This Monday will be our last Council meeting for this term. I want to say how much of an honor and privilege it has been to serve you these past 4 years. I’m even more honored and humbled (and appreciative of my family’s support!) to be able to continue serving as your Alderman for another 4 years. I hope you have been happy with how I’ve been performing my duty to represent you, and respectfully ask for your vote on November 2nd.
Stay tuned to your email as I plan on holding a Ward 7 social gathering at the Maritime Museum’s Moyer park campus in early November. Since I haven’t had a town hall in a while, I will also be there to answer any questions folks may have and likely give a number of updates for what we may have in store for next year.
I’ll also include an update on the Parkside Preserve pollution at the end of this email.
Stay healthy and stay safe,
Next Council meeting – 10/25/21 (agenda)
This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, Facebook, and the City website (www.annapolis.gov). http://www.youtube.com/CityofAnnapolis http://www.facebook.com/CityofAnnapolis
Anyone needing reasonable accommodation to be able to participate in a public meeting held by the City of Annapolis should contact Regina Watkins-Eldridge at 410.263.7942, by MD Relay (711), or by email at [email protected] at least five days prior to the meeting date to request assistance.
If you are unable to attend, I believe you can still submit public testimony at http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.
Nothing is up for a public hearing since this is our last meeting of this term.
Legislation being introduced on First Reader
Nothing is up for first reader since this is our last meeting of this term.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
- O-19-21 - Development Application Procedures - For the purpose of providing for community benefit input in the review of proposed development applications. This is legislation I’m co-sponsoring with Alderman Arnett. It would allow an Alderperson to convene a community committee that would meet with the applicant/developer to express their feedback on the plans, and this would become part of the public record associated with the development. Pending any comments from you, I’m inclined to support this legislation.
- O-25-21 - Waterfront Maritime Zoning Districts update – This legislation was put together by a Maritime Task Force that was convened by the City Council. The task force included large maritime property owners, small maritime property owners, maritime businesses, trade representatives, community members, environmental community members, and planners, who reviewed our maritime zoning district code to recommend updates. The Maritime Districts were setup to protect our maritime industry, given that the industry need to have space available for offices, marinas, production, manufacturing, offices, dock space, etc. The task force did a phenomenal job and I intend to fully support what they are proposing. In Ward 7 we have one of the 4 maritime districts: Waterfront Maritime Industry (WMI). Currently, this industry, largely marinas with some manufacturing, are not allowed to have any non-maritime uses. This legislation would allow them to have 10% non-maritime, going up to 15% if they meet certain maritime triggers (such as a fuel dock), and up to 20% if they meet the triggers and other maritime incentives (such as water access). In particular, some of the marinas and other businesses in the WMI wanted to expand or offer restaurants to their clients as well as surrounding Ward 7 residents, given that many of their competitors in the County offer the same services. We felt the modest increase to 20% max non-maritime (if they meet the triggers/incentives), was acceptable and didn’t weaken the overall intention of protecting our maritime industry. Unfortunately, one of my colleagues on the Council had introduced amendments to increase those maximums in all of the districts, including bumping the non-maritime allowance to 35% in the WMI district. I believe he has agreed to withdraw those amendments. The others he introduced were put together by a local attorney representing a handfull of small maritime business owners who felt it necessary to bypass the entire process the overall Maritime Task Force put together, which included the smaller owners. These amendments would not only weaken this legislation but would threaten the very existence of our maritime industry. Those of us who have Wards with maritime districts (myself, Alderman Arnett, and Alderwoman Tierney) remain steadfast against these poison amendments. There is also a mistaken assertion out there that the task force did not reach out to the small maritime owners. That is not accurate. Indeed, they actually had around a dozen small maritime owners on the task force, and there also are some on the Maritime Advisory Board who supports this legislation and opposes the poison amendments.
- O-30-21 - Market Space Lease Agreements - For the purpose of approving the leases for certain City-owned property located at Market Space – This would allow for some of the businesses down around Market Space to continue having outdoor dining until June of 2022, thereby taking up some of the parking in that area. I am inclined to support this legislation, pending any comments from you. I’ll be following the lead of the Ward 1 Alderwoman as this impacts mainly her Ward.
- O-32-21 - Zoning Code - Use and Occupancy Permits - For the purpose of providing procedures for issuance of use and occupancy permits under the Zoning Code; providing timelines for the approval of a permit; requiring a maintenance bond; and generally relating to the use and occupancy permitting process. These are relatively minor tweaks from Planning & Zoning. Pending any comments from you, I’m likely to support.
