Final vote on Enviro reorg & ADU legislation

This Monday we have a packed Council agenda. Rather than go through everything, I’ll just highlight some of the actionable items that you may find most interesting. We have reinstated public testimony, so if you would like to give some read on below for directions.

The big legislation up for a final vote is the environmental re-organization that would create a new Deputy City Manager for Resilience and Sustainability, and the proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit legislation.

Next Council meeting – 9/14/20 (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.

NEW – 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

All public hearings will occur at our second meeting of each month. The first (i.e. regular) meeting of the month will handle legislative actions. Hence, there is no public hearing at this meeting.

Legislation being introduced on First Reader

  • O-32-20 - Vessels and Persons using City Waters - For the purpose of establishing noise level standards for vessels on City waters; and establishing swimming and water skiing restrictions for persons using City waters.
  • O-34-20 - Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, Inc. Lease Agreement - For the purpose of approving the lease for certain City-owned property located at the Port Williams Marina, 7040 Bembe Beach Road, Annapolis, MD 21403, between Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, Inc. and the City of Annapolis; and matters generally relating to said lease. I am co-sponsoring this legislation.
  • O-33-20 - Towing of Vehicles - For the purpose of clarifying when a stopped, standing, or parked vehicle is subject to towing.
  • O-35-20 – Critical Area Legislation. In January 2020, the City Council approved a comprehensive re-write and update of the Critical Area ordinance for the City of Annapolis. This ordinance reconciles what the City approved with that the State approved.
  • O-36-20 - Site Development - Prohibited Discharges - For the purpose of improving the protections of City waterways and public thoroughfares from harmful discharges from development sites during non-business hours. This is legislation I’ve introduced that is responding to an issue where construction sites were not securing their properties before/during storm events, which led to trash and other debris being blown into our waterways. This would require that they properly secure trash and other materials.
  • O-37-20 - Annual Performance Statements - For the purpose of clarifying the requirement for each City agency and department to file an annual performance statement. This Ordinance modifies City Code Chapter 2.60, Performance Review, by exempting boards, commissions and committees from the requirement to file an annual statement of performance standards. In addition, clarification is added that the Annual Performance Statements requirement applies to the City Departments. I am co-sponsoring this legislation with the Mayor.
  • O-38-20 - Building Code Updates - For the purpose of adopting certain building codes in accordance with the Code of Maryland; updating building code standards; correcting technical errors; specifying enforcement procedures; specifying appeal procedures; and generally related to the Annapolis Building Code.
  • O-39-20 - False Alarms - For the purpose of clarifying the procedure and penalty for excessive false alarms.
  • R-24-20 - Building Code Updates - Fees - For the purpose of updating certain code section references under Title 17 in the Fiscal Year 2021 Fees Schedule.
  • R-45-20 - Building Code Updates - Fines - For the purpose of updating certain code section references under Title 17 in the Fiscal Year 2021 Fines Schedule.
  • R-46-20 - Maritime Task Force - For the purpose of establishing a Maritime Task Force charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the waterfront maritime zoning districts in the City of Annapolis; assessing the current and projected future landscape of the Annapolis maritime industry; evaluating current programs and initiatives of private and public stakeholders; assessing public safety and uses of Annapolis waterways; and making recommendations to the City Council.
  • R-47-20 - Budget Process for Fiscal Year 2022 - For the purpose of approving a timeline for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget development and approval process. I am co-sponsoring this legislation that lays out a new budget release schedule so we can avoid the rush of late amendments and get more informed earlier on in the process.
  • R-49-20 - Position Classifications - Amendment - For the purpose of amending the Fiscal Year 2021 position classifications.
  • R-50-20 - Robert Eades - For the purpose of remembering Robert Eades and his contributions to the community; and naming the park on Clay Street in his honor.

