Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

Town Meeting Minutes
Emmitsburg Town Office
February 3, 2003

Announcement of a Closed Session

A closed Executive Session was held at the Emmitsburg Town Office on January 6, 2003

at 9:30 p.m. for the discussion of a personnel issue–to consider diversity training for personnel problems. Those present were Commissioners Boyle, Rosensteel and Brennan; Mayor Hoover and Dave Haller. The motion to hold an Executive Session as permitted by the Annotated Code of Maryland, State Government Article: Section 10-508 (a) Closed Meetings, Item 1, was made by Commissioner Brennan and seconded by Commissioner Rosensteel and carried 4-0 in favor.

President Boyle announced the need for a closed executive session following adjournment of this meeting as permitted by the Annotated Code of Maryland, State Government Article: Section 10-508 (a) Closed Meetings, Item 1 to discuss a personnel matter. The motion by Commissioner Brennan was seconded by Commissioner Rosensteel and carried 4-0 in favor.

Commissioner Comments

President Boyle announced that due to the popular response to the first agenda item regarding the Emmitsburg founding date, there will be a 20-minute limit on both Michael Hillman's and Linda Junker's presentations. Also the meeting will adjourn at 10:30 pm and any unattended agenda items will be considered at a continued date. Ted Brennan announced that the first meeting of the newly formed water commission met January 30. There is still the need for 2 more commission members.


Treasurer's Report - Commissioner Clifford Sweeney. 

Town Manager Report - reported on the public works department monthly activities to include a water production and consumption analysis. He also enumerated the parking violation statistics and 9 permits were issued to include one new house.

Police Report - Deputy Moxley highlighted December police activities to include special assignments of attending/patrolling caroling and the tree lights ceremony. He mentioned follow-up investigations and reported that they have gotten rid of a big heroin ring in town and are working on another one at this time. 

Mayor's Report - Mayor Hoover reported that he recently attended the state mayors' conference. Information gained at this conference was that there will be no POS money this year for our area and because of the state deficit, towns will be losing a portion of the highway revenue funds–our town will lose about $33,000 this year and next.

Committee reports - The Mayor visited all committee meetings during January to refashion the agenda format and procedures for conducting more efficient meetings. Commissioner Brennan reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission met on January 27. There were no agenda items and he stated that with the Mayor's suggestions that they adopted, the meetings should run more smoothly. Commissioner Cliff Sweeney reported on the January 15 meeting of the Streets and Transportation Committee-- they considered citizen input re one-way considerations, investigated lighting situation on alleys, considered financial requirements for the fiscal year 2004 budget, and the need for one more member. Commissioner Joyce Rosensteel stated that the Parks Committee met January 21. Considered was the need for additional members, setting up agendas, budgeting for fiscal year 2004, looking at the master plan, considering walking path, and planning three concerts in the park this summer. Pembrook and General Concrete Co. will help repair the dugout. Pat Boyle reported that no Board of Appeals meeting was needed in January.

Agenda Items

Emmitsburg Establishment Date

Mike Hillman, representing the Emmitsburg Historical Society, made a presentation in support of 1785 as the original founding date for the Town of Emmitsburg. He took his presentation through actual deeds compared with errors in history. Among those cited was one of the landowner Samuel Emmit in which he deeded out lots from a 35-acre tract wherein was cited "of a new town Emmitsburg" and all lot owners were required to build a house.

Linda Junker, a 20 year resident in the Emmitsburg area, spoke in support of the 1757 founding date when Samuel Emmit actually purchased 2,250 acres. She spoke to 1757 as being a settlement date vs. the date that the lots were laid out. She made reference to other towns' founding dates and how they were determined.

Public Comments

The following residents spoke in response to the disputed founding date:

  • Sister Betty Ann McNeil, 333 South Seton Avenue
  • P.D. Adelsberger, 110 East Main Street
  • Harold Craig, 103 West Main
  • Elizabeth Briggs, 137 South Seton Avenue
  • John Miller, 2744 Iron Springs
  • Tom Humerick, 663 West Main Street
  • Denny Ebaugh, 39 Federal Avenue
  • Don Briggs, 137 South Seton Avenue
  • Joe Ritz, 219 West Main Street
  • Susie Glass, 239 North Seton Avenue
  • Bonnie Portier, 114 East Main Street, proposed that the issue should propose a "flashpoint of time, ...a singularity happens that changes everything forever"- - it changed the history of our area when Emmit bought the property.
  • Anne Marshall via letter.

In response: Commissioner Brennan stated that good arguments were presented–that this is the first of many meetings to be presented with further information and research. Many dates and the semantics were presented, but with this, he could not make an informed decision-- would rather err on the side of historical fact–and there are other interpretations–for example, there are many historical inaccuracies but sometimes tradition dictates otherwise.

Joyce Rosensteel expressed the same regard. Cliff Sweeney expressed thanks to the audience that appeared–that it's not often that a town meeting gets this turn-out. He stated that since he's not a historian, he can't base a decision on anything that was heard tonight.

