KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
December 21, 2004
The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum, presiding.
Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, was also in attendance.
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $9,426,319.00.
Commissioner Pickrum requested a moment of silence to remember the men and women in uniform around the world who have died in defense of the United States' freedom and America's way of life.
Correspondence was received on December 15 from the Planning Commission and the Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board advising of review and recommendation of approval for agricultural land preservation district application submitted by Frank P. Hudson and John and Charlotte Loller. A public hearing has been scheduled for January 4, 2005.
BAY BROADBAND COMMUNICATIONS
The County Administrator reported on her negotiations with Bay Broadband Communications (BBC) whereby BBC has agreed to provide free wireless services to the county government in exchange to free rental of county tower space. A formal agreement will be prepared.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Correspondence dated December 14 was received from David Lever, Executive
Capital Request for Fiscal Year 2006 (includes locally-owned relocatables) - $2,228,000;
Total allocation for Fiscal Year 2006 (includes locally-owned relocatables) - $2,000,000.
Craig O'Donnell, of the Kent County News, expressed his opinion that all citizens of the County should be encouraged to attend the public information meetings and workshops concerning the Comprehensive Plan. Commissioner Livie concurred, adding that there is an important need to have a cross- section of the County represented to provide their opinions and concerns. Mr. O'Donnell expressed his concern that very few young people have been in attendance at said workshops and meetings. Commissioners Livie and Crow both expressed their hope that all citizens would be involved in the meetings, citing as an example, representatives of the student governments of the schools in the County. Commissioner Livie suggested that the Board raise this need with the Board of Education (BOE) in order that students would learn about planning and zoning issues in the County. Commissioner Pickrum noted that the Board has made itself available to the County's schools to talk about County issues, but, unfortunately, no school has, as yet, accepted the invitation.
COUNTY ROADS DIVISION
The Commissioners approved the request of J. Edward Spray, Superintendent of County Roads to purchase 4,700 tons of stone at a cost of $51,700 and to increase his patching budget for tar by $22,000. Mr. Spray reported in a Memorandum dated December 15 that this purchase will enable County Roads Division to continue patching and complete the Surface Treating for Fiscal Year 2005, and that this purchase can be made by using Fiscal Year 2005 Highway User Fund reserve money.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared and reported about the following:
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee - Mr. Morris reviewed a copy of the message, dated December 13, which was sent to all County customers of water and wastewater services reporting that in their next quarterly bill, January to March 2005, they will see a new line item for $7.50/per Equivalent Dwelling Unit labeled as"Bay Restoration Fee". The message indicates that this fee is mandated by the State (cit. Senate Bill # 320, To all Maryland Sewer/Water Users to help pay for the clean up of the Chesapeake Bay.) This $7.50 charge will be collected with each quarterly billing.
Edesville Service Area -
Allocation Request - Mr. Morris reported that a request for sewer allocations was received from Elias Felluss pertaining to his property located on Tax Map 46, Parcel # 61. Mr. Morris noted that Mr. Felluss had made a request (cit. "Minutes," Kent County Commissioners, August 26, 2003) for a water and wastewater allocation for said property in August 2003 which was approved by the Board; however, Mr. Felluss did not submit his acceptance of the allocations nor did he make any payment for them. Mr. Morris advised that there are wetlands issues concerning this property. He indicated that he would not recommend approval of the most recent request for two reasons: (1) the significant lapse of time since the first request; and (2) the fees for allocations have increased since the first request was submitted.
Commissioner Crow requested that policy be established which would provide a deadline for a response from property owners to the approval of their allocations. The Commissioners determined that a 90-day period of time serve as the deadline for the receipt of responses and the payment for allocations, effective immediately. Mr. Morris will inform those with responses and payment pending of this policy.
