Return of live public comments (audio only)

This Monday the Council will be resuming live, audio-only public comments. If you would like to sign up to do so, please go to www.annapolis.gov/testimony 4 hours before the start of the meeting, and check the box saying that you want to give live testimony over Zoom. This is also our first meeting with the new setup, where our first meeting of the month, known in the Code as our “Regular” meeting, will focus primarily on our legislative actions, with the second meetings of this month (such as this Monday’s), known as our “Special” meeting, will contain primarily public hearings. That’s why we have so many pieces of legislation up for a hearing this Monday. All that said, we will be modifying our agenda Monday to vote on at least one or two pieces of legislation outside of our Consent Calendar, just to try to get some things passed prior to our August break. Speaking of which, I’ll still be available, but the Council is on recess during August. I will be on vacation for a few long weekends so it may take me even longer than usual to get back in touch with you.

Take care everyone and stay safe,

Rob

Next Council meeting – 7/27/20 (agenda)

This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, Facebook, and the City website (www.annapolis.gov). Due to COVID-19, our meetings are now being held virtually. http://www.youtube.com/CityofAnnapolis http://www.facebook.com/CityofAnnapolis

Anyone needing reasonable accommodation to be able to participate in a public meeting held by the City of Annapolis should contact Regina Watkins-Eldridge at 410.263.7942, by MD Relay (711), or by email at cityclerk@annapolis.gov at least five days prior to the meeting date to request assistance.

If you would like to submit public testimony, we have included a link allowing written testimony to be submitted into the recorded minutes of the meeting. Submit written testimony: http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.

NEW – We now are allowing audio-only testimony by the public, via Zoom, at the beginning of our second (the Special Council Meeting) meeting each month. Those who wish to testify must submit the request through www.annapolis.gov/testimony at least four hours before the start of the meeting (3pm for Council meetings). All those offering public testimony must dial in at least 15 minutes before the start of the meeting. Per code, you will have 3 minutes to provide testimony.

Public hearings

  • CA-2-20 - City of Annapolis Primary Election Date - For the purpose of moving the date of the Primary Election for City of Annapolis elections from September to July. I introduced this legislation because I feel having our primary elections in September, and the general election in November, suppresses voter turnout and makes running for office more difficult for the average person. My rationale is that by having the primary in September, it only gives the candidates a little over one month to reach out to all the voters who are Unaffiliated, Independent, Green, and those of the opposite political party. We spend the entire primary election, in this case the entire spring and summer, reaching out to our own political party because those are the only voters who can vote in our primary elections. It seems wrong to me that we spend 6 months speaking to our own party but only 1.5 months speaking to those outside of it. This is a problem. Not to mention that it forces candidates who have a primary challenger to have to raise the same amount in 1.5 months that it had taken them to raise in over 6 months. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that our election calendar is submitted to our State Board of Elections in August this year, and this Charter amendment likely won't get through our process until later this fall. This is quite unfortunate. Rather than try to rush this through the process, I may just withdraw it and submit it after the 2021 elections (assuming I am re-elected), as I’m sure our local Election Board will be quite busy for the next year until our next City elections.
  • O-10-20 - This legislation would increase the notification distance that developers have to follow when notifying the public, from 200’ to 750’. I am a co-sponsor on this legislation.
  • O-18-20 - This would add Institutions for the Care of the Aged as a permitted use in the PM2 district (i.e. the cleared lot with the large tree next to Quantum Sails, on Bay Ridge Rd across from the Giant). I have introduced this legislation. Its purpose is to allow Institutions for the Care of the Aged to be a permitted use on the lot of the Quantum Sails building and the adjacent vacant lot across from the Giant. This would allow a developer to submit an application for such a development. The current zoning would not allow this. What was originally planned for this lot, which is allowed in the zoning, is a restaurant. Given our traffic concerns and constraints on the peninsula, an independent living facility would have less of a traffic impact than a restaurant. While a restaurant would be appealing, I’m trying to be responsive to the widespread concern about not adding more traffic to Forest Drive/Bay Ridge Rd. If that is our primary concern, this facility makes more sense. Environmentally I don’t have any concerns given that this is redevelopment of the Quantum Sails lot and construction on a mostly already cleared lot. The large specimen tree at the front of the property will be protected and made into an amenity for the seniors. The developer will be putting forward a design that would put most of the parking underground and allow for synergy between the Starbuck lot and the future Lidl (County) lot. It would be a maximum of three stories (we talked them down from their original 4-5). You know me, I’m very wary of new development, but in this case the developer has done their due diligence meeting with the Annapolis Peninsula Federation and other community leaders through this initial phase of the project, and are proposing something that won’t compound our traffic issues. This will only impact two small areas of the City, the Bay Village complex and the Safeway area, so I’m confident there will be no unintended consequences with this legislation. This is the very beginning of the process. Even if this passes, the proposal is subject to change after the public has further opportunities to chime in later in the process, as well as the Planning Commission and our Planning & Zoning staff. They also have to undergo a full traffic analysis.

