As promised, here are the details on this Monday’s City Council meeting (final vote on the Annapolis Rising festival fee waiver, public hearing on zoning code updates), as well as a few other announcements (Planning Commission gave a favorable recommendation to my "no net loss" of forests ordinance).
Details on Monday’s Council meeting
- O-19-18 - 2018 Zoning Code Updates and Amendments - This ordinance includes some relatively minor tweaks to our zoning code. I’d recommend perusing the Planning Commission findings to learn more to see if you want to testify on any aspect of this proposal.
- R-26-18 (filing of grant application with the Maryland Energy Administration to install LED lightings and adopt associated policies) will be withdrawn and I presume voted upon at the September 24th meeting.
- R-30-18 (hiring freeze) is listed as being postponed or withdrawn. I’m not sure which at the moment. Pending any comments from you, I am not inclined to support this resolution since we froze a number of vacancies during the budget deliberations.
- O-14-18 (development review process amendments) - I believe this legislation will be withdrawn. The Rules & Government Committee is still reviewing some of the amendments. This legislation came out of 2017 legislation that was passed by the previous council that improved the public notification process and created a new public meeting requirement. Developers subsequently sued the City, got the law stayed, and now we need to update that law. The current legislation was put together between the City attorney and Alan Hyatt, one of the plaintiffs in the case. I have some serious concerns with the legislation thus far in that I think it inadvertently weakens the public notification requirements for many different types of applications. I’m going to dig into this more at the Rules & Government committee meeting.
Legislation being introduced
R-44-18 - Waives Elks Labor Day parade fees - This legislation proposes to waive the fees related to the Elks Annual Pre-Labor Day parade, as apparently has been done for many years now. The estimated fiscal impact to the City is $1,727. I will support this on first reader, but I am as yet undecided on whether or not I’ll support this when it comes up for a final vote. While I can certainly understand that this parade has had fees waived for many years now, and we waive fees for many other parades in the City, I tend to believe that we are waiving too many fees and would like to reign that in a bit. But given that the parade has already occurred, and given the low fiscal impact, I’ll likely come around to supporting it. If you have any comments on this, please let me know.
Legislation up for final votes
- R-25-18 (Dedication of City property) - This legislation will be dedicating the City Hall Gallery to former Mayor Ellen O. Moyer and installing a plaque in the Gallery to commemorate said dedication. I intend to support this as Ellen started this excellent gallery in City Hall.
- R-39-18 (Annapolis Rising benefit concert - waiver of fees) - The total fiscal impact of this event was originally estimated to be $32,060 and the actual expenses ended up bing $33,972. Half of that was from Police overtime, with about $5,000 each for DGS, Fire and DPW/DOT. I still need more information before I feel comfortable voting in favor of this waiver. I need to know the total amount of money raised and where it went or will go, and whether or not someone has confirmed the accounting of the organization used to funnel the money to charities. If some of the money is set to go to public safety causes, then I think it may be more appropriate just to use some of it to pay for Police overtime.
Planning Commission favorably recommended my ordinance O-27-18, No Net Loss of Forests
This past Thursday the Planning Commission heard public testimony on my “no net loss” ordinance and gave it a unanimous recommendation, with a number of helpful comments. As a reminder, this ordinance will require that developers need to replace any forest they remove on a 1-to-1 basis. This is needed if we are to honor our Annapolis Comprehensive Plan, our tree canopy goal we made with DNR, and meet our federally mandated water quality TMDL targets (which will save taxpayers money). This will include the infamous Crystal Spring project, which proposes to remove 40 acres yet only has to replace 16 acres under the current code. If this passes the Council, they will need to mitigate all 40 acres.
If you want to weigh in, you can attend the September 24th City Council meeting where there will likely be a public hearing on the Ordinance with a final vote at the second meeting in October.
Free dental clinics for those in need
Stanton Community Center
92 West Washington Street
Wednesday - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 12:00 noon
Reminders from the previous newsletter
Mayor Gavin Buckley and the Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department invite community members to participate in the nation’s annual Make A Difference Day by volunteering for the city’s fall GreenScape project on Saturday, October 27. Make a Difference Day is a national effort encouraging groups and individuals to volunteer in their community to improve the lives of others.
Volunteers participating in this year’s fall GreenScape are encouraged to take part in the Journey North Tulip Test Gardens initiative. By participating, you will help scientists track season and climate changes around the world. When your tulips emerge and bloom, it will announce the arrival of spring in Annapolis. For more information, please go to https://journeynorth.org/tm/tulips/HowTo.html.
