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

 Emmitsburg Town Office
 December 20, 2004

Commissioner Comments

Commissioner Rosensteel announced that she will not be able to attend next meeting. Commissioner Elder would like to look into County putting in guardrails to protect the water tanks. Mr. Haller responded that this remedy is in progress, will keep the Board informed.

Mayor's Comments

Mayor Hoover attended Frederick County affordable housing commission meeting, would like to see Emmitsburg come up with an affordable housing ordinance. He also attended another municipal meeting. He expressed that he would like to, at least quarterly, have the department reports given by the department head.

Special Guest Representative Bartlett:

ot enough interaction between state and municipalities, attending all municipalities in his district. Ongoing now: medical malpractice, slots, budget, public land sales misinformation. Commissioner Walbrecker commented on issues in Emmitsburg; crumbling infrastructure i.e. sewer infiltration, growth without benefits. Commissioner Elder stated closing North Seton Avenue will bring more traffic into town, would like to see a crossover. Commissioner O'Neil mentioned pursuing Main Street Maryland designation here in Emmitsburg and pro-actively attracting businesses to town. Commissioner O'Neil commented he would like to pursue a bypass although there is some contention on this issue. Representative Bartlett responded to all the Commissioners on the different issues mentioned.

Agenda Items

Pembrook Limited Partnership-Release LOC for Sediment and Erosion Control

This item is related to a request to release funds from the letter of credit for sediment and erosion control. Mr. Lucas gave a short presentation stating that the request is for the remaining balance of $25,569.83 be released, Frederick County recommended release. Sediment and erosion control work as been completed satisfactory. Public Comment: Fran Denmark with Buckeye Development; asked the Board to release the funds for sediment and erosion control. 

Motion: To approve funds as requested and release the letter of credit monies. Motion by Commissioner Walbrecker, second by Commissioner Rosensteel Vote: 4-0 in favor

Charter Review Commission

This item is related to further discussion, in an effort to form a Charter Review Commission. This is a continuation from the December 6, 2004 meeting. Commissioner O'Neil reported that the general intent of the Charter Review Commission would to be able to recommend questions of import to the ballot question committee, they would conduct public hearings, receive testimony, and then draft a ballot question based on the information received, present that ballot question to the Commission for final approval. Mr. O'Neil asked for comments on any items, at this stage it is only discussion, would like to come back with a draft ordinance. Mayor Hoover agreed on the concept. Commissioner Rosensteel and Commission Walbrecker concurred. Commissioner Elder commented to make the draft then go from there. Public Comment: Patrick Boyle, 339 East Main, Sounds good but who's going to be on this committee. Must live in the town of Emmitsburg–a must. Commissioner O'Neil solicited citizen correspondence via the website and said he will work on finalizing a draft ordinance for review.

Election Ordinance 04-17

Mayor Hoover vetoed this ordinance passed December 6,2004 for 2 reasons: It would be difficult to attain and attract election judges with the poll watchers provision, as well he wanted to have it reviewed by the Town attorney. Mayor Hoover recommended to reconsider the proposed ordinance without the poll watcher amendment, and have it approved by town attorney. Commissioner O'Neil and Commissioner Rosensteel agreed. Commissioner Walbrecker does not agree with the poll watcher provision. Public Comment: Denise Etres, would like to see poll watchers, but agrees that an election ordinance is needed. Sr. Eleanor, Provincial House, supports removal of poll watchers, she also addressed the issue of campaign materials. 

Motion: To take out the poll watcher provision, conditional on attorney approval. Motion by Commissioner Walbrecker, second by Commissioner Elder. Vote: 4-0 in favor

Discretionary Fund

Mr. Haller reported this item is related to the formal consideration and approval of an Executive Discretionary Fund in the annual amount of $2000. This fund would be used at the Mayor's discretion to purchase items and services for the Town of Emmitsburg. This fund would become a line item in future budgets. 

Motion: To approve Executive Discretionary Fund in the annual amount of $2000. Motion by Commissioner Elder, second by Commissioner Walbrecker Vote:: 4-0 in favor

Code Enforcement Office 

Mr. Haller announced the retirement of Eva Miller, the Town's Code Enforcer, due to health reasons. Mayor Hoover has recommended 2 part time employees. Each employee would work three, eight-hour days to be able to cover the town 6 days a week, have more flexibility. Staff has advertised this position and, with the Board's approval would like to hire the first of the two employees ASAP, so that they can be trained by Ms. Miller. Commissioner Walbrecker expressed concern over lack of benefits, Mayor Hoover and Dave Haller explained that this position would be proportionally benefited. 

Motion: To approve hiring two part-time replacement code enforcement officers. Motion by Commissioner Elder, second by Commissioner Rosensteel Vote: 4-0 in favor

Committee Appointments

This item is related to committee appointments by the Mayor. Carolyn Miller reappointment to the Parks Committee, Debra Gonyea reappointment to Streets Committee, Larry Pavek reappointment to the Board of Appeals Committee. Glen Blanchard new appointment to the Water Committee, he is currently on the Parks Committee and remain on there as well. 

