The newest informal sketch plan for Crystal Spring published in the Capital on October 21 appears to show a downsizing of this project. Don’t be fooled. Despite finally moving all development north of the stream and closer to Forest Drive, there has been virtually no change in the density of this project. The amount of protected forest set to be destroyed appears to have actually increased. The development planned is still larger than the footprint of the entire Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole.
Though not yet formally filed with the City, this plan would still destroy about 40 acres of the last remaining large stand of mature, priority forest in the city. The plan still includes nearly 500 housing units, including 130 non-age restricted apartments and townhomes (an increase from the last formal filing); a new shopping center with another traffic-generating 50,000-square-foot food store, restaurants, a bank, and offices; an 80-room hotel; a chapel; an assisted living center with at least 75 suites for residents; more than 1,400 parking spaces; and new roads.
Moving all development north of the stream may seem to be a concession, but it doesn’t begin to address how outrageous the scope of the project is to begin with. From a traffic perspective alone, this development is still far larger than Forest Drive can handle. Why would we trade the last of our remaining priority forest for more congestion and a significant reduction in our quality of life in Annapolis?