Development update, enviro re-org, Council meeting Monday

Here is some information on our Monday Council meeting. I have a few pieces of legislation that are going through the process. One deals with the proposed Bay Village independent living facility that would be located on the Quantum Sails lot and the cleared lot to the west, right across from the Giant on Bay Ridge Rd. I go into a lot more detail about this below and have included some images of their current proposal. There is also legislation that introduces the new environmental re-organization that the Mayor and I have come together on. Lastly, read on for information on how to vote in this June’s primary election.

Take care everyone, and stay well.

Quick updates

Next Council meeting - 5/11/20 (agenda)

Council meetings start at 7pm and are 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 new link allowing written testimony to be submitted into the recorded minutes of the meeting. Submit written testimony: http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.

First readers (legislation being introduced)

  • O-18-20 - Institutions for Care of the Aged - The purpose of this ordinance is to add “Institutions for the Care of the Aged” as a permitted use in the Professional Mixed Office Park (PM2) district. I have introduced this legislation. Its purpose is to adjust the zoning code to allow for a developer to submit an application to build a Bay Village independent living center (sister building to the assisted living behind the CVS) on the lot of the Quantum Sails building and the adjacent vacant lot across from the Giant.  This would not allow construction as that has to go through our public and staff permit review processes. However, it does allow them to submit an application. They would still need to undergo the normal review process that includes a traffic impact study and other adequate public facilities analyses. What was originally planned for this lot, which is allowed in the current zoning, is a restaurant. Given our traffic concerns and constraints on the peninsula, an independent living facility would have less of a traffic impact than a restaurant. I’m trying to be responsive to the widespread concern about not adding more traffic to Forest Drive/Bay Ridge Rd. If that is our primary concern, this facility makes more sense than a restaurant. Environmentally I don’t have any concerns given that this is redevelopment of the Quantum Sails lot and construction on a mostly already cleared lot. The large specimen tree at the front of the property will be protected and made into an amenity for the seniors. The developer has put forward a design that would put most of the parking underground, and allow for synergy between the Starbuck lot and the future Lidl (County) lot. It would be a maximum of three stories (we talked them down from their original 4-5). You know me, I’m very wary of new development, but in this case the developer has done their due diligence meeting with the Annapolis Peninsula Federation and other community leaders through this initial phase of the project, and are proposing something that won’t compound our traffic issues. I will encourage them to keep reaching out to the public and may invite them to a future town hall meeting once we can meet again. This will only impact two small areas of the City, the Bay Village complex and the Safeway area, so I’m confident there will be no unintended consequences with this legislation. This is the very beginning of the process. Even if this passes, the proposal is subject to change after the public has further opportunities to chime in later in the process, as well as the Planning Commission and our Planning & Zoning staff. And again, they will need to do a full traffic analysis, though the preliminary studies look promising. I've been assured by staff that before anything else is built, including the Lidl or Chesapeake Grove (bembe beach), that a comprehensive traffic study looking at the collective impacts will need to be completed. 

  • O-19-20 - For the purpose of clarifying the rules of procedure concerning the scheduling of public hearings before the City Council.
  • R-29-20 -  Would create an Affordable Housing Task Force
  • CA-1-20 & O-20-20 - Deputy City Manager for Resilience and Sustainability - For the purpose of establishing the position of Deputy City Manager for Resilience and Sustainability. This is the compromise that the new City Manager, David Jarrel, presented to the Mayor and I, building off of the previous two attempts at re-organization, which included my previous attempt to create a new Environmental Department (withdrawn). I am quite happy with this proposal, and I’m glad that the Mayor and I have come together on this. Elevating the environment, resiliency, and sustainability to a Deputy City Manager position gives that position the full authority of the City Manager’s office and insulates it from politics. Such an elevation allows this position to ensure we are responding to the existential threat of sea level rise in a coordinated manner, and that we get the organization-wide change we need to become more sustainable. Furthermore, the incorporation of sustainability allows this position to work on the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. Meaning that they will also be able to help coordinate and ensure we are building a more socially equitable City; that One Annapolis that the Mayor and I both want to build. I hope that my colleagues realize that the environment and resiliency are unique programs that we have been struggling with how to organize for many years. This solution acknowledges that and takes into account what we’ve learned over the years, so I hope they will support this proposal. 
  • R-28-20 - State of Emergency - For the purpose of extending the termination date of the Declaration of State of Emergency for the City of Annapolis issued on March 12, 2020.

