CIty Council Passes MOE Ordinance, Fence License
Havre de Grace City Council met at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
10:30 p.m.: The meeting adjourns.
10:21 p.m.: Public comment period begins.
Jim Miller said there are at least three fences on Union Avenue that were never granted permission. He also questioned why a snowball truck has permission to utilize the city right-of-way and drive over the curb to set up for sales without authorization from City Council.
Havre de Grace Main Street President Billee Smith invited all members of City Council to the upcoming Mob The Merchant event.
Resident and business owner George Wagner raised issue with the water and sewer fee and how the fees were administered between June and July—when the rate went up July 1.
A resident who lives on Bay Boulevard wonders what progress has been made on Lilly Run. Mayor Dougherty notes that a great deal of progress has been made—which Patch reported on recently.
10:19 p.m.: Council President Craig offered his condolences to Aaron Peterson's family and his colleagues at City Hall.
He said Peterson was like many staff members at City Hall.
"They come to work generally with a smile on their face, eager to do their job, eager to help citizens," he said. "That’s whats so special about our city here: that legacy of service. That’s something that Aaron did every day. He didn’t just work here. He was involved."
Craig said he's thankful that Tom Fitzpatrick will represent Havre de Grace on the Harford County Board of Education, and offers to give him his sales pitch on why the city needs a new high school.
"If you ever need any help, let me know, and I'll tell you how to do it," Craig said.
Craig said there were 17 speakers on five issues at Monday's meeting.
10:14 p.m.: Councilman Martin offers his condolences for Aaron Peterson's family.
He also offered his thanks to Karen Green, who was honored earlier Monday night with a "deserving" key to the city.
"I like to think I help kids," Martin—a teacher—said. "Mrs. Green really helps kids. She really knows how to do it, and goes above and beyond."
Martin said he knows Tom Fitzpatrick will serve Havre de Grace well in his new role on the Harford County Board of Education.
10:11 p.m.: Councilman Glenn congratualates Tom Fitzpatrick and said he became his "new best buddy" upon his appointment to the Harford County Board of Education.
Glenn said the street safety committee will explore a variety of options, including gaining access to Greenway Farm.
Glenn gives his thanks to Karen Green for her dedication to the city.
Glenn said the theme of Aaron Peterson's memorial was community service.
Glenn issued a challenge in Peterson's memory: "Everybody that is here tonight. Everybody that is going to watch it on the Harford Cable Channel, everybody that's going to read it on 'the Patch' or 'The Havre de Grace Record,' and that is to do three unsolicited acts of kindness."
10:08 p.m.: Councilman Correri congratulates Tom Fitzpatrick for his appointment to the Harford County Board of Education.
Correri also said his thoughts are with Aaron Peterson's family. Peterson, a city staff member and community volunteer, died last week after a motorcycle accident.
10:07 p.m.: Councilwoman Wagner thanked Shawn Forton for his mural project on the wall at the former Amtrak station.
Wagner also thanked former Councilman Jim Miller, who played a vital role in acquiring permission from Amtrak to enable Forton to paint the wall.
Wagner also congratulates Tom Fitzpatrick for his appointment to the Harford County Board of Education.
10:05 p.m.: Councilman Smith will not be at the next council meeting as he will be visiting family in Michigan.
Smith also congratulates Tom Fitzpatrick for his appointment to the Harford County Board of Education.
10 p.m.: Mayor Dougherty said the city, in partnership with the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway and Main Street, has received a $15,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Dougherty thanked Patch for publishing a video regarding underage drinking, which featured the Mayor running in a virtual game.
Dougherty added that FEMA has accepted a plan from the city, enabling Havre de Grace to be eligible for federal disaster assistance.
Dougherty asks that Patch publish information regarding the city's new process for tree removal—which Patch will publish this week.
9:48 p.m.: Police Chief Teresa Walter thanked City Council for approving the National Night Out event Tuesday.
"We've been doing National Night Out for seven years," Walter said. "It is a national event, where the community can get together with law enforcement and show solidarity against crime."
Walter said "school is fast approaching," with the first day set for Aug. 27.
9:47 p.m.: Director of Department of Public Works Larry Parks said a 12-inch water main broke Sunday morning.
Parks said the main will be repaired beginning at midnight Thursday. That process will take three hours.
