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

Town Meeting Minutes
Emmitsburg Town Office
November 21, 2005

Present:  Mayor James Hoover; Commissioners Art Elder; Glenn Blanchard; and Christopher Staiger, President.  Also present were Donna DesPres, Michael Lucas and
Dave Haller, Town Manager. Commissioner William B. O’Neil, Jr. joined the meeting
at 7:42 p.m.

Call to Order Commissioner Christopher Staiger, President of the Board of Commissioners, called the November 21, 2005 Town Meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Approval of Minutes The Minutes of the November 7, 2005 Town Meeting and November 9, 2005 Public Workshop were before the Council for approval.  Upon separate motions by Elder and seconded by Blanchard, the Minutes were approved as presented.

Commissioner Comments

Commissioner O’Neil issued apology for being late.  He was delayed due to his son’s 13th
birthday.  Commissioner Blanchard issued Thanksgiving wishes and announced local holiday activities. 

Mayor’s Comments

Mayor Hoover introduced 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.

Motion  by Commissioner Staiger, second by Commissioner Blanchard, carried 3-2 in
favor–Commissioners O’Neil and Elder opposed.


Town Manager Report - reported on the public works department monthly activities to
include a water production and consumption analysis and announced that well #4 in now

Planner’s Report - enumerated the parking violation statistics, reported that 7 building
permits were issued to include 4 new homes and announced the production of a resident
permitting guide.  It was asked if subdivision approvals require new developments to have
HOA’s.  A positive reply prompted Commissioner Staiger to request that the Guide make a
note that one may be subject to the covenants of the HOA’s guidelines in addition, separate and apart from town requirements.

Police Report - Deputy Moxley. Outlined September and October activities - - detailed
reports at Exhibit B.  He also introduced PFC Duman who recently replaced Deputy Vinzen.  PFC Duman is bike & tazer certified.

Agenda Items

Annexation Referral to Planning Commission

A request was received from Sheridan Reaver to have the former Waybright property of
35.l707 acres referred to the planning commission for comments.  Mr. Haller announced
that all items have been received and confirmed to Mr. Staiger’s inquiry that the document prepared by the applicant is certainly open for negotiation.

Public Comment:  Catherine Forrence, 404 W. Main Street - complained that the specific annexation was not listed on the website agenda.  Commissioner Staiger Instructed staff to list relative items. 

Motion:  To refer the Emmitsburg Glass Company petition for annexation to the Planning Commission.
Motion by Commissioner O’Neil, second by Commissioner Elder.
Vote:  5-0 in favor

Sidewalk Repair Policy P-05-04

The Board reviewed a proposed policy for Town responsibility for the replacement of sidewalks when the repair is necessitated by damage caused by a Town tree.  Commissioner O’Neil would like to see financial responsibility language stated in the policy. Mayor Hoover expressed his concern of the language “to develop” as opposed to this proposed policy being the actual plan:  Say “approve” instead of “develop” - - to implement will be the vote this session.  Mr. Haller added for information that this plan should be implemented as a major CIP program taking several years totaling approximately $200,000 to include the placement of tree boxes.

Public Comment:  Catherine Forrence, 404 West Main Street - concerned with the 3rd
stipulation: use “shall” instead of “may” and questioned “approved”:  by whom?  Betsey Forrence, 17247 Annandale Road - questioned whose right of way, the State’s or the
Town’s, the issue is not clear Harold Craig, 103 W. Main Street - proffered that when the existing trees were planted, the State asked for and he gave an easement to the State
Commissioner Staiger commented that the Town shall develop a long term plan with the
approval of the Mayor and Commissioners, expressed concern with the defoliation of Main
Street and the need to address proper notice regarding right of way.  Commissioner O’Neil
also advised to replace the word “may” with “shall” in the 3rd point and to start to pursue “Main Street Maryland” opportunities.  When questioned about legalities of altering roadside trees, Mr. Haller clarified to Commissioner Elder that this is a different classification:  “street trees”, not a standard forest tree. 

Motion: To send the proposed sidewalk repair policy back to staff for revisions based on the comments that were made to address the issue of developing and implementing a plan of repair.  The plan for repair will be developed by staff with approval of the Mayor and Board of Commissioners.  The changes will be at the Town’s expense and part of the plan will be to replace the trees that the Town removes recognizing that there will be some added expense.  Staff will make a comprehensive written and graphic long and short term plan to address the Commission.
Motion by Commissioner Staiger, second by Commissioner O’Neil.
Vote: 5-0 in favor

Sign Ordinance Amendment 05-21

Town Planner Michael Lucas explained the proposed ordinance, composed with ACLU advice, strikes any reference to political signs and stated that this is recognition that the Town is not going to regulate political signs.