 

  • O-24-20 - Deadline for Absentee Ballots – This ordinance would allow for ballots to be mailed to the City on or before Election day, and be received by the election board not later than 10AM on the date of the canvass. Currently, the ballots must be received not later than close of business on the Wednesday following Election Day. The end result is this would lengthen the time for receipt of absentee ballots.
  • O-25-20 - This ordinance provides for the conveyance of City-owned rights-of-way for the redevelopment of Newtowne 20. This is a routine step.
  • O-26-20 - This would prohibit certain rent increases during a State of Emergency for residential and small commercial. I am the primary sponsor of this legislation. I had wanted to have this be applied retroactively but I’ve been informed by our Law Office that the Maryland Constitution prohibits this, unfortunately.
  • O-27-20 - For the purpose of providing policies and practices concerning other excluded service employees, including full-time, temporary, and grant-funded employees; providing definitions; and generally relating to contractual employees.
  • O-28-20 - Parking Permit Display - For the purpose of requiring that a residential parking permit must be visibly displayed on the vehicle to which it was issued.
  • O-30-20 - Issuance of General Obligation Bonds and Bond Anticipation Notes
  • R-34-20 - Community Development Block Grant Program - 2020 Amended Citizen Participation Plan - For the purpose of adopting an Amended Citizen Participation Plan as it relates to the administration of the Community Planning and Development programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Legislation being introduced on First Reader

  • O-31-20 - Non-motorized wheeled vehicles - For the purpose of setting standards for the use of non-motorized wheeled vehicles on sidewalks; and establishing a definition.
  • O-29-20 - Small Cell Systems - For the purpose of establishing requirements for small cell systems; adding small cell systems as a use subject to standards in all zoning districts; creating certain definitions; and generally relating to small cell systems.
  • R-41-20 - Small Cell Systems - Fees - For the purpose of adding fees to the Fiscal Year 2021 Fees Schedule concerning Small Cell Systems.
  • R-42-20 - Small Cell Systems - Fines - For the purpose of adding fines to the Fiscal Year 2021 Fines Schedule concerning Small Cell Systems.

Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)

  • O-34-19 - Appeal Procedures - For the purpose of clarifying the procedures governing an appeal of a decision of the Planning and Zoning Director; making stylistic changes; and generally related to appeal procedures. One of the things we tried to include in this is to give Alderpersons standing, if we feel the need to appeal a decision made by the City pertaining to development issues. The Law Office wasn’t sure we could do that, so we will be attempting to do so as separate legislation. I feel it’s important that the Alderpersons have standing to appeal instances where our laws may have been applied incorrectly. I am inclined to support this, pending any comments from you. We have deliberated over this for a while in an effort to consider and factor in the public comments we have received.
  • O-39-19 – Accessory Dwelling Units - For the purpose of allowing accessory dwelling units in all zoning districts that allow single-family detached dwellings. I am one of the co-sponsors on this legislation. This would allow someone to submit an application to rent out an accessory building, attached or detached, as an ADU. We have tried to respond to concerns from the Planning Commission and from our colleagues on the Council. What we’ve ended up with is a scaled back, very conservative program. The intention of ADUs is to increase affordable housing stock for young (i.e. “tiny homes”) or elderly (i.e. “granny suites”). We’re proposing to cut back on the size capping them at 625 feet, we’re proposing to require off-street parking to address parking concerns, and we’re proposing to cap the impervious surfaces so they don’t contribute to any degradation of our water quality. I hope that these amendments will pass. If they do, I’ll likely be supporting this legislation, pending any input from you.
  • O-23-20 – Payment for City Services - For the purpose of establishing a fine for dishonored checks and other written instruments; establishing a convenience fee related to accepting payment over the phone or online; and establishing a penalty for late payment of sewer service bills. Pending any comments from you, I’m inclined to support this legislation.
  • O-24-20 – Deadline for Absentee Ballots. See the description above under public hearings. I’m inclined to support this, pending any comments from you.
  • O-25-20 – Conveyance of City-Owned Rights-of-Way at Newtowne 20. See the description above under public hearings. I’m inclined to support this legislation, pending any comments from you.
  • R-43-20 – Five-Year Consolidated Housing and Community Development Strategic Plan. This is a grant program requirement. Pending any comments from you, I’m inclined to support this legislation.

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  • Rob Savidge