In the coming weeks, city leaders will be meeting with the attorneys for the Crystal Spring development to renegotiate parts of the original 2005 annexation agreement.
Despite the fact that a material breach announced earlier this year — the owner’s failure to hook up to city water and sewer within 10 years — actually led to higher fire insurance for all city property owners, the developers will likely go unpunished and simply sign a new agreement to hook up to public facilities at the time of development.
However, the city should take the opportunity to settle other unresolved issues during these negotiations while it has the upper hand. For instance, the cost of the relief road that will run parallel to Forest Drive through the property has not been determined, and neither has the amount the developers will contribute to that cost, which could be over $10 million.
The original agreement states the developers shall make an “equitable contribution” to the road, but how much is an equitable contribution? Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay a dime for a road that supports a development we don’t want or need!
The 2005 annexation agreement also requires that the 75 acres at the adjoining Mas Que Farm be placed under a conservation easement. Developers have already acknowledged that about 12 acres on that property is under development and no longer available. This leaves only 64 acres, and rumor has it the developers still want to use some of that for stormwater draining from Crystal Spring
These are two major issues that need to be settled and the city will never have a better opportunity than right now to resolve them in favor of its taxpayers.
LAUREN DANA-EVANS, ANNAPOLIS