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2002-07 Council Minutes

 

Minutes
 
Town Council Meeting - July 2, 2002
Approved August 2, 2002
 
Present: Mayor Sam Pierce, Council Members Ronnie Blacksten, Neal Roop, Terry Petry, and Jay Gullo, and Acting Town Clerk Cindy Welker. There were 40 people in attendance.
 
Call to Order: Mayor Pierce called the July 2, 2002 Monthly Town Council Meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. He then led the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Recording and Agenda Policies: Mayor Pierce stated that the Town Meeting is recorded by electronic means and that the meeting will follow an Agenda. Anyone who wished to have a matter placed on the Agenda needs to submit the topic to the Mayor in writing by the last Wednesday of the month.
 
Previous Meeting Minutes: A motion to accept the June 12, 2002 with the correction on page 1 under Missing Ordinances, "Vote Count" is changed to "Tie Vote" and on page 2 under Unfinished Business, Resolution 5-1-02, "introduced" is replaced by "passed" was made by Councilman Roop and seconded by Councilman Petry. Motion passed 4-0.
 
Presentation: Mayor Pierce stated that before the Council got started with regular business, he had a presentation to make. He asked Mr. Marker Lovell to come forward. He stated that Marker had been the Town Attorney for a very long time and presented him with a plaque, which stated that he had served the Town as attorney from 1965-2001. He then unveiled a plague that would be placed on the outside wall of Town Hall, which read Marker J. Lovell Building. Marker had a few words to say. After Marker was done speaking, Councilman Gullo presented a painted picture of the original Town Hall to Marker Lovell. Councilman Gullo also stated that Marker was the longest serving attorney of any one Town.
 
Councilman Blacksten stated that there was another presentation to be done this evening. He asked Mrs. Sharon Nobles to come forward. Mrs. Nobles stated that the Governor appointed one of the Town Council Members to Executive Director of Maryland Environmental Services (MES). She presented Councilman Gullo with a certificate from the residents of New Windsor.
 
 
Mayor's Report: The Mayor's first item was the announcement that Town Attorney, Michelle Ostrander, was on vacation until next week.
 
His next item was that the authorization to proceed with the Dennings Well project has been given to the contractors.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that some residents have experienced some discoloration in their water. He stated that this was due to MES adding chemicals to the reservoir and that the problem should be clearing up in a couple of days.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that at the last meeting, there was some concern about trucks using their "Jake Brakes" coming into Town. He stated that he has met with the State Police and wrote a letter to the State Highway Administration and they will be looking into possibly changing the location of the speed limit signs or something to slow the trucks down.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that the water meters have been read and the water bills will hopefully be going out later this week.
 
Committee Reports:
Finance - Councilman Roop stated that he didn't have anything to report, but would like to have a spreadsheet with information on any and all CDs that the Town has as of June 30, 2002.
 
Water & Sewer - Councilman Petry stated that it is still dry and the residents still need to try and conserve water. He stated that the Town's main water source is the springs.
 
Public Safety - Councilman Blacksten stated that there was a meeting on June 18, 2002 with the Mayor, himself, Lt. Katz, from the Maryland State Police, Resident Trooper, Frank Childress, and Mr. Richardson, also from the State Police. It was discussed at this meeting how things would play out with only the Town of New Windsor having the resident trooper instead of both Union Bridge and New Windsor. Trooper Childress would still be patrolling an area on the outskirts of New Windsor for the hours that New Windsor doesn't have him. Councilman Blacksten stated that Trooper Childress has been very visible running radar on Church Street.
 
Rec. Council - Councilman Gullo stated that some residents would like to have some adult recreation for the Town of New Windsor.
 
Public Works - There was no report on this committee due to Councilman Palsgrove being on vacation.
 
 
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
 
AT & T Wireless Contract:
Mayor Pierce stated that this contract was discussed at the Work Session on June 17, 2002. The Council had some problems with the rates and the cost for engineering. Michelle negotiated with AT & T Wireless and passed on the suggested changes from the Council. AT & T Wireless agreed with all the Council's changes except for they had in their original contract that they wanted a one year option period, the Council proposed 90 days and AT & T Wireless came back that they needed at least six months. Mayor Pierce stated that the location for their ground equipment and cables are still up in the air because of the Town doing a comprehensive plan of this site and are not sure of where their ground would be, but AT & T Wireless would be very flexible.
 
It was asked as to how much the rent would be for them, and Mayor Pierce stated that it would be $ 1,750.00 and that they would make the fourth company to have their antennas on the water tank.
 
