The Honorable Board of License Commissioners met today with
the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum,
T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance.
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $3,746,211.00.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COMMUNITY MEETING
Margo Bailey, Mayor of Chestertown, appeared and welcomed everyone. She
expressed her appreciation to the Commissioners, on behalf of the citizens
of Chestertown, for scheduling evening community meetings (the second
Tuesday of each month) which provides citizens the opportunity to attend
the Commissioners' meetings. Approximately 6 interested persons were present,
including a member of the media.
BAY BROADBAND COMMUNICATIONS
P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development, introduced Dr. Allen
L. Hammond, of Queen Anne's County, Vice President of Innovation and Special
Projects, World Resources Institute. Ms. Schaller invited Dr. Hammond
to make a presentation about broadband technology and an introduction
to his business, Bay Broadband Communications (BBC), which he shares with
Timothy Lloyd, Jr. (of Kent County) who also was in attendance. The powerpoint
presentation, "Wireless Internet Access," included the following information:
- How WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) Works - tiny low power radios can carry
data very efficiently; small point to point antennae focus the signal,
enabling long distance links; uses un-licensed spectrum (i.e. a government
permit is not required); technology is evolving rapidly; no wires or cables,
on or underground, are needed; involves the use of water towers and radio
towers which "bounce" the signal to tiny antennae connected to homes and
businesses, which are, in turn, connected by a wire to the individual's
- The Benefits of Wireless Internet - potentially low cost; reach remote
locations; has low environmental impact (no wires, no cables); it is robust
against the forces of nature and can provide emergency back-up communications;
it is very high speed Internet access, much faster in comparison with
dial up, DSL, and cable.
- Public/Private Partnership Benefits - can enable Internet access in
places that are not commercially viable; can lower costs; can help economic
development; can reduce environmental impact and visual clutter by using
existing towers; customers, therefore, will not have to bear a lot of
the costs; the BBC office would be based in or right outside of Chestertown;
BBC would serve all of the Eastern Shore. Dr. Hammond indicated that BBC's
mission would be to offer its customers reliable service at a price and
speed to meet customers' needs. He projected the Fall of 2004 as the commencement
of BBC's service, perhaps sooner.
To questions posed regarding potential interference of the signal and
the range of the signal, Dr. Hammond stated that the range of the signal
is 30 miles and would be received, according to Dr. Hammond, by most places
throughout the County. It is his company's goal to provide the service
throughout Delaware, in addition to the County and its environs, and would
receive signals across the Chesapeake Bay. The wireless signal would not
create interference for an airport, or be affected by the signals received
and sent by an airport.
Dr. Hammond added that, with the service of BBC in place, the County would
no longer be dependent upon any one wireless carrier. Currently, he explained,
to buy a T-1 would cost $1200 per month in the County, compared to the
cost $700 per month in Baltimore. Commissioner Crow confirmed Dr. Hammond's
cost-comparison by noting his own research which verifies the current
disadvantage of citizens living in Kent County who must bear a significantly
higher cost for wireless service than citizens living in urban centers,
e.g. in Montgomery County.
Anne Livie, Director of the Local Management Board, was present and inquired
as to whether or not the "new generation" of lap top computers projected
will render the current generation obsolete. Dr. Hammond responded by
advising that the "new generation" will supplement access, for example,
from boats to marinas, and not render current access obsolete. He further
described the projected range of access as a "godsend" for emergency medical
and response services, such as hospitals, ambulances, fire engines, etc.
Commissioner Livie inquired about the security of the signal, citing as
an example the information communicated by a bank's computers. Dr. Hammond
indicated that "hot spots" (antennae that receive and send signals) are
security-vulnerable and , therefore, his business would provide three
levels of security: (1) computer systems would be given a unique identifier
registered with the BBC; (2) the systems would require a password in order
to log-on; (3) the system would require new software technology that can
"scramble" the information when received by unwarranted parties.
