Please note that our Council meeting is on Tuesday this week, NOT Monday. Here is information on our next meeting:
Next Council meeting – 9/26/23 (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.
- O-25-23 - Exception to Allow Public Kayak Rack Pilot Program - For the purpose of creating a City of Annapolis pilot program to allow a public kayak rack in a street-end city park located on the City's waterfront;
- 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 worked on and am sponsoring. It combines three noise related issues into one: 1. It effectively bans gas-powered leaf blowers due to their incredible noise (not to mention their emissions), 2. It bans high-frequency sound emitters (due to impacts to pets and some humans), and 3. It sets standards for noise requirements for boats (i.e. party boats) on our creeks.
- 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. This is the legislation I’m introducing to essentially just tighten our regulations regarding Short Term Rentals, as far as ensuring only one STR per owner. We had an issue with out-of-town investors purchasing properties in the City, with shared financial interests, but using their different names to get around our code. It also strengthens the language regarding permit revocation and suspension if there are nuisance issues.
Legislation being introduced on first reader
- O-27-23 - City of Annapolis Electrical Code Update - For the purpose of updating the City of Annapolis electrical code to current National Electric Code standards as published by the National Fire Protection Association, 2020 Edition, and the National Electrical Safety Code, 2023 Edition; and generally related to the city's electrical code.
- O-29-23 - Food Truck Parking and Mobile Food Service in the City of Annapolis - For the purpose of allowing mobile food service vendors, also called "food trucks," to park for food service outside the historic district on private, non-residential property and public property if they have the property owner's permission; requiring food trucks to limit noise, pick up trash and not block public accessways; general copyediting of the code section; and generally related to mobile food service vendor requirements.
- O-33-23 - Expiration of Special Exceptions to City Zoning Requirements - For the purpose of making the deadline for builders to utilize their special exception to City zoning requirements from one year to two years; making the issuance of a grading or building permit as the point when the special exception is "established"; adds requirements on when special exceptions expire; and generally related to the expiration of special exceptions.
- R-46-23 - Tucker Street Boat Trailer Permit Non-resident Fee Increase - For the purpose of increasing the fee for non-residents to launch boats from the Tucker Street launching facility; and generally dealing with boat trailer permit fees.
- R-50-23 - 2023 Military Bowl Parade and Football Game - For the purpose of identifying the Military Bowl Parade and Football Game that will be held on December 27, 2023, as a Major Special Event; and waiving charges for certain City of Annapolis costs related to city services for that event.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
- CA-2-23 - Management Information Technology office name change - For the purpose of changing the name of the City of Annapolis "Management Information Technology" (MIT) office to "Office of Integrated Technology Solutions" (OITS); and generally related to the City Manager's duties. I have no issues with this and will likely support, pending any comments from you.
- O-49-22 - Planning and Zoning - Parking and Loading Regulations - Parking fee-in-lieu of meeting off-street parking requirements. - For the purpose of authorizing a parking fee-in-lieu for certain businesses required to provide parking spaces; and generally relating to off-street parking requirements. As a refresher, this legislation came up as our alternative to O-9-22, which sought to remove all parking requirements for restaurants. At the time, I opposed O-9, and encouraged O-49-22 as an alternative that would setup a fee to be paid by the restaurant, per parking spot, if they wanted to use those spots for other purposes. This is legislation that would finally codify, to a certain degree, a restaurant’s ability to have outdoor dining. Up to this point, we have simply been passing Resolutions to authorize it that way, but that’s only temporary. We need to change our code to allow outdoor dining. I support O-49-22 because it gets us moving in that direction and creates a funding mechanism to help us pay for solutions to the parking challenges that may get compounded from outdoor dining. There are a number of amendments being considered. Some strengthening some weakening. If you have any comments on the legislation please let me know.
- O-54-22 - Sign Regulations - Shopping Center Sign Requirements - For the purpose of expanding sign requirement exceptions regarding front-lit signage for shopping centers in B2 Community Shopping zoning districts; and generally dealing with sign regulations in the City of Annapolis. I’m inclined to support this, pending any comments from you.
