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Board of County Commissioners

October 14, 2003

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Roy W. Crow and William W. Pickrum, presiding. (Commissioner Scott D. Livie was absent due to a previous commitment to a family vacation.)

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $9,795,755.00.


At its meeting on October 7, 2003, the Commissioners gave approval of the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) as presented by Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Schools, on behalf of the Kent County Board of Education. As per the request made by the Board of Education at that meeting, a letter of commitment from the County was signed and sent by the Commissioners to Dr. David Lever, R.A., Executive Director, Interagency Committee on School Construction, advising the approval of the Fiscal Year 2005 CIP Plan for funding of Phase I. The Commissioners also expressed their commitment to share funding in future years the remaining phases of the high school renovation, and thanked Dr. Lever for his continued assistance and support of the public schools in Kent County.

The Commissioners' letter outlined the CIP Plan as follows:

Kent County High School, Phase I

(Total) $1,110,000
(Local Share) $550,000
(State Share) $550,000.

Phase I will replace heating boilers, domestic hot water heaters, underground storage tanks and selected air handling and air conditioning work in the gym and cafeteria area. This is the first phase of a multi-year hybrid project to do multiple systemic renovations plus a limited number of targeted educational enhancements.

The entire CIP will cost approximately $10,000,000 which will be shared equally with the State and local funding, and up to $1,000,000 for architectural fees and contract management costs.


A copy of correspondence was received from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., directed to Ms. Bonnie K. McClure, notifying of her appointment as a substitute member of the Kent County Board of Election Supervisors for the remainder of a term of four years from the first Monday in June 2003. Further, the letter indicates that her appointment is effective immediately and will require confirmation by the MD House of Delegates.


Correspondence went forth to Bill Susen, Chair, Chesapeake Fields Institute, indicating the County's commitment to making Chesapeake Fields Institute a success and offering their endorsement of the Chesapeake Fields Institute's application for a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Program. The Commissioners further expressed their recognition that the challenge of keeping farming profitable on Maryland's Eastern Shore is a complicated one and, therefore, it is the opinion of the Commissioners that the grant will empower the Chesapeake Fields Institute to initiate opportunities for the development of value-added farm production and marketing in the Upper Eastern Shore area. The Commissioners offered their continued support in the future to ensure that farming remains on the Eastern Shore.


The Commissioners requested the County Administrator to investigate possibility of having all county owned vehicles routinely maintained by the County Roads Division.


Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater, appeared and reported on the following:

Tolchester Service Area - Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith, residents of Tolchester, appeared in order to follow up on their request for a sewer allocation. Mr. Smith reviewed the property in question, Parcel 68, indicating that because there is a line of sensitive area involving a wetlands delineation, the Smith's request for allocation had been tabled until further information was obtained by the Commissioners. Mr. Smith provided various maps and photographs displaying the property and the wetlands area, pointing out the location of standing water on the property. Commissioner Crow reviewed for confirmation that the Smith's currently own a house on Parcel 68 which they want to sell, and that they want to build a house on the opposite side of the property where lies a ravine. Mr. Morris confirmed this situation, adding that the lots that are on the property now abut the sewer lines for 80 units of housing; however, there exist properties that do not abut the sewer lines. These properties were originally considered lots to be developed; they presently have no roads and are located in woodlands.

Commissioner Crow advised that the County is in need of a policy on how to deal with property concerns such as the Smith's and added that all three Commissioners would have to be present for such deliberations.

Mr. Morris reported that he had advised the Smith's that their request is subject to the approval of other County agencies as well.

Commissioner Crow thanked the Smith's for their patience and gave assurance that the Commissioners will work with the other appropriate departments towards a resolution of the Smith's request as soon as possible. Mr. Smith advised the Commissioners and all involved parties to include a topographical map for reference in their deliberations.

Tolchester Public Information Meeting - Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, and Carla Martin, Community Planner, appeared and outlined some of the concerns addressed at the Public Information Meeting hosted by the Commissioners with the Tolchester Community Association which was held on Saturday, October 11, at the Kent Agriculture Center. Commissioners Pickrum and Crow were in attendance, as well as Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, Carla Martin, Community Planner, Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, and Ed Robinson, County Administrator. The purpose of the meeting, at which approximately 60 interested persons were in attendance, was to receive comments on the growth issues in the Tolchester area.. The Commissioners need to consider the possibility of further residential development in Tolchester, such as whether or not to increase the number of allocations (up from the remaining 11 allocations), whether or not to extend the sewer lines or utilize the lines as delineated by the Planning office.