Dr. Hammond advised that the current wireless internet access requires
point to point antennae; however he noted that in 2006, the Intel company
will produce "y-max" technology, available, for example, with new lap
top computers which will have built-in receivers.
To Ms. Schaller's question about whether or not the BBC will look into
the State's sharing agreement with its towers, Dr. Hammond assented and
added that, given a public/private partnership, the BBC would not have
any need to build additional towers. Ms. Schaller continued by expressing
her anticipation of having BBC's service available in the County.
The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Dr. Hammond for his
BOARD OF ELECTIONS SUPERVISORS
Memorandum was received from Florence Sutton, Director, Board of Elections,
regarding procedures for assigning deputies to polling place in the County.
BOGLES WHARF PUBLIC LANDING
CLIFFS CITY PUBLIC LANDING
The Commissioners approved and signed Contract by and between the County
Commissioners and Deckelman's Pile Driving for repair of the timber piers
at total cost of $27,800.00.
Correspondence was received from R. Thomas Worley, Area Director of Government
Relations, Comcast of Delmarva, serving as Comcast's official notice of
request that negotiations be commenced for the renewal of its franchise
with the County that expires November 29, 2006. Comcast sent the letter
in fulfillment of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 which encourages
franchisors and cable operators to reach renewal agreements through informal
discussion begun with an official notice.
Mike Johnson, of Millington, appeared and expressed his support of the
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Fund as discussed by the Commissioners
at their February 3rd meeting.
Mr. Johnson cited several of many occasions in which he has witnessed
first-hand the effects of cold water algae on fish, describing what he
has seen as "disgusting." He expressed his opinion that projected cost
of $2.50 per month, per family is not an unreasonable burden for the public,
given the significant pollution of the Bay. He further explained his belief
that nutrients contribute for the most part to the pollution of the Bay,
and , therefore, the Restoration Fund would be an opportunity to upgrade
all of the State's water treatment plants and curtail this form of pollution.
Commissioner Crow responded by affirming that the health of the Chesapeake
Bay is the responsibility of all citizens. However, he added that he would
like to see a mechanism developed in this Fund that would enable the smaller
water treatment systems to benefit financially from the Fund before the
projected 2011 completion date for the design and construction of plant
upgrades. Commissioner Crow underscored his concern that the urban areas
be as responsible financially as rural areas, such as Kent County which
has recently increased its water and sewer rates in order to provide the
required upgrades to its water treatment plant and water and sewer systems.
He also underscored his opinion that Kent County receive "its fair share"
from this Fund as other counties are expected to receive in the near future.
He noted that there are counties in the State that have not "stepped up
to the plate" to raise their own rates, thereby making the necessary upgrades
to their own systems.
Commissioner Pickrum noted that the proposed legislation will upgrade
66 water treatment plants; however, once these plants met the requirements
of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), monies from the Restoration
Fund will not be distributed to the struggling rural plants. He also expressed
concern as to the lack of a sunset provision in the legislation in which
funding generated could be applied to other systems in need. He concurred
with Commissioner Crow that said monies will be directed primarily to
the urban centers. He further expressed his disapproval of the projected
$3 Million designated to cover the administrative costs for "the transfer
Commissioner Crow noted that there is significant pollution entering the
Bay from the Susquehanna River and underscored the importance of addressing
the significant pollution which, he believes, enters the Bay from the
Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal.
Mr. Johnson concluded his comments by indicating that he has watched "the
Bay dying" for 30 years, lamenting that 95% of the oysters in the Bay
are gone. He extended his appreciation to the Commissioners for taking
the time to clarify for him their position regarding the Restoration Fund.
The Commissioners thanked Mr. Johnson for his interest and input.