- O-33-21 - Tree removal on private property - For the purpose of requiring a permit for the removal of certain trees located on private property anywhere within the City limits; and generally relating to the removal of trees on private property. – This is legislation I’ve put together. Currently trees are only protected (i.e. need a permit to remove) in the front yards, if they are 25’ from the road and over 5” in diameter. This legislation would protect (i.e. require a permit for removal) our large trees, any over 23”, anywhere on the property. I’m proposing this because of the importance these large trees have in our community and for our environment. This would help to protect homeowners from predatory tree companies that try to convince people to take down trees and pay them thousands of dollars. This would require a permit for such removal, and oversight by the City’s arborist, who will have to verify whether or not the tree actually needs to come down. The only cost is a $100 permit fee. If the tree does need to come down, the homeowner would need to replace the removed tree by planting other on their property, elsewhere in the City, or pay a fee-in-lieu, similar to what is currently required in the front of the properties. Pending any comments from you, I’m planning on supporting this legislation.
- O-34-21 – Forest Conservation – I have introduced this legislation to close two loopholes in our Forest Conservation law. Fortunately, staff has not allowed either of the loopholes to be utilized, but I want to close them for good.
- O-35-21 - Acceptable Forms of Signature - For the purpose of authorizing use of automated or computer generated electronic or digital signatures for certain official City documents; authorizing the City Manager to delegate signature authority for certain contracts; providing certain definitions; and generally relating to signatures. Pending any comments from you, I plan on supporting this legislation.
- O-35-21 - Exempt Service - For the purpose of transferring the position of Police Professional Standards Manager to the exempt service; and generally relating to the position of Police Professional Standards Manager. Based on my understanding, this legislation would convert an existing contractual position into a full-time exempt (i.e. appointed) position. This person would be focusing on implementing the State police reform legislation as well as dealing with other policing standards. Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation. I’ll just want to get some clarity on the cost, if any.
- R-22-21 - South Annapolis Yacht Center - Public Water Access - For the purpose of requiring the Department of Planning and Zoning to hold a public meeting for the general public to be heard on the South Annapolis Yacht Center fence application. Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation.
- R-28-21 - Universal Lodge No. 14 - Permit Fees Waiver - For the purpose of waiving the permit fees in connection with the restoration of the exterior of the historic Universal Lodge No. 14. Pending any comments from you, I am inclined to support this legislation.
- R-29-21 - Military Bowl Parade and Football Game - For the purpose of identifying the Military Bowl Parade and Football Game that will be held on December 27, 2021 as a Major Special Event; and waiving certain City of Annapolis fees for services related to that event. Pending any comments from you, I am inclined to support this legislation.
- R-30-21 - Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating - Adaptive Boating Center – I put forward this Resolution in an effort to originally waive, and now simply reduce, the fees that this project needs to pay for critical area mitigation.
Update on Parkside Preserve/Reliable contracting pollution
Reliable Contracting has proven to be a very bad actor in Annapolis. As I indicated in my last newsletter, due directly to their negligence and violations of our law, they have allowed pollution to enter a headwater stream leading into Quiet Waters park and, a few months earlier, sent pollution into a protected non-tidal wetland and future City park. Fortunately, the City has forced the contractor to resolve these issues. Reliable’s poor performance has been confirmed by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). I called MDE to issue a complaint about Reliable’s behavior, and they came out and investigated and later issued a report confirming that Reliable has indeed violated our laws by allowing this pollution to enter the park. It’s important to state that MDE has also confirmed that the environmental community was absolutely correct in their criticisms of the contractor and the City’s enforcement. They confirmed that both the contractor and City need to be doing more to ensure the pollution is reduced. One of our major criticisms was that the contractor and City, in their initial inspections, were simply stating that everything was ok since the muddy, polluted water was going into an approved sediment trap. The point is, which was confirmed by MDE, that our laws state that this doesn’t matter. What matters is that the contractor and City need to look at doing everything they can on the site to prevent and reduce the pollution leaving the property, and it’s an undeniable fact that they were not doing that.
The good news is that due to the hard work of Deputy City Manager for Resilience & Sustainability Jackie Guild, and Department of Public Works Director Michael Johnson, things are starting to be turned around. After our initial complaints, the site did largely get into compliance. Director Johnson issued orders to the contractor on October 8th.The City is now conducting 4-times a week inspections of this project. They have required that certain work be done on-site to address the dust issues, construction entrance deficiencies, and site stabilization. They have also created new erosion & sediment control protocols for this site and others in the future.