Public Comments:  Betsey Forrence, 17247 Annandale Road - acknowledging speaking
without benefit of the ordinance copy, suggested that “excluding political signs” could be
included in parentheses adding that it needs to be clearer.  Commissioner Staiger stated that there seems to be two different points, one whether to regulate political signs at all, and second whether we’re going to regulate them as temporary signs.  Commissioner O’Neil agreed about putting “excluding political signs” after the word “temporary” but expressed concern, “That this is going to do it.”   Mayor Hoover explained that this ordinance has been prepared in direct response to a letter from the ACLU, that this is what has been proposed upon the ACLU’s objection to Section 15.16.100, item D to resolve the issue of free speech in a political context being regulated differently.   Mr. Lucas clarified that if “excluding political” is inserted, then there is the need to define political signs, when then becomes more problematic, suggested to just delete the political signs section as proposed.  Commissioner O’Neil stated that he has not seen one document or communication from the ACLU that this deletion will take care of the problem.  In response to this comment, Commissioner Staiger quoted the provided letter from Mr. Clapp that the ACLU is in agreement.  Commissioner O’Neil again expressed doubt.  It was stated that these parties are more qualified than the discussing commissioners.  Commissioner O’Neil requested to see the communication between the ACLU and Mr. Clapp and wanted assurance that future boards would not have an instrument that could be misinterpreted.  Mayor Hoover stated, “Send it back and have them certify so.”   Change above on word perfect to 05-21 15,16.100 D (not 4)
Commissioner Staiger recalled that the original understanding was that political signs would be regulated as temporary signs making them necessary to get permits.  Mr. Lucas reiterated that “attempting to regulate free speech” is the argument.  It was discussed that it is in Emmitsburg’s best interest to not let the ACLU draft the ordinance but apply local interests and that the MML should be consulted for a more local compliant ordinance.

Motion:  To refer the proposed sign ordinance amendment back to staff to approach
MML and try and come up with another proposal that will address the concerns that
were raised as part of this discussion.
Motion by Commissioner Staiger, second by Commissioner Blanchard. .
Vote: 5-0 in favor

Resolution 2005-13-r - School Lane Closure

It was confirmed that the Town has a Maryland SHA permit to replace the sidewalk to a
standard grade.

Public Comment – none

Motion:  To approve resolution 2005-13-R closing School Lane to motorized vehicular
Motion by Commissioner O’Neil, second by Commissioner Blanchard.
Vote: 5-0 in favor

Charter Change for 5th Commissioner

Submitted for review was an attorney-prepared resolution to amend the Charter to allow for the adding of a 5th Commissioner.

Public Comment:  Betsey Forrence, 17247 Annandale Road and Harold Craig, 103 West Main Street spoke in support.  Sr. Eleanor Casey, 333 South Seton Avenue spoke in opposition, stated that there’s no reason why the Mayor should be deprived the right to vote, and why Emmitsburg needs the same amount of commissioners as Frederick County, supported a 3 member Board plus a Mayor.  Commissioner O’Neil commented that he was sorry to see that his proposed language has not been included.  Commissioner Staiger questioned, “Why is this just piecemeal?”   Commissioner O’Neil mentioned that Section 6 of Article II is not included.  It was discussed that other “clean-up” was needed such as including a majority of 3, referencing a calendar year as opposed to fiscal or election year.  He introduced that he submitted a proposal first, then the Mayor did the following week, thinking that they would work together but never got a call from the Mayor or Mr. Clapp and feels as if this were meant to be slipped through.  He expressed to work together and see this through.  President Staiger instructed to refer to the proposal as “co-sponsorship of the Mayor and Commissioner O’Neil.” 

Motion:  To table the proposed Charter change for a 5th Commissioner
Motion by Commissioner Staiger, second by Commissioner O’Neil.
Vote:  5-0 in favor

Procurement Procedures

Resolution 2005-14R was presented which amends Article V, Section 2 of the Charter and
relates to the maximum single project, purchase or service allowed before going to competitive bidding.

Public Comment:  Catherine Forrence, 404 West Main Street - didn’t envision this type of charter change, this allows the Mayor more authority to spend more money without the Board’s consent, not a set of procurement guidelines.  Don’t need to rewrite them, just adopt someone else’s.  Betsey Forrence, 17247 Annandale Road - $10,000 would be too high for some things, agree with the point to never start from scratch, look at others’, adapting to local situation Harold Craig, 103 West Main Street – proposed change is inadequate and not specific

Board discussion was that the proposed Charter change was not what they were looking for, that MML has “cookie-cutter” guidelines that should be considered and expressed disapproval of the $10,000 Mayoral approval.  Making reference to a recent memo, Mr. Haller recapped the recent contractual/bidding episode.  Mayor Hoover explained that this proposal does not give more power to the Mayor but less, that nothing can be excited over $10,000 without Board approval, even though it may be appropriated in an approved budget; that it better defines what needs to go out for bid and what doesn’t.  Commissioner O’Neil reiterated that $10,000 was far too high and focus should be back to the procurement process.  Commissioner Elder added that he recalled a discussion that a $10,000 approval was put into place in case of emergency i.e., pump failure, water line
rupture.  With no motion for acceptance, the item dies.

Set Agenda Items for next Meeting

  • Ordinance 05-17 day-care home exception 5-0
  • To consider low bidder of Creamery Road Installation of 8 inch water line for the
    Emmitsburg Glass new building 5-0
  • For Review and approval: 2 alternative methods of exterior rehab to Hampton Valley
    Road rental property 5-0

Approved ordinances, policies and/or resolutions were signed.

Public Comments

Betsey Forrence, 17247 Annandale Road – expressed disappointment that rules and procedures for the Ethics Commission have not been produced, and would like to see that resolved.

Adjournment With no further Business and upon unanimous vote, the November 21, 2005 Town Meeting was adjourned at 9:46 p.m.

Date Approved: December 5, 2005