Listen to 91.7 FM Live
Mid-Shore Reader

Cambridge City Officials Vote to File Suit Against CWDI

Originally airing on WHCP 91.7fm on Thursday 5/2/2024 during Mid-Shore Mid-Day
By News Director Jim Brady

Listen to the Mid-Shore Mid-Day Report:

Read the transcript:

The Cambridge City Council voted in a special session Wednesday to file suit against Cambridge Waterfront Development Incorporated and its holding company in a move to have a court enforce covenants requiring CWDI to select a master developer in a process with public visibility.

The vote was three to one with Council President Lajan Cephas voting against. Commissioner Brian Roche, a supporter of CWDI, did not attend the session. Commissioner Laurel Atkiss said she felt a lawsuit is necessary because CWDI members have been ignoring the covenants and seeking to sell city donated land without first satisfying the agreement.

“I think right now, the way I’m looking at this is like we’re childproofing,” Atkiss said. “We’re softening the edges to make sure that our burgeoning project is safe and protected, the community is safe and protected, and that we can move forward without having to look over our shoulder. We’re ready for transparency and honesty, and we deserve it.”

Jameson Harrington, the city’s Ward 3 council member, said he felt the vote was the council’s best option in light of the stakes involving the Cambridge Harbor Project.

“It's unfortunate that we have reached this juncture, but my role as commissioner is to protect the taxpayers and residents of this town, and I think this was the right move to do that,” he said.

While she firmly supports the city’s requirements in the land transfer agreement, Lajan Cephas has said she preferred to allow diplomatic efforts by Shay Lewis-Cisco, one of the city’s  representatives on the CWDI board, to bring its members into agreement with the city.

“I truly felt like that we’re going the right direction with CWDI, especially with all the additional work that Shay is doing, trying to wear both hats, both appointee of the city, and also being a board member of CWDI,” she said. “I just figured that there has to be another way besides starting litigation because it’s like once you start, when does it stop? We file on them, what are they going to file against the city? So that was my reason for saying no.

“I just believe maybe we could have waited until after CWDI has theirs next meeting, but I just believe everyone is entitled to their vote. And I can tell you as far as the land transfer deal with Yacht Maintenance, I know that’s what the community wants. I don’t want to make a vote to try to prevent that. Although there are violations of the covenants, I do know what the ultimate goal is. They’re trying to get that land transferred. So it’s just a matter of making it a position where they’re not in violation.”