Several residents brought up the issue of finishing the painting of the water tank. The residents felt that there should be something in the contract stating that AT & T paint some more of the water tank. Councilman Gullo asked Mayor Pierce about his feeling on the contract. Mayor Pierce stated that he did not believe that AT & T Wireless would go for painting the tank, but stated that the Town could go back and try. Councilman Gullo asked him his opinion on the overall contract. Mayor Pierce stated that it is basically the same contract that they have with the other vendors. Joe Moss was asked as to whether it would be wise to paint the rest of the tank at this time. Joe stated that he would not recommend painting the tank during the summer because of all the condensation. He also stated that it would not hurt to paint the inside of the tank at a later date.
 
A motion to accept the contract from AT & T Wireless was made by Councilman Roop and seconded by Councilman Petry. Motion passed 4-0.
 
Councilman Roop stated that possibly by next month, Councilman Petry and himself could have some figures and recommendations for finishing painting the tank.
 
PWA for Booster Pump Station and Phase 2B:
Mayor Pierce asked who would be speaking on the developer's behalf for the PWA for the booster pump station. Mr. Erich Boner stated that he would be speaking on behalf of Mason-Dixon Builders, since they were the company that offered to build the booster pump station.
 
Mayor Pierce then stated that these negotiations have been going on entirely too long. He than gave a timeline of events that have been going on with the negotiations for the booster pump. The timeline began on May 6, 1999, when the PWA was signed for the Blue Ridge Manor Development. Mayor Pierce stated that in this PWA it was stated in 9B - it clearly states that certain lots in the development may require a booster system to assure adequate water pressure. This system would be installed at the developers expense and maintained by the new property owner at their expense. Mr. Boner interrupted Mayor Pierce to state that there would be pressure test done at the curb and this is how it would be determined as to whether a booster pump was needed in the home. Mayor Pierce continued with the timeline stating the different dates and letters received from various County personnel, developers, attorneys, etc. One of the later dates was the work session the Council and Mayor had on June 17, 2002 where the developers from Mason-Dixon Builders and New Windsor Partnership were present. Mr. Boner stated at the work session that the Town would hear from the on June 18, 2002 by noon. On June 20, 2002 there was a meeting between Councilman Gullo, the developers, and residents from the Blue Ridge Manor Development for three hours. As a result of this meeting, Mayor Pierce received an e-mail of a revised PWA Sunday night that had many revisions. He went through the two PWAs and compared them word for word.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that in the PWA for Phase 2B, the last 13 lots in the Blue Ridge Manor Development, he read an excerpt concerning the pressure problem and installing individual booster pumps in homes.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that he felt the Council needed to move on to approve the PWA for the High Pressure Elevation Zone. He stated that he saw a few problems that he felt the Council needed to be aware of. They were: 1. Blue Ridge Manor wants their name removed from this document and does not want to have any responsibility for this booster pump station, and 2. Time factor for the completion of the booster pump station. The original PWA stated six months; it was changed to eight months.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that this is where the negotiation is with the developer on the booster pump station. He then asked Mr. Boner if he had anything to say, but Councilman Gullo asked if he could take the floor.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that the Mayor was correct in that this issue has been going on too long. It has been 11 months since this problem began. He than stated that in the beginning that there was a lot of confusion and disagreements. Some of the items he was concerned with were 1. That both PWAs needed to be discussed together, 2. That Blue Ridge Manor didn't want to be named in the PWA for the booster pump station, because they feel that they may be able to solve the problem in a different, less expensive way.
 
Councilman Gullo than highlighted the issues that he felt the Council needed to discuss and resolve. 1. The residents that have low water pressure. These residents fall into two categories, those that were notified of the problem and those who were not. A decision needed to be made how this problem would be solved for all residents in Blue Ridge Manor. If the booster pump station were built, than everyone's problem would be solved. If the booster pump station was not built, than only the residents that would have a booster pump installed in their home would be those who do not meet pressure from the date that this problem was notified. 2. MOU that was only signed by Mason-Dixon Builders and the Town. This document took two months to negotiate and work out. This document included conditions to build the booster pump station and 3. What is the goal of everyone? The goal of the residents is to have the pressure problem solved as soon as possible. The goal of the Town is to insure that the pressure problem is solved in Blue Ridge Manor so that the Town does not get sued. The Town's goal is a little more complicated, because the Town has to guarantee that the booster pump is built and in working order. The goal of New Windsor Heights is building something and knowing exactly what it is going to cost. The goal for New Windsor Partnership is not to be obligated to build a huge pump station that will meet more than their needs.
Councilman Gullo felt that the Council could meet the developers in the middle by holding up U & Os instead of building permits and at the same time have the new home owner sign a waiver at the time of the issuance of the building permit that would inform the new home owner that a U & O will not be issued unless the pressure problem is solved. He than went on to state that he was the one that suggested changing the six-month completion to eight months.
 