Correspondence was received from Allison Wiedeman, Technology Coordinator,
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, Chesapeake
Bay Program Office, expressing her appreciation for the Commissioners'
comments on the draft document, Technical Support Document for the Identification
of Chesapeake Bay Designated Uses and Attainability made during the winter
2003. Ms. Wiederman indicated that the Chesapeake Bay Program's proposed
designated uses are "only a first cut to be refined further by the states
who will tailor them to rivers like the Chester." Further, she wrote,
"Like the State of Maryland, other states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed
will take the Technical Support Document information and tailor it to
their own water quality standard process. The EPA does not, she explained,
develop state-specific standards but must review and approve the standards
that states propose. Ms. Wiederman commended the County for its "environmental
stewardship" and she strongly encouraged the County to share its knowledge
of the Chester River during Maryland's water quality standards development
CHESAPEAKE BAY GATEWAYS GRANT
A letter of support went forth for the nominations of the Geddes Piper
House, Kent Museum, and Turners Creek Park, the Mainstay and the Prince
Theater as Chesapeake Bay Gateway sites. As indicated in a memorandum
from Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, inclusion in the Chesapeake
Bay Gateways Network "opens the door for technical assistance, grants,
and additional marketing for these sites."
In response to questions posed by Cooky McClung, Editor, Kent County News,
concerning the proposed Kent County community center, Commissioner Livie
underscored that it is the intention of Phase I of the design and construction
to provide the most economical use of scale and space and to provide social
benefits. There has been discussion to connect the community center to
the County High School's gymnasium, thereby permitting the public's access
to the gym. Commissioner Livie also pointed out that the structural connection
between community center and school would encourage opportunities for
interaction between the students and the public. Additionally, he noted,
the plans to incorporate the construction of the community center along
with the renovations of the high school would save the County money.
At the request of Delegate Walkup, Commissioner Crow will meet with her
on February 11 to further review plans for the proposed community center.
COUNTY OWNED PROPERTIES
The Commissioners approved and signed Agreement by and between the County
Commissioners and Gwendolyn Newman for the following county owned facilities:
Public Works Complex at $1,200 per month, County Government Center at
$2,100 per month, and Courthouse at $1,050 per month. The contracts will
commence on July 1 on a month to month basis and will terminate June 30,
2005. These contracts may be extended for an additional four years contingent
upon annual satisfactory evaluations.
A request for assistance was received from Mr. and Mrs. William Jones,
Wyble Road, relating to the flooding of their yard and area under their
house. This request was relayed to the County Roads Supervisor who reported
that the problem did not involve the County road. The house and property
are located one and one-half feet below the grade of the road and, with
the recent rain and melting snow, the flooding occurred. The County Administrator
will contact the Housing and Community Development Coordinator to see
if any assistance can be given.
Correspondence was received from Ronald L. Howell, Warden, seeking the
Board's support of House Bill 54 which would provide eligibility for membership
of correctional officers in the Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System
(LEOPS). The Warden expressed his belief that it is long overdue for correctional
officers to be afforded the same retirement options as other law enforcement
officers. Additional information will be obtained and this request will
be further reviewed next week.
DRAYTON RETREAT CENTER
Marci Brown, Planning Commission member, and Gail Owings, Director, Planning
and Zoning, appeared. A summary of the February 5th meeting of the Planning
Commission which included a report about the Commission's recommendations
concerning the proposed Drayton Manor retreat/conference center. Ms. Brown
indicated that John Petro and his company would like to purchase the Drayton
Retreat Center from the Peninsula Conference of the Methodist Church and
develop it into a retreat and conference center, to include 40 suites
and accessory uses, such as a spa, a pool, and dining facility. Of the
said accessory uses, all, except the dining facilities, could be made
available to the general public, in addition to conference and/or retreat
Ms. Brown reported that the proposal is consistent with the Comprehensive
Plan and that the Planning Commission intends to forward a favorable recommendation
to the Board of Appeals that Drayton Manor be developed as proposed by
John Petro (with the elimination of the proposed chapel) and will recommend
a special exception for the proposal. The Planning Commission is expected
to meet with the Board of Appeals on February 23rd to make its recommendation.
She noted that the Planning Commission has made stipulations that there
be no condominiums or timeshares included in the development, and that
the conference/retreat center be organized under one corporation.