- O-17-23 - Administration - Requiring the City Manager to Provide Staffing Impact Statements on Pending Legislation - For the purpose of requiring staffing reports on charter amendments, ordinances, and resolutions that include the impact of the legislation on staffing levels and duties; changing when staff reports regarding legislation must be submitted to the Council; making clarifying changes to the impacted subsections; and generally related to City Council procedure. I’m inclined to support this, pending any comments from you. And also pending passage of one of the amendments that would at make it clear if staff reports are not ready for introduction, they can only delay legislation by one meeting and not indefinitely.
- O-18-23 - Management Information Technology office name change - For the purpose of changing the name of the City of Annapolis "Management Information Technology" (MIT) office to "Office of Integrated Technology Solutions" (OITS); and generally related to the Management Information Technology office. I’m inclined to support this, pending any comments from you.
- O-21-23 - Landlord-Tenant Relations - Relocation Expenses - For the purpose of requiring a landlord to pay a tenant a relocation payment if the tenant's housing is condemned as unfit for human habitation under certain circumstances; requiring a landlord to provide a tenant with a right of first refusal to re-occupy rental housing under certain circumstances; and generally related to landlord-tenant relations. I think this will be postponed due to some legal issues that need to be looked at. I will support postponement.
- O-24-23 - Issuance of General Obligation Bonds and Bond Anticipation Notes. I will support.
- R-43-23 - Public Water Access at the Wells Cove Inlet in Eastport - For the purpose of ensuring the public can walk along the Wells Cove waterfront and enter the water to use small watercraft such as kayaks and paddleboards at the Wells Cove inlet. This is becoming one of those instances where things are more complicated than they need to be. There has been a public water access easement at this location since 1992 (and since the Council called for one in 1986). Over the years it was blocked and impeded upon by vegetation, signs, boats, docks, etc. So residents sued the property owner blocking it, as well as the City. So to court they went. The public won. The judge clearly stated that the public has an unambiguous right to access the water, to riparian rights, since 1992. The City requested the deed to this easement back in 2021, as we are allowed to do, but it was more restrictive as far as water rights as the underlying 1992 easement was, so the judge overturned the 2021 deeded easement and said the original 1992 easement still stands. She went further to state that no one can interfere with the public’s rights this easement. The property owner disagreed and is appealing. The City is not appealing. The judge said there is no stay pending appeal and her lower court decision/ruling stands. It is the established law unless overturned (which I doubt it will be). The City should now be informing the public of this access and ensuring no one is impeding this access as the judge required. But instead, we live in a bizarro world where our law office thinks they can unilaterally ignore the judge’s decision and the Council’s 1986 Resolution and not take any action. So, the Council is left with our only recourse being to introduce this Resolution to compel the City to act on the public’s behalf. Really shouldn’t be this hard, should it? But instead, the City’s law office has convinced the City Manager’s Office that this Resolution is inactionable. This is absurd considering that no one can decide whether or not they follow the law or a Council action; the only party that can rule that a law or action of an elected body is illegal are the courts. But apparently things are different in Annapolis. In anycase, My Resolution would compel the City to install a sign informing the public of their water access easement, request a deed of this easement, prevent any impairments to this access from the water, allow for access by the water taxi, finally install the sidewalk required 40 years ago, finally install/re-install the path required 40 years ago, and remove any deceptive “no trespassing” signs posted in the area.
- R-48-23 - Establishing a Task Force to Study the City's Grant Programs - For the purpose of creating a task force to conduct a thorough review and analysis of existing City of Annapolis grant programs and make recommendations for possible changes to the program. I support reviewing the administration of our grant programs, but what I’m unsure of is if we need a task force to do so. There may be other organizations, such as the Maryland Municipal League, who could help for free or for a fee. I also have questions about the financial requirements associated with this effort.
- R-49-23 - Commission to Plan Celebrations for the 250th Anniversary of the United States of America - For the purpose of creating the United States of America semiquincentennial commission to plan celebrations in the City of Annapolis commemorating the 250th anniversary of the U.S.A. I support the celebration, though not sure why we can’t just roll this into our existing July 4th efforts for 2026. I’d like to talk about this more. I’m inclined to support but have questions.
Community & Political updates
Food Friday volunteers needed
Delivery Drivers Needed for weekly food distribution. Every Friday, pick up boxes at Pip Moyer (in the gymnasium, at the garage door entrance) at 11:30am. Most routes are coordinated to be within a single neighborhood/area of the City. Must be able to lift 20lbs and have a car that holds 12-14 boxes. (most cars do!) To sign up, contact Karma O'Neill, [email protected].