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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

November 25, 2003

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum, presiding.

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

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as amended.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $6,379,101.00.


BAYSIDE PARK
TURNERS CREEK
BETTERTON BEACH


Mr. Troester requested approval to amend the Parks and Recreation Fiscal Year 2004 Capital Budget to include the $5,917.00 that was not spent from the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget towards the completion of the following projects: the Bayside Landing Park which includes electrical relocation work, swimming pool deck furnishings, construction of a board walk and phase two of the Lathim House renovations at Turner's Creek Park. Of the $25,258.00 budgeted in FY'03, only $19,341.00 was spent. Mr. Troester explained that the projects listed above were not completed due to a number of circumstances, including the fact that Program Open Space recommended waiting for the approval first from the State Board of Public Works, and other circumstances that delayed the application process.

The Commissioners approved this request within the current budget.

Commissioner Crow advised Mr. Troester that should Parks and Recreation find that its budget does not cover the expenses for the necessary repairs on the Betterton Beach House roof, he should return to the County for further discussion.


BUDGET

The Commissioners unanimously approved and signed Fiscal Year 2004 Amended Budget to reflect additional grants to be received by the Parks and Recreation Department and to cover additional debt service costs as well as to cover lower amount of revenue to be received as a result of the Budget and Reconciliation Act.


CHESAPEAKE FIELDS INSTITUTE (CFI)

Correspondence was received from Lewis R. Riley, Secretary, State of Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), written on behalf of Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., thanking the Commissioners for their letter and efforts in support of the Chesapeake Fields Institute.

Mr. Riley reported that Governor Ehrlich appointed a Poultry Issues Action Team charged with identifying methods to help sustain the Eastern Shore's poultry farmers and agricultural economy. MDA has devoted resources this year to that action team, and is also leading a task force to explore the needs of the State's grain industry resulting from the loss of export facilities at the Port of Baltimore.

Mr. Riley further noted that the MDA conducted a nutrient management summit at Chesapeake College in August in order to enable Maryland farmers to express their specific concerns with regulations enacted after the Water Quality Improvement Act. He commended the Commissioners' work in supporting the County's agriculture and, ultimately, Maryland's agriculture, and assured of his continued assistance.


COUNTY OWNED VEHICLES


A bid opening took place on 2:00 p.m., November 21, 2003, at the Public Works Department for the purchase of three County-owned vehicles. The bid tabulation was as follows:

Tom's Truck Sale - Vehicle 3, 1975 Peterbilt Roll Off Truck - $3,850.00;

Marty Davidson - Vehicle 1, 1988 Chevrolet Caprice - $101.00, Vehicle 2, 1989 Chevrolet Caprice - $101.00;

Charles Long - Vehicle 1, 1988 Chevrolet Caprice - $200.00, Vehicle 2, 1989 Chevrolet Caprice - $200.00;

Paul Benchoff - Vehicle 1, 1988 Chevrolet Caprice - $26.00, Vehicle 2, 1989 Chevrolet Caprice - $36.00, Vehicle 3, 1975 Peterbilt Roll Off Truck - $1,556.00;

Cana Motors - Vehicle 1, 1988 Chevrolet Caprice - $264.00, Vehicle 2, 1989 Chevrolet Caprice - $390.00, Vehicle 3, 1975 Peterbilt Roll Off Truck - $1,241.00.

Recommendation was made as follows: Award Vehicles # 1 and 2 to Cana Motors. Vehicle # 3 to Tom's Truck Sales.

The Commissioners approved to accept bids as recommended by Jim Wright, County Engineer.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTE WATER SERVICES

Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Waste water Services, appeared and reported on the following:

Millington Service Area - Mr. Morris reported that he received a request from John M. Stoltzfus, owner of the Dutch Deli in Millington, for approval to run a temporary feed for the septic system from one of the new pump wells on Rivers Edge Road in Millington. Mr. Stoltzfus also requested advice on the cost of the pump. Mr. Morris recommended approval, the cost subject to the results and application of the new water and sewer rates study, and contingent upon the understanding that the feed be of sound but temporary construction.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the request of John M. Stoltzfus to run a temporary feed for the septic system at the Dutch Deli in Millington from one of the new pump wells on River Edge Road, the costs subject to the results of the new water and sewer rates study. Mr. Morris indicated that he would notify Mr. Stoltzfus of the projected costs.

A public informational meeting took place on November 20th at the Millington Fire Hall, at 6:00 PM, in order to present the key findings of the study of the finances of the water and sewer systems owned and operated by the County, as well as to afford the public the opportunity to have input into the decisions to be made by the Board of County Commissioners. It was attended by seven citizens in addition to the Board of County Commissioners, Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Waste Water Services, Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, and the study consultants. The consultants who performed the study presented their methodology, conclusions and recommendations, and public comments and questions were invited.