Reservations for bulbs starts Monday, September 10. Volunteers may order up to 100 tulip bulbs and 100 daffodil bulbs for each project. This year we will be offering red tulips and yellow daffodils. The bulbs are free but only available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To place an order, please e-mail Marisa Wittlinger at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name, contact phone number and organization (if applicable), and indicate what public landscape area you will be planting and the number of bulbs you’re requesting. Bulb pick-up will be held Monday through Friday, October 22-26 at the “Pip” Moyer Recreation Center located at 273 Hilltop Lane in Annapolis.
Forest Drive & Eastport Study Public Review Draft Now Available
The latest draft of the sector plan as of Friday, August 31st is now available. If you have an opportunity please review this plan. While I have not had a chance to review this draft yet, I have had a number of concerns in the past about whether or not they have heeded public comments and about how they seemed to be pushing for more development rather than a steady state development plan. Hopefully that has changed. Please let me know what your comments are. This plan will be coming to the City Council for approval, and I want to consider your comments before that vote arrives.
Here is a description of the Sector Study from the report itself:
The Forest Drive/Eastport Sector Study ushers in a new era for urban planning and the integration of land use, economic development, technology, and mobility. It provides a specific vision for this part of the City and begins to lay the groundwork for the next Comprehensive Plan for the City of Annapolis. Under current regulations, there is a significant amount of development capacity in this portion of the City. This plan attempts to change the character of that possible development, not necessarily to encourage more development.
Next meeting of the Annapolis Education Commission
You're cordially invited to participate in the next monthly meeting of the Annapolis Education Commission on Monday, September 17th, 2018 from 5:30-7 p.m. at Walter S. Mills-Parole Elementary School (1 George and Marion Phelps Lane).
Dr. Pamela Brown, Executive Director at Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth and Families will be presenting information she has gathered throughout the past year for the Safe & Thriving Communities Grant. Various agencies in Anne Arundel County have collaborated throughout the year and the formal grant application is due to the federal government in October. Dr. Brown is seeking the input of the Annapolis Education Commission and meeting attendees for additional information to contribute to the Annapolis collaborative portion of the Safe & Thriving Communities grant. To learn more about this process, I invite you to peruse the press release announcing the grant from last year: https://www.aacounty.org/news-and-events/news/2017/11/13/county-executive-steve-schuh-announces-738000-grant-to-combat-gangs-and-youth-violence
The Annapolis Education Commission is a part of the government of the city of Annapolis. Its mission is to serve as a forum for issues concerning public education in the city. The group meets monthly, generally on the first Monday of each month, 5:30-7:00 pm, in rotating locations. All members of the public are welcome and invited to participate. Public testimony is welcome and encouraged - please check in with the chair prior to the start of the meeting.
Raccoon Oral Rabies Vaccination project began August 30th
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health has started conducting the Raccoon Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Project. Edible baits will be placed throughout Anne Arundel County to vaccinate raccoons against rabies. The project should be completed by the end of September, weather permitting.
• Contain liquid rabies vaccine.
• Will be placed in neighborhoods by ground teams of trained Department of Health staff. Teams will wear shirts with Department of Health logos and travel in marked County vehicles.
• Will be dropped from a low-flying County Police helicopter in less-populated areas.
• Are in two types. One looks like a ketchup packet with a light brown waxy coating. The other looks like a small brown brick, is approximately 0.75 inches thick by 1.25 inches square, and has a plastic packet inside. In both types of bait, the vaccine is contained within the packet.
• Are marked with a 1-800 phone number. Anyone who comes in contact with the bait or has a pet that finds the bait is asked to call the 1-800 number or 410-222-7192.
• Immunizes raccoons when the animal bites into the packet that contains the vaccine.
• Cannot cause rabies and is not harmful to raccoons, pets or other animals.
• Has a very low human health risk. However, it is advised that the following individuals avoid handling the bait:
• People younger than 18 years old
• Pregnant women
• Anyone with a compromised immune system
• Anyone with a chronic skin condition
The Department of Health recommends that pet owners keep their pets confined or on a leash during the baiting and for two weeks thereafter. If your pet finds a bait, carefully remove the bait from your pet’s mouth.
For more information about the ORV Project, which began in Anne Arundel County in 1998, visit www.aahealth.org/orv.