Edesville/Rock Hall System - Mr. Morris reported that the work of installing a water connection, conducted by David A. Bramble, Inc., between the Edesville Service Area and the Rock Hall water system met interference with two gas tanks which were discovered buried under MD Route 20. He also reported that he was present at an emergency meeting that took place on December 20 with representatives of the Town of Rock Hall and the State (including the Department of the Environment and the State Highway Administration) in order to determine the responsible party for the clean-up and testing for possible water contamination at the site and area around the discovered gas tanks. Before a future meeting of representatives of the Town, County, and State takes place to make further determinations for the clean-up and testing, the immediate extraction of the gas tanks will be conducted by David A. Bramble, Inc. Mr. Morris expressed his hope that the State will come forward to offer its assistance with the clean-up and testing, although at the present time, the State has indicated that it is not responsible for any of the above.
Mr. Morris stated that the tanks are actually located on State property; the water line is the property of the Town of Rock Hall, and the property adjacent to the gas tanks is in the jurisdiction of the County. He noted that the Maryland Department of the Environment reported that it had previously extracted gas tanks out of the same property and apparently did not investigate the existence of any additional ones. Mr. Morris stated that he will keep the Board apprised of further developments. No further action was taken at this time.
Fairlee Service Area - The Commissioners approved the request for a water and sewer allocation for the property known as Tax Map 35, Parcel # 110 on Georgetown Road, owned by James Shih, by Eric A. Zoellner, President, Mount Chase Corporation of Arnold, Maryland, and contract purchaser.
Millington Service Area - the water treatment plant project is progressing on schedule;
Edesville Service Area - the sewer project is progressing. McCrone, Inc. (Engineering) is working on the design and it is anticipated that construction will start in the spring or early summer.
Allen's Lane Service Area - Mr. Morris is waiting to hear from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on the next step which would be an environmental review by MDE.
Kennedyville Service Area - Mr. Morris assured Commissioner Livie that he will communicate often with the residents of Kennedyville, in light of the proposed new development "Kennedyville Village" and the concern residents have expressed about water quality issues, adding that the Department of Water and Wastewater has been and is currently conducting testing.
Upon a question raised by Mr. Morris, the Commissioners requested that he submit statement to the Kennedyville Volunteer Fire Company advising of payment received for filling of the fish truck for FY03 and the amount due for FY04.
A Memorandum dated December 17 was received from P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development, listing the following updates:
- the final version of the LaMotte Property Request for Proposal (RFP) completed;
- a site visit on November 19 of the Maritime Applied Physics Corporation's offices and plant on Baltimore's waterfront made by Ms. Schaller, Mickey Elsberg, Vice-President of the Economic Development Advisory Board, and Guy Beckley, Chesapeake Marine Operations Manager;
- Ms. Schaller attended the Bio-Forum Conference on November 17. She met with representatives of ILSbio, LLC, a business which recently moved from Montgomery to Kent County and are planning to expand once located at Chestertown Business Park. ILSbio, LLC is a genomic (DNA) cancer research organization that researches messenger RNA biomarkers for cancer types that will lead to diagnosis and treatments that will be able to detect cancer far earlier than what is possible today;
- the Rural Summit on November 4 and 5 raised new issues regarding agricultural products prepared at farm, including wine tastings or wine ordered directly at the farm;
Bay Broadband Communications is progressing with its goal of being the first wireless link across the Chesapeake Bay, providing fast Internet service to the Eastern Shore;
- Ms. Schaller will be part of a team, including Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism Development, which will make a presentation today to the Department of Business and Economic Development in Baltimore promoting Chesapeake Fields and Chesapeake Farmers, and will explore possible funding sources for an Agricultural Awareness Corporate Visitor Center.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
A letter went forth to various representatives of emergency/service agencies seeking their acceptance to a newly established local Emergency Medical Services SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Committee.
Commissioner Pickrum was recently advised that the Chief Paramedic was seeking available office space for the Emergency Medical Services Division to relocate out of the Emergency Management Office. The Commissioners felt this issue should be discussed at the next SWOT meeting.
Commissioner Pickrum reported that he attended the Fire Chiefs Association
(FCA) Meeting on December 17. A positive response was given by the FCA
members to the Board's initiative in offering a sign on bonus for paramedics
in an effort to encourage interest in this position. Discussion was also
held as to FCA's concern that dispatchers are no longer scheduled to do
"ride-alongs" with local fire companies as part of training.
