Havre de Grace, 'City of 1,000 laws,' introduces three new ordinances

Havre de Grace is close to becoming the “City of 1,000 Laws” with the introduction of three new ordinances Monday night.

“When I first got on the council in 2008, we were at 835. That was 10 years ago,” Mayor William T. Martin said. “So it’s taken us a while to get there.”

Every year the city has to approve ordinances setting the water rate and sewer rate, “so it’s not really 1,000 laws,” he said.

The new ordinances introduced involve solid waste (999), the Board of Port Wardens (1,000) and brew pubs (1,001).

The council will hold public hearings on all three at the next City Council meeting, April 2, at 7 p.m.

Trash/recycling containers

The city has received complaints from residents that its contracted trash hauler, Waste Industries, has not picked up trash in some neighborhoods because the trash is not in appropriate containers, according to the proposed Ordinance 999, which sets the guidelines for trash pickup in the city.

It is also meant to encourage recycling, Councilwoman Monica Worrell said.

“We are a recycling city and we want to do what we can to motivate people,” she said as she introduced the ordinance.

Recycling in Havre de Grace is up to 22 to 25 percent last year versus 11 percent the year before, according to Tim Whittie, director of public works.

The proposed ordinance states that trash and recycling containers “shall have a capacity of not more than 30 gallons, unless provided by and/or accepted by the city’s refuse contractor.”

But the size of the container isn’t as important as how much the container weighs, Whittie said after a brief back and forth with Worrell and Council President David Glenn about which was more relevant, the size or weight.

“We’re talking about the size of the container when size doesn’t matter, it’s the weight that matters,” and if it can be lifted by the trash company, Glenn said.

He said he would like the council to consider an amendment to the ordinance that would say a full trash container may not weigh more than 50 pounds, but will wait to introduce it until the next council meeting to the public works department can look into it further.

The ordinance also adds that all containers must be set out on pickup days by 7 a.m.

“Too often people were putting their trash out at 11 a.m., then saying it was missed,” Worrell said. “That doesn’t mean it will be picked up by 11 a.m., but it needs to be ready by then.”

She also said there have been reports of people driving into the city and putting trash in front of vacant houses. Anyone who sees that should report it to the city, she said.

“Trash is part of your taxes, the citizens are paying for it,” Worrell said.

Board of Port Wardens

The city is proposing to create a Board of Port Wardens to allow the city to monitor its water treatment plant intake pipe in the Susquehanna River.

The intake pipe is 20 to 25 yards out into the river. The plant is on St. John Street.

“It draws in drinking water for our city,” Martin said.

Several boats are anchored in the area, he said, and questions have arisen around whether those boats are eliminating their waste properly.

The ordinance allows the city to create a 200-foot radius around the intake pipe where boats can’t achor.

“They can boat over it, but not anchor,” Martin said.

The Board of Port Wardens gives the city a way to monitor that, since it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the water — that falls to the state, he said.

“This is saying we have a right to protect the city’s water intake,” Martin said.

Brew pubs

Ordinance 1,001 proposes to add zoning classifications that cover brew pubs, distilleries, craft distilleries and microbreweries.

“This goes a very long way to support small business in our community,” Councilman Michael Hitchings said. “It also helps a market segment that is definitely overlooked in our zoning code.”

A brewery would be defined as a place that sells 25 percent or more of its beer on-site and also has a Maryland pub-brewery license.

“The beer is often dispensed directly from the brewery’s storage tanks,” the ordinance states.

A distillery is a business “primarily engaged in the manufacturing of intoxicating liquors with a maximum 50,000 gallon annual production capacity,” and spirits are made, packaged, sold and stored on the premises.

A craft distillery is similar, but the spirits also are for sale off-premises and such places shall include a tasting area for limited sale and consumption during tours, educational programs and special events, according to the ordinance.

A microbrewery would produce more than 50 barrels, but less than 15,000 barrels of beer in a year, 75 percent of which would be sold off-site, according to the ordinance.

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