Ms. Brown also reported that the site of the proposed conference/retreat
center is located in a Resource Conservation Area (RCA) and, therefore,
would require a growth allocation from the Board of Commissioners. She
added that this request would be the first of its kind coming from the
Planning Commission to the Board. Mrs. Owings explained that there are
three different ways in which a growth allocation can be determined for
a site in a resource conservation district: as a least intensive development,
a limited development area; and as an intensive development area. The
growth allocation for the proposed conference/retreat center would represent
a change from a "least intensive development" to the designation of an
"intensive development area."
Ms. Brown pointed out the following financial benefits to the County which
the Planning Commission projects from the proposed conference/retreat
center: land taxes, room taxes, and income taxes. Citing other benefits
to the County, such as an increase of business activity that would be
generated by conference/retreat attendees, Ms. Brown also noted that the
concept of a conference/retreat center is compatible with the designated
area, given the latter's history as a site for a retreat center.
Ms. Brown indicated that many of the neighbors living in proximity to
the proposed conference/retreat center have expressed their disapproval
of the proposal. To Commissioner Livie's question concerning the effects
of the traffic coming and going from the proposed conference/retreat center,
Ms. Brown indicated that there would be a significant increase in traffic
in that area, however, it would not be a steady stream of traffic all
day and all evening. She expressed her opinion that it would not be likely
that conference attendees would travel frequently during the course of
their stay at the proposed center. Ms. Brown indicated that neighbors
of the proposed center, adults and children, currently walk and bike along
the surrounding roads, such as Cooper's Lane. She suggested that perhaps
the County might look into providing trails and/or designated bicycle
and pedestrian paths along the shoulders of the roads leading in and out
of the proposed conference center. Commissioner Pickrum asked whether
or not a provision for such paths and trails could be required of the
developer, to which Ms. Brown responded that the Planning Commission has
required an easement alongside the road that might be used for those purposes
some day. Ms. Brown cited a number of examples of provisions which could
be made a requirement of the developer, demonstrating to the surrounding
home-owners that the that the proposed conference/retreat center is a
Correspondence, directed to the Director of Planning and Zoning Administration
was received from Jane E. Hukill and from David and Tracy Dougherty who
wrote of their opposition to the proposed project of developing Drayton
Manor into a retreat and conference center.
EARLY ACTION COMPACT (EAC)
Correspondence was received from Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, attaching
a response to an inquiry which she made on behalf of the Board from Donald
Welsh, Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
as it relates to the air quality standard for ozone.
Mr. Welsh indicated that Kent and Queen Anne's Counties are not eligible
for a deferred effective date of the nonattainment designation for the
eight-hour ozone standard. He also conveyed that the Commissioners should
be aware that the EPA has not signed the EAC for said counties. Mr. Welsh
indicated that according to the EPA's "Protocol for Early Action Compacts
Designed to Achieve and Maintain the Eight-Hour Ozone Standard," only
areas that were attaining the one-hour ozone standard as of December 31,
2002 were eligible to participate in the EAC program.
Responding to Commissioner Pickrum's questions, Mrs. Owings explained
that Kent County met the one-hour ozone standard, however not in time
to meet the deadline with the EAC. Therefore, the EPA did not sign the
The Commissioners approved the request of P.A.M. Schaller, Director of
Economic Development, to attend a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, as it
relates to business incubators.
Commissioner Livie inquired, on behalf of another interested party, as
to whether or not a the owners of a house, damaged as a result of Hurricane
Isabel, and determined to be eligible to receive funding assistance from
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), can appeal the requirement
to elevate the house during its reconstruction. Mrs. Owings explained
that the home-owners could apply for a flood plain variance; however,
she noted that their flood insurance rates would "sky-rocket." She further
explained that the elevation requirement is determined by an engineering
evaluation: if the cost to repair a house damaged as a result of a natural
disaster is more than 50% the value of the house in its original state,
the house must be elevated as part of its reconstruction. Mrs. Owings
recommended that the home-owners in question send a letter provided by
structural engineer to their insurance company specifying that "this house
cannot be elevated for the following reasons ... ."
