The big news I want to share with you is that my Ordinance O-27-18, “no net loss of forests”, passed with only one dissenting vote! What this means is that development projects like the Village at Providence Point (aka Crystal Spring) and Parole Place (a large development in the headwaters of Church Creek) will need to mitigate/replace every acre of forest they remove. This will help to ensure that our water and air quality doesn’t get worse for our next generation. I want to thank all of you who supported this legislation. We now have the strongest Forest Conservation laws in the entire State.
In regular news, there is only one City Council meeting in December: this upcoming Monday. There are a number of pieces of legislation up for a public hearing and final vote, which I’ll tell you about below. The one that will likely be of most interest to you is Ordinance O-8-18, which would address school overcrowding by preventing development for 6 years in districts that are over 100% capacity. I’ll go into this more below. Otherwise, I wish everyone happy holidays, and in case this is my only email update this month, happy new year!
Details on Monday’s Council meeting
The following legislation is up for a public hearing. You can attend and comment for as long as 5 minutes. If you cannot attend, please feel free to email comments to me, or to the City Clerk ([email protected]) indicating if you would like your comments shared with others on the Council.
- O-43-18 - This ordinance reinstates provisions that had sunsetted. It basically sets procedures for how and when monies less than or greater than $25k can be transferred between budget items by the City Manager or the Council.
- O-45-18 (unlawful housing practices) - This ordinance amends the City's Fair Housing law by adding Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher holders as a protected class. Violations of the Fair Housing Law are investigated by the Human Relations Commission. *I am a co-sponsor of this Ordinance
- O-46-18 (allocation of unspent bonds) - This ordinance reallocates $5,018,047 of unspent bond proceeds and $369,411 of unspent bond premiums and related investment earnings from capital projects that either are complete or not ready to move forward at this time to capital projects that are ready to move forward.
Legislation up for a final vote
While the public comment period has officially closed on this legislation, you are of course welcome to submit comments to me, or to come testify during the general public comment period at the beginning of the meeting.
- O-46-18 (allocation of unspent bonds) - See the description above. Since this is up for a hearing a final vote in the same evening, there must be a planned motion to suspend our rules; furthermore, I’m assuming there is some kind of time urgency behind this. I do plan on voting for this legislation, pending any concerns raised by you, but I do have some questions about why certain projects were chosen to be the recipients of the reallocated funds.
- O-41-18 (emergency procurement) - This ordinance would allow the City Manager to transfer funds in an amount greater than $25,000 to make an emergency procurement without first seeking City Council approval, provided the transfer is within the same fund. This could only be done when the time to comply with the City's procurement laws and regulations would endanger the health or safety of people or property. Pending any concerns raised by you, I am currently planning on supporting this legislation.
- O-29-18 (Lease of Truxtun park dock space to Kayak Annapolis) - Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation.
- O-8-18 (adequate school capacity) - Currently, elementary and middle schools in the City can get as high as 105% capacity, 120% for high schools, before development is frozen in the areas feeding those districts, for 6 years. The County standard is 95% that will be rising to 100% next year. This ordinance, if amended per the co-sponsors request, would match the County’s 100% capacity rating for all three school types. We have been experiencing an explosion of development in the City and with it comes the danger of overcrowding our schools with more students. Currently we only have three co-sponsors on this legislation (myself, Alderman Arnett, and Alderman Rodriguez). We need two more for passage. If you feel strongly about this, please reach out to the Mayor and the other Aldermen and ask for their support. There are a number of amendments being proposed by various Aldermen. Some would completely gut this ordinance and put a sunset clause on it (meaning the law expires after a few years). Others would include, for example, a “carve out” for affordable or work force housing. If you have thoughts on any of this, please let me know and share your views with others. Pending comments from you, I am planning on supporting this ordinance, but I’m still a bit undecided (though leaning towards favorability) on whether or not to support the affordable housing carve out.
Previous Council meeting
We did have a very brief Council meeting on November 26th. Nothing much happened at it except for some appointments, which is why I didn’t send an email about it. The previous meeting on the 19th was when we passed the No Net Loss ordinance. We also passed the following:
- an ordinance updating tree pruning standards,
- one that updates our Ethics Code language governing the Housing Authority,
- another that designates the City Manager as the acting Mayor under emergencies (until a time that the Council names a full-time acting Mayor),
- O-14-18 clarifying/improving public notice requirements for new development projects and creating a new public meeting requirement,
- O-19-18 making a number of zoning code enhancements, nothing major,
Lastly, we rejected a hiring freeze given that we already froze many vacant positions in the last budget by simply not funding them.
Annapolis Citizen Police Academy
As the first class has graduated (or soon will), I’m hearing some positive reactions to this program. I’d encourage anyone who wants to learn more about our Police Department to fill out an application or visit the City’s website.
The Stanton Center will open tonight and Sunday night, December 9th, as an overnight warming center for individuals who need this service. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call the Office of Emergency Management at 410-216-9167 during and after normal business hours.
