Port Deposit addresses a pair of glitches

Port Deposit Town Administrator Vicky Rinkerman shows the mayor and town council the mistake found on the zoning maps, which led to an area including Silver Cross Apartments to carry the wrong zoning designation.

PORT DEPOSIT — Map colors and new laws tripped up town officials but both have been addressed according to Vicky Rinkerman, town administrator.

Rinkerman told the mayor and town council Tuesday that it was discovered that the town’s zoning maps were colored incorrectly when printed, which resulted in an area zoned C1 to be mistakenly marked C2.

“It was a technical error,” Rinkerman said. She discovered it while researching 125 Tome Highway, which is up for sale, for an interested buyer.

“Someone called to inquire about the zoning on the property and I discovered the technical error on the zoning map,” Rinkerman said. “No one asked for a reclassification. 125 Tome Highway (Silver Cross Apartments) has been apartments and it will always be apartments.”

The second glitch came from a law passed by the 2018 Maryland General Assembly that changed the process for charter amendments. Instead of publishing its passage, giving residents 40 days to appeal, the new law requires 21 days notice. leading up to a public hearing.

Except no one told the towns, according to Tom McCarron, town attorney.

“There was a change in the state statute that quietly passed,” McCarron said.

This came up as the town sought USDA funding for a project and lawyers for the federal agency noticed that Port Deposit cropped its council from six members to four in 2019 using the previous statute.

“We did publish it in the paper, we just did not have this public hearing on 21 days notice,” McCarron said. “The bottom line is this; I don’t believe this is a problem. Everything you did is perfectly legal.”

McCarron suggested the council re-introduce the resolution and follow the new statute.

“The bond counsel is going to need that,” McCarron said. He suggested that the charter be examined for other gaffs that would fall under the changes made. “Curate the legislation so nothing is ever called into question.”

He also suggested the town act quickly to fill that open council seat following the resignation of Mayor Wayne Tome. The council voted amongst themselves Tuesday night to elevate Deputy Mayor Bob Kuhs to mayor, also naming Kevin Brown as the new deputy mayor. That leaves an open seat on the council with an election already set for May for that seat.

Rinkerman said the fix for the map glitch is to simply attach a copy of the passed resolution addressing the glitch and then fix the correction when the map is reprinted in the future.

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