Commissioner Crow stated that there is a group of people who live in Tolchester who are in favor of further development, and a large group that do not. Those who are in favor have requested the construction of 80 units. He continued by advising that the State requires 10,000 square feet for a well and that this requirement would have to be weighed as well as the location of existing sewer lines, the location of available lots, etc. He cited a 1996 ruling on allocation numbers and that he believes that property owners expect that ruling to prevail in the course of all of these deliberations in Tolchester.

Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to whether home-owners in Tolchester are in compliance with the required building permits for all structures, inclusive of outdoor decks, to which Ms. Owings indicated that most of the home-owners are in compliance. When not, she added, the County presents the home-owners with a $100.00 fine and notice of the requirement to apply for a building permit. When these requirements are not met, the County takes those responsible for violations to court.

Commissioner Pickrum asked if the County enacts the same procedures against contractors in violation, to which Ms. Owings responded in the affirmative, adding that the County also has reported violations to the Maryland Home Improvement Associations as well. Most of the violations are made by home-owners, not contractors. Ms. Owings explained that when the County does take violators to court, a fine and an injunction are issued. Further, in order to appeal the injunction, the home-owner must apply for a variance.

In response to questions raised by Commissioner Crow, Ms. Martin responded that there are 80 units with 10,000 square feet with no sewer extensions. Ms. Owings reported that some of the lots are grouped together and owned by the same person.

Commissioner Pickrum requested confirmation that there are 11 sewers allocated to which Ms. Owings concurred. This issue will be further discussed at a later time.

Kennedyville Service Area - Mr. Morris reported that his department made an account adjustment for Carol Rybicki. He referred to a letter which he sent to her, in response to a related, previous telephone conversation, which indicated that it is the Commissioners' policy regarding water leaks to reduce the overage charge by one-half when the leak does not go through the sewer system. His letter advises that Ms. Rybicki will receive a new, adjusted bill, reflecting the reduction of the overage charge.

Allens Lane - Mr. Morris reported that McCrone, Inc. has completed the Allens Lane Wastewater Study and a presentation of the Study has been scheduled for October 21, 2003.

Millington Service Area - Mr. Morris reported on the Bond Counsel decision, referring to a letter received from Funk and Bolton, P.A., regarding the $1,500,000 Improvements Bond Anticipation Note of 2002 of the County Wastewater System. It is their opinion that the adoption of the 2003 Resolution and the entry by the County into the Modification Agreement, and the resulting extension of the maturity date of the Note from October 12, 2003 to April 12, 2004 will not adversely affect the excludability from gross income for purposes of federal income taxation of the interest paid on the Note.


Memorandum was received from Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, regarding the Detention Center's generator maintenance contract. Mr. Stanton obtained the following quotes for the contract: Roy's Electric - $379.00, and Chesapeake Diesel - $450.00. He recommends that the County award the generator maintenance contract to Chesapeake Diesel, explaining that it is located near-by and, thereby, would afford a quicker response time in case of an emergency.

In light of the fact that the County Roads Division is responsible for maintenance of the generator at the Public Works Department, the Commissioners requested that consideration be given that the County Roads Division also be responsible for the maintenance of the generator at the Detention Center. No action was taken on the award of this contract.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Memorandum of Agreement between MD Emergency Management Agency and Kent County regarding the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program for the period of July 31, 2003 to January 31, 2005 for the amount of $30,000 with an in-kind match of $10,000. Funds are to be used to increase the level of effort by the County.


The Commissioners received correspondence from John E. Bloxom, President, Worcester County Commissioners, announcing that Worcester County Emergency Services (WCES) was chosen to lead the nation in the development of interoperability communications, having been awarded a $5,629,013 Interoperability Grant through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate.

Commissioner Bloxom expressed the vision of Worcester County for the nine Eastern Shore counties and municipalities to work together to make interoperability communications a reality. He reported that M/A-COM's Network First Technology will be utilized to provide immediate interoperability communications among state, local, federal, and maritime personnel.

He further explained that in the interoperability communications plan is the formation of the MD Eastern Shore Interoperability Network which would use the National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee's (NPSPAC) Mutual Aid Frequencies. This network would allow the various counties, which operate on different communications systems, to hook into this new technology when traveling through other jurisdictions and communicate directly with emergency service and other personnel in that area.

In conclusion, Commissioner Bloxom indicated that Worcester County is awaiting directives from the DOJ before proceeding with this project, and that Teresa Owens, Director, WCES, will be contacting Bob Rust, Director, Emergency Management, as more information becomes available.


