Cambridge Council looks at leaking water main

CAMBRIDGE — The open council meeting on Tuesday night followed a closed council session “regarding development of an emergency plan.” While it may seem a topic important to the public, the session was closed under a provision in Section 3-305(b)(10) which specifies that discussion of emergency plans and deployment of fire and police personnel may be closed to the public because of a risk to the public safety. With that matter over and the result under wraps, the Mayor opened the open session.

First up, Jane Dorman, who heads the Water Department, explained the water main break that occurred this past Saturday. A 12-inch main that crosses the Creek and Maryland Avenue, sprang a leak in the most inaccessible spot, a weakened patch 17-feet under the Creek. Several residents of condos were without water for several hours but utility workers rerouted water to them with a temporary fix after several hours. Workers are still on the job and a permanent fix will cost $75,000. Jane Dorman did not come to the meeting to beg funds; her department has $150,000 in her emergency fund. Cambridge is blessed with pure, untouched water that comes from deep in the earth and a water department that responds quickly and efficiently. The 1893 main has done its duty for more than a century and can be forgiven for its dereliction of duty.

Two events seeking council approval got their permits. The first, Dorchester Lodge #223 and Progressive of Dorchester Temple #224 will hold their 99th Annual Organization Weekend. On Oct. 22, their parade starts at Mace’s Lane Middle School at 3 p.m. Parking will be affected on Cross, Cedar, and Pine streets. A noise variance has been issued.

For the second event, you’ve got to wait eight months till spring, when the Cambridge Classic Power Boat Regatta hits the Choptank River at Great Marsh Park.

Presumably, this event of widespread participation needs a set date to send invitations and make preparations. If noise variances were issued by volume, those powerboats would need five noise variances. It’s a fabulous spectacle, but only gets one noise variance. The organizers also obtained permits for pop-up tents, some parking prohibitions, and alcohol sales.

Under old business (call it very old business) the council took a giant step, approving $32,000 to go ahead with a Market Feasibility Study by Delta Associates.

From a member of the public came a plea to postpone the vote until new, differing opinions on economic uses could be heard. Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley nixed that proposal, saying she would be glad to receive and consider written opinions but the vote tonight would stand. The commissioners’ approval was unanimous.

The Historic Preservation Commission goes through the council and mayor to determine its composition. This session saw three changes: the resignation of Gaver Nichols, the appointment of new member Herschel Johnson, and the reappointment of Ron Berman.

One matter on the agenda was put on hold. The property tax and fines matter concerns Michael Baugh, who is the landlord of Commissioner LaShon Foster. She does not see a conflict, but an ethics committee will decide if she must be recused because of the connection to Michael Baugh, an agent for JWB Properties. He is asking for a waiver on fines and taxes on 528 High St. and 810 Pine St., properties he acquired. He wants the city to give him the same terms given to Habit for Humanity, a forgiveness of fees with conditions. Besides the question of Commissioner Foster’s recusing or non-recusing, commissioners will examine pertinent policies and practices on the tax and fees waivers; until then, the matter is deferred.

The Council’s Traffic and Safety Committee has also been at work and produced some recommendations. The changes are below:

1. Install a “School Bus Stop Ahead” sign on Bayly Road in the appropriate location to give adequate warning to vehicular traffic.

2. Cambridge Police Department (CPD) to provide adequate notice to the residents on Vue D’ Leau Street regarding the city’s code as it pertains to the parking of boat trailers/campers on the street, and parking on sidewalks, then begin enforcement of said code. Begin the public process to consider changing Vue D’ Leau St. to a one-way street in the direction of Water Street to William Street.

3. Change the posted speed limit from 35 mph to 25 mph between Park Lane, and Washington Street; yellow striping to be installed with a white line to designate a pedestrian walking area from Washington Street to the beginning of the sidewalk near Cosby Avenue, install a street light on the pole near Park Lane.

4. DPW to install the appropriate signage (“Road Closed When Flooded”) near and around the Water Street area to warn motorists.
In a separate story, we report on the $32,095 purchase of tasers for the police department. Chief Dan Dvorak explains how a taser is employed in the use of force and what it means to Cambridge.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.