Public hearings: leash law $250 fines shifted to police & short term rental moratorium

Happy Holidays everyone. This month we only have one Council meeting and it’s a special meeting scheduled for this Monday, meaning it is dedicated to public comments and public hearings. There is legislation up for comment that would put a temporary moratorium on short term rentals on whole homes in the conservation districts, as well as legislation that would shift leash law authority from Anne Arundel Animal Control to the Annapolis Police Department and make it a $250 fine for residents. I’ve posted my thoughts on these below.

Happy Holidays! (and please don’t forget to shop local!)

Rob

Next Special Council meeting – 12/21/20 (agenda)

This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, Facebook, and the City website (www.annapolis.gov). Due to COVID-19, our meetings are now being held virtually. 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 cityclerk@annapolis.gov at least five days prior to the meeting date to request assistance.

If you would like to submit public testimony, we have included a link allowing written testimony to be submitted into the recorded minutes of the meeting. Submit written testimony: http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.

We now are allowing audio-only testimony by the public, via Zoom, at the beginning of our second (the Special Council Meeting) meeting each month. Those who wish to testify must submit the request through www.annapolis.gov/testimony at least four hours before the start of the meeting (3pm for Council meetings). All those offering public testimony must dial in at least 15 minutes before the start of the meeting. Per code, you will have 3 minutes to provide testimony.

Public hearings

  • R-61-20 - Short Term Rental Licenses - For the purpose of placing a moratorium on the issuance of new non-owner occupied short term rental licenses in certain conservation residence districts; placing a moratorium on the transfer of existing non-owner occupied short term rental licenses in certain conservation residence districts; providing for the application of the moratorium; and setting a date for termination of the moratorium.
  • R-62-20 - Equity in Media - For the purpose of encouraging racial equity in all forms of media.
  • O-48-20 - Animal Control - Canine Leash Laws - For the purpose of prohibiting unrestrained dogs in public recreation areas, or at large; authorizing the Police Department to enforce the City's leash laws; and making technical and stylistic changes to the City's animal control laws.
  • O-29-20 - Small Cell Systems - For the purpose of establishing requirements for small cell systems; adding small cell systems as a use subject to standards in all zoning districts; creating certain definitions; and generally relating to small cell systems.
  • O-19-19 - Adequate Public Facilities - Auto transportation facilities - For the purpose of clarifying the circumstances that would require a traffic impact analysis for a proposed project; clarifying the standards to be used to determine adequacy; and generally relating to the adequacy of auto transportation facilities. This is legislation that Alderman Arnett and I have been working on for a while. It has come back from the Planning Commission and we will need to review their comments fully when it comes back to Committee. But it appears the Commission is recommending we NOT be specific and simply allow P&Z to draft the regulations based our overall policy. I’m not entirely sure I agree with this sentiment. Being specific can be helpful to staff.

Legislation being introduced on First Reader

  • O-49-20 – Drug-Loitering Free Zones - Repeal - For the purpose of repealing certain provisions of the Annapolis City Code concerning loitering in Drug-Loitering Free Zones. Our Office of Law has told us that these zones, which allow the police to take enforcement action on people standing around who are potentially part of a drug operation, are unconstitutional. This legislation would repeal the code that allows these zones to be created. I signed on as a co-sponsor.
  • O-50-20 - Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit - For the purpose of updating certain occupancy periods of Moderately Priced Dwelling Units; eliminating variations on defined terms; providing supplemental regulatory authority to the Director of Planning and Zoning; and generally relating to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. This is corrective legislation and not substantive. It simply addresses sections of Chapter 20.30 that were inadvertently not a part of O-21-19 (also titled “Moderately Priced Dwelling Units”). The following inconsistencies are corrected: Updating the occupancy period from 10 years to thirty years in several sections of Chapter 20.30 · Updating the renaming of the "Affordable Housing Trust Fund" · Streamlining inconsistent language
  • O-51-20 - Emancipation Day - For the purpose of designating "Emancipation Day" as a City holiday to be observed on November 1st of each year. I support celebrating “Emancipation Day” but after reading the staff report this legislation would make this an official holiday for all City employees, meaning the City would be closed. The staff report alludes to a fiscal impact which has not been posted yet. Given the pandemic’s impacts on our budget I may not support this on second reader given that impact, despite being in support of the holiday.
  • O-52-20 – Plastic and non-recycled paper bag ban – I have told the sponsor that I don’t support this legislation while our businesses are struggling through a pandemic; now is not the time. I may join an effort once we have recovered but not now. I hope this legislation gets withdrawn as I will not be supporting it.
  • R-66-20 - Charter Revision Commission - For the purpose of appointing a Commission to make a comprehensive study of the government of the City; and all matters relating to said Commission.
  • R-67-20 - Maryland Emancipation Day - For the purpose of supporting the establishment of November 1st as Maryland Emancipation Day; and generally relating to Maryland Emancipation Day. This is related to the aforementioned O-51-20, and would express the Council support that this becomes a State public holiday. For similar reasons, while I fully support the recognition of this holiday, I’m not so sure about creating another public for our schools, employees, etc. What are your thoughts?
  • R-68-20 – This legislation would create a fine that is associated with the proposed bag ban. For the same reasons I listed earlier, I do not support this legislation at this time.

Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)

  • SA-20-21 – Police grant for predictive policing – This would authorize the Annapolis Police Department to get a $100,000 grant through the Governor’s Office. – I’m currently leaning towards not supporting this grant. The ACLU and NAACP have raised concerns about profiling and discrimination about what is known as Predictive Policing, which uses data to identify neighborhoods or types of individuals that may be predicted to have a certain type of or concentration of crime. I also do not quite see the need for this. Given the size of our jurisdiction we already know where the crime is likely to occur. I am reserving some judgement until our Public Safety Committee develops a recommendation regarding this legislation after they speak with the various parties involved. If you should have any comments please let me know.

Updates

Annapolis Greenway Plan – Public Comment period

The Annapolis Conservancy Board (ACB) welcomes your input in developing a Greenway Map for the City of Annapolis. The initial purpose of the map is to identify areas within the city that provide, or could provide with enhancements, important environmental, recreational, aesthetic, or community benefits. Once finished, the map will serve as a guide to the City and its boards, highlighting lands that are important to protect and/or enhance to ensure a high quality of life for the citizens of Annapolis.

Please click the following link to access the Greenway Map Input Tool and tell us which areas within the city you feel are important to 1) protect to preserve existing environmental, recreational, aesthetic, or community benefits or 2) improve in order to provide these benefits where they are most needed. Additional instructions are attached. Please read through these before using the tool.

You can also copy and paste the full web address into your browser to reach the Greenway Map Input Tool: https://annapolis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/CrowdsourceReporter/index.html?appid=c466aaea3a494f9fadff0d5276fb08a0

By providing your input, you will help us complete the first phase of developing the Greenway Map. During this first phase, we’re collecting input from various city boards, city aldermen, the City’s African-American and Hispanic Community Services Specialists, and other community leaders. If you know of other community leaders or connectors that you feel would be important to collect input from, please send us their name and contact info. The resulting feedback will then be reviewed and used to create a draft Greenway map that will be incorporated into the full draft of Annapolis’ Comprehensive Plan update—available for public comment and review in early 2021.

Please visit the Greenway Map Input Tool and provide your input by December 18th. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please let us know.

Mayor announces City Water Bill Relief Program

Winter lecture series from Annapolis Maritime Museum


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  • Rob Savidge