The bad news is that, as shown by the Annapolis Stand Up Coalition photographs, this contractor appears to still not be adhering to the Director’s orders form 10/8. I’m still determining the City’s response to these complaints and will report back when I know more.
The other aspect of all of this is for the City to improve their sediment control program to ensure effective enforcement and contractor compliance. Director Johnson and Ms. Guild have come up with a plan to do just that. This will include internal memos supporting staff’s efforts to improve enforcement and creating a public portal so we can get the most up to date information on this project.
I’ve taken a lot of heat for pushing this issue so hard, but I feel obligated to stand up for your interests and our environmental interests. This pollution could have been avoided if we had a contractor actually following the law and a stronger City enforcement program. This has been confirmed by MDE. We were absolutely correct with our expectations when it comes to this project site, and I hope the City and contractor will realize that and work with us in the future as partners for a clean environment.
Annapolis Hosts ‘Day of the Dead - Festival on October 30 at Maryland Hall
The City of Annapolis will host a Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Festival at Maryland Hall in Annapolis starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The event, organized by Mayor Gavin Buckley’s Hispanic Community Services office, will include a kid’s zone, vendors and artists, face painting booths, and a full program on stage including Bolivian Dancers, Latin American musicians, salsa classes and a DJ throughout the event.
The event is free and open to the public.
The Day of the Dead celebration typically involves gathering to celebrate friends and family members who have passed. It is also known as All Saint’s Day or All Souls’ Day.
Attendees at the festival are encouraged to dress up to celebrate Day of the Dead, a traditional holiday celebrated in Mexico and many Latin American countries. One of the favorite traditions at Day of the Dead celebrations is sugar skull makeup, a Day of the Dead face painting technique. Come early to get a colorful sugar skull face painting at one of multiple booths at the event.
As part of the celebration, participants are encouraged to be vaccinated and, regardless of vaccination status, to follow all COVID-19 public health precautions, including the wearing of face coverings and physical distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the event.
For more information, contact: [email protected].
City Kicks Off Pilot Program to Encourage Composting: Curbside Pickup in Hunt Meadow and Community Drop Site at Truxtun Park
The City will kick off two six-month pilot composting programs to collect kitchen scraps and other compostables from City residents: one is a curbside collection program in the Hunt Meadow neighborhood, which is free to residents who sign up; the second is a compost drop-off site at Truxtun Park.
CURBSIDE COMPOST COLLECTION: The pilot weekly curbside collection program in Hunt Meadow will run between October 2021 and March 2022. The program is free, but residents must request collection by signing up and receiving a free compost bin at annapoliscompost.com/hunt-meadow.
COMPOST DROP-OFF: During the same period, City residents from all Annapolis neighborhoods may drop off kitchen scraps in specially marked bins at Truxtun Park, near the skateboard area located at 300 Park Road. Veteran Compost will make the weekly pickups.
The Truxtun Park project is being executed by nonprofit Annapolis Green with funding from a Clean Up & Green Up Maryland grant from Keep Maryland Beautiful, the Forever Maryland Foundation, Maryland Environmental Trust, and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
Accepted compost material includes:
- Food waste and kitchen scraps
- Bones and shellfish
- Dairy products and egg shells
- Coffee grounds, loose and bagged tea
- Napkins and paper towels and pizza boxes
- Compostable plates, cups, and cutlery
Items NOT accepted as compost material:
- Plastic of any kind including plastic bags
- Yard waste
- Pet waste
Free Trees! City of Annapolis is Giving Away Trees
The City of Annapolis is giving away trees for residents to plant in their yard - free trees
The initiative, called the “Community Canopy Program,” is a partnership between the City and the Arbor Day Foundation. Households may request up to four trees from a custom web portal (www.arborday.org/annapolis).
The program is only available to residents within Annapolis City limits. Trees are shipped directly and include Black Tupelo, Eastern Redbud, Northern Red Oak, Red Maple and American Sycamore. All of the trees are appropriate for USDA Zone 7, which includes the City of Annapolis (Zone 7b).
You will receive a ballot for the general election, and those ballots must be postmarked by November 2nd.
How do I vote?
You can mail in your ballot (postage is pre-paid by the City), drop it off at any drop box in the City (ours is at the Eastport Library), or you can vote in person at the Eastport Library on November 2nd.
Have election-related questions?
If you or any voter has any questions or concerns regarding ANYTHING ELECTIONS RELATED, Please go to https://www.annapolis.gov/1702/2021-Elections-Information