Mayor Dougherty said not all residents impacted were notified, and that the communication issue has been addressed and he is satisfied with the outcome.
"I apologize to the citizens of Havre de Grace that were affected," Dougherty said.
9:39 p.m.: Director of Administration Carol Mathis points out that the city website now includes draft documents linked to the council agenda.
"We wanted to be able to share with you online what is being discussed," Mathis said. "That's a brand new thing. Please check it out."
9:38 p.m.: Council unanimously passes two public event applications—National Night Out on Tuesday, and the closure of two extra blocks of downtown streets for First Friday. Pennington Avenue will be closed from Lodge Lane to St. John Street.
9:35 p.m.: The fence was approved by a 3-2 vote, with Council members John Correri and Council President Craig voting against. Councilman Martin recused himself from the vote.
Mrs. Fiocchi offers her thanks from the rear of the audience as a majority of the crowd departs.
9:31 p.m.: Councilmember David Glenn drew applause from the crowd when he said: "I'm ready to vote yes for the fence."
Members in the back of the audience clapped, with Mayor Dougherty banging his gavel to restore order.
Councilwoman Wagner said she will vote for the fence, noting the business the Fiocchi family's antique car was associated with during the parade is her husband's business.
Council President Craig points out that the fence is now proposed to enclose approximately 1,700 square feet beyond what it originally would have enclosed. It would enclose a grove of trees along the sidewalk on the Union Avenue right-of-way.
9:15 p.m.: Council begins to deliberate on the fence at 469 Commerce Street.
Councilman Martin recuses himself from a vote on the fence and leaves council chambers.
9:13 p.m.: Council President Craig reads a statement that will allow council and some staff to move into a closed session to discuss potential property acquisition by the city. Council has gone into closed session to discuss this matter approximately a half-dozen times in 2012.
9:11 p.m.: Council unanimously passes the newly-amended Ordinance 943.
Mayor Dougherty asks City Attorney Ishak for clarification on a timetable in which he has to make a response on the ordinance.
9:10 p.m.: Council approves an amendment that will allow the planning commission to review and make recommendations on the concept plan within a 30-day period beginning at the point in which the planning department receives the plan.
8:53 p.m.: Council is pondering an amendment to Ordinance 943, which will determine whether or not the planning commission has a review of the concept plan of the MOE zone.
Councilwoman Wagner moves for reconsideration on an amendment to the ordinance made at the last council meeting, which allowed for the planning commission to review and make recommendations on the concept plan for the MOE zone.
Councilman Bill Martin moves to amend the original amendment to allow for a 30-day window for the planning commission to review the concept plan. Previously there was no timetable for review.
"The key word here is review and recommend. The planning commission is an advisory board made up of appointed citizens," Martin said.
"I don't want anything to hold this up, and I want it streamlined," Martin said.
Currently, all concept plans in the city are approved by the planning department—made up of city staff.
8:42 p.m.: The meeting resumes with all elected officials in attendance.
Council begins discussing Ordinance 943.
8:25 p.m.: Council moves to take a 10-minute break.
8:23 p.m.: Council approves the introduction of the resolution concerning the community legacy grant application.
8:17 p.m.: Councilwoman Wagner defers to City Attorney Paul Ishak for guidance on her inclusion in a vote on the fence in the 400 block of Commerce Street.
Ishak ultimately leaves the decision up to Wagner. A vote will take place later Monday.
Residents Joanne Greathouse and Jim McCauley speak in favor of the fence on Commerce Street.
Jay McNeal of Monarchos Drive asks that council members move forward with the mindset that they, too, are residents of The Paddocks, when voting on the MOE zoning process.
8:14 p.m.: Public comment period for agenda items begins.
Dean Kaster, the Senior Vice President with Upper Chesapeake, points out three senior representatives from Upper Chesapeake in the audience.
Kaster said there are four steps hospital leaders would like to begin, including: readying the preliminary site plan for submission to the city, engage architectural firms, begin preparing the certificate of need application and to work with and refine the financing plan for the project.
"Each of these steps is either directly or indirectly related to receiving approval on the MOE legislation," Kaster said.