Quarterly Status Reports - The Commissioners approved the Quarterly Status Reports as prepared by Kay Pinder-Almen, Housing and Community Development Administrative Aide, and Commissioner Pickrum signed the HCD's Quarterly Status Reports for:

(1) Chestertown Foods Project.

(2) Phase Three Housing Improvement Program (HIP) Project.

(3) Phase Four Housing Improvement Program (HIP) Project.

Release of Mortgage for Expired Liens - The Commissioners approved a Release of Mortgage for Expired Liens, as prepared by Kay Pinder-Almen, and signed by Commissioner Pickrum, as they relate to the expiration of five year liens under the Housing Improvement Program for Mina Knighton and Gerald and Mary Jane Barry.


A report was received from Mark Mumford, Clerk of Circuit Court, that the amount of $17,540.00 has been donated to the Hurricane Isabel Relief Fund, and that the Department of Social Services has met with 131 persons/families and have assisted 98 to date. The Commissioners commended Mr. Mumford, Tom Stevenson, President, Peoples Bank of Kent County, and Suzanne Moore, representing Curves for Women, Inc., on their humanitarian efforts in raising funds to assist those in need during the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel.


The Commissioners authorized Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, to inititate appraisal process on the county owned 13.75 acres at this site and designated P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, as the project director.

A draft of a "Request for Proposals for Engineering and Surveying Consultant Services - Worton Industrial Park Subdivision Design" (dated October 8, 2003), prepared by Jim M.. Wright, Jr., P.E., County Engineer, was received for review. The Commissioners approved the document as prepared.

A pre-proposal meeting will be held at the office of the County Commissioners at 10:00 a.m. on October 24, 2003, and that proposals will be received at the County Public Works Complex until 2:00 p.m. on November 7, 2003.


Correspondence was received from John A. Pecora, Manager, Review and Compliance, DHCD, regarding the Single Audit Report for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2003. Records of the DHCD indicate that Kent County received $103,753 in Federal financial assistance, described as a Community Development Block Grant, and that the audit report must be submitted to DHCD.


At 11:15 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board to go into executive session with Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion included litigation.

The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.


Commissioners Pickrum and Crow attended the meeting of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for a review of emergency management efforts taken during Hurricane Isabel and to receive comments to enhance preparation for future emergency events.


A copy of memorandum was received from Martin T. Holden, Waste Management Coordinator, Public Works, sent to Ed Robinson, County Administrator, regarding methane monitoring at the Nicholson Municipal Landfill.

The memorandum further explains that in order to achieve compliance with the MDE's regulations, the County must implement a gas monitoring program that includes: sampling on a quarterly basis; the establishment of a methane gas migration plan; and the submittal of semi-annual gas monitoring reports to the MDE.

Mr. Holden reported that he made contact with the County's Health Department and that Ed Birkmire, Director of Environmental Health, who advised that his staff would conduct the methane monitoring on a quarterly basis and would submit the required test results to the MDE. Mr. Holden also reported that he submitted a methane gas monitoring plan to the MDE, which was approved.

Mr. Holden advises that prior to the Health Department's testing for methane gas levels, monitoring wells will need to be installed and a combustible gas indicator will need to be purchased. He provided the following estimated costs for the installation of the wells and purchase of testing equipment:

$8,000.00 .........Well Installation

$1,000.00 ..........Combustible Gas Indicator
$9,000.00 .........Estimate Total

Mr. Holden concludes with a request for approval of these purchases in order to proceed with acquiring updated quotes for the installation of the wells. He stated that the estimated cost would be a one-time expense. Mr. Holden advised that the gas monitoring program was not required during the closing of the landfill and that this expenditure was not budgeted. The Commissioners approved this expenditure within the current Waste Management budget.


Rex Kershaw appeared and inquired as to the status of court order for this property. Ms. Hayman, County Attorney, indicated that the County is taking all necessary reasonable steps to address this matter, inclusive of accepting bids for the clean-up of that property.

Commissioner Pickrum assured Mr. Kershaw that the County is in fact proceeding with the Ashley property matter and expressed appreciation for his diligence concerning its clean-up.


At 10:40 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.

The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.


The Commissioners reappointed William S. Sutton as a member of the Public Drainage Association for a five year term ending October 10, 2008.


Bob Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Director, Tom Miller, Director of Communications, MD Institute for Emergency Management Systems (EMS), appeared to discuss the construction of a 330-foot, self-supporting microwave/radio tower and equipment shelter to replace the existing 75 monopole tower at the Chestertown SHA Maintenance Facility (Morgnec Road, Chestertown, NAD 83 Tower). Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, was also in attendance.