Mr. Ken Keller voiced his opinion that he felt that the developers should not have the additional two months to complete the booster pump station and that building permits should not be issued to the developer for the last phase of Blue Ridge Manor, 2B. He stated that the original completion date was April 1, 2002. He felt that the developer needed to have some type of urgency put on them and that this may be a way of doing that. He also stated that the developer kept saying that they were developing plans, but yet nothing has been brought before the Council as to designs for the booster pump station.
 
Mr. Boner stated that the hold up on the plans were because of the fire flow issue. He stated that Mason-Dixon Builders have had several fire flow test done on the site and have passed everyone.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that he received a copy of a letter dated June 12, 2002 sent to Mr. Schneider from Westminster Union Bank stating that they would give the developer no money until the approval of Phase 2B. Mr. Boner stated that this is the collateral for the Letter of Credit that the Town would use to withhold the guarantee of the performance of the pump station being built.
 
Mayor Pierce asked Mr. Boner if he felt comfortable with six months instead of eight months. Mr. Boner stated that it stated eight months because he was afraid that it would take several months to get a permit from the state and then their backs would be up against a wall to install the booster pump.
 
Mr. Patrick Burke stated that he would like to see the approval of both PWAs that were before the Council.
 
Councilman Roop stated that he did not feel comfortable approving any document without comments from Michelle.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that the Council needed to discuss several items that pertained to whether or not New Windsor Partnership should be named in the booster pump station PWA and whether or not the Town would hold up issuing building permits or U & O permits. He felt that these were the two biggest issues that needed to be resolved and anything else the Town could state their terms.
 
 
Councilman Gullo narrowed down the issues for the PWA for Phase 2B as follows:
 
1. Payment of Attorney fees. It was felt that the developer should pay all the attorney fees that have been incurred by the Town.
2. Liquidated damages. He felt that six months after the signing of the agreement the booster pump station be completed. He stated that he would like to see a $ 500.00 fee charged per day if it is not. Councilman Petry felt that six months was too long, he would like four months. Everyone was agreeable on the $ 500.00 fee per calendar day.
3. U & O vs. Building permits. Mayor Pierce stated that he felt there was no problem in not issuing U & O instead of building permits. Councilman Gullo stated that he would only go with U & O permits if the new home owner signed some type of waiver at the time the building permit is issued stating that they know there is a water pressure problem and that he may not get his U & O permit for an indefinite period of time.
4. Letter of Credit. He stated that bonds could be an option with the Letter of Credit. This Letter of Credit would guarantee that the money is there to build the booster pump station if the developer would default. His reason for having a bond too, because the developer would be using the Letter of Credit to buy stuff now. This would bond the whole project. He stated that the Town just couldn't go with a bond.
5. Should the Town require New Windsor Partnership to enter into the booster pump
station PWA? He stated that doing this the Town could go after them to finish the
pump station. If the Town doesn't require them to be part of the PWA, the Town
could have Blue Ridge Manor sign a PWA with a clause in it that states they
will replace the entire pressure problem in the development.
 
Councilman Petry stated how would they know how many pumps were needed. Councilman Gullo stated that the residents would have to prove that their house did not meet code to get a pump. This would happen if the booster pump station was not completed in the time frame set by the Council.
 
Mr. Boner had a problem with the four-month time frame. Mr. Joe Moss stated that he felt that once the plans have been approved that four months was a reasonable time period.
 
Mayor Pierce asked Mr. Boner if it would be possible to submit to the Town before their Work Session on July 15, 2002 a set of plans of the design of the booster pump station that the Town could look at and approve.
 
Councilman Roop stated that he felt Councilman Palsgrove and Attorney Michelle had some valid points as to why New Windsor Partnership should be included in the PWA for the booster pump. The main one was that their development, Blue Ridge Manor, caused the pressure problem to begin with. Councilman Gullo mentioned that the Memorandum of Understanding was only between Mason-Dixon Builders and the Town. It did not include New Windsor Partnership, so now it would not be fair to include New Windsor Partnership in the booster pump PWA.
Councilman Petry asked if anyone ever heard the reason why New Windsor Partnership did not want to be named in the PWA for the booster pump. He was informed it was because New Windsor Partnership did not have the money to build the station.
 
A motion by Councilman Gullo was made stating that these are the Council's points to be included in the PWA for the booster pump station. That the developer, Mason-Dixon Builders, pay all the attorney fees. They have four (4) months from the time that the PWA is signed to complete the booster pump or a standard liquidation damages clause will kick in at a rate of $ 500.00 per day. That they will need to place a Letter of Credit and a bond to guarantee the construction and maintenance for the booster pump station. That the PWA be with Mason-Dixon Builders only. These items are contingent on two things. The first being the successful passage of a motion dealing with Blue Ridge Manor's last section (Phase 2B) PWA in which U & O permits and the time period for the installation of the pumps by the developer. The second contingency is the legal opinion to the Town Council that addresses the issue of guarantee of the Letter of Credit in the event of insolvency of the developer. If that opinion is that the Letter of Credit is not going to be any good than this list is void. It is not Councilman Gullo's intention to have this PWA contingent on the other PWA for Phase 2B as far as signatures. Both need to be agreed upon, but not signed simultaneously. Councilman Blacksten seconded this motion. Motion passed 4-0.
 