Edesville Service Area - Mr. Morris reported that he received a request for a sewer and water allocation from William M. Crowding, Registered Surveyor, on behalf of Robert F. Miller, owner of Parcel # 23, Map 46, Grid 4c. This parcel is an unimproved parcel of land located on Lovers Lane in the Fifth Election District.

Mr. Morris indicated that he is reluctant to recommend approval of this request for the following reasons: the area in question and its environs represent a designated growth area; there are serious problems with the existing water and sewer system which, therefore, should not be expected to accommodate the projected development. He further advised that an engineering study and cost analysis are necessary to accommodate the anticipated growth in this area. As reported in the water and sewer feasibility study, there are serious concerns regarding the existing lagoon and concerning the collection project.

Commissioner Crow advised that a response to Mr. Crowding be tabled until clarification is received on what follows: the projected development plans of Mr. Crowding; a determination as to whether or not this request is specific solely to Mr. Miller's interest in relocating to the said parcel from his current residence in Rock Hall or whether this request represents the first phase of Mr. Crowding's projected plans to develop the surrounding area; and further clarification concerning the environmental status of said parcel.

Commissioner Crow further advised that a more informed decision would be made given the results of the engineering study and cost analysis, to which Mr. Morris concurred, adding that given the above, the County would be able to pro-rate the costs of water and sewage systems, extending that information to developers as they approach the County with their plans.

Water and Sewer Rates - A public informational meeting took place on November 18th, at 6:00 PM, at Wesley Chapel Church, Rock Hall, in order to present the key findings of the study of the finances of the water and sewer systems owned and operated by the County, as well as to afford the public the opportunity to have input into the decisions to be made by the Board of County Commissioners. It was attended by approximately 25 to 30 citizens in addition to The Board of County Commissioners, Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Waste Water Services, Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, and the study consultants. The consultants who performed the study presented their methodology, conclusions and recommendations, and public comments and questions were invited.

Tolchester Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed a Public Works Agreement with Susie Peters for a sewer allocation in the Tolchester Service Area.

The Commissioners approved and signed a Public Works Agreement with Dorothea M. McSorley for a sewer allocation in the Tolchester Service Area.

After a brief discussion, the Commissioners agreed to have a Resolution prepared to place a moratorium on issuance of sewer allocations in the Tolchester Service Area until March, 2004. This time period would allow the Board to re-establish the Committee (consisting of the County Attorney, County Administrator, Environmental Health Officer and the Director of Department of Water and Wastewater Services, Community Planner and Marcie Brown, Planning Commission member) to develop a workable plan and approach for allotting allocations and growth issues around the existing sewer service.

Worton Service Area - Due to recent adverse weather conditions, Mr. Morris reported that much of the roof was damaged on the Worton Water Treatment Plant, and that he is in the process of acquiring estimates for its repair or replacement. The County Administrator advised Mr. Morris to confer with Jim Wright, County Engineer, regarding possible roofing companies.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

At 3:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to discuss a proposal for a business to locate to Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 3:30 p.m.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Professional Services Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. for consulting services as it relates to domestic preparedness activities in Kent County and other related tasks. Costs incurred will be covered by Homeland Security grant funding.

Robert B. Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Director, expressed need to enhance radio coverage for central alarm and made recommendation that funding available through Homeland Security Program be used toward partnering with the State Tower Network by raising county radio systems 100 feet higher on the four towers being placed throughout the County. The first tower planned to be erected is located at the State Highway Administration garage on MD Route 291. The State would like each County to contribute 1/4 of the cost. The second tower planned is in the Massey area. Further discussion will be held when more specifics are available.

Correspondence was sent forth by the Commissioners to Dennis Schrader, Maryland Homeland Security, imploring Mr. Schrader to reconsider a previous request to purchase a portable backup generator for usage in Kent County, under the Federal homeland security grants program. The Commissioners emphasized the critical need for the portable backup generator, citing the following reasons: (1) to assure lighting in the Kent County Court House, the Kent County Government Center, and to designated shelters; (2) to provide power to any of the County's water and sewer facilities; (3) and to assist one of the County's municipalities with a similar need.


KENT COUNTY BUSINESS CENTER

Correspondence was received from Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, advising that the Planning Commission will review an application submitted by KRM Development Corporation on December 4. The application requests a site plan approval for a 27,000 square feet office/warehouse flexible space building on Commerce Lane and Worton Road.


LAMOTTE PARK PROPERTY

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Settlement Statement for the acquisition of 12.5 acres at a cost of $1,175,000 from John B. Howard and Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, David H. LaMotte and Eleanor L. Trippe.