Mr. Rust introduced Mr. Miller whom he invited to attend the meeting. Mr. Miller reviewed the history of advancements in the technology of radio towers, specifically concerning their role in public safety. He continued by reporting that the MD Institute for EMS has been in the process of creating partnerships with every county in the State in order to economize on the number of towers constructed. They have already partnered with Calvert, Queen Anne's, and Caroline Counties in Fiscal Year 2000. They are now prepared to partner with Kent County, recognizing that rural counties do not have as much money available for tower projects. Mr. Miller projects that the construction of a digital microwave/radio tower in the County would cost $350,000 complete (not inclusive of the costs for radio equipment).

Mr. Miller identified three potential sites in the County: in Chestertown at the SHA Maintenance Facility, a location in Massey and the upgrading of an existing tower near Rock Hall. He indicated that the MD Institute for EMS will work with the County in setting up public meetings for discussion about each site.

Commissioner Crow inquired whether the Sassafras River municipalities and those located on the southern part of the Bay would benefit from these towers, to which Mr. Miller advised that they all would benefit.

Commissioner Pickrum asked if a commercial use of the towers was possible, to which Mr. Miller responded by saying that the towers would not be built for commercial use; however, he reported that there is a potential for "resource-sharing," meaning that public safety would be accommodated as the primary use and commercial use secondarily.

Ms. Owings expressed her concern about the proposed height and design construction of the towers, to which Mr. Miller responded that the towers would be 330 feet, the taller the tower, the greater the range-coverage, the less number of towers required to be built. The frequencies of all the tower sites are linked. Further, he described the design of the tower as a lattice tower which has the greatest potential to survive hurricanes.

Commissioner Pickrum reported that the height of cellular towers are 150 to 200 feet, to which Mr. Miller replied that a cellular tower is considered a single carrier, requiring a dispatch which, in turn, requires more expensive equipment.

Mr. Rust indicated that Chestertown will be the primary tower site and inquired as to the estimated time frame. Mr. Miller responded that construction on the Chestertown site will begin during the current fiscal year. Construction at the sites at Massey and Rock Hall will begin in the following fiscal year. He also advised that the radio equipment at the hospital site is in poor condition and would be difficult to repair.

Mr. Miller stated the County will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, partner with the State, and then the tower can be constructed. He advised that the MD Institute for EMS will require $100,000 for the construction and that they will then be responsible for its maintenance.

Mr. Rust emphasized that the weakest aspect of the County's current emergency management system is the lack of portable emergency coverage and that the public radio system requires upgrading.

Ed Robinson, County Administrator, asked whether the tower system would interface with Delaware and the Eastern Shore, to which Mr. Miller responded in the affirmative, adding that interfacing would not be without its challenges, noting that all of the various agencies in these areas are presently on different bands, for example, the State police, etc.

Mr. Rust summarized that in terms of the Chestertown tower, $75,000 would be needed to cover the costs of the power equipment and, therefore, the total cost for the tower would be $175,000 with funding to be sought from Homeland Security.

Mr. Robinson inquired whether Senator Pipkin's Broadband Committee is aware of the Md Institute's plan, to which Mr. Miller answered in the affirmative, adding that MD Public Television and Network MD are also partners.

Ms. Owings reported on the County's requirements for the construction of the tower as follows: that it must entail a lattice-type design and its locale must be hidden either by existent buildings or woodlands. Mr. Miller advised that the Institute could limit the height of the tower to 200 feet and that they do try to accommodate concerns about the aesthetics of the tower structure. For example, the type of materials used accommodate smaller foundations.

Mr. Robinson asked what would be the time-frame for the Coleman (Rock Hall) site, to which Mr. Miller responded that it would be an out-year project.

Commissioner Crow inquired as to the rationale for choosing Chestertown as a site, to which Mr. Miller explained that the Institute wants to provide Chestertown with full coverage and that Chestertown will, in turn, provide the required regional coverage.

Commissioner Crow asked at what point in the time-line would construction at the Coleman site begin. Mr. Miller explained that the Coleman site would be addressed last because the County might not need its inclusion. Mr. Miller concluded his comments by encouraging the County's awareness that given new regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, all radio systems in the country must be converted to narrowband incrementally, beginning in 2005 and concluding in 2018.

Commissioner Pickrum reported that the County will ask the State to comply with County regulations, even though the State is not required to do so.


