Happy Spring Equinox everyone! I for one am definitely looking forward to more sun and warmth, and fun in the water. Here are a few updates for Ward 7. Of note is information about our next Town Hall, where we will discuss the results of our survey results from our last meeting, the Sector Study, and hopefully will hear from the Mayor himself on some of his initiatives.
Next Ward 7 Town Hall
The next Ward 7 Town Hall will be on Wednesday, April 3rd, 6pm at the Eastport-Annapolis neck library. I will be presenting on the results from our last Town Hall where we brainstormed and ranked our top issues for Ward 7 and the City. I’ll also likely give you an update on the Eastport-Forest Drive Sector Study developments. I have also invited the Mayor to come speak about some of his initiatives, including his plans for a new Public Works building (the current one is demolished) at the intersection of Hilltop and Forest Drive and the downtown ULI working group efforts.
Sector study remanded back to Planning Commission
The Forest Drive-Eastport Sector Study (a planning document seeking to amend our 2009 Comprehensive Plan to help guide development in the future, for better or worse) has been remanded back to the Planning Commission for further discussion, since most on the Council were not comfortable with officially adopting this Study to be a part of our 2009 Annapolis Comprehensive Plan. The reasons vary, but the bottom line is that many of us saw various components that we thought needed more development or that we were not comfortable with. In particular, we all agreed to the need to look at affordable housing issues in the City more. The reason it was remanded so quickly is because it was discovered that according to City law, if no action was taken by the city within a certain number of days, it would automatically become part of our 2009 Comp plan. This letter gives us more time to deliberate. We do plan on continuing the discussion about the Sector Study in our committee process, to identify specific amendments or other areas of the plan that need yet more work. This will continue at many but not all of the Committee meetings, depending on the inclination of the individual Chairs. I will be continuing the discussion at my April 17th (3pm) Environmental Matters Committee meeting. At the last Environmental Matters meeting, we even discussed the idea of not adopting this Study as an amendment to the 2009 Comp Plan, and instead simply using it as a starting point of the discussion and preparation for the 2020 Comp plan. I’m not yet sure if this would entail simply not adopting the Resolution at all, or if we modify it to simply not be adopting the Study as an amendment to the 2009 Comp Plan. Regardless, it is good that we are having this discussion about development in the City.
You may note on the agenda that there is a motion to withdraw the associated Resolution R-45-1. My understanding is that it is being proposed to be withdrawn because it has been remanded and a withdrawal will us more time to determine how/if to proceed.
I do not support the Sector Study as currently written and I do not support making it an amendment to the 2009 Comp Plan.
Next Council meeting - 3/26/19 (agenda)
*NOTE: This is Tuesday evening meeting (normally Monday evening)
- O-4-19 - Adjustment to parking permits in special residential parking districts - Specifically, it proposes to 1. Modify who is a resident for the purpose of obtaining a residential parking permit and the required documentation; 2. Modify who may obtain temporary parking permits, how many may be obtained, and when the permits expire; 3. Creates a new parking permit category for “nonresidential parking permits;” and, 4. Transfers the responsibility for administering the special residential parking permit program to the Director of Transportation, consistent with current practice.
Legislation up for a final vote
- CA-1-19 - Acting Mayor Designation - This legislation comes from Alderwoman Henson, and it seeks to make set the chain of succession, if the Mayor were unable to act and had not announced an acting Mayor, fall to the most senior Alderperson going down in seniority from that point. I intend to support this legislation pending any comments from you. I like having the chain of succession go to elected officials. It is on the Consent calendar (means it will be approved as a block with other legislation).
- O-3-19 - Sidewalk snow and ice removal code correction - this just corrects conflicts in the code regarding the fine. Nothing substantial. I intend to support this legislation pending any comments from you. It is on the Consent calendar.
- O-7-19 - Minor adjustment to the advance time required to obtain a special parking permit. I intend to support this legislation pending any comments from you. It is on the Consent calendar.
- O-8-19 - For the purpose of approving a lease for City property with Grow Annapolis, a Community Garden non-profit. I intend to support this legislation pending any comments from you. It is on the Consent calendar.
- R-12-19 - Reclassification of our “Risk Analyst” position to a “Risk Management Administrator” because we are having problems filling this position. I intend to support this legislation pending any comments from you. It is on the Consent calendar.
- O-47-18 - Modifies the definition of “City sponsored events” so that if fees are waived for an event, it doesn’t automatically become a City sponsored event. Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation.
Highlights from previous Council meeting
- After much discussion, we decided to waive the fees for the Pride of Baltimore II (large wooden ship) to visit the City and for the Annapolis Film Festival’s use of a special Circulator Shuttle. This totals about $6,000 if I recall correctly. I voted in favor of waiving the fees for the Pride since it will provide many services to downtown and will occupy a slip that otherwise would not be filled during this off season, which means this will cost us nothing other than missed docking fees, and it is a non-profit venture. I ended up abstaining on the Annapolis Film Festival fee waivers because, while I support the film festival, it isn’t a non-profit and at the time I wasn’t comfortable with waiving the fees. I’ve since reflected upon this more, and we had a useful discussion at the last Economic Matters Committee meeting with the head of the Downtown Annapolis Partnership. He made the point that the City can either pay to bring events downtown themselves, either directly or through the Annapolis Arts Commission (which I do support funding) for example, or they can facilitate private efforts to bring activities to our City by waiving fees. I think this argument has merit and will consider it more when we get future fee waiver requests.
City of Annapolis Announces First of Four Community Meetings on Police Chief Hiring Process
Mayor Gavin Buckley has announced the schedule for upcoming community meetings to gather resident input on priorities for hiring a new City of Annapolis Police Chief. The public is welcome to attend.
These community meetings, facilitated by community leader Bishop Craig Coates, will all be in Annapolis and begin promptly at 7 p.m.
- Meeting 1: Monday, March 25 at the Cook-Pinkney American Legion Post #141 (1707 Forest Dr)
- Meeting 2: Monday, April 1 at Eastport Fire Station (914 Bay Ridge Ave)
- Meeting 3: Tuesday, April 2 at “Pip” Moyer Recreation Center (273 Hilltop Ln)
- Meeting 4: Thursday, April 4 at Mt. Olive Church Community Center (2 Hicks Ave)
Seven individuals were appointed in mid-March to become the interview panel as part of the hiring process for finding a new Chief for the Annapolis Police Department. The panel includes City Manager Teresa Sutherland along with Elizabeth Alex, Chuck Howard, Police Chief Lisa Myers, Lon Powell, Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Simmons and Rev. Stephen Tillett.
The Mayor and other key officials will be present at each community meeting. Once the selection criteria have been established through the community meetings and input from the interview panelists, the City will advertise the position.
The panel will then begin interviewing qualified candidates.
The search process for a new Chief will likely take 60 to 90 days.
Study on the economic impact of rising sea levels
A new study, titled Rising Seas can Hurt Local Economies was recently published by Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. The study looks at the impact of sea level rise and nuisance flooding on the City of Annapolis and on local businesses. Findings will help inform City planning on this critical issue.