KENT COUNTY BUSINESS PARK AT WORTON
Memorandum was received from P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development,
advising that she scheduled a field trip for the Commissioners to go to
the Hurlock Industrial Park on March 5th.
At 6:05 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
Items of discussion related to an economic development project.
The executive session adjourned at 6:10 p.m.
Correspondence was received from James A. Blake, President, Board of Trustees,
and Gloria G. Urban, Director, both of the Kent County Public Library,
seeking full funding of their Fiscal Year 2005 budget request.
At 5:55 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.
Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.
The executive session adjourned at 6:05 p.m.
Marci Brown, Planning Commission member, appeared and reported on the
February 5th meeting of the Planning Commission. In addition to her report
about the discussions concerning the proposed Drayton conference/retreat
center, she reported that three other applications were reviewed. Gail
Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, was also in attendance.
One application was submitted by Chestertown Realty Co., Inc. for the
development of 32 lots in Rock Hall. The houses would be served by Rock
Hall's public sewer and by private wells. She indicated that the proposed
houses would all be built on a little more than 10,000 square feet. To
questions posed by Commissioners Livie and Crow, Ms. Brown stated that
the Planning Commission has not yet received input from the Rock Hall
Fire Department and cited some potential safety issues for the proposed
development, such as availability of fire hydrants, and accessibility
to the development by fire engines. To Commissioner Crow's question as
to under whose authority is the classification "tidal wetlands" determined,
Mrs. Owings advised that it is determined by "certified" companies that
are contracted by, as in this case, the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct
a field inspection. The results of the field inspection conducted for
the said Rock Hall property indicated that it is an "approved jurisdictional
Discussion then ensued about an application for a zoning map amendment
filed by Chris Shorter for a property owned by Enos Bontrager, adjacent
to the intersection of MD Routes 292 and 298 in Still Pond, to be changed
from "nonconforming use" in the village to "crossroads use." The Planning
Commission concurred that there had been a mistake in zoning and agreed
to submit a recommendation for approval to the Commissioners.
Ms. Brown reported that the next meeting about the Comprehensive Plan
will take place in the beginning of March.
The Commissioners approved and signed Proclamation in honor of Florence
T. Dorsey's birthday on February 12 and in recognition of her dedication
and commitment to her church, students and community organizations.
SHARP STREET PUBLIC LANDING
The Commissioners approved and signed Contract by and between the County
Commissioners and Deckelman's Pile Driving for the removal of the existing
deck, repair of the superstructure and installation of new timber decking
at a cost of $138,775.00
A Progress Report was submitted by Bernadette Van Pelt, Director of the
Office of Tourism Development, providing the activity and accomplishments
of her office during the period of October 1, 2003 through December 31,
Correspondence was received from Charles C. Cawley, County Administrator,
Caroline County, sent to Nancy Noonan, Maryland Transit Administration
(MTA), requesting, on behalf of Caroline, Kent, and Talbot Counties, Ms.
Noonan's cooperation and input in an endeavor to establish Delmarva Community
Services (Dorchester County) as the operator and manager of a regional
transportation system for the three said counties. The counties have requested
proposals from Delmarva Community Services to provide either a regional
system or three individual agreements.
In his letter, Mr. Cawley requested Ms. Noonan's assistance with working
out the change in funding, such as Statewide Specialized Transportation
Assistance Program (SSTAP), and the Section 5311 grant, which come from
the MTA that allow USTAR to operate its current transportation program
for the Counties of Caroline, Kent, and Talbot, and other funding/operating
On behalf of the Board, Commissioner Pickrum expressed his appreciation
to everyone for their attendance at the Community Meeting and for "seeing
your government in action."
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned
to meet again on Tuesday, February 17, 2004.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
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.