The Commissioners reappointed Carl Starkweather as a member of the Upper Shore Aging Board of Directors for a three year term ending September 30, 2006.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, October 21, 2003.


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

William W. Pickrum, President

Application for Zoning Map Amendment

A Public Hearing was held on Tuesday, October 14, 2003, at 10:00 a.m..in the County Commissioners' Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland on an application for zoning map amendment filed by Arthur and Anne Foster to reclassify their 66 acre- property from the "RR" (Rural Residential) to "CR" (Community Residential District) located on Maryland Route 213 near Hopewell Corner, north of Chestertown in the Fourth Election District.

County Commissioners Roy W. Crow and William W. Pickrum were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, Carla Martin, Community Planner, Arthur Foster, Harris Murphy, Esq., representing Anne and Arthur Foster, and Herschell Claggett, Realtor. Scott D. Livie was not in attendance due to a previous commitment for family vacation.

Notice of the public hearing was read into the record by Commissioner Pickrum as well as the procedure for testifying. Arthur Foster, Gail Owings, and Herschell Claggett were sworn-in by Ms. Hayman in order to testify. Ms. Hayman inquired of Mr. Murphy as to whether or not he would like the Commissioners to be sworn-in, to which Mr. Murphy respectfully declined.

Exhibits were presented as follows: Exhibit No. 1 - Copy of District 4, Tax Map 37, Parcel 105 and its environs indicating previous zoning. Exhibit No. 2 - Copy of District 4, Tax Map 37, Parcel 105 and its environs indicating present zoning.

Commissioner Pickrum referred to correspondence from Elizabeth H. Morris, Chairperson, County Planning Commission, sent to the Commissioners, dated August 25, 2003, Commissioner Pickrum reviewed the decision made by the County Planning Commission at its August 7, 2003 meeting when it voted unanimously to recommend denial of the application. According to that correspondence, the Planning Commission indicated that they based their decision on the following:

- The property is located at an important gateway into Chestertown;

- The property acts as a transition between the town of Chestertown and prime agricultural land. The Leaverton Farm, which is north of the property (but not immediately adjacent to the property) is protected by a MD Agricultural Land Preservation easement;

- Both the County and Chestertown Comprehensive Plans direct growth into the Town and discourage growth at the edge of the town's gateways;

- A change in the zoning would not be consistent with the Chestertown Comprehensive Plan or the County Comprehensive Plan;

- The County did not make a mistake in the original zoning of Rural Residential (1dwelling unit per 3 acres);

- A change in the neighborhood did not occur since the last rezoning;

- The Planning Commission does not find a public need for the zoning map amendment.

Mr. Murphy outlined the history of the Fosters' purchase of the property in question, reporting that the property was purchased in 1995 with a 1-1 acre zoning and that the Foster's are seeking to retain the 1-1 zoning.. Given the current zoning laws, which increases this density to three acres, the number of dwellings which could be built on the Fosters' property value, in his opinion, would be reduced by 66% and would, therefore, constitute a significant loss in the value of said property. Additionally, it was Mr. Murphy's opinion that a further loss in the value of the property would result from the proposed by-pass and the State's entrance requirements.

Ms. Hayman reviewed the original intent of the zoning change and emphasized that there was no mistake made in the original zoning of Rural Residential, and that, therefore, the applicant must make a threshold showing that there was either (1) a mistake in the last comprehensive zoning, or (2) that substantial changes have occurred in the neighborhood around the property since the last rezoning.

Commissioner Crow asked if the Foster's issued any comment during the time of the deliberations regarding the update of the Zoning Ordinance, to which Ms. Owings reported that the Foster's son did speak in opposition when the proposed zoning of 1 dwelling per 20 acres was under deliberation. Commissioner Crow asked if at that time the zoning was changed from 1dwelling per 3 acres, to which Ms. Owings responded in the affirmative as a compromise to the original proposed change .

Commissioner Pickrum asked if there were any other questions or concerns to be brought forward, to which Mr. Claggett requested to testify. After being sworn-in, Mr. Claggett reported that because the Foster's were unaware that deliberations concerning zoning changes were taking place, they had only one day to make their objection. He appealed to the County to allow the original zoning to remain the same, advising that, in his opinion, with the proposed change in zoning, he alleged the Foster's would suffer a large reduction in their property value. In light of that reduction, he felt property owners should then be compensated.

The Commissioners will review this request with Commissioner Livie prior to taking any action.

This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 10:30 a.m.


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

William W. Pickrum, President

Please contact Ileana Lindstrom or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.

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