergency. WCTR is a great resource for specific information on Kent County in an emergency situation. He said that the Red Cross was always looking for volunteers. He gave websites such as Code Red and Kent County Emergency Services for emergency alerts.
Mr. O’Brien stated that the Strategic Plan questionnaire is ready to go out if there were no objections. There were no objections from the Council.
Mayor Foster stated that Mr. O’Brien sent out information about portable bathrooms that were mobile units and said that he would like to explore some options. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had asked the Visitor’s Center staff about coming in earlier on Saturday mornings, since the Farmer’s Market vendors set up much earlier in the day and start selling earlier than 10 a.m. The staff was willing to come in earlier on Saturday if that was the Council’s wish.
Ms. Efland stated that she would like to nominate Kurt Douglass to the ARPA Committee.
A new resident on South Queen Street asked if the restaurant was going to be coming back to 98 Cannon Street. She said that she was hearing rumors that the property may become a condominium. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there were not going to be condominiums on that site, but FEMA was requiring a damage assessment of the property be done by the Town.
Ms. Watson stated that she has been working on the survey for the Comprehensive Plan, but she has not had to the opportunity to contact the churches, although she was making progress. She said that a link to the survey and document will be going out tomorrow.
Mr. Ed Patrick, Director of Finance and Administration at Washington College was present and stated that there was some building was taking place at the College and he was excited about what the future would bring. He said that the College was kicking off their Comprehensive Plan next week.
There being no further business, Mr. Medrano moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer McCann David Foster
Town Clerk Mayor