LA MOTTE PARK STUDY COMMITTEE

Jeffrey J. Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared and advised that the LaMotte Park Study Committee's report is approximately 80% complete; once completed, the Committee will make formal presentation to the Board. Mr. Troester stated that design will be the key issue to address environmental consideration, zoning, and safe access for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The Commissioners stated that they look forward to receiving their report.

Ann Wilmer Hoon reported that she shares an interest with a group of citizens in the establishment of a County museum, and inquired whether or not the plans for the LaMotte property might accommodate such a museum. Mr. Troester indicated that plans for a museum could be incorporated into the designs for the property and advised the group to formulate and present a proposal.


LAND USE ORDINANCE
HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, and Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared. Commissioner Crow asked Mrs. Owings her considerations regarding preservation issues of County historic structures. He cited as an example the recent correspondence received from Mary Kate O'Donnell, Executive Director, The Historical Society of Kent County, Inc., concerning what she described as the continuing loss of architectural history in the County, citing the fact that part of a 1764 brick house known as Deep Ford Farm near Chesterville was recently demolished without a permit.

Mrs. Owings, indicating that the County has no regulation to protect the preservation of historic structures in the County, noted the following ways in which the County encourages its citizens to preserve historic structures that exist on their property: to have historic structures documented properly (historic structures in the County are currently documented in 9 volumes); property owners are encouraged to find other property owners to receive the transfer of their unwanted historic structures; there is an existing list of property owners interested in receiving a transfer of historic structures; and the County does ask property owners to refrain from demolishing their historic structures. However, as Mrs. Owings reiterated, it is not within the legal jurisdiction of the County to prevent the demolition of historic buildings on private property.

Commissioner Crow emphasized that the County should try to establish a balance between respecting the rights of property owners and protecting historic structures, and between an advisory and regulatory role in that process. Mrs. Owings concurred, conveying that determining for the County a reasonable balance has been a concern of hers for a long time. She pointed out that the Historic Preservation Committee does ask prospective buyers of properties with historic structures to indicate a willingness to restore them before the purchase is completed. Commissioner Crow inquired as to who is expected to pay for restorations, Mrs. Owings again indicated that there is no regulation concerning this issue; however, there are good incentives, such as a State tax credit to property owners who have completed restorations.

In response to questions concerning the definition of an "historic" building, Mrs. Owings replied that the Preservation Committee determines what constitutes an "historic" structure, taking into its consideration, for example, the structure's significance relative to the history of the County.

Commissioner Livie suggested that a prioritization of historic structures be established by the Preservation Committee: listing some structures as more eligible for financial incentives and others less so. Mrs. Owings responded that the Preservation Committee has basically determined such priorities, noting the availability of financial incentives (tax breaks and/or funding) in the following instances: the projected use of an historic structure for a cottage industry (for example, the restoration of an historic barn for its use as an art studio); and the adaptive re-use of a structure (for example, if a structure is listed as "historic," then funding would be made available to the owner for its restoration).

Commissioner Pickrum suggested the establishment of "historic districts" as is done in other Counties. Commissioner Livie inquired as to efforts being made to save historic structures other than residential, for example, grist mills, to which Mrs. Owings responded that when the survey of historic structures was done (approximately in 1983-84), the survey did not include historic commercial buildings and buildings pertinent to African-American heritage.

Commissioner Crow emphasized again his preference for the County to function in a more advisory than regulatory role on behalf of the preservation of County historic structures. Commissioner Pickrum advised the beneficial relationship to be gained in a partnership between the County and the Chestertown Historic Society, to which Mrs. Owings concurred.

In the letter from Mrs. O'Donnell to the Commissioners, it was her suggestion that the Commissioners take steps to convey to County citizens of the need to preserve the County's architectural heritage, to prohibit the demolition of historic structures without due process, thereby enforcing the ordinance which requires a demolition permit. In addition, she suggested that a notice be mailed with each real-estate tax bill to every property owner. Mrs. O'Donnell included in her letter a copy of her commentary which she submitted and which was published in the November 20, 2003 edition of the Kent County News.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 12:08 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum 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 issue relating to a potential conflict of interest.

The executive session adjourned at 12:25 p.m.

At 3:35 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum 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.

Item of discussion related to local law.

The executive adjourned at 3:45 p.m.


LIBRARY

Correspondence was received from Patsy Hornaday, Chairperson, Chestertown Beautification Committee, requesting an electrical outlet be installed on the wall in Rosie's Garden located in front of the Public Library to enable lighting of the holly tree during the holidays. A copy of this request was forwarded to Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, to review this request as to possible costs involved.


MARYLAND ROUTE 299/SASSAFRAS/CALDWELL ROAD

Correspondence was received from Richard K. Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration (SHA), in which he recommended that, based on criteria identified by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and the data collected at the intersection, a multi-way stop at the intersection of MD Route 299 and Sassafras/Caldwell Road is not justified at this time. He indicated that the SHA will continue to monitor the intersection to determine if conditions change.


