leaf blowers, STRs, Comp plan

We don’t have any legislation up for a public hearing on Monday. I’m introducing some legislation seeking to reform our commission/board nomination process, in the hopes of creating a backup nomination process (details below). My gas-powered leaf blower ban legislation has finally made it out of committee and is ready for review by the entire Council. Details on that below as well. Eagerly awaiting quieter summer and fall days… My Short term rental legislation will also need to be postponed again, but we are making progress in committee. There’s a lot in there to get through, I admit.

 That’s about all. Hope you all are enjoying this warmer weather. As someone from the Poconos, I am eagerly awaiting the return of cold weather.

 Stay healthy and stay safe,


Next Council meeting – 2/12/24 (agenda)

This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, YouTube, Facebook, and the City website.  You can submit public testimony at http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony. This will be an in-person meeting.

Public Hearings

  • No legislation is up for a public hearing.

Legislation being introduced on first reader

  • O-3-23 - City Council Nominations to Boards, Commissions, and Committees - For the purpose of the members of the City Council to nominate members to boards, commissions, and committees if the position has been vacant, or expired and filled temporarily for more than six months; and generally related to City Council duties. This is legislation that Alderman Arnett and I are co-sponsoring together. It’s essentially a reform for good governance that ensures the continual functioning of our Boards and Commissions. I want to be clear; this administration has done a good job of filling our many Boards and Commissions, as that is a continual and ongoing effort. But we have noticed some instances where existing Board members with expired terms have not been renewed (or told to resign) in a timely manner. This causes unnecessary consternation for them. This also made me realize that we don’t have a backup process. For example, if we did get a Mayor that was not efficient at filling our Boards, there currently is no process for what happens in that scenario. This legislation would create such a process by saying that if there is a vacancy or expired term for more than 6 months, the Council can step in with a majority vote nomination of their own.  This is not meant to abrogate the Mayor’s power of nomination, but only to empower the Council to be a backup nominator, if needed.
  • R-1-24 - Eastport and Maritime Operations Work Group - For the purpose of creating an Eastport and Maritime Operations Work Group to analyze the impact of Ordinance 25-21 on maritime operations and properties in the Waterfront Maritime Eastport (WME) zoning district, and to recommend how the City Council can support such operations and properties. I believe this will be withdrawn in order to get buy-in with the Eastport Alderman. Also, I’m not entirely sure we need legislation since we’ve already authorized the creation of such a work group.
  • R-4-24 - 2024 City of Annapolis Comprehensive Plan - For the purpose of adopting a new comprehensive plan for the City of Annapolis.
  • R-5-24 - Supplemental Funding for Public Safety in the City of Annapolis. I cannot support this legislation on First Reader. What it does is call for over $3 million in supplemental funding from the City and State. Such a Resolution is not the proper form/way to do things. As the staff report states: “This proposal attempts to abrogate both the City budget process, which is currently being prepared by the administration and is set to begin council deliberations in April 2024 for FY25; and the legally mandated and currently ongoing Union negotiations with all the City’s collective bargaining units.” While I think this legislation comes from a good place, it is not the appropriate way to do things and if passed will upset many things and end up wasting a lot of our time. Let’s talk about these things during the proper budget process. I’ll likely support some of them at that time. But for now I cannot support this on First Reader.
  • R-7-24 - Itinerant Merchant Sales in the Historic District - 2024 - For the purpose of authorizing hawker, peddler, and itinerant merchant sales in the Historic District in conjunction with certain special events during calendar year 2024.
  • R-8-24 - Non-Profit Vendors During Fall 2024 Boat Shows - For the purpose of authorizing sales by certain vendors in the City Dock area of the Historic District during the Fall 2024 U.S. Sailboat and Powerboat Shows.
  • R-9-24 - City-supported Special Events in Fiscal Year 2025 - For the purpose of identifying annual City events and City-supported events in Fiscal Year 2025; and waiving certain fees for City-supported events.

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

  • O-28-23 - City Noise Prohibitions and Enforcement - For the purpose of updating the Annapolis City Code noise prohibition section by adding a ban on certain noise in residential areas; expanding enforcement; and generally related to noise prohibitions. This is legislation I’m sponsoring that does three things: 1. It prohibits the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, 2. Prohibits the use of high-frequency sound emitters for pet/animal deterrence, and 3. Clarifies how noise violations on the water (i.e. from party boats) should be measured. Regarding #2, we received a complaint about such a device causing migraines, which caused me to wonder if it’s causing similar impacts to our beloved pets; hence the ban. Regarding #1, I’ve received numerous requests to ban gas-powered leaf blowers over the years, especially with more people teleworking. I myself have been disrupted on a beautiful day when in comes a neighbor’s landscapers with leaf blowers sending noise, dust and exhaust into my once peaceful house. Using a 2-stroke leaf blower creates as much emissions as driving a Ford F-150 from California to Alaska. Not to mention the impacts on the workers respiratory and auditory health. That’s why jurisdictions from DC to Montgomery County have already passed such bans. Now that it has cleared out of my committee it’s ready for the entire Council. Obviously I’m inclined to support this, but if you have any comments/concerns please let me know.
  • R-51-23 - Fines for Violating Annapolis Noise Restrictions - For the purpose of increasing the fine for repeat violations of the City of Annapolis noise restrictions; and generally dealing with public peace and order section of the City Code. This just sets the fines for the aforementioned legislation. But we’ll be doing a robust public notification process for implementation so hopefully we won’t have much enforcement to do. I’m also hoping to get some rebate program set up with the next budget.
  • O-32-23 - Short-term Rental Licenses and Regulations - For the purpose of clarifying and limiting local eligibility requirements for a short-term rental operator's license; providing definitions; making technical corrections; and generally relating to a rental operator's license. I know this has been in our docket for a while now, but we are making good progress in Committee. So I think all we need is one more postponement and then it’ll be ready for the entire Council.
  • R-55-23 - Temporary Moratorium on Short-Term Rental Licenses - For the purpose of implementing a temporary moratorium on the City's issuance of short-term rental licenses while the City Council considers Ordinance 32-23, Short-term Rental Licenses and Regulations, and amendments to the legislation. This is a moratorium on new STR licenses until we pass O-32-23. I am in favor, but I think it needs to go through Committee still. So there may be a motion to postpone, or just to vote. I’ll support either at the moment, but let me know if you have thoughts.
  • R-3-24 - Sister City Relationship with the City of Yuzhne in Ukraine - For the purpose of authorizing a sister city relationship between the City of Annapolis and the City of Yuzhne in Ukraine. I am inclined to support this, pending input from you.

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  • Rob Savidge