First of all, happy holidays! Second of all, thank you for re-electing me to serve as your Alderman! I look forward to serving you for the next term. As you may have noticed, I’ve tried to take a bit of a break here between Council terms, but, alas, it feels like that went by rather quickly and here we are with our first Council meeting of this term coming up on Monday. Given that this is our first meeting, there isn’t too much on the agenda. I’ve provided a summary below. As always, feel free to reach out to me witih any comments.
There are a number of important updates at the end of this email, including information about upcoming hearings about Ward redistricting, a community safety meeting with the Police Chief, and an update on the Parkside Preserve pollution issues.
Also, given that the new year is almost upon us, please send me your priorities you want me to focus on for the next term.
Stay healthy and stay safe,
Next Council meeting – 12/13/21 (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, you can still submit public testimony at http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.
Nothing is up for a public hearing since this is our first meeting of this term.
Legislation being introduced on First Reader
- R-31-21 - Standing Committee Appointments - For the purpose of confirming recommended appointments to the aldermanic Standing Committees. The Mayor is proposing a few changes on the standing committees. For me personally, he is proposing to remove me from Rules & Government Committee and onto Transportation Committee.
- R-32-21 - For the purpose of confirming aldermanic appointments to the Audit Committee.
- R-33-21 - For the purpose of approving a timeline for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget development and approval process. This just sets a more specific timeline for when we will be receiving and reviewing the various parts of the budget; more than what’s specified in the Code.
- R-34-21 - Fiscal Year 2022 Fees Schedule - Building Code – This Resolution modifies fees pursuant to the Building Code so that work with an estimated value of up to $500 will be charged a $100 application fee and a $150 permit fee. Currently, there is no fee for work with an estimated value below $500. These small projects require as much staff time for processing and inspection as other projects with a value up to $25,000. Additionally, the fee for filing an appeal to the Building Board of Appeals will increase from $250 to $450 to reflect the increased staff cost of managing these appeals through the process. I’m not so sure about increasing the fee for appeals, but I’m willing to hear why staff feels it’s necessary.
- O-37-21 - Exempt Service - Position Classification Update - For the purpose of removing the Development/Events Specialist position from the Exempt Service position classifications.
- O-38-21 - Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination - This ordinance amends Title 17 – Buildings and Construction, of the City Code pertaining to Non-Stormwater Discharges to the City’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). Currently the City Code provisions do not clearly define what constitutes an illicit discharge and does not give City staff the authority to adequately inspect and order such a discharge be discontinued. This is coming from staff, so I have not had a chance to review this yet. I will do so as it works its way through the process.
- O-39-21 - Rental Unit Licenses - For the purpose of clarifying who is eligible to apply for a rental unit license; providing certain definitions; and generally relating to rental licenses. From what I’m being told, this would prevent someone from creating multiple LLCs to get around our short term rental ownership restrictions.
- O-40-21 - 100% Electric Mobility Plan - For the purpose of adding the 100% Electric Annapolis Mobility Plan to include electric vehicles, boat and associated support infrastructure to the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Budget and Capital Improvement Program. This multi-year plan will create a fully electric transit system in downtown Annapolis and Eastport. I have signed onto this as a co-sponsor. All of this would be funded through grants (except for a small amount from our Capital Reserve Fund) and we would seek to be the first municipality to have all-electric transit within our limits.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
There is no legislation on second reader given that this is our first Council meeting of the new term.
Parkside Preserve pollution update
There are still ongoing issues with dust out at the site, as well as noise violations, and possibly a few other relatively minor issues, but I’m pleased to say that we are making progress with getting the contractor Reliable to adhere to our laws and getting the City to improve their enforcement of our sediment control pollution laws. This is due in large part to the watchful eyes of the residents in the Beechwood Hill community. This is what I’m being told by the City as far as their enhanced oversight:
- DPW has completed a protocol for inspections and enforcement, including an inspection checklist.
- The inspections will include more thorough documentation and follow up on noted deficiencies to make share that they are addressed promptly.
- Most importantly, the City's goal is to ensure that sediment discharges don't occur.
- Violations involving practices on site can be dealt with in a progressive manner, but discharges will result in fines.
- Continuing or ongoing discharges will result in a stop work order.
All that said, as I mentioned earlier there are still continuing violations regarding dust and noise, and I will be following up with staff to see what that is happening and what they are doing about it.