The Mayor agreed that the matter would have to be tabled and expressed that he would like to see a timeframe defined to deal with the matter.

Pat Boyle applauded Michael Hillman for his efforts, "a hell of a job" and thanked Linda Junker for her input too. The Board will consider the information presented to them but no more information will be accepted from Mr. Hillman or Mrs. Junker.

MOTION: To table the "founding date" matter for the Board of Commissioners to consider the presented information. Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion

Proposed Pigeon Roost Banning

This agenda item is to ask the Council to control and/or exterminate pigeons within the corporate limits of Emmitsburg. Supplemental information and suggestions were offered in writing by the applicant Dave Martin. President Boyle asked for any comments on this proposal. Discussion ensued regarding the clarification of whether the pigeons are wild or pets, whether the problem exists on private or public property and even if the Town has authority to do this type of extermination. It was discussed that the Council would take action only if public property is involved. It was determined that otherwise this is the individual property owner's problem. If a health problem is suspected, the health department would be contacted.

Water Plant Status Report

As a requirement by MDE for funding, a new water plant status report is presented to the public: Operation of the new plant has been successful for a month. Staff and consultants will continue to adjust the treatment process while continuing to supply the town with high quality drinking water. The town received considerable funding from the State of Maryland in the form of a grant and a loan.

Ordinance 03-001: Allowable Businesses in B-2 District

As approved in content at the January town meeting, but awaiting actual verbiage of the ordinance, a carwash was added as a permitted use in the B2 zoning.


Dot Davis, 6 Second Avenue expressed her concern with adding another carwash after the past summer with the drought situation. Commissioner Brennan responded that the same concern, given the current water situation, was considered by the Council and explained that the ordinance only allows it as a permissible business–any business would still have to make application through planning and zoning and obtain many more layers of approval.

She also asked what of the status of the signal light at Silo Hill. Pat Boyle met with Neil Parrot of SHA two weeks ago concerning the Route 15- Welty Road intersection. At this time Mr. Parrot relayed that he felt certain that when that intersection is changed (traffic routing changed ), there will be enough traffic-count then to install a traffic light–there is not enough now. Mayor Hoover related that correspondence from SHA was received that a full service light will be installed when the traffic count situation in Silo Hill increases. Dave Haller stated that the process has started, a blinking light will be installed in about 6-8 months and added that the town doesn't own it, it's a state road and subject to state control.

Bill O'Neill, 3010 Stonehurst Drive, also expressed concern of allowing a carwash. He stated that even with 10 months of solid rain, it would not be enough to replenish the water tables to the pre-drought levels.

Ken Kazmarski, Eagle Oil Company, offered information that carwashes being built today have a 90-95% water recycling efficiency, reclaiming and reusing that water-- even detergents are filtered out and reclaimed before going into the wastewater system. New ones would use about 1/4 of the water that a Laundromat uses.

Commissioner Brennan stated that the ordinance presented for approval reflects what was voted on at the last meeting. 

Motion: To approve Ordinance 03-001 amending Title 17, Zoning, Section 17.20.030 adding a carwash as a permitted use in the B2 general business district.

It was then discussed if a recycling requirement should be added. It was stated that the state already mandates a certain percentage but planning and zoning will accept only at least 90%. Again Commissioner Brennan advised that this ordinance only adds a permitted use–"this is not the place to add an efficiency requirement". If a recycling requirement were added here then all the listings would have to have related requirements. Just because it's listed as a use, doesn't mean it is approved by planning and zoning–it's not about the water, this change is only about the use. From the audience, former P&Z chairman Diane Walbrecker spoke to the matter, "Don't put restrictions in the ordinance–it's a planning and zoning consideration." Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Proposed Relocation of County Recycling Facility

Dave Haller reported that at the direction of the Mayor and Council, he had the senior inspector and parks superintendent inspect and evaluate the suggested site at the community park. The findings of the report were that this is not a viable site for the recycling facility. Any site should have lighting, high visibility, and a sound base. In addition, the cost to properly base the facility would be $12,000 to $15,000. The Mayor stated that the Council and opponents have "beat this to death", that no decision will make anyone happy. It was discussed that the town will still dispose of Christmas trees. Motion: To allow the recycling facility to go to Thurmont. Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Employee Handbook

Ted Brennan expressed concern to include a grievance procedure. Mayor Hoover pointed out that page 13 lays out a grievance procedure. Commissioner Brennan asked what about counseling the employee before the problem is disciplined. He stated that he wants the employees to understand what their avenues are–to solve a problem before it becomes a problem–wants the employee to know that there is someone to go to. He doesn't get the sense that it's evident in the manual that the mayor would be the one to go to–that it should be looked at how other places do and then insert a procedure at a later time–he'll will work something up. The Mayor pointed out that the ordinance numbers need to be filled in on page 5 and the item on page 10 regarding workmen's compensation needs item 3 stricken out.