The FCS felt the "ride-alongs"
Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, appeared and reported that, concerning the Granary rehabilitation project, the Bayside Landing Park apartment cannot be considered for the individual contracted by the Kent Museum to manage the fund-raising efforts for the rehabilitation of the Granary, since it would be in violation of the Rock Hall Zoning Ordinance to permit new living quarters at this location.
Mr. Troester stated that he is investigating the possibilities of arranging for a suitable residence for the consultant in the Lathim House at Turner's Creek, as well as possible sources of funding for the necessary modifications. He requested the Commissioners' continued support with the Granary Rehabilitation Project. He will keep the Board apprised of possible options for consideration.
No further action was taken at this time.
LAMOTTE PARK PROPERTY
P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development, appeared and presented the following updates:
- the final version of the LaMotte Property Request for Proposal (RFP) completed. In response to Ms. Schaller's request for the Board's recommendations of individuals to serve on a pre-bid team, Ms. Hayman indicated that a tentative list had been compiled In November in the earlier meeting concerning the pre-bid conference. Commissioner Livie emphasized strongly that the Board does not want the LaMotte Property Project to be delayed any longer than necessary, and strongly encouraged imminent deadlines to be established by Ms. Schaller for its progress. Commissioner Crow requested that one of the members of the pre-bid team serve also as a contact "point person" to field the bids as they come forward. Ms Hayman will work in concert with Ms. Schaller to form the list of pre-bid team members, designate the point person, as well as to establish the necessary deadlines to ensure the steady and brisk progress of the LaMotte Property Project.
Commissioner Pickrum requested that by January 15, 2005, the pre-bid team be ascertained as well as the County's legal representation, and the bid-opening commence.
Later in the day, the Commissioners agreed to appointment of a 7 member development team rather than 12 as discussed earlier today.
At 10:30 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into closed session to discuss legal matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a)(7) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Items of discussion included contract negotiations with the Chester Bridge Foundation.
The closed session adjourned at 11:10 a.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 closed session with Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, for discussion of legal matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section (a)(8) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The closed session adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
At 11:20 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into closed session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a)(i)(ii) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Ed Robinson, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.
The closed session adjourned at 11:35 a.m.
REGIONAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
The Commissioners authorized Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, to attend the National Institute of Corrections Conference for regional corrections facility planning, scheduled for the week of April 10, 2005 to be held at Longmont, Colorado.
RIGBIE BLUFF PROJECT
Amy Guise, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, appeared and responded to correspondence that was sent by the Commissioners in July 2003, apologizing for the long delayed response. Approximately 12 interested persons who are citizens of Betterton and members of the Rigbie Bluff Condominium Association were also in attendance.
Ms. Guise emphasized that the Corps' delay in responding is not representative of the protocol of the Corps of Engineers. She reviewed the information that she sent via electronic mail previously, entitled "Fact Sheet," Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration and Protection Program, Section 510 which included a description of four projects in the State, one of which will be selected as a pilot program to provide environmental assistance to non-Federal interests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. She reported that design and construction costs will be cost-shared at 75% Federal (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) and 25% non-Federal (i.e. the sponsor of the project).
Among the projects currently on a waiting list for Section 510 approval is the Rigbie Bluff Project. For the record, the Rigbie Bluff Project would be the stabilization effort of the bluff on which is situated the Rigbie Bluff Condominiums, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in Betterton. Ms. Guise described the application approval process as follows: Phase I is the fact sheet phase and the nomination as a candidate for Section 510; Phase II is the design and construction phase and the agreement of the 75/25 cost share. She expressed her opinion that the application of the Rigbie Bluff Project will rank very high in the approval process because the Army Corps desires to make amends for its delayed response to the County. Ms. Guise explained that, with the amount of Section 510 funding as it exists, there is is a probable 1 to 2 year time-line for the approval process to be completed; however, with more funding provided, that time-line will shorten.
