This month there are two City Council meetings on back-to-back Mondays: the 19th and 26th. Tomorrow’s agenda is packed and I’ll include highlights below. The theme with most of the legislation up for a final vote is development, including my “no net loss of forests” Ordinance.
I’d also like to take a moment to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels next week.
Details on Monday’s Council meeting
- There is nothing up for a public hearing. That said, you can still come and comment during the general public comment period on anything you would like.
Legislation up for a final vote
- CA-1-18 (Charter amendment - acting Mayor procedure) - In situations where the Mayor is incapacitated or otherwise has not designated an Acting Mayor, this Charter Amendment would have the City Manager fulfill those roles. I’ve heard a few concerns about having an unelected position function as Acting Mayor, and I’m inclined to agree. I may introduce an amendment to change this to have the “order of succession” go to the senior-most Council member, with a requirement that the City Council hold an emergency session with 4-5 days to declare a longer term acting Mayor, or I may agree to simply postpone the legislation for the time being.
- O-14-18 (Development Review Process Amendments) - This ordinance creates a new “community meeting”requirement for certain types of new development and clarifies the notice requirements for such meetings. This is in response to a lawsuit developer Alan Hyatt brought against the City challenging the passage of O-35-17 in 2017. The new legislation essentially accomplishes the same thing but with clarified language. I do intend to vote in favor, though I do not think it goes far enough in many regards (such as the small notification area). In the interest of closing out this lawsuit I will likely vote in favor and will hopefully follow up with stronger language in the future.
- O-19-18 (miscellaneous zoning code updates) - This is essentially an omnibus zoning ordinance that updates various aspects of our code that have proved to be ineffective or in need of updating. In some cases there were specific projects or situations where it became evident the code needed to be updated. I’ll just quote my colleague from Ward 8:
The Rules and City Government has not been able to finish its review of this ordinance, but does offer several amendments to what it has been able to evaluate. We are proposing that the ordinance be truncated so that some time sensitive parts of the legislation can be passed. The remainder of the legislation, mostly dealing with sign regulations will be introduced as new legislation.
A major section of this ordinance involves changes to the rules governing the Board of Appeals procedures related to zoning district boundary adjustments. The Rules Committee proposes an amendment that allows less strict lot area and width requirements for buildings or structures put in place before August 10, 1970. The rationale is that many of the older building were put in place under very different zoning rules.
The Committee also rejected changing a section of the Code (21.38: Bulk) that requires any application for a building over 45 feet to be submitted as a planned development application and be governed by the rules pertaining to planned development. It is the sense of the Committee that 45 feet has significance in Annapolis, a low scale city, and that projects with buildings over 45 feet should be heard and adjudicated in the public process provided by the Planning Commission review.
Again, this ordinance covers a wide range of topics, all of which are very technical in nature. The last amendment I will address concerns how the finished side of a fence is orientated. Currently, the Code requires that the finished side of all fences face out. The amendment makes the fence orientation a matter of site design review evaluation by the Planning Staff or Planning Commission.
Pending receipt of input to the contrary, I plan to vote yes on this ordinance as amended by the Rules Committee.
- O-27-18 (No net loss of trees) - I am the lead sponsor on this legislation. This ordinance seeks to simply remove a loophole in the law that allows development projects to avoid mitigating or replacing the forest they remove. Development projects in the City have never had to utilize any of the 6 mitigation options available in the Code because of this loophole, known as the “retention credit”. My ordinance would simply remove that credit, and require that developers need to mitigate the lost forest. We have lost nearly 30 acres over the past decade, and if this is not passed we will lose another 30 acres (1.5% of our tree canopy). This ordinance would stem the bleeding and prevent more forest from being lost in the hopes that we will be able to honor the commitments to increase our tree canopy that we made to you in our comprehensive plan. If the developers are not required to replace the lost forest, we will see a reduction in water quality, and taxpayers will need to pay more to clean up our waterways. With this legislation enacted, any trees developers reforest over the minimum required in the State law we can claim as credits to meeting our federally mandated pollution reduction targets. I plan on voting in favor of this legislation.
- R-30-18 (hiring freeze) - This would enact a complete hiring freeze. Given that we froze many vacant positions in the approved FY19 budget, I see no reason to revisit this issue outside of the budget process. Pending any comments from you, I intend to vote against this Resolution.
Previous Council meeting
At the last Council meeting we passed the foam ban (O-22-18) and also a Resolution detailing a number of financial policies for the City, detailed in my previous newsletter.
Georgetown Rd & Victor Parkway striping
Striping of these roadways should be completed by the end of November, including finishing the handicap ramp at the Giant entrance.
Fall Town Hall meeting
Thank you to the 30-40 individuals who attended my Fall Town Hall meeting. And a special thanks to my neighbor Bill Hutton for filling in for Georgetown Elementary Principal Andre Dillard, to talk about a mentoring program he runs at area schools. If you would like to donate your time to mentor some local kids, please contact Bill at [email protected].