Motion: To approve the 4 committee members as recommended by the Mayor Hoover. Motion by Commissioner Walbrecker, second by Commissioner Rosensteel Vote: 4-0 in favor

St. Joseph's Church Repair and Renovation

Mr. Haller explained that St. Joseph's Church made a request for a contribution of Town funds for their building rehab project. Commissioner Walbrecker troubled about government supporting one church over another church. She sees this as something that could really "snowball". Commissioner Rosensteel asked if the Town could support them legally. Mr. Haller responded that we could abate fees, which would be better than a cash contribution. Commissioner O'Neil was more inclined to go this route. Commissioner Elder asked what the fees would be. Mr. Haller stated that no plan as been submitted yet, therefore he does not know the amount. Commissioner Elder would like to put this item on hold until fees are known. Commissioner Walbrecker is not comfortable with making an open-ended statement, suggest in concept Town supports all the churches in the community and when they bring their plans in for review, they could be specifically reviewed. Mr. Lucas stated that this would also be better for the Planning and Zoning department. Mayor Hoover recommends that the Town deny the request with the understanding that the Town would be willing to consider possible waiving of fees. 

Motion: To deny the monetary request of St. Joseph's Church for contributions to the building rehab fund. Motion by Commissioner Walbrecker, second by Commissioner Elder Vote: 2-2 in favor - Commissioners Rosensteel and Elder opposed.

Motion: To deny the request of St. Joseph's Church for contributions to the building rehab fund, but to later consider waiving fees upon application. Motion by Commissioner O'Neil, second by Commissioner Elder Vote: 4-0 in favor

Set Agenda Items for January 4, 2005 Town Meeting

Mr. O'Neil recommended a light agenda because of depleted council attendance. He would like to see the Fire Sprinkler Ordinance at the following Town Meeting.

  • Home occupation ordinance

  • Charter Commission Review-discussion

  • Set agenda for January 19 meeting.

Mayor Hoover mentioned some items for the January 19 meeting which included a presentation from bidder for the video bid so meetings can be televised. Would like to review Ordinance 2.04.020(B) Meeting Attendance, requires written resolution, this now puts a burden on the Board, a written resolution shouldn't be necessary for an excused absence.

Public Comments

Patrick Boyle, 339 East Main Street: 519 homes to be built in Fairfield, over 50 on the old Orchard, over 1000 homes built in Washington Township, Super Walmart and Lowes, something has to be done on our square. Mayor Hoover added that staff put 3way stop sign on West Lincoln and Patterson. 

Lisa Elder, Chronicle Press to bring attention to Board several letters sent to Mr. Lucas regarding zoning. Involves individual and business that they believe have been operating in violation of town ordinances. Concerned that no response was received from the town. Town does not have resources to enforce its ordinances. Town's lack of enforcement makes a mockery of businesses operating legally. Why is the town not enforcing its ordinances? Commissioner Walbrecker is frustrated too, citizens are "ratting" on each other. Might spend our time better working with each other instead of using lawyers for everything. Commissioner O'Neil stated it is fine to work things out, but there are those who won't work things out. When we recognize there are infractions, it's well and good to go to the town government to ask protection. There are specific sets of laws available to the town. Mr. O'Neil commented on an article by the MML on what laws and legal rights are applicable to municipal towns in these matters. Laws are in place to protect individual rights. Commissioner Walbrecker questioned Mr. Lucas on the amount of time our town government has spent on zoning violation reported by citizens against citizens and business vs. business in the last year compared to the previous year. Mr. Lucas responded on the particular case in mention. Involves complaint, then counter complaint. Each party has been treated fairly within the regulations. Complex case. Have kept the Mayor, and Town Manager informed and have written memos to the Board. This case has generated ninety pages of correspondence. In his 15 years as a planner he has never had a case that generated as much paper work and staff time. Want to make sure they're on firm legal footing before action is taken. The standard that the Town has to employ in issuing citations for a zoning violation of this type; the standard is clear and convincing proof. There was a discussion on the definitions of "clear and convincing proof".

Commissioner Walbrecker to Mr. Lucas: How much financial cost was spent on this case in legal cost? Mr. Lucas responded he can't speak on the financial resources that have been expended for Mr. Clapp's time. Commissioner Walbrecker requested for next meeting, a breakdown of this particular case. What else is not getting done because of this particular case? Mr. Lucas stated he can't answer on what is not getting done. He did say he has never spent this much time on a code violation. Commissioner Walbrecker also asked Mr. Haller Town Manager how much of his time has been spent on this case. Mr. Haller responded maybe of couple of days. Awkward case. I'm sure if authorized to utilize the resources, staff can. With your direction, we'll be happy to move on this case. Commissioner O'Neil concerned that neither party is going to let this go. Town should do everything to investigate both parties' positions. Commissioner O'Neil would like to know how many investigations have been done on each side and what were the findings if any. Mr. Lucas reported that staff advised the person involved what standards had to be met to be qualified as a home occupation. An investigation and inspection has been conducted. Staff applied the standard of getting a permit for a home occupation, the applicant complied. Mr. Lucas stated that if there are other standards that the Board would have staff to employ, they would be happy to consider those. Mayor Hoover commented this situation is very complex and staff has done their job. Town has gotten in the middle to be a referee. No motion should be made, not an agenda item, should have been left as public comment. Recommend that this Board discuss this issue with staff and Council. Conclude this issue.

Jen Staiger, 1230 Brookfield Drive, recycling revisit to bring it back. Mt. Saint Mary's has environmental club. Would it be possible for the Town and Mt. Saint Mary's to work together to bring some sort of recycling center, coordinated effort? Would like to set up and investigational meeting. Commissioner Walbrecker interjected that she has already investigated this issue with Phil Harris, director of recycling. Mayor Hoover recommend that staff set up meeting with Mt. Saint Mary's and include Commissioner Walbrecker, then bring it back to Board. Commissioner Walbrecker also suggested inviting Phil Harris.

The December 20, 2004 Town Meeting was adjourned at 9:45p.m.