Capital LTE: “Crystal Spring rationale is an insult to efforts to provide affordable housing”

Capital Gazette: Letters to the Editor, November 15, 2016

Development attorney Philip C. Dales’ guest column on the need for a new attitude toward development (The Capital, Nov. 1) sounds simple.

However, the kind of development Mr. Dales is really talking about is a far cry from his feel-good example of a new restaurant opening. His call for more affordable housing as a rationale for approving more large-scale high-end development is just spin — an insult to actual efforts to provide low-cost housing in the city. It continues efforts to paint his opponents as obstructionists.

Mr. Dales works for one of the biggest land-use law firms in Annapolis, Hyatt & Weber, which represents the Crystal Spring project and is also a partner in the planned commercial development and housing at this site. The firm also represents the developers at Rocky Gorge and several other projects seeking city approval.

He cites a White House paper citing impediments imposed by local restrictions leading to a chronic shortage of affordable housing across the country. The Housing Development Toolkit has recommendations to assure availability of affordable housing, something we can all acknowledge is lacking in Annapolis.

However, in his call for an end to NIMBYism and excessive regulation of land development, he failed to note that developments like Crystal Spring provide no affordable housing. This issue has nothing to do with barriers Mr. Dales seeks to curtail, including laws to assure proper land use with citizen input, control traffic and protect forests and water quality.

Lost in his smoke screen are the serious impacts to our quality of life with traffic, school overcrowding and environmental damage, while retuning few benefits to the people of the city. Perhaps he could include affordable housing in the developments his firm represents rather that using the affordable housing issue to deflect important discussions.


Editor’s note: The writer is a landscape architect and served on the City Planning Commission.

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