On January 26, Circuit Court Judge Mark Crooks dismissed technical claims by a small group of people trying to block all development on the 176-acre Crystal Spring site. This means, absent an appeal to a state appellate court within 30 days, The Village at Providence Point may proceed with all the improvements we fought for over 13 years. Given the thoroughness of the Judge’s legal and factual research, it is very doubtful an appellate court would overturn his decision. Click here to read Senator Winegrad’s December 15 column on this matter.
The judge’s well-reasoned decision allows the unanimous approval by the Annapolis Planning Commission of the senior only project to proceed with all our demands met:. 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. These exceptional conditions would make this project a model for future developments. 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 likely exceeded $50 million. And, the property owners did not want to sell the land for a park.
So, our group withdrew all objections after National Lutheran Communities & Services and the City met all our demands. Despite this, the small group appealed the first unanimous approval by the Planning Commission made after 5 lengthy public hearings. The appeal was filed on February 17, 2022. The court sent the approval back for more information on January 11, 2023, and the Planning Commission provided that information in a 17-page addendum to the 2,440-page previous record of decision on April 26, 2023. Our entire leadership team agreed that this was the best deal we could possibly achieve for this 176-acres site zoned for development in the City. Hopefully, the back and forth stops. Click here to read the Capital article on the judge’s decision.
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.
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.
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.