We have two more council meetings left until our August recess. Of note for this Monday’s meeting is a final vote on the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) legislation, adjustments to the appeal process of Planning & Zoning decisions, the final vote on a hiring freeze, and the final vote on legislation of mine that would allow the city to enforce Electric Vehicle (EV) charging spaces.
I’m also trying to find time to work on legislation outlining the Council’s desire for police reforms, legislation that would expand public water access, and legislation that would adjust our election schedule to increase voter turnout.
Lastly, I'm contemplating holding some kind of virtual town hall, perhaps in the fall. But I much prefer an in person meeting, though that likely won’t happen for a while. In the meantime, you are always welcome to reach out to me with any comments, concerns, or other issues you need help with.
Take care everyone and stay safe,
Next Council meeting – 7/13/20 (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 firstname.lastname@example.org at least five days prior to the meeting date to request assistance.
If you would like to submit public testimony, we have included a new link allowing written testimony to be submitted into the recorded minutes of the meeting. Submit written testimony: http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.
- O-15-20 - Waterfront Mixed Maritime District - For the purpose of allowing professional offices in the WMM zoning district in accordance with certain standards; amending certain parking standards; and making stylistic changes Legislation being introduced on First Reader
- 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 - Five-Year Consolidated Housing and Community Development Strategic Plan
- R-39-20 - Community Grant Allocations for FY 2021- For the purpose of allocating Community Grant Funds for FY 2021. The proposed grants have changed slightly from what was proposed in the Mayor’s budget. These are in line with what was proposed by the Finance Committee. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to vote on this. The last time I reviewed this during the budget, it proposed to give grants to some organizations that never requested them, and also proposed a minor reduction for the Centro De Ayuda (Center of Help), which I have some concerns about. I also don’t think the Council should get in the habit of overruling the committee we setup to develop the initial recommendations.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
- R-35-20 - 2021 Election - For the purpose of authorizing the City of Annapolis to contract with the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections to administer the City of Annapolis Primary and General Elections that will take place on September 21, 2021 and November 2, 2021, respectively; and providing for the option of voting by mail…
- O-34-19 - Planning and Zoning - 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’ve included in this is to give Alderpersons standing, if we feel the need to appeal a decision made by the City pertaining to development issues. While the City’s Law Office apparently disagrees with me/us on this point, 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-38-19 - For the purpose of renaming the Housing and Community Development Committee. I am inclined to support this legislation if my amendment passes. I have an amendment that would remove the Council from being on this Commission. Typically, we don’t serve on Commissions, as they are intended to be bodies of residents that provide recommendations to the Council. My amendment would still allow the Council standing housing committee to appoint three members, but I feel it’s inappropriate for the Council to serve on Commissions.
- O-39-19 - Accessory Dwelling Units - For the purpose of allowing accessory dwelling units. I support the idea of allowing accessory structures to be rented out for use as long-term rentals, often known as “granny suites.” We have been trying to develop consensus on this issue and address the community’s concerns, so we have developed a number of amendments to do just that. Our amendments would ensure the size of these units remains 800sf or lower depending on the size of the primary structure, prevent their use as short term rentals, prevent them from increasing the percent of impervious surface on the property, and require annual reports from P&Z to the Council regarding how many ADUs are created over the past year. Pending any comments from you, I’m likely to support this legislation if amended.
- O-7-20 - Designated Loading Zones - For the purpose of authorizing designated loading zones in the City of Annapolis. This simply allows staff to designate certain parking spots in the City as loading zones for Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft. Pending any comments from you, I’m inclined to support this legislation.
- O-8-20 - Harbors and Waterfront Areas - Code Updates - For the purpose of updating certain definitions; removing obsolete language; requiring regular pump out of a vessel's holding tank. After developing amendments to this in Committee, I’m inclined to support it, pending any comments from you. Our amendments clarify that if someone stays anchored for more than 2 days then they need to regularly pump out their boat, and removed language that could have prohibited day trippers from tying up at downtown street end docks.
- O-14-20 - Parking Spaces Reserved for Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicles – This is legislation I’ve proposed to only allow electric vehicles to park in spaces that have electric vehicle chargers. It’s a problem for electric vehicle owners when gasoline vehicles park in the spaces meant for them to charge. Pending any comments from you, I’ll be supporting this legislation.
- R-30-20 - Youth Violence - For the purpose of declaring youth violence a public health epidemic; and supporting the establishment of City-wide trauma-informed education and response methods. Pending any comments from you, I’m likely to support this legislation.
- R-31-20 - Hiring Freeze - For the purpose of imposing a hiring freeze on non-critical positions in the City of Annapolis, providing for an effective date; and providing for a termination date. As written, this hiring freeze wouldn’t do much, as it exempts all of our public safety positions and anything “deemed critical to public safety or delivery of essential services”. Exempting our two largest departments (and more) ceases to make this a freeze and I don’t see the point otherwise. I have an amendment to remove this language to have it apply to all of our vacant full-time positions. My rationale is this: by freezing such positions, especially in regards to the Police Department, it forces the Departments to come to the Council before filling vacant positions, giving the Council leverage to determine what kind of position we want filled. For example, rather than just hiring another standard armed police officer, maybe we want a mental health first responder. This gives us the time to figure out what kind of positions we want this Department to fill and gives us space to do any reorganization or defunding that we see fit to pursue as policy-makers. I’m inclined to vote in favor of this legislation if my amendment passes, otherwise I’ll likely vote against, pending any comments from you.