Motion: To accept the revised Employee Manual with page ten, item three deleted and ordinance numbers references be inserted on page five. Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Swimming Pool

Town Manager Dave Haller reported that he is still working with a few companies to finalize, evaluate and rank the repair bids for the health department-mandated repairs to the pool. It appears that the cost of repairs will be approximately $50,000. Cliff Sweeney commented that the pool has operated for over 30 years, that it's the only thing in town for the kids and vehemently recommends not closing it. Pat Boyle stated that $50,000 is more than they were looking at and asked by when does the Board need to know to start repairs. He was answered that the other vote tonight is on the operating hours to which first, Board support for repairs must be determined. It was expressed that the pool has been neglected so it's a big expense–always band-aiding it. The Health Department is requiring the repairs. Mr. Haller commented that the rates should be structured to support the repairs. Mr. Boyle called the question if the Board is going to make the needed repairs.  

Motion: To support making the health department-required pool repairs.

Mr. Brennan and Mrs. Rosensteel questioned approving the repairs without a specific amount. Mayor Hoover responded that Board support is needed before soliciting the management contracts. Ted Brennan stated that he supports the pool operation, that it's necessary for community, but he would just like to know how much he's authorizing to spend. 

Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

It was proposed that the pool not be open during the week while school was still in

session. It was reported that attendance is slack those days and the expense for personnel and operation is wasted on those days. This item needs to be decided for finalizing the "pool operation" bid packages.

Motion: For the 2003 pool season, to revise the pool operating hours to open only Fridays 4-7 pm and normal day hours on Saturday and Sunday until school is out. Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Proposed Parking and Community Center/Ambulance Company

Mr. Haller explained to the Council that the ambulance company is requesting support in their efforts to construct a parking lot on the County-owned community center property. This space would be needed to meet the parking requirements for the proposed new building. The town manager has discussed the matter with Frederick County staff. The County indicates that if the town council supports this use and is structured so that no county financial input is required, that it has a reasonable chance to get county approval.

Public Comment: Tom Humerick, 663 West Main Street and treasurer for the ambulance company, reported that what went down with their County meeting is a "win-win situation". He explained that the size of the building requires 16 more spaces. These spaces will be in the vacated building space, which will revert back to the County when demolished.

Motion: The Mayor and Town Council of Emmitsburg, Maryland do hereby proclaim to the Frederick Board of County Commissioners that they (the Town of Emmitsburg) do fully support the below listed efforts of the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company:

  1. To construct a parking lot, of approximately forty (40) parking spaces in size, on the lands of the Emmitsburg Community Center.
  2. To construct said parking lot to Town of Emmitsburg standards and specifications.
  3. To construct said parking lot in approximately the same location that the existing ambulance Company building now sits.
  4. To complete said parking lot within 18 months of the date on which the Town of Emmitsburg issues the "Building Permit" to construct the new Ambulance Company building.
  5. To complete said parking lot within 90 days of the date on which the demolition of the existing Ambulance Company building is completed.
  6. This parking lot will be constructed so that it will be accessed from Cedar Avenue only..... (with no direct access to South Seton Avenue).
  7. To construct said parking lot at the sole expense of the Emmitsburg Ambulance Co.
  8. To construct this parking lot knowing that said parking lot will also be used for public parking.

Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Planning Commission Appointment

The Mayor made a recommendation that an application by Don Briggs to join the planning commission be approved. Motion: To appoint Don Briggs as a member of the Planning Commission. Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Ethics Commission Appointment

The Mayor explained that the Town Code requires an Ethics Commission which doesn't exist now under the new administration. His nominations for appointment are: Dr. Curley, Frank Davis, and John Soffe. He explained their proximity and relation to Emmitsburg. Pat Boyle expressed that he had reservations that 2 of the nominees do not live in town–that all other committee members must live in town. Mayor Hoover stated that the Code does not require this of the ethics commission–that this was intentionally done to allow separation and so as to prevent conflicts of interest in having an all-resident commission. Further, as since the Code does not specify a term, he suggested that these nominees serve a three-year term. Pat Boyle added that these vacancies were not advertised as other committee openings are done. Ms. Rosensteel also expressed her desire that the openings be advertised.

Motion: To table the Ethics Commission appointments until adequate advertisement has been done. Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Abandonment of Sanitary Sewer Easement

Interfaith Housing of Western Maryland, developers of the Flat Run subdivision, requests that the sanitary sewer easement within that subdivision be modified or adjusted, giving up the old bed. Dave Haller explained that due to the revision of original plans, this bed is not needed but the Board must approve this action. A new Deed of Easement and Deed of Abandonment have been prepared by the town attorney and are attached at Exhibit D.

Motion: To abandon the sanitary sewer easement as requested by Interfaith Housing. Vote: 4-0 in favor of the motion.

Public Comments

President Boyle entertained these comments from the audience: "Bob" expressed thanks to the ambulance company and thanks to the Board for keeping the swimming pool open. He stated that from his experience with youth groups that it's a big expense but is needed for the children. Ray Buckheiser voiced his thanks to the Board for its patience with all the people who spoke and thanks for the good call on the anonymous comment.