Ms. Guise further explained that because the Section 510 program represents broad areas of foci, she encouraged the application for the Section 510 program to be as expansive as possible, to include, for example, wastewater upgrades, shoreline protection, and other programs within the scope of support provided by Section 510. Commissioner Pickrum stated that the County would be interested in expanding the scope of the Rigbie Bluff Project.
Mary Ann Skilling, Critical Areas Circuit Rider, stated that the Rigbie Bluff Project application currently includes a proposal for erosion control. She explained that the history of the Association's efforts in preparing application, including its approval by the Department of Natural Resources as a priority need area; the studies and collection of pertinent data accomplished by the Association. Mrs. Skilling also indicated that there are in her opinion a lot of environmental concerns, citing as examples a pump station and other building structures.
Commissioner Pickrum concurring with Ms. Guise, encouraged the members of the Rigbie Bluff Condominium Association to send lots of letters to their Congressional delegation, requesting an increase of the cap on the funding for Section 510.
Responding to Art Hock, Manager of the Rigbie Bluff Condominium Association, Ms. Guise indicated that the Army Corps would not be able to cost-share (i.e. match) the private sector funds already expended by the Association, for example, the $8,000.00 spent for soil testing. However, Ms. Guise added that the Army Corps would definitely look at the results of research already obtained as "existing information."
Responding to Mr. Hock's question, Commissioner Pickrum indicated that he is not able to encourage or discourage the Association to proceed with a plan it has begun in conjunction with their engineers, given the information received today from the Army Corps.
Mr. Hock stated his opinion that the Condo Association needs to have a plan on paper and will probably continue to move forward with it in order that it can anticipate the expenses for the project .
The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Ms. Guise and the members of the Rigbie Bluff Condominium Association for their attendance and input.
WATER AND SEWER PLAN
At the recommendation made by Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, the Commissioners agreed to host a workshop with representatives of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services, Planning Office, Environmental Health and the County Engineer for discussion of the Board's goals and objectives concerning growth in the County to be incorporated in the draft Water and Sewer Plan Update.
WORTON BUSINESS PARK
Jim Wright, County Engineer, gave status of revisions being made by McCrone, Inc. on the Worton Business Park plan as required by the Soil and Water Conservation Service.
A copy of correspondence dated December 17 was received that was sent to all owners of properties adjoining the property located on Commerce Lane and Worton Road (Route 297) inviting the owners to a the meeting of the Planning Commission scheduled to take place on January 6, 2005. At the meeting said property owners will have an opportunity to offer their comments regarding the proposed subdivision plat and site plan for a subdivision creating five lots on the 13.85 acre parcel that is currently zoned "Industrial" (preliminary) and the Kent County Business Park at Worton - Site Plan Review (preliminary), both in the Third Election District. The County Commissioners have applied for the proposed major subdivision. The correspondence also indicates that the Land Subdivision Ordinance requires the Planning Commission to review any proposed major subdivisions to assure a good arrangement, appearance and insure harmony with the County's Comprehensive Plan and complying with all County regulations.
ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT
Correspondence dated December 20 was received from Elizabeth H. Morris, Chair, Planning Commission, reporting that at its December 2 meeting, the Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of the proposed zoning text amendment application submitted by Jane Hukill, Raymond Richards, and Jerry Smith to amend Article V, Sections 2.2.17 (Resource Conservation District), 13.2.1 (Marine District), and Article VII (Special Exceptions), Sections 7.13, 7.47, 7.49 of the Kent County Land Use Ordinance. These sections pertain to the development, use, and expansion of retreats, conference centers, and resorts.
In making its recommendation, the Planning Commission found the following:
- A public need exists for the clarification of the regulations governing retreats, conference centers, and resorts.
- The proposed amendment does not address the need to review the definitions of these facilities.
- A comprehensive review of these sections is required before amending the Ordinance.
Local legislation will be prepared for this zoning text amendment application, and a public hearing will be scheduled after its introduction.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, January 4, 2005. There will be no meeting of the Board of County Commissioners during the week of December 26, 2004.