Capital LTE: “There Are Restrictions on Property Rights”

Capital Gazette: Letters to the Editor, May 10, 2016

I have the deepest regard for Nancy Almgren and all her many contributions to our community. However, I’m surprised that a professional in the real estate industry would think that people can do anything they want with their private property.

This notion is particularly absurd here in Annapolis. Otherwise the Fawcett building would long ago have become something — anything — other than a vacant eyesore as a centerpiece on City Dock. There are restrictions on your private property rights, including on how your proposed use will impact the environment and the safety of your fellow citizens.

You have the right to free speech, but you can’t yell “Fire!” in a movie theater. Neither can you cram so many people into that theater that they won’t be able to reach the exit in case of an emergency.

That’s what’s happening with the Crystal Spring development. So many buildings, so many people with so many cars will be crammed onto the site that it will become a chokehold on Annapolis Neck. Except, in this case, there is no emergency exit — Forest Drive becomes Bay Ridge Road, which dead-ends at the water’s edge.

The question we ask here on Annapolis Neck — city and county citizens alike — is not how can we protect one person’s property rights, but this: Whose kid will be the first to die when the ambulance gets stuck in traffic?


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