Another motion by Councilman Gullo was made stating that this would deal with the PWA for Phase 2B. This motion is contingent on the PWA for the booster pump station. The language should say that New Windsor Partnership must install individual booster pumps in any house in the Blue Ridge Manor Development that does not meet the code for pressure after the four (4) months that the PWA, with Mason-Dixon Builders, is signed. After a 30-day grace period, the residents could submit a pressure test indicating whether their home met code or not. The next contingency is that building permits will only be issued if the potential buyer signs a waiver that the Town will prepare and that U & O permits for any new construction will only be signed if the house meets code. There needs to be some language included in the PWA that would detail the responsibility and manner in which the inspections would be made. If an inspection is made and there is a cost attributed to that and it doesn't meet code, the developer should borne the cost. Motion passed 4-0.
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
Appointment of Planning Commission Liaison: Mayor Pierce stated that the only item of new business was the appointment of the liaison to the Planning Commission. Mayor Pierce stated that Councilman Palsgrove has agreed to be the liaison. A motion to appoint Councilman Palsgrove as the liaison to the Planning Commission was made by Councilman Roop and seconded by Councilman Petry. Motion passed 4-0. Councilman Gullo stated that the minutes needed to reflect that Councilman Palsgrove was appointed as ex-officio. Councilman Roop stated that Councilman Petry has done an outstanding job as the Planning Commission liaison.
 
Resident's Concerns:
Bill Geelhaar - Mr. Geelhaar once again brought up the issue of animal control mainly concerning dogs. Mayor Pierce stated that Attorney Ostrander has explained the situation with this issue. He felt that if the Town was using the County code then the Town should have that in their codebook. Councilman Gullo stated that the new zoning ordinances might address this problem.
 
His next concern was the junk car ordinance. Mayor Pierce stated that this ordinance would be codified shortly.
 
His third concern was the water problem in Town. He was told that the dirty water was due to two (2) fire hydrants being opened. Mayor Pierce informed him that this was not the cause of the problem. He then wanted to know why the Town doesn't flush the hydrants as often as other Towns do.
 
His last concern was as to who was on the Committee to raise water rates. Mayor Pierce stated that it was made up of the Water Task Force Committee and gave him the names of the people on this committee. He would like to see resident's comments taken into effect. Councilman Gullo felt that a council member be placed on this committee. It was suggested that Councilman Petry be on this committee since he was the Water and Sewer chairman. Councilman Petry agreed to this.
 
Jay Gullo - Mr. Gullo stated that he had missed the time period to put the zoning ordinances on the agenda. His concern was the way the zoning was being enforced since there was no Zoning Administrator. He stated that the website stated that the Town Clerk was the Zoning Administrator which is not correct. He stated that the incorrect map is being used when people inquire about how lots are zoned. He recommended to Mayor Pierce that the Town should hire someone to be the Zoning Administrator.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that he would be resigning when his new job with MES began.
 
Sharon Nobles - Mrs. Nobles stated that she had a permit denied because it did not meet the zoning requirements. She stated that her shed did meet zoning according to page 106 of the Town Codebook under Accessory Use. Mayor Pierce informed her that her permit would be signed and faxed to the County tomorrow.
 
Linda Frazier - Mrs. Frazier stated that she applied for a pool permit and drew the drawing according to what she was told by Town Hall. She stated now she was going to have to adjust her drawing and wanted to know if there would be any problems. Mayor Pierce stated that there would not, that her permit was already faxed back to the County.
 
Patrick Burke - Mr. Burke thanked the Council for the job that they do. He thought Councilman Roop would be a better liaison to the Planning Commission. Councilman Roop stated that he felt Councilman Palsgrove would do a fine job.
 
Announcements: Mayor Pierce thanked Mr. and Mrs. Carlisle, Mr. and Mrs. Altvater and Mr. and Mrs. Johnson for helping to put the newsletter together.
 
Next Town Council Meeting will be held August 7, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. in the New Windsor Fire Hall.
 
Next Council Work Session will be held July 15, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. in the New Windsor Town Hall.
 
Mayor Pierce thanked Councilman Gullo for his time on the Council and that the next Town election will be May, 2003 which three Council seats will need to be filled.
 
Adjournment: With no other business before the Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
 
Cindy L. Welker
Acting Town Clerk
 
 
 

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