PERSONNEL

At 10:50 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum 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, and Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, were also in attendance. The executive session adjourned at 11:28 a.m.

At 11:30 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Robert H. Strong, Jr., State's Attorney, and Joe Flannagan, Deputy State's Attorney, in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 12:07 p.m.

At 12:30 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 3:00 p.m.


PLANNING AND ZONING

Correspondence was received from Rev. Leon Powell, Pastor of the Rock Hall Church of God, indicating that the church is planning to submit application for a building permit for the construction of a new church building. Pastor Powell requested that the application fee be waived. The Board unanimously agreed to approve this request.


PROGRAM OPEN SPACE (POS)

Mr. Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared and reported that a letter went forth from his office to all of the municipalities about the availability of POS acquisition funding. He received three requests from the municipalities for consideration.

Commissioner Crow suggested that a possible and worthy recipient for POS funds might be the construction of parking facilities which are needed at the public landings. He also suggested that, given the deadline of June 30, 2004 for projects submitted, the County should not rush its selection of worthy recipients. Commissioner Pickrum concurred, advising that the County research which among its municipalities have the greatest needs to be funded.

It was the decision of the Commissioners to table their decision as to a recipient/ recipients for the POS acquisition funds.


STILL POND STATION

Jeff Troester, Director Parks and Recreation, appeared and outlined the history and current discussions and actions concerning the dredging of Still Pond Creek as it effects the County's property at the site of the Still Pond Coast Guard Station. He referred to correspondence received from David H. Wilson, the Maryland Eastern Shore Resource, Conservation and Development Council, Inc. (RC & D) Coordinator, in February 2003, regarding the Still Pond Coast Guard Project. In that letter, Mr. Wilson reported that RC & D was involved for approximately eight years with the Coast Guard in trying to solve a serious shore erosion problem, with an estimated 15 feet of erosion over a period of three years, and 30 feet in the last 10 years.

Mr. Troester explained that each year, Professor Dave Kreibel, Ocean Engineering Department, U.S. Naval Academy, asks RC & D to recommend shore erosion sites for his Spring class to do as a project. In the Spring of 2002, RC & D nominated the severely eroding Coast Guard project. The midshipmen recommended techniques to solve the shore erosion including breakwaters, sand placement, marsh grass plantings, and a jetty to slow down the filling of the channel.

Mr. Troester indicated that he has recently received correspondence from the Army Corps of Engineers, indicating that it has agreed to dredge Still Pond Creek, and he reported that Mr. Wilson has contacted the Corps and the Coast Guard channel about the costs and environmental concerns of the dredging. Mr Troester, in reference to Mr. Wilson's correspondence, explained that RC & D would submit an application to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for 75% grant funds ($300,000) of the estimated $400,000 total cost. Additional cost could be offset by using volunteers to plant the marsh grass plants required and possibly other in-kind services. In addition, he advised that the addition of other grants should be available to complement the potential 75% to be provided by MDE (e.g. $2,000 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to offset the cost of plants and fertilizer). With the dredging of the Coast Guard channel, the sand dredged could be used and is needed on the site behind the breakwaters to create a fairly large wetland area, which would be appreciated by the County Planning Department as a positive benefit to the Critical Area. (Otherwise, sand would have to be hauled in with considerable damage to Still Pond Road.)

In response to Commissioner Pickrum's request, Mr. Troester indicated that he would obtain an executive summary of the Army Corps of Engineers' plan for dredging the Still Pond Creek channel.

A copy of correspondence dated November 21, 2003 was received which was sent by David H. Wilson to Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest, referring to the previous February 2003 letter, further explained the components of the Still Pond Coast Guard project as follows:

- Breakwaters: materials (large rip-rap); labor (SeeBees, National Guard Construction Units, etc., or local contractors).

- Sand: all the sand must be dredged out of the Coast Guard harbor; labor (SeeBees, local contractors).

- Marsh Plantings: plants (Chesapeake Bay Trust grant will cover the cost); labor to plant provided by volunteers. Mr. Wilson indicated that he would provide a budget for the project as outlined above, and that he would complete the grant application to MDE for 75% of the cost of this project.

Because the funds would not be available until July 1, 2006 if approved, he requests the assistance of Congressman Gilchrest to find approximately $300,000 to cover at least the cost of the rock needed for the construction of the breakwater and jetty. He underscored the severity of the erosion taking place, reporting that the property has already lost 30 feet in the last 10 years. Mr. Wilson noted that he would receive a more accurate estimate of the extent of the erosion from Professor Kreibel at the U.S. Naval Academy.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, December 2, 2003.


THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND

Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant


Approved: 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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