Also, Emergency Management has received some inquiries lately from individuals who are homeless and interested in long term shelter options. The Stanton Center is an overnight warming center that opens in very cold conditions. Individuals interested in long term support should contact Justin Bieler of the Department of Social Services at (410) 269-4749.
Mayor - year in review video
Substance abuse training available
The Annapolis Fire Department will come for 60 to 90 minutes to a regular meeting of your organization (Homeowners/Tenants, Churches, Civic Groups, etc.) to train your members to recognize the signs of an overdose and what to do to help save lives. Please email them at:
[email protected] if interested.
Annual City of Annapolis New Year 2019 Celebration
Monday, December 31st!
Children's activities and entertainment will be at the Weems Whelan Fields (behind Maryland Hall) from 3pm-5pm with fireworks to follow.
From 8pm-midnight, there will be FREE live entertainment with dancing for all ages in the tent at Susan Campbell Park as in years past with fireworks at Midnight at the City Dock.
Annapolis area Holiday events
Saturdays, November 17 through Tuesday, January 1
Lights on the Bay
Don’t miss this spectacular drive-through holiday lights show beside the Chesapeake Bay. The event features more than 70 animated and stationary displays, including traditional Maryland-themed favorites, holiday and children’s displays. Proceeds benefit SPCA of Anne Arundel County. 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. nightly, weather permitting. Sandy Point State Park, 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis. 410-268-4388, http://www.lightsonthebay.org/.
Fridays-Saturdays, December 1, 7, 14-15, 21-22
Holiday Candlelight Stroll
Stroll through Annapolis alongside a festively attired colonial guide and learn about holiday traditions. Includes tour inside the historic Hammond Harwood House for additional seasonal spirit. 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tours depart from Information Booth at Annapolis City Dock. 410-268-7601,
Fridays-Sundays, December 1-31 – Except Saturday, December 8
Jolly Express Cruises
Take a holiday-inspired “sleigh ride” cruise aboard Watermark’s Miss Anne, adorned with reindeer spirit. 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Tours depart from City Dock in downtown Annapolis. 410-268-7601, http://cruisesonthebay.com/special-cruises/jolly-express.
Thursdays, December 6, 13, 20
Midnight Madness Holiday Shopping
Lights, garland, action! Historic Annapolis shops throw open their doors in a glorified block party that’s open to all. Enjoy outside musical performances as well as food and refreshments at many stores as you stroll along Main Street, Maryland Avenue, West Street, State Circle and City Dock in search of that perfect gift. Sponsored by the Downtown Annapolis Partnership. December 6 and 13, 6:00 p.m. to midnight; December 20, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Downtown Annapolis.
Fridays & Saturdays, December 7-22
Illuminated London Town
Experience the magic of a winter evening at Illuminated London Town! Sip hot cider and roast s'mores beside roaring fires in the Historic Area. Explore the gardens illuminated with festive holiday lights. Discover colonial nighttime festivities and holidays at a candlelit William Brown House, decorated for the season. Enjoy special performances in the gardens each week. 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater 21037. 410-222-1919, www.historiclondontown.org.
Saturday, December 15
Holiday Open House
Celebrate a merry holiday with Declaration of Independence signer William and his wife Mary. Take a break from the busy holiday season and enjoy an afternoon of history and family-friendly activities. Visit with the Pacas and their friends in a home filled with laughter, games, music and sweet treats to share. Stroll down to Hogshead to continue the celebration with the middling sort, where more music, dancing and merriment is destined to put a holiday spring in your step. 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. William Paca House, 186 Prince George Street; Hogshead, 43 Pinkney Street, Annapolis 21401. 410-267-7619, http://www.annapolis.org/.
Monday, December 31
11th Annual Military Bowl
The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, benefitting the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro) will match a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) against an opponent from the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in its 11th Anniversary game. Noon. U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis 21401. Tickets: 888-841-2787, https://militarybowl.org/.
Monday, December 31
City of Annapolis New Year’s Eve Celebration
Family activities fill the day and music and dancing fill the night at this annual celebration welcoming the New Year. For the third year, kids’ activities will take place on Weems Whelan fields behind Maryland Hall and Bates Middle School. Participants are invited to park at Park Place garage and take City of Annapolis-provided shuttles to and from Maryland Hall. Activities will include kids’ crafts, obstacle courses, moon bounces and music performed by kids’ rock bands. The afternoon festivities wrap up with on-site fireworks at approximately 5:15 p.m. Then it’s off to area restaurants for dinner with the kids. The second round of festivities includes live music and dancing at Susan Campbell Park at City Dock beginning at 8:00 p.m. and ending with midnight fireworks. Sponsored by City of Annapolis. 3:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., kid-friendly activities at Weems Whelan Fields behind Maryland Hall, 801 Chase Street, Annapolis 21401. 8:00 p.m. to midnight, Susan Campbell Park, City Dock, Annapolis 21401. 410-263-7997, http://www.annapolis.gov/.
For a more complete list of holiday events, visit the VAAAC website. For high resolution images, contact Susan Seifried.