This has been a very frustrating past few weeks on the Council. Here’s why:
Crystal Spring - 30 acres at risk due to City mistake?
First of all, regarding the Village at Providence Point Point (aka Crystal Spring) and the “no net loss” of forests Ordinance of mine that we passed a few months back. As you may have noticed in The Capital recently, the developer has submitted an application claiming that they don’t need to replace any of the 30+ acres of forest they are proposing to clear, in direct contradiction with the law we just passed. I’ll be looking into this matter more fully at my Environmental Matters Committee meeting this Wednesday (1pm), but what I know at this point is that the Planning & Zoning Department, who currently has regulatory authority to administer our Forest Conservation Program, made a mistake with implementing this Ordinance. I am not happy with how long it has taken to resolve this mistake and I’ll be aiming to get to the bottom of it on Wednesday. The Council nearly unanimously passed this ordinance (except for 1 vote) and our intent is quite clear. To say I’m frustrated our law is not being implemented correctly is an understatement. If you share my frustration, and want to make sure these 30 acres of forest are protected, and that your laws are applied correctly, I encourage you to come out and comment during our general public comment period at the beginning of the meeting (Monday, 7pm), or to attend my Environmental Matters Committee meeting (Wednesday at 1pm)
Removal of directors with no notice
In other news, also revealed in The Capital, the City has lost a City Attorney and fired the Police Chief. As my colleagues said in the paper, many of us were not notified about the firing of the Police Chief, and are frustrated by learning about it first in the paper. Some of us will be calling for a closed door meeting to discuss these personnel moves to find out what’s going on.
Sector study hearing open closed
The other frustrating item is that at the last Council meeting, my colleague from Ward 1 lead the charge to CLOSE the public hearing period on the Forest Drive/Eastport Sector Study; the very public hearing I had just successfully gotten extended at our 2nd January meeting. I extended the hearing because that’s what you asked me to do. I am beyond frustrated to have had 5 of my colleagues vote to close the hearing. I see that as a betrayal of the public’s trust, an insult to Ward 7, and a betrayal of Aldermanic Courtesy. The Sector Study will be coming back to the Council in at least one more work session, and then going to a number of committees for review. I’ll likely post more about this later. NOTE - The Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation has scheduled a special community meeting about this on February 28th at 7pm at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library. Details below.
Next Council meeting - 2/25/19 (agenda)
- O-6-19 - Sale of City surplus property on Castlegate - I need to speak to the sponsor about this legislation to learn more of why it’s needed, but what I know is that it’s a narrow strip of “surplus” City property that aims to be sold to an adjacent property owner. I need to inquire as to why it’s to be sold and if the City would be giving up any potential public use for this property in the future by selling it (for a pedestrian path, bike path, or stormwater conveyance for example).
- O-7-19 - Special parking permit for transport, shuttles and contractors - This ordinance simply changes the advance time required when submitting for such a permit.
- R-6-19 - Annual statement of Department performance standards - This is apparently a requirement in the code that the City hasn’t complied with recently. Departments are to submit performance standards that are voted upon by the Council. If you have any suggestions about things to change, now is your opportunity.
Legislation up for a final vote
- CA-2-18 - Aldermanic Titles - This simply adjusts are charter to fully incorporate the titles of “Alderwoman”. I intend to support this legislation, pending any comments from you.
- R-4-19 - This is simply an expression of support of the efforts lead by Maryland Senator Elfreth and Delegate Cain to require that the State pay the City a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT). However, given that I believe these have passed, it may be a moot point now. Regardless, I intend to vote in favor if it stays on the floor.
Highlights from previous Council meeting
- POSTPONED AGAIN O-8-18 - Adequate School Facilities - A few of my colleagues on the Council lead the charge to delay this legislation yet again, without my support. I’ll refer you to The Capital for details.
Community meeting about the Eastport-Forest Drive Sector Study
The Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation invites you to a public meeting for a presentation of the Forest Drive/Eastport Sector Study and a panel discussion.
Thursday, February 28, 7:00PM - 8:45PM
Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library
269 Hillsmere Drive
Annapolis Planning and Zoning staff will present key elements of the Sector Study, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Professor Dan Nataf, AACC.
Waterways cabinet officially implemented
The Mayor has finally implemented the “Waterways Cabinet” (then referred to as the Creeks Cabinet) that we announced last Earth Day. The idea is to have our most capable Environmental Policy DIrector, Jackie Guild, convene a group of representatives from local watershed organizations and other groups to discuss the restoration of our waterways, coordinate efforts, and resolve issues.