A small group of people trying to block all development on the 176-acre Crystal Spring site again filed suit on February 16 to overturn City approval of a senior living facility at the site. The appeal was of Circuit Court Judge Mark Crooks’ well-reasoned opinion of January 26 approving City approval of the senior living facility known as The Village at Providence Point (TVPP). The judge thoroughly evaluated all aspects of the case and, in a 35-minute oral opinion, he dismissed all the technical claims made in the appeal. Given the Judge’s extensive legal and factual research and his scholarly opinion, it is very doubtful an appellate court would overturn his decision.

But the appeal of Judge Crooks’ decision to the Maryland Appellate Court will block construction of the facility for at least another seven months. This means that the 252 seniors who have deposited more than $11 million awaiting a unit at TVPP, both single individuals and couples, will have to wait longer to occupy one of the 164 apartments or cottages they want to live in. 

National Lutheran Communities & Services, the non-profit applying to build TVPP, had met every demand we made to make the project a national model in sustainable development. After vigorously opposing previously planned developments of the site for more than a decade, our group withdrew all objections after National Lutheran and the City met all our demands. Click here to read Senator Winegrad’s December 15 column on this matter.

The judge’s decision appealed would allow the unanimous approvals by the Annapolis Planning Commission of the senior project to stand with all our demands met including: a major downsizing of the project; the elimination of all retail and non-senior housing; clustering the development closest to Forest Drive; improving traffic flows; assuring the 124 acres of forest now on the 176-acre tract would be kept at 124 acres in perpetuity including replanted forest; and improving stormwater runoff from existing conditions. Click here to read our statement in response to this appeal.

From the beginning, we fought to protect the entire site, but there was no political support for the enormous acquisition cost that would exceed $50 million. And the property owners did not want to sell the land for a park.

Despite this, the small group has now twice appealed the approvals by the Planning Commission after its 5 lengthy public hearings and 2,440-page record of decision. The first appeal was filed on February 17, 2022, and now, more than two years later, the senior facility is still in court. Our entire leadership team agreed that the current plan for the 176-acre site is the best deal we could possibly achieve for the forest, wetlands, and open space on the land and for traffic improvements.  The site is zoned for development in the City. 

Increased Traffic

Traffic Improvements

The Village at Providence Point will consist exclusively of a senior only living facility with no retail allowed. The developer will make significant intersection and road improvements that should minimize, and may improve, traffic flows:

  • Only 19 additional AM peak vehicular trips and 33 PM will be generated.
  • The developers will pay for a new left turn lane on Spa Road at Forest Drive and traffic light synchronization.
  • The developers will pay $181,000 toward the cost of right of way acquisition for a connector road from the property paralleling Forest Drive to connect with Skipper Lane near the CVS, reducing Forest Drive/Spa Road traffic.
  • Improvements would be made ahead of occupation of units to ensure traffic flows are not impeded during construction.

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environment

Forest Conservation and Stormwater Management

We have made great progress in reducing the development’s footprint, protecting forest and reducing stormwater:

  • 302 housing units for seniors and 48 health care units would be built closest to Forest Drive with an impervious surface footprint of 15.25 acres of the 176-acre site. There would be a 200-foot forested buffer around Forest Drive.
  • 27 acres of forest cleared will be reforested elsewhere on site so that 124 currently forested acres will be protected forever with the reforestation.
  • The plans meet our demands that stormwater management handle a 25-year storm event so that there would be no increase in the rate, volume, or pollutant loads and stormwater flows will not exceed that from a forest in good condition. Click here for our stormwater expert’s comments on the plans.
  • The developer will use 79 rain gardens and more than an acre of green roofs, plus restore a polluted stream channel that drains into Crab Creek at a cost of $5000,000. 364 of the 475 parking spaces underground or under buildings with another 28 spaces using porous surfaces.
  • The developer has committed to 100% compliance with all environmental requirements for stormwater, sediment control, and forest conservation both during construction and once occupation occurs. Click here to see new agreement filed with the City guaranteeing citizen oversight.

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Future Development

Future Development Extinguished

We have ensured that there can be no future development of the 176-acre site beyond the senior living facility with only a few exceptions. This means no more development other than the planned senior facilities and exceptions below. All land outside the development footprint will be protected in perpetuity:

  • The only exceptions will be a new Wellness House, some equestrian-related barns and stables, and a few small picnic pavilions.
  • The owner has agreed to a strict conservation easement on her remaining 123 acres and the developers will execute deed restrictions eliminating future development on their 52 acres, thus permanently  protecting 140 acres including all 124 acres of remaining and replanted forest from future clearing. See both documents by clicking “Learn More” below.
  • The development site will be permanently restricted to no more than 15.25 acres of impervious surface for TVPP.
  • The conservation easement would be held and enforced by the Scenic Rivers Land Trust, operating in Anne Arundel County for 30 years.

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