Community stormwater management education opportunity
A Watershed Stewards Academy Short Course for Property Managers and HOA Leaders
This course will:
- Provide property managers and HOA officers with information and resources to help reduce pollution coming from their properties
- Address key concerns including flooding, maintenance of stormwater management devices, reducing management costs
- Explore ways to engage residents to reduce pollution from pet waste, litter and other sources
- Consist of three in person sessions, three webinars and a toolbox of print and web-based resources
Who should attend? Property Managers and HOA Representatives who live or work in Anne Arundel County. This course is also open to Anne Arundel County employees at no cost.
Location: Sessions 1 and 3 will meet at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center (975 Indian Landing Road, Millersville, MD 21108). Session 2 will meet at a location TBD.
Format and Schedule:
- Three in person sessions:
- Session 1: Tuesday, November 20th 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Classroom and Field)
- Session 2: Thursday, December 6th 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (in the Field)
- Session 3: Thursday, January 17th 9 a.m.-noon (Classroom)
- Three webinars (view anytime):
- Environmental Site Design Devices: When to use them and how to maintain them
- Stormwater Ponds 101
- Engaging Your Community
- Toolbox of Resources: Print and web-based
Mayor’s Holiday open house
The Mayor’s Holiday Open House will be on December 6 from 4-6PM in the Council Chambers. As is traditional, there will be cookies and drinks.
Rabid animal sightings
All sightings of rabid animals should be sent to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as follows:
After 4:00 pm 410-260-8888
If anyone has questions about rabid animals please call 877-463-6497
Those that have been bitten should call the Anne Arundel County Health Department 410-222-7095, and Anne Arundel County Animal Control 410-222-8900.
Bay Ridge Working Together event
In an effort to reduce crime and build a stronger community, the very first "Bay Ridge Working Together" meeting will be Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 6:00pm in Bay Ridge Gardens at the community center. If you know any residents from that community please encourage them to attend.
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/.
Friday, November 23
American Indian Heritage Day
The Cedarville Band of Piscataway Indians returns to London Town for its annual celebration of native peoples in Maryland. Skip Black Friday and join in a dance, talk with an elder, and enjoy the state holiday alongside the Piscataway. 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater 21037. 410-222-1919, www.historiclondontown.org.
Sunday, November 25
Grand Illumination – Annapolis Tree Lighting
With support from the Annapolis business community, the Annapolis Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) host the Lighting of the Tree in Annapolis during the City’s Grand Illumination event. Watch Santa arrive in town and enjoy singing and dance performances by area youth. The Jaycees provide refreshments and ornaments children can use to decorate the tree. Attendees are invited to bring nonperishable food items and new, unwrapped toys for the Jaycees’ annual Angel Tree Project. 5:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Market Space at the Market House, 25 Market Street, Annapolis 21401.
Saturday, December 1
State House by Candlelight
Enjoy this annual open house featuring performances by young musicians and vocalists from throughout Maryland. The oldest State House in continuous legislative use in the nation will be adorned with 24 Christmas trees representing every Maryland county and Baltimore City. Photo identification is required for individuals age 16 and older. 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Maryland State House, State Circle, Annapolis 21401. http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdstatehouse/html/home.html.
Saturday-Sunday, December 1-2
72nd Annual U.S. Naval Academy’s Handel’s Messiah Concerts
A long-standing Naval Academy tradition, the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs join the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and soloists from the Metropolitan Opera Company to present selections from Handel’s beloved Messiah. Conducted by Dr. Aaron Smith, USNA Director of Musical Activities, the elegant concert has been broadcast on public television stations regionally and nationwide. Saturday, 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, 3:00 p.m. Main USNA Chapel, 108 Blake Road, Annapolis. 410-293-8497, https://www.usna.edu/Music/.
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.
Sunday, December 2
4th Annual Chocolate Binge Festival
Are you a chocoholic in need of a fix? You won’t want to miss the 4th Annual Chocolate Binge Festival! More than 35 chocolate vendors will be selling chocolate specialties, including: chocolate caramels, cakes, bars, truffles, fudge, cookies, candies, hot chocolate and more. Enjoy live music, roasting s'mores with the Fire Department, a gingerbread house moon bounce, Cocoa with the PoPo, a holiday market, the lighting of the Holiday Lights Canopy and a visit from Santa. Noon to 5:00 p.m. First block of West Street in downtown Annapolis. www.annapolischocolatefestival.com, [email protected].
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 8
36th Annual Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade
More than 30 brightly lit boats bedecked for the holiday season parade around the Annapolis waterfront and Spa Creek. Themes including Santa Claus, Polar Bear Christmas, a Christmas Angel and the Abominable Snowman have delighted young and old in this traditional Annapolis holiday event. Thousands of lights and a host of jolly revelers make this a fun Christmas event for the entire family. Prime viewing areas include: Eastport, Spa Creek, City Dock and Naval Academy seawall. Sponsored by the Eastport Yacht Club. 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Annapolis Harbor and Spa Creek. 844-463-6392, Eastportyc.org/lights-parade.
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.