Former Councilman Fred Cullum said he was in full support of council's decision to put the 300 square-foot Havre de Grace tourism center back into the project. He said he is not in favor of the planning commission being allowed to review the concept plan—a step re-inserted into the MOE ordinance during the July 16 meeting.
Cullum, citing state code, says the planning commission only has approval to review site plans and subdivisions—not concept plans.
Resident Rodney Gaston begins an address—his third on this ordinance as he points out—regarding giving residents a voice in the zoning process.
He said it is imperative that council leaves in the ordinance the opportunity for the planning commission to review the concept plan—an amendment.
"The citizens have a voice. The way for the citizens to be heard is through this amendment in the ordinance," Gaston said. "What it does is it opens a door to real dialogue between the citizens, the commission and the hospital."
Dino LaFiandra, representing Upper Chesapeake, notes that the city code is devoid of any criteria for concept plans.
Resident M. Helen Cayer speaks in favor of the community grant funding for downtown business rehabilitation. She also speaks in favor of approving a fence on the agenda on Commerce Street.
Resident Allen Fair asks City Council to table the fence issue in favor of creating a design standard for downtown fences.
Planning Commission Chairman Curtis Coon cites the same documents that Cullum cited in order to support the notion that the planning commission should be given a review of the MOE zone concept plan.
Resident Elaine Fiocchi speaks in favor of a fence at her property at 469 Commerce Street. She said the fence will make the property and the city right-of-way more pristine.
Resident John Vanderhoff said he fully supports the proposed fence plan at 469 Commerce Street.
Resident and business owner Chip Paradis said National Night Out will include a block party with the OPAC group in the 600 block of Stokes Street.
Former Councilman Jim Miller said the planning commission reviewing the concept plan represents "throwing another monkey wrench into things." He said the plan is "an idea, not something that is concrete."
Resident and Main Street President Billee Smith thanks Mayor Dougherty and City Council for considering shutting down Pennington Avenue from Lodge Lane to St. John Street.
Resident Paul Russell raised the question of whether or not Councilwoman Barbara Wagner should vote on the Fiocchi family's fence, pointing out that the Fiocchi's antique car was towed in the Independence Day Parade on a float that featured a banner for Wagner's business.
7:38 p.m.: Under a friendly amendment from Council President Randy Craig, the Good Cause Fun Fest scheduled for October has been removed from Monday's agenda. Craig said the event packet was not complete.
7:37 p.m.: Soroptomist International of Havre de Grace present Mayor Dougherty with a framed piece of artwork representing the Havre de Grace waterfront.
The Soroptimists will hold the annual Havre de Grace Art Show Aug. 18 and 19.
7:31 p.m.: Manager of Economic Development Meghan Simmons makes a presentation on community legacy grant programs.
7:30 p.m.: Mayor Dougherty calls an off-the-cuff recognition of Tom Fitzpatrick, recently appointed to the Harford County Board of Education.
7:20 p.m.: Karen Green is recognized by the city in a ceremony presenting her with a key to the city.
Patch will recap the presentation with a video in a later post.
August 6-12 has been named Karen Green Week.
"I love this city," she said as she closed her remarks.
The presentation opened with a performance from the Havre de Grace Parks & Recreation Cheerleaders.
7:10 p.m.: Lori Maslin accepts recognition from Mayor Wayne Dougherty and council members Bill Martin and Barbara Wagner for being honored with a "Clean Commute" award from Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.
Festival staff decreased commute miles by 69 percent this year.
Maslin said purchasing a SmartCar was a big difference for the festival organizers.
"We bought the SmartCar as an advertising vehicle and it has enabled us to go all over the tri-state area," she said. "We’ve put near 5,000 miles on it since we purchased it in October. We’re getting nearly 50 miles per gallon. Our volunteers use it. We try to use it as often as we can for as many purposes as we can."
Maslin said the seafood festival is the only event in the state on the Maryland Green Registry.
7 p.m.: The meeting begins.
6:58 p.m.: All elected officials are seated, and we have a standing room-only crowd tonight.
6:55 p.m.: Empty seats are few and far between here tonight. The new Upper Chesapeake hospital project and Karen Green have brought plenty of folks out tonight.
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For the full agenda—including a printable PDF file—for tonight's meeting, see our preview.
NOTE: Lulls in reporting are a result of a lack of wireless internet connection inside council chambers.