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

  • O-18-20 - Institutions for the Care of the Aged - For the purpose of adding Institutions for the Care of the Aged as a permitted use in the PM2 Professional Mixed Office Park district; and establishing bulk regulations subject to specific standards for Institutions for the Care of the Aged. I have introduced this legislation. Its purpose is to allow Institutions for the Care of the Aged to be a permitted use on the lot of the Quantum Sails building and the adjacent vacant lot across from the Giant. This would allow a developer to submit an application for such a development. The current zoning would not allow this. What was originally planned for this lot, which is allowed in the zoning, is a restaurant or office complex. Given our traffic concerns and constraints on the peninsula, an independent living facility would have less of a traffic impact than a restaurant. This is what I’ve been told by City P&Z staff and by a traffic consultant. While a restaurant would be appealing, 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. 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 will be putting 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. 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. They also have to undergo a full traffic analysis. I intend to support this legislation, pending any input from you. 
  • O-30-20 - Issuance of General Obligation Bonds and Bond Anticipation Notes. This simply secures the bods that we approved when we approved the budget. I’m inclined to support this, pending any input from you.
  • O-34-19 - Appeal Procedures - For the purpose of clarifying the procedures governing an appeal of a decision of the Planning and Zoning Director; making stylistic changes; and generally related to appeal procedures. One of the things we tried to include in this is to give Alderpersons standing, if we feel the need to appeal a decision made by the City pertaining to development issues. The Law Office wasn’t sure we could do that, so we will be attempting to do so as separate legislation. I feel it’s important that the Alderpersons have standing to appeal instances where our laws may have been applied incorrectly. I am inclined to support this, pending any comments from you. We have deliberated over this for a while in an effort to consider and factor in the public comments we have received.
  • O-38-19 - For the purpose of renaming the Housing and Community Development Committee. I am inclined to support this legislation if my amendment passes. I have an amendment that would remove the Council from being on this Commission. Typically, we don’t serve on Commissions, as they are intended to be bodies of residents that provide recommendations to the Council. My amendment would still allow the Council standing housing committee to appoint three members, but I feel it’s inappropriate for the Council to serve on Commissions.
  • O-39-19 – Accessory Dwelling Units - For the purpose of allowing accessory dwelling units in all zoning districts that allow single-family detached dwellings. I am one of the co-sponsors on this legislation. This would allow someone to submit an application to rent out an accessory building, attached or detached, as an ADU. We have tried to respond to concerns from the Planning Commission and from our colleagues on the Council. What we’ve ended up with is a scaled back, very conservative program. The intention of ADUs is to increase affordable housing stock for young (i.e. “tiny homes”) or elderly (i.e. “granny suites”). We’re proposing to cut back on the size capping them at 625 feet, we’re proposing to require off-street parking to address parking concerns, and we’re proposing to cap the impervious surfaces so they don’t contribute to any degradation of our water quality. I hope that these amendments will pass. If they do, I’ll likely be supporting this legislation, pending any input from you.
  • 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 environmentally 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.
  • CA-2-20 - City of Annapolis Primary Election Date - For the purpose of moving the date of the Primary Election for City of Annapolis elections from September to July. I introduced this legislation because I feel having our primary elections in September, and the general election in November, suppresses voter turnout and makes running for office more difficult for the average person. My rationale is that by having the primary in September, it only gives the candidates a little over one month to reach out to all the voters who are Unaffiliated, Independent, Green, and those of the opposite political party. We spend the entire primary election, in this case the entire spring and summer, reaching out to our own political party because those are the only voters who can vote in our primary elections. It seems wrong to me that we spend 6 months speaking to our own party but only 1.5 months speaking to those outside of it. This is a problem. Not to mention that it forces candidates who have a primary challenger to have to raise the same amount in 1.5 months that it had taken them to raise in over 6 months. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that our election calendar is submitted to our State Board of Elections in August this year, which made it too late for this legislation to pass. Because of this, and because our Board of Election Supervisors is occupied with preparing for next year’s City election, I’ve decided to withdraw this legislation. If this issue isn’t taken up by our Charter Review Commission, I’ll reintroduce it during my second term, should I be elected.

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