Public hearings

  • (continued from last meeting) O-5-20 - City Council Meetings - Order of Business - For the purpose of modifying the order of business for regular and special meetings of the City Council. I am the primary sponsor on this legislation. What I’m seeking to do is have one of our monthly meetings be dedicated to public hearings, citations, and reports, and then the second meeting be dedicated to deliberating on legislation on second reader. My intention is to allow us to deliberate on legislation earlier in the evening, as opposed to having it be last on our agenda, where we often don’t end up voting until 10 or 11 at night.
  • O-15-20 - Waterfront Mixed Maritime District - For the purpose of allowing professional offices in the WMM zoning district in accordance with certain standards; amending certain parking standards; and making stylistic changes
  • O-16-20 - Annual Budget and Appropriation and Property Tax Levy - For the purpose of adopting the City Budget, comprising the Annual Operating Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, the Capital Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, the Capital Improvement Program for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2022, June 30, 2023, June 30, 2024, June 30, 2025, and June 30, 2026; appropriating funds for all expenditures for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2021; levying and imposing a property tax for the use of the City of Annapolis for the taxable year beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30,2021; and fixing the rate of the City property tax for the taxable year. This is the main budget ordinance. This is your second opportunity to submit public comments on this year’s budget. 
  • O-4-20 - Plumbing Code - Capital Facilities Payment Plan - For the purpose of establishing a Capital Facilities Payment Plan; identifying eligibility requirements, setting a payment schedule, providing for interest and penalties; making stylistic changes; and generally related to said payment plan.
  • O-11-20 - City Council Meetings - Attendance - For the purpose of allowing a member of the City Council to attend a regularly scheduled Council meeting by electronic means; placing limitations on remote attendance; and generally related to attending Council meetings remotely.
  • O-12-20 - Municipal Infractions - Process - For the purpose of clarifying that municipal infraction enforcement actions are processed through the Office of Law; and making stylistic changes.
  • O-13-20 - Sidewalk Signs - For the purpose of extending the sidewalk sign permit fee waiver to a date certain.
  • O-14-20 - Parking Spaces Reserved for Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicles - For the purpose of establishing reserved parking spaces for plug-in electric drive vehicles; creating certain definitions; establishing penalties; and making stylistic changes. This is legislation that I am introducing to allow the City to fine owners of non-electric vehicles that park in spots in front of electric vehicle charging stations. 
  • O-17-20 - Unsafe Structures - Placarding - For the purpose of authorizing the Fire Department to placard certain residential and nonresidential structures that have been designated as unfit for human habitation or unsafe; and making stylistic changes.
  • R-26-20 - Fiscal Year 2021 Fees Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fees that will be charged for the use of City services for Fiscal Year 2021; and providing for a delayed effective date.
  • R-27-20 - Fiscal Year 2021 Fines Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fines that will be charged for Fiscal Year 2021; and providing for a delayed effective date.

Legislation up for a final vote

  • O-2-20 - Youth Development Commission - For the purpose of establishing a Youth Development Commission. I am inclined to support this legislation, pending any comments from you. 
  • O-11-19 - R2-NC District - Demolitions - For the purpose of requiring a structural analysis prior to demolition of a residential structure or building in the R2-NC, Single-Family Residential Neighborhood Conservation District; requiring execution of a contract between the city and a structural engineer prior to demolition; and generally relating to the demolition of a residential structure or building in the R2-NC District. I think this legislation will be postponed again as we await the Planning Commission comments. I’m inclined to support the postponement and the legislation itself, pending any comments from you. 
  • 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. I suspect/hope this legislation will be postponed, as it appears we haven’t received the recommendations from the Planning Commission, and I would like to hear what they have to say on this. I will likely be introducing amendments to make adjustments to this legislation. 
  • R-22-20 - Alcoholic Beverages - Consumption on City Property - For the purpose of establishing an annual cap on fees assessed in any one year for the consumption of alcoholic beverages on City property for certain applicants. I’m inclined to support this legislation, pending any comments from you.
  • R-23-20 - Filing of FY 2021 Grant Application with the Maryland Transit Administration - For the purpose of authorizing the filing of an application with the Maryland Transit Administration of the Maryland Department of Transportation for Section 5303, 5304, 5307, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5316 and 5317 grants under the Federal Transit Act for a total amount of $2,778,950 consisting of $1,306,291 for fixed route transit operations; $189,299 for ADA complementary paratransit services; $427,500 capital grant for transit vehicle maintenance; $699,286 capital grant for the purchase of two heavy duty replacement buses, and $156,574 capital assistance for the purchase of skylift.I’m inclined to support this legislation, pending any comments from you.

Information the Maryland Primary Election

Maryland Mail-In Elections

#DemocracyIsEssential

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the statewide Primary Election has moved to June 2nd.

Registration deadline 5/27

Ballots not yet sent to voters

Number and location of limited in-person voting centers/drop off boxes are to be announced – counties will have between 1 minimum to 4 maximum

Deadline to request a ballot is May 26th by mail/fax OR May 29th to download online

Ø  Elections will be held primarily by mail

o   Only limited in-person voting opportunities will be available to ensure safety – details and locations for in-person voting and ballot drop of boxes are provided at the bottom

Ø  All active voters will automatically receive a ballot in the mail

o   If you received a specimen ballot from the State Board of Elections you are an active voter

o   If you have recently moved or need your ballot delivered to another address, you may not automatically qualify to receive a ballot and should contact your local board of elections

o   You can request a ballot online or print and mail a request to your local board of elections:

Ø  Mark your ballot, SIGN the oath, postmark by Election Day

o   You must sign the voter oath that comes with your ballot for your vote to count

o   Postage is pre-paid on mail-in ballots

o   Vote from home. Only travel to one of the limited polling locations if absolutely necessary

o   To check the status of your ballot, whether it was received and processed, click here

Specific information for upcoming elections:

Local Board of Elections Information: https://www.elections.maryland.gov/about/county_boards.html

Voter Info Lookup System: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch

Check status of your ballot: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch

Online ballot request: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1

Print ballot request PDF: https://elections.maryland.gov/voting/documents/Special_Election_Absentee_Application.pdf

COVID updates

Drive Through COVID-19 Testing

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s free drive-through COVID-19 testing clinics are being held Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Department of Health Annex Building in Annapolis.

All individuals require approval from the Department of Health to receive a COVID-19 test. There are a limited number of test kits, and appointments are scheduled according to kit availability. Results from the drive-through tests are available within seven days.

Individuals must be symptomatic to be eligible for the drive-through testing. Symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath may appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19. Symptomatic individuals can call the COVID-19 Health Line at 410-222-7256 for screening, assessment, and test scheduling. Individuals with severe difficulty breathing should immediately call their primary care provider or 9-1-1.

Annapolis Non-Emergency: 410-260-2211

Monday - Sunday 24 hours a day

COVID-19 Health Line: 410-222-7256

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Sat/Sun: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Information on City closures

https://www.annapolis.gov/1645/Coronavirus-Information#CityClosures

School system expands meals program; children can now get breakfast, lunch, and dinner at 52 sites

http://aacpsschools.org/pressr/?p=5666 

Ward 7 restaurants open

Based on the City’s list of restaurants that are still open, Annapolis Smokehouse and Tavern, Grumps, Caliente Grill, Sam’s on the waterfront, Jack’s Fortune, and Subway are still offering curbside pickup. Main & Market is closed. 

Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities launched online updates and virtual activities

https://www.aacounty.org/departments/aging-and-disabilities/

Library resources

The Anne Arundel County library system has a number of digital services that they have expanded during the crisis. 

Activities for Kids

Common Sense Media has compiled a list of Free Online Events and Activities for Kids at Home

Business resources

https://www.annapolis.gov/1631/COVID-19-Business-Resources

Workforce assistance

https://www.annapolis.gov/1634/COVID-19-Workforce-Assistance

Unemployment Benefits

If your employment has been impacted by COVID-19 you may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria

  • It is strongly encouraged you utilize the NetClaims application to file your claim online
  • The Division of Unemployment Insurance’s call center is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 am to 6 pm (updated hours).  To speak to an Unemployment Specialist please call 301-723-2000.  Please note the call center is experiencing unusually long wait times.
  • If you are having difficulty accessing the website or placing a call, please email ui.inquiry@maryland.gov
  • For more information about unemployment benefits & COVID-19 please check the frequently asked questions page.

AAWDC Career Development Services

AAWDC services are still available remotely and can be accessed by emailing careercenter@aawdc.org or contacting your Career Navigation Specialist.  Services include:

  • Remote career coaching
  • Connection to benefits and support needed during this difficult time
  • Career planning & exploration
  • Job search resources and connection to businesses hiring

Annapolis COVID-19 frequently asked questions

https://www.annapolis.gov/faq.aspx?TID=48

Annapolis Maritime Museum virtual exhibits

